Sunday, November 02, 2008

Regulating Pharmas conduct is not that difficult

This report made by Consumer International have some examples of measures taken by European countries. These are some examples and I cannot help thinking about seeing some of the worse harms being on the list. If in the next two decades perhaps I could see it.


-In another case, the company provided airfare and accommodation for doctors to attend a conference on bipolar disorder in Cannes on the French Riviera and was put on probation by Dutch authorities for violating the Code on the Promotion of Medicinal Products. (WOW! Discussing bipolarity in Cannes on the French Riviera! Cool!)
-The Dutch Code Commission in 2004 found AstraZeneca’s claims in its promotion of Seroquel unjustified, not based in two relevant studies and therefore misleading.


-Published data for Lilly’s antidepressant Prozac claimed that the drugs reduces the likelihood that people will harm themselves. However, data from clinical trials indicated the opposite, namely that people continue to harm themselves.


-Before GSK’s anti-depressant Paxil was approved for use against `social phobia’ in 1999, the company organised a large public awareness campaign about the condition, renaming it `social anxiety disorder’. GSK has been accused of grossly exaggerating the numbers suffering from this condition, leading to much higher sales of Paxil and inappropriate drug use.
-In February 2003, Italian authorities started an investigation against GSK for corruption of over 4,000 doctors. The total value of illegal gifts was estimated at 228 million euros from 1999 to 2002. These incentives suggest that doctors would have prescribed 7-8% more GSK products each than otherwise would have been the case.
-Promotional materials for GSKs antidepressant Paxil claimed that the drug reduces the likelihood that people would harm themselves. However, data from clinical trials indicated the opposite, namely that people continue to harm themselves.
-In May 2004, GSK was accused of fraudulent manoeuvres to extend patent protection over its anti-depressant Paxil and its antibiotic Augmentin, in order to prevent competition from generics.


-In 2004 Pfizer pleaded guilty on charges of falsely marketing its epilepsy drug Neurontin for off-label uses.
-The Dutch Code Commission granted a complaint filed by a doctor against Pfizer in 2004. The doctor complained about an invitation that he had received from Pfizer for a information meeting about Celebrex. Pfizer promised to cover expenses by giving 200 euro for doctors signing up to the meeting.
Pfizer has sponsored an Impotence Association campaign in which the logo of Pfizer figured prominently on the advertisements. The UK Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) ruled that this was inappropriate and could encourage patients to ask doctors specifically for Viagra.

Branding the Cure: A consumer perspective on Corporate Social
Responsibility, Drug Promotion and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe. .pdf
can be downloaded free-of-charge from the CI website.


susan said...

Good Post!

I wish I had a printer so I could print this out and keep it!

Thank you Ana.

Ana said...

Thank you Susan!
It's only a question of will.
I'll add something from Health Canada, their FDA.
Perhaps we should start a content:
"Which country has a better regulation agency?"