November 2002

From Lancet

The pharmaceutical industry as political player

N.B. Please note that if you are outside North America the embargo date for all Lancet press material is 0001 hours UK time Friday 8 November 2002

The second of four articles about the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and medicine focuses on the political dynamic between industry and regulatory authorities.

John Abraham from the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, discusses how political frameworks designed to govern the pharmaceutical industry must, on the one hand, not restrict the flourishing of successful drug development, whilst at the same time providing regulation that is sufficiently robust to protect public health from drugs that are unsafe, ineffective, or unnecessary.

He concludes: "The present drug regulatory systems are insufficiently robust in their political relations with the pharmaceutical industry, because they prevent proper public accountability, are highly vulnerable to industrial capture, and permit scientific experts to have extensive conflicts of interest while providing their expert advice. A regulatory system capable of delivery of publicly defensible assessments, which are uncompromisingly in the interests of public health, is needed."

Contact:
Professor John Abraham, Centre for Research in Health & Medicine (CRHaM), University of Sussex,
Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SJ, UK;
T) 44-127-360-6755 x7074;
F) 44-127-362-3572;
E) J.W.Abraham@sussex.ac.uk











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