Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Tipping points — the future of the pharmaceutical industry

Tipping points — the future of the pharmaceutical industry

From the February 4, 2011 Eureka news alert

This declining trend is blamed on a failure of innovative drive in the industry, failure of the UK to support basic research, failure of venture capital to invest in early stage research, or failure of the Health Service to provide smart procurement.

A research centre funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) shows that radical reform of the drugs industry regulatory system must be an important part of the solution to ensure a productive and profitable pharmaceutical sector, both globally and in the UK.

Researchers from the ESRC’s Innogen centre have studied the innovation models in the pharmaceutical industry and how the industry has been able to remain sustainable for so long. The results of their research show that the lengthy and expensive regulatory system that now applies to most products of the life sciences is causing innovation failure.

Regulation has a large impact on the kinds of product that are developed by any industry sector: it is designed to ensure that products are safe, effective and of high quality. Innogen’s research demonstrates that the impacts of regulation in pharmaceuticals are more far-reaching: they determine overall company strategies; which types of companies succeed; and ultimately the structure and dynamism of the sector as a whole. Under current circumstances regulation prevents the development of the radically innovative technologies that could provide opportunities for the sector to become more effective in developing innovative products. Innogen research has predicted that the industry is approaching a tipping point in the not too distant future.

Professor Joyce Tait comments “We do not need less regulation, but smarter regulation, that can deliver expected standards of safety and efficacy, are flexible enough to respond to new scientific discoveries and can do so more efficiently than our current systems within a shorter time frame.”

Innogen research also shows that policymakers and governments need an understanding of all the major causes and relevant options available. Radical regulatory reform for the life science industries needs to be a priority in discussions regarding the future of the industry. Reform could provide the lever to profitably unleash the creativity that has been so effectively generated from public funding of basic science, leading to something closer to the innovative performance that we have seen in information and communication technologies over the past twenty years.

 

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Drug Maker Wrote Book Under 2 Doctors’ Names, Documents Say

Entire medical textbook written by pharmaceutical company …”a new level of chutzpah”

Excerpts from the November 2009 NY Times article

Two prominent authors of a 1999 book teaching family doctors how to treat psychiatric disorders provided acknowledgment in the preface for an “unrestricted educational grant” from a major pharmaceutical company.But the drug maker, then known as SmithKline Beecham, actually had much more involvement than the book described, newly disclosed documents show. The grant paid for a writing company to develop the outline and text for the two named authors, the documents show, and then the writing company said it planned to show three drafts directly to the pharmaceutical company for comments and “sign-off” and page proofs for “final approval.”

On a related note…Playing Doctor: How to Spin Pharmaceutical Research

An excerpt from this December 2010 Atlantic article

His first assignment was to produce scientific abstracts for studies of a newly approved antibiotic. Unfortunately, the antibiotic had a major weakness: it did not work against pneumococcus, one of the most common bugs a doctor will see. But this shortcoming was not something that the drug’s manufacturer— hich was funding the articles and abstracts—was keen to point out. So David and his fellow medical writers were told to avoid the topic.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Drug Companies are Paying Your Doctor – “DollarsForDocs”

From an October 21, 2010 Open Medicine blog item

The American broadcaster, National Public Radio (NPR), recently ran a story about doctors who get money from drug companies to promote their drugs.  ProPublica has created a free database with the names of doctors and the amount they’ve received from pharmas.

http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/

“Drug companies have long kept secret details of the payments they make to doctors for promoting their drugs. But seven companies have begun posting names and compensation on the Web, some as the result of legal settlements. ProPublica compiled these disclosures, totaling $258 million, into a single database that allows patients to search for their doctor. Receiving payments isn’t necessarily wrong, but it does raise ethical issues. “

Similarly, NPR posted a story that shows more of the disclosures. Note: pharmaceutical sales in the US in 2009? $300 billion dollars~!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130654426

NPR has links to health, business, science news, and much more at its home page. There are also options for podcasts and RSS feeds.

 

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

   

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