NEWS: Drugs companies call for veto on information

The European pharmaceutical industry is calling for drug companies to have a bigger say in how sensitive information about drugs is made available by watchdogs.

The European pharmaceutical industry is calling for drug companies to

have a bigger say in how sensitive information about drugs is made

available by watchdogs.



A draft paper drawn up by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical

Industry Association calls for the European Medical Evaluation Agency -

the watchdog on drug development - to stop publishing opinions by sister

watchdog Committee on Propriety Medicinal Products which might point to

potential problems with prescribed drugs. It criticises the practice for

‘tending to create urgency and sensationalise’.



According to the report, the EMEA’s approach risks ‘unnecessary

confusion and alarm in doctors and patients’ and adds that ‘financially

sensitive information that affects the Stock Market may be published

prematurely.’



It concludes that ‘press releases should be reserved only for urgent,

exceptional situations, and be agreed and managed in a planned,

orchestrated manner.’



The report was brought to light by Dr Philip Brown, publisher of Scrip

magazine and a leading commentator on the industry. He attacked its

proposals as containing ‘totalitarian sentiments’ and threatening a

return to excessive secrecy surrounding the drug industry sector.



‘The views expounded are very antediluvian and a big step backwards,’

said Brown. ‘By publicising the report, my intention was to raise

eyebrows and stop it going forward.’ He added: ‘This body is reasonably

enlightened and keen to put out information about its work. My view is

that there was a coded message that the industry would rather the EMEA

should be tightly controlled.’



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