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
It concludes that ‘press releases should be reserved only for urgent,
exceptional situations, and be agreed and managed in a planned,
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.’