Monday, June 06, 2005

Opinions About the Regulating the Pharmaceutical Industry

Two major newspapers have published opinion pieces condemning current pharmaceutical industry practices, and calling for better regulation of the industry.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted how pharmaceutical companies promised to supply clinical trial data to a government sponsored web-site, but often provided data too limited to be meaningful. The editorial suggested "given the results so far, the next step would be to convert the voluntary government Web site to a national registry and threaten stiff financial penalties for companies that fail to comply."
The paper also published a response by Peter S Kim, President of Merck Research Laboratories, who said "given its track record of publishing data, the implication that Merck has hidden data is both unfair and inaccurate." He didn't address specific charges that Merck has hidden or manipulated data (for links to posts on these charges, see this.)
Meanwhile, an op-ed in the Denver Post stated "drug-making has become a very competitive industry, which may be putting profits before our health." Furthermore, it suggested that the US Food and Drug Administration is "too outdated, inadequate, and riddled with conflicts of interest to regulate the business of medical drugs." Instead, it proposed a new regulatory structure to ensure "that medical drugs would have to be safe for their intended use, that full information about potential harmful effects would be given to consumers and the medical community, and that harmed consumers would have the right to redress under exisiting product liability laws."
Clearly, there seems to be increasing sentiment for a renewal of the regulatory structure for the pharmaceutical industry. It may also be reasonable to suggest that other health care sectors, especially hospitals/ academic medical centers, and managed care organizations/ insurers, may be called upon to quickly clean up their acts, or also be subject to new and more rigorous regulation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regulation of such industries is clearly absent unless such regulatory agencies are coerced to acknowledge and take action of the acts of wrongdoing. This is why the profits of such industries seem to be of greater importance than public health, in this case.