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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 11774

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Vitry A, Lexchin J, Mansfield PR.
Is Australia's National Medicines Policy Failing? The Case of Cox-2 Inhibitors
Int J Health Serv 2007 Oct; 37:(4):735 - 744,9,13;journal,1,148;linkingpublicationresults,1:300313,1


Australia has a National Medicines Policy with aims that include quality use of medicines, but policy stakeholders failed to protect Australia from the COX-2 (cyclo-oxygenase-2) inhibitor disaster. Drug regulators did not warn prescribers appropriately about potential cardiovascular risks. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme did not limit unjustified drug expenditures on COX-2 inhibitors. Drug companies ran intense and misleading promotional campaigns on COX-2 inhibitors without adequate controls. Independent drug information was insufficient to counter the effects of the millions of dollars spent on advertising. Core elements of the National Medicines Policy-in particular the drug approval process, the post-marketing sur-veillance system, the control of drug promotion, and the quality of independent drug information-require major reappraisal if we want to avoid similar disasters in the future.


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Email a Friend influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.