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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19242

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

Lenzer J
Independent drug review group in Canada is squeezed out
BMJ 2010 Dec 6; 341:
http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c7009.extract


Abstract:

The British Columbian government is terminating its contract for drug reviews with an independent drug watchdog organisation, instead allowing drug manufacturers and people with financial ties to the industry to advise. The move comes after years of pressure from the industry group Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies for a more “open” process for reviewing drugs.

The watchdog group, Therapeutics Initiative, is based at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Its website says that it provides “independent assessments of evidence on drug therapy to balance the drug industry sponsored information sources.”

The decision by the provincial government comes after a closed meeting of “stakeholders” on 24 November, comprising largely representatives of drug companies and patients’ groups. Media representatives and the public were not allowed to attend.

The role of the Therapeutics Initiative, which had strong rules on conflicts of interest, will now be taken over by a Drug Review Council, which will …

 

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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909