February 15, 2011
In an earlier post I mentioned the case taken against the independent drug bulletin Prescrire by Astellas Pharma. In brief, Prescrire criticised the decision of the French medicines authority to approve the use of the anti-eczema topical drug tacrolimus (Protopic) for long term use in certain cases.
The company took exception to this opinion and took legal action against Prescrire.The decision of the court is due tomorrow (16/2) and I will report it when I have the details.
In the meantime, the BMJ published a letter in strong support of Prescrire. The letter from Ike Iheanacho, editor of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, condemns the company’s actions as “not acceptable” (echoing Prescrire’s comment on Tacrolimus).
The author pointed out, rightly, that a decision against Prescrire would be a blow against free speech and freedom of expression (and scientific debate, I would add). The company’s case, according to the author, implies that we may not criticise a decision by a medicines authority.
Prescrire “deserve to win”, says the author, and so do I.Author : Jim Murray