Open Medicine EU

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The European Medicines Agency is in difficulty, perhaps even in crisis. It is time for DG Sanco to take action. The board has been unable to approve either of the two short-listed candidates for Executive Director and the European Parliament has refused to discharge the agency’s accounts for 2009. The Parliament is one element of… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

The UK is not the only country where opinions on medicines can be challenged in court. In France, Astellas Pharma, a Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company has filed a lawsuit in Paris against the independent French medical journal, Prescrire, for publishing unfavorable comments about their anti-eczema ointment, tacrolimus (brand name – Protopic). The case arises from… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

ZYPREXA OFF-LABEL

Prescribing “off-label” means prescribing a medicine for a use for which it is not authorised. Pharmaceutical companies may not promote off-label use of their medicines, for good reason. There is not the same tested scientific base for off-label use as there is for authorised use. Qualified doctors may prescribe off-label, on the basis of their… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

Now, some changes, and clarifications, for the New Year. First a change of banner. A friend who knows about these things tells me that the original banner is “amateurish”. This is hard but may be true, because I designed it myself. (If anyone is interested, my design was supposed to represent the rising sun of… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

New Study on False Claims

I was proud to be there at the beginning of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) in 1998. It was and is the focus for a very fruitful collaboration between major EU and US consumer groups, in many fields including pharmaceuticals. One of the US partners in that collaboration, Public Citizen, has recently published the results… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

The Limits of Psychiatry?

This post is a slight digression from the core themes of the blog but it does have some connection to medicine and science, or at least to how not to do it. I dislike reading in the media quotes from psychiatrists offering a quasi-diagnosis of living people whom they have never met. There was a… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

How Dreadful

I’ve just read on the Fierce Pharma website that the FDA proposes to test a drug imported from the UK that is to be used in the execution of prisoners on death row in the U.S. I suppose there is a kind of grim logic in trying to ensure that the drug does not cause… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

English laws on libel stifle scientific debate, not only in England but around the world. There are three problems: – English law is more favourable to the plaintiff than the laws in many other countries. – The costs of defending a libel action in London are very high – from 100 000 euros for starters… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

As mentioned in my previous post, the European Medicines Agency has announced a new transparency policy. Not before time. -In an article in the BMJ in April this year the authors cited earlier research indicating that the EMA was very much less transparent that the FDA in a number of key areas, including information on… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

The European Medicines Agency announced today (30th November) a new transparency policy that would widen access to documents held by the agency. This is good news (apart from the fact that I had to scrap a post I had just finished, attacking the old policy…) I believe that the agency will be more transparent under… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray