Open Medicine EU

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 an article in the September 2009 edition of Prescrire. You can read the original in French here and an English version here, translated by me (with some help). Only the French verson is valid.

I am publishing this without the knowledge or approval of Prescrire.

This is a blog about science, transparency and medicine and I thought it to be in the public interest to show readers the article, so that they can better understand the issues in the case and, eventually, the judgement of the court.

Remember that Astellas strongly reject the claims in the article and assert that it was wrong for Prescrire to publish it. The court now has to decide the issue in accordance with French law and the detailed facts (of which we know little) of this specific case.

A decision is due on 16th February. I will report the outcome of the cae when it is in the public domain.

Remember also that the European Medicines Agency and the FDA have approved, subject to specified conditions (including a Black Box warning in the US), the use of tacrolimus for short term and maintenance treatment in certain cases.

The Prescrire article was in effect a response to, and disagreement with, the EMA’s decision to authorise the medicine, especially for long term use.

Readers may wish to post information about this medicine, but please keep it scientific. I have great sympathy with anyone who has suffered adverse effects from any medicine but this blog is about science, transparency and medicine.

J’accepterai aussi des commentaires en français, mais brièvement s’il vous plait, a fin que je puisse les traduire en anglais!!!

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