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

In a previous post , I commented on the fact that the former Executive Director joined a number of industry-based groups immediately after leaving the European Medicines Agency. On 21st March, the EMA board gave its approval to the former director’s activities, and imposed some limits for the next two years, including “prohibitions on taking… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

Medicines are sometimes withdrawn from the market or heavily restricted in their use, when the risks are judged to outweigh the potential benefits. Is this just a case of bad luck or an unavoidable risk when it happens, or is it something more? According to a fascinating article in the American Journal of Public Health… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

The European Commission has just launched a public consultation on the Green Paper for the next round of funding for research and innovation after 2013. (In the current programme, 2007-2013, the EU is spending some €143bn in this area.) Health and aging is seen as one of the focal points of the next programme. Advocates… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

Now Risperdal in the dock

When you start writing about atypical anti-psychotics it’s hard to stop. In earlier posts I wrote about Seroquel and Zyprexa. Now, according to an article in Bloomberg news (and other media) Risperdal is the latest anti-psychotic to fall foul of the law, and not for the first time in this case. On March 24th a… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

A Paris court has ruled in favour of Prescrire in the case taken by Astellas Pharma. The company had claimed that the independent drugs bulletin had wrongly criticised the use of Protopic (tacrolimus) for long term maintenance/prevention in certain cases of eczema. Congratulations to Prescrire and a sigh of relief. The result was not unexpected… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

Food (Medicine?) for Thought

I read a slightly scary article in the Wall Street Journal Europe on 2nd February under the headline “Nestlé Buys ‘Medical Food’ Start-Up” (accessible online only to subscribers). The article goes on to describe some of these “medical foods”. One product in development by the company is Fostrup, a chewing gum containing a substance “designed… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

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… » read more

Posted by Jim Murray

In an earlier post I reported that the FDA was to test a drug, sodium thiopental, imported for use in executions. Some weeks later, according to the Wall Street Journal, the agency said that it was “charged by Congress with protecting the public health …… Reviewing substances imported or used for the purpose of state-authorized… » 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