Mind welcomes changes to regulation of medicines - but more progress still needed
Posted Thursday 11 November 2004
Today Health Minister Lord Warner announced a change in the way that pharmaceuticals are to be regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). Mind has consistently campaigned for an independent and more open regulatory system. Earlier this year the charity's Chief Executive, Richard Brook, resigned from an MHRA expert group over concerns that its ability to safeguard patients' interests was being compromised by the influence of the large drugs companies.
Commenting on today's announcement, Richard Brook said,
"Today's announcement is great news and a positive first step towards more open and independent regulation of pharmaceutical medicine in the UK. The Government should be commended for clearly having listened to the views and experiences of patients. Mind has been campaigning for safeguards such as these for many years and we are pleased that we have had a positive effect."
"On the other hand, it is worth asking whether any of this would have come about without the huge amount of public pressure and negative publicity around drugs companies' inappropriate behaviour with regards the aggressive promotion of certain antidepressants."
"It is also worth noting that there is still a way to go. It is unclear as to whether the tightening of rules on interests covers members' outside professional interests in the pharmaceutical industry. For example many experts on the Committee continue to have research programmes funded by drugs companies. We would also like to see a much greater role for patients than has been announced and an enforcement mechanism to oblige drugs companies to publish their trials data."
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