Watchdog or lapdog? Mind fringe events explore the role of the regulator
Posted Tuesday 21 September 2004
Who do the drug regulators protect: the consumer or the pharmaceutical industry?
Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, is to question the extent of the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the drugs regulator, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency), through a series of fringe events:
21 September 12.30-2pm
Bournemouth International Hotel
28 September 6.30-8pm
Thistle Hotel, Brighton
5 October 12.30-2pm
Bournemouth International Hotel.
The pharmaceutical industry is a massive part of the UK economy and exerts persuasive influence over the research into and use of medicines. It is also in a powerful position to influence the public health agenda, as is witnessed by its presence, in its own right and through its sponsorship, at all three party political conferences.
There is an ongoing parlimentary investigation into the ability of MHRA to act independently. On the 14 October, Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, is to give evidence in front of the Health Select Committe. He will reiterate the concerns which led him to resign from the regulatory agency on the 13 of March this year.
The fringe events, which will be hosted by Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, will challenge the role of the pharmaceutical industry and the effectiveness of MHRA. Speakers at the event will also include Charles Medawar, author of Medicines out of control.
Commenting on the event, Richard Brook, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“Mind has been campaigning for many years to try to get the drug regulators to take the experiences of people who are taking prescribed drugs seriously. We have also pushed for a regulatory system, which is independent of the pharmaceutical industry and serves the need of the individual rather than big business."
*** Ends ***
Mind does not accept sponsorship, or any other form of support, from the pharmaceutical industry. It is therefore uniquely placed to offer a consumer-based critique of the drug regulatory system at the party conferences. For this reason Mind has chosen not to particpate in this year's Health Hotel, a collaboration of 27 health organisations.