refuses to independently publish data on psychiatric drugs
by Angela Hussain
government has refused to independently publish all full clinical
trial data on psychiatric drugs.
is despite a health committee warning in April that the drugs monitoring
body - the Medicines And Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
- prioritised the interests of the pharmaceutical industry over
believe the government's MHRA has failed to alert doctors and the
public to disabling and dangerous side-effects, including suicidal
urges, of the SSRI anti-depressants.
committee had made a raft of recommendations, including there be
an independent publication of full clinical trial data on all licensed
drugs, including psychiatric medication.
also called for a wholesale review of the MHRA, saying it has grown
too close to industry and inadequately scrutinised clinical trials
for some drugs, including the SSRI antidepressant, Seroxat.
government has responded by saying that new European law will mean
that from October the MHRA will be obliged to publish summary clinical
data of licensed drugs.
full clinical trial data on drugs will not be available to non-MHRA
researchers, the government has decided.
MHRA - which is entirely funded by pharmaceutical firms - will also
still retain the right to decide what information is publicly accessible.
government has, however, accepted, or partly accepted, many of the
committee's recommendations, including the importance of receiving
patient input in drug regulation. It said it will do this through
an involvement of patients and lay people in the drug licensing
Brook, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said:
"While we welcome the government's apparent commitment to improving
the accountability of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK, many
issues have yet to be resolved.
remain concerned at the pharmaceutical industry's close relationships
with government and the MHRA...As
recent experiences with Seroxat
have shown, profit is too often
put before the patient - with potentially lethal consequences."
government's response to the health committee's report on the influence
of the pharmaceutical industry (pdf)
26, 2005: Most GPs prescribe anti-depressants even though they believe
other approaches might be more effective, research claims -
charity launches campaign for exercise to be first-choice treatment
for people with mild to moderate depression
26, 2005: European warning on Prozac for under-18-year-olds contravenes
advice in Britain - GPs and psychiatrists in Britain now face
11, 2005: Overhaul drugs regulatory system, MPs urge - the MHRA
criticised for prioritising the interests of the industry over public
2, 2005: 'SSRI antidepressants are safe' drugs regulator repeats
to doctors - publication of research linking suicidal behaviour
to SSRIs prompts reaction by MHRA.
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