Call for tougher medicine controls

MPs have called for the “lax” pharmaceutical regulatory regime
to be overhauled, saying it has let the interests of the industry
override public safety.

In a report this week, the health select committee says the adverse
reactions caused by several drugs, such as the antidepressant
Seroxat, have revealed fundamental flaws in the regulatory

It calls for a wholesale review of the Medicines and Healthcare
products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), saying it has grown too close to
that industry and inadequately scrutinised clinical trials for
Seroxat and other drugs.

It also calls for sponsorship of the industry to be transferred
from the Department of Health to the Department of Trade and
Industry, saying the DoH had let companies’ interests override its
responsibilities towards patients.

The report was welcomed by mental health charity Mind, whose chief
executive Richard Brook resigned from an MHRA expert group last
year because of the influence of drugs companies on the agency at
the expense of public health.

Mind director of policy Sophie Corlett said: “The next government
must put in place a drug regulation system that prioritises public

The report also says the regulatory climate has allowed firms to
suppress clinical trial results and aggressively promote drugs to
prescribers, with GPs in particular overly influenced by the

It calls for all clinical trial results to be put on an independent
register before companies are given a licence to market drugs and
for greater controls on promotional materials.

  • Report from

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