News

Independent drug review group in Canada is squeezed out

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c7009 (Published 06 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7009
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

The British Columbian government is terminating its contract for drug reviews with an independent drug watchdog organisation, instead allowing drug manufacturers and people with financial ties to the industry to advise. The move comes after years of pressure from the industry group Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies for a more “open” process for reviewing drugs.

The watchdog group, Therapeutics Initiative, is based at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Its website says that it provides “independent assessments of evidence on drug therapy to balance the drug industry sponsored information sources.”

The decision by the provincial government comes after a closed meeting of “stakeholders” on 24 November, comprising largely representatives of drug companies and patients’ groups. Media representatives and the public were not allowed to attend.

The role of the Therapeutics Initiative, which had strong rules on conflicts of interest, will now be taken over by a Drug Review Council, which will …

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