Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: epilepsy

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3396 (Published 28 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3396
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}yahoo.co.uk

Money is the great motivator. The anticonvulsant drug phenytoin was recently replaced by a generic, in exploitation of a loophole in UK policy and increasing the cost to the NHS by £40m (€46.8m; $60.3m).1 Epilepsy is profitable, with lifelong multiple medication, so a huge range of putatively new drugs have been developed to seek a slice of the profits. These are all pitched at the same price, in the drug industry’s traditionally sham competition. Anticonvulsants have an additional big business bonus, as well. The industry has been fined billions for promoting anticonvulsants off …

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