Is there a cure for corporate crime in the drug industry?

Re: Is there a cure for corporate crime in the drug industry?

9 February 2013

I am glad to see that the BMJ made this drug industry topic its print cover article, which is well written.

I am not sure if there a cure for corporate crime in drug industry, but there are possible remedial actions which can be taken. This issue is almost like an ‘elephant in the room’. We should all know that drug companies are working for the benefit of shareholders; they have to maintain their share value and dish out dividends to shareholders. We are talking big business here. We shouldn’t have any problem with them making profits; after all, they have invested in the creation of a drug molecule and running it through various trial stages and brought that to market. We should expect the process from research into a new drug, trials, and its promotion and marketing, is done in an open and healthy way. They should be made to share the findings open under the freedom of information act (including positive and negative findings of a drug), they should market it fairly without skewing the presentation / promotion unfairly in favour of their drug.

Governing this arena belongs to regulators to large extent. Not just to oversee the trials and reviewing the whole data (favourable and unfavourable), but also to prosecute them, if need be, in a proportionate way rather with a token fine. Because after all a drug company’s action can affect patients, unfortunately sometimes irreparably.

We should also be thankful to pharma companies for bring the drugs which we use today to treat our patients.

Competing interests: None declared

Siddappa Gada, GP

Holbrook and Shotley surgeries, Shotley surgery

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