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Dutch health minister orders probe into influence of industry on medical guidelines

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 22 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1472
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    The Dutch health minister, Hans Hoogervorst, has ordered an investigation into a book's claim that the drug industry has a strong influence on medical guidelines issued to doctors.

    The book, by the investigative journalist Joop Bouma, draws on interviews and research over six years to illustrate what he believes to be aggressive marketing practices by the industry.

    It highlights the pressures put on Dutch bodies whose job is to issue professional treatment standards and prescribing guidelines: the College of General Practitioners and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

    In 2004 GlaxoSmithKline, for example, is said to have requested changes to the institute's draft guidelines for treating tobacco addiction, which cast doubts on the effectiveness of its antismoking drug bupropion (Zyban). The institute said, in its draft, that it was concerned that research …

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