Sunday, November 28, 2010

Critics decry change in drug-approval process

From the Globe and Mail:
British Columbia’s widely applauded independent drug-approval process is being dramatically altered to make room for more input by pharmaceutical companies, a change decried by critics as potentially harmful to consumers, a conflict of interest and likely to increase spending on drugs.

An internal health ministry document says there will now be four separate opportunities for drug marketers to make their case while new products are being considered for coverage by B.C.’s PharmaCare plan.

At the same time, the government’s long-standing drug review body with an arms-length distance from the industry is being abolished. The Therapeutics Initiative’s cautious approach to drug approvals has been credited with saving lives and helping B.C. maintain the lowest per capita spending on prescription drugs in the country.

Michael McBane of the Canada Health Coalition said no other provincial drug plan allows as much industry involvement as B.C. is proposing. ...more

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