Thursday, January 11, 2007

Australia Issues Slap on Wrist

A pharmaceutical trade group, Medicines Australia, has lightly punished some of its own.

The authority [Meedicines Australia] received 27 new complaints in 2005-06, with 11 found to be breaches and seven left unresolved. A third of the complaints were made by health care professionals, while a similar number were lodged by pharmaceutical companies about their competitors.

The allegations range from false advertising and claims about drug effectiveness to lavish entertainment of doctors.

The authority fined the pharmaceutical industry a total of $260,000 and ordered several companies to withdraw advertising from magazines.

Baxter Healthcare was banned from taking doctors on any more "educational" cruises.

Here's a quote from the Medicines Australia report:

In discussing the education provided at the function, the Committee expressed concern that no formal invitation had been provided for the meeting nor any formal agenda, which would have added weight to the justification that the primary purpose of the evening meeting was educational. Members considered it unfortunate that in the absence of any formal invitation or agenda, Baxter had had to ask several doctors, including the presenter, to provide testimonials to the Committee. This did not reflect well upon the industry.

Yeah, kinda hard to be eduational when it is apparent that there was no plan to educate prior to the event. If you went to class on a boat in which there was no planned agenda to teach you anything, that may actually be considered less than educational!

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