Human look to Pharma.

Sara Glatt sara119 at
Sun Dec 14 12:34:08 EST 2003

The Guardian 

The British pharmaceutical industry, which has become hugely wealthy, in
part thanks to government incentives, is failing to develop the drugs
the NHS needs, according to a thinktank report. 
The King's Fund says that successive governments have been content to
buy what the industry offers, rather than negotiate for what patients
need, especially women, children and older people. 

The pharmaceutical companies spend less on researching ways to protect
and promote health than on seeking profitable new blockbuster drugs. 

"We want to see a relationship develop between government and the
pharmaceutical industry that is geared towards the promotion of health,
not just the promotion of wealth," says the report's author, Anthony
Harrison, a senior fellow at the fund. "For too long the industry has
been in the driving seat of this relationship, with government acting as
a passive purchaser of drugs. 

"Whilst this partnership has undoubtedly been an economic success, the
interests of patients and the public clearly do not always coincide with
what will be most profitable for the pharmaceutical industry." 

The research agenda is set by the companies, which invest millions in
the hope of discovering a drug which will be in demand all over the
world, such as Viagra. On the back of such blockbusters, the industry
makes some of the highest profits in the world. 

But this means that less potentially profitable areas which would
benefit patients are neglected, Mr Harrison says. 

The problem is compounded by the lack of involvement of patients or
other people who use NHS services in setting drug research priorities.
The pharmaceutical companies and scientific researchers decide what they
want to investigate and which medicines to take to clinical trials. 

The report says that the relationship between the government and the
pharmaceutical industry, which Mr Harrison describes as "an implicit
public-private partnership", needs to be better defined. The government
needs to be clear about what health research it would like pursued. 

Although most of the money that goes into the research and development
of drugs comes from the private companies, the industry gets subsidies
or tax breaks from the government, and benefits from access to NHS
doctors and patients, who carry out and take part in clinical trials. 

The industry's profits from the NHS are capped by the pharmaceutical
price regulation scheme, but the report says this allows "an adequate
profit margin to finance a high level cost of research". 

Patients and the public should become more involved in discussions about
the direction of medicines research, the report suggests. It proposes
the setting up of a health research and development taskforce to
identify the patient groups and health areas currently poorly served,
and to suggest to the government and NHS how they should negotiate with
the industry to correct that. 

The report accepts that this body might clash with the Pharmaceutical
Industry Competitiveness Task Force set up by Tony Blair, which
comprises ministers and drug company heads, and exists to promote the
industry as an employer and a source of income to the UK economy. 

An industry statement said: "Dozens of new medicines designed for
diseases specifically affecting women, children and people in the
developed and developing world have been produced over the past five
years, and hundreds more are in the pipeline." 

The director general of the Association for the British Pharmaceutical
Industry, Trevor Jones, added: "The pharmaceutical industry in the UK is
one of the most innovative in the world." 

. Getting the Right Medicines? Putting public interests at the heart of
health-related research, by Anthony Harrison, published by the King's
Governments will not take DATA's from unprofessional who don't know the
difference between Iboga  and Ibogaine. They have their own agenda's.
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