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Australian Judge Rules Pharmacy Group Must Enhance Self-regulation System (Australia)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

Australian Federal Judge Robert French recently ruled that Australian pharmaceutical industry group Medicines Australia must enhance its self-regulation system to protect the public health. Medicines Australia represents over 90 percent of all drug companies in Australia. The judge ruled that Australian drug companies should publish twice per year online their complete information on expenditures to medical researchers and doctors for hospitality, food, travel, accommodation, and entertainment. The judge ruled that all doctors and researchers receiving these benefits should be named. Medicines Australia says this latter requirement will feed sensational and speculative news reports, and that the ruling overall is disappointing. This federal court case has publicized evidence that over half of all Australian doctors receive benefits from their relationships to the pharmaceutical industry, whether for travel to conferences or for direct funding of research. A recent study in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry looked at 52 Australian specialist doctors and found that, on average, they received 42 gifts and "educational items" during an eight-week period. Cabrini Hospital oncologist Dr. Ian Haines in Melbourne says so many medical researchers are company funded that "in medical publications a lot of the authors now are employees of drug companies." (Click here for more
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