Legal Chill Worries Drug Bulletin

The case of a judge granting an injunction to prevent a group of medical professionals publishing a critical review of the herbal drug Tebonin has the editor of a major drug bulletin worried. The editor of Australian Prescriber, John Dowden, notes that in two other instances where drug companies sued drug bulletins, the judgements favoured the publishers. In the Tebonin case, Justice Andrew Greenwood decided that as a copy of the draft report had been sent to the government regulator, granting of an injunction would not harm the public interest. "Unfortunately, the Department of Health and Ageing has said that any investigation by the TGA [Therapeutic Goods Administration] will be commercial-in-confidence and the results will not be disclosed to the public," Dowden writes. It is time, he suggests, that the health supplement industry opened itself up to greater scrutiny of its products.