Ex-FDA Commissioner Turned Lobbyist Pleads Guilty

The former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Lester Crawford, has pleaded guilty to breaching conflict of interest rules. Crawford and his wife held between $188,000 and $336,000 in shares in four companies that he was required to have sold, under FDA rules.


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.


Drug Ads Debate Heats Up in Europe and New Zealand

A coalition of European health groups, including the International Society of Drug Bulletins and the Medicines in Europe Forum, is alarmed at a renewed campaign by the drug industry to lift the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising in Europe.


European Drug Pushers

The drug industry is hopeful that it will succeed in watering down the European Union's ban on direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) of pharmaceuticals. Draft proposals from a working group, which includes members of the European Commission and the drug industry, have proposed a public-private partnership to provide patient "information" on prescription medicines.


Merck Unconvincingly Clears Execs of Vioxx Wrongdoing

Although the pharmaceutical company Merck spent $21 million on a 20-month investigation led by a former U.S. district judge, the report's conclusion that "executives at Merck had not knowingly put Vioxx patients in cardiovascular danger" may not boost the drugmaker's sagging reputation. "Some critics say the report is not credible because of Merck's board's involvement" and point out that Debevoise & Plimpton, the firm whose lawyers carried out the study, has a "pro-corporate" reputation.


Saudi Arabia's PR Firm on Drugs

PhRMA logoThe major industry lobby group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has retained Qorvis Communications "for a national PR campaign to educate the public about the good work done by drug companies and the important role they play in developing n


Medical Journal's Spin Doctors Promote Controversial Studies

Cartoon doctorWriting on her blog "Honest Medicine," Julia Schopick points out that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) used video news releases (VNRs) to promote two studies that later proved controversial, because the authors had neglected to disclose their financ



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