Drug marketing techniques compromising patients' safety, says report

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London, December 3 : Patients' safety is being compromised in America because medicines these days are reviewed and released onto the market faster than ever before, says a report.

Author David Kao, from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, says that the pressure on drug regulatory bodies to make new medicines available more quickly has raised fresh concerns about patients' safety.

He reviewed trends in drug approval times in the U.S., and came up with suggestions as to how marketing techniques could be used to improve the way new medicines were monitored.

Publishing his report in the online edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), he has highlighted the fact that marketing techniques these days are so sophisticated that once a drug has been approved, the products can be released on websites within 90 minutes.

He even points out how 188 million patients had been targeted by the marketing campaign within 14 days after Merck's new treatment for high blood sugar levels, sitagliptin, was approved.

Kao thinks that a large number of patients may be exposed to unknown risks if people try any new medicine so quickly.

The reviewer also says that regulatory agencies often depend on drug companies for funding, and collect fees so as to hire staff to review new medicines more quickly.

He recommends improvement in the systems for reporting adverse drug reactions, and the use of the very same effective drug marketing techniques to do so.

Kao says that U.S. laws already compel TV adverts to instruct patients experiencing negative side effects to report their symptoms to the FDA, and this could be expanded to include campaigns dedicated to drug safety monitoring.

According to him, the only drug monitoring system that will minimise unknown risks must involve all the key players in healthcare, including doctors, regulatory bodies, drug companies and patients.

ANI

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