Big Pharma and governments are ‘turning a blind eye to corruption | Latest Political News
World governments and Big Pharma companies are “turning a blind eye” to bribery and corruption that allows a few to make vast profits while damaging the health of many of the poorest people on Earth, a new report has claimed. Transparency International’s Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Sector report found that despite as much as $300m (£207m) of annual global health expenditure being lost to corruption and errors: “Genuine commitment to anti-corruption policies by heads of governments, senior government officials and regulatory agencies is currently absent in many countries.”
In some contexts, the report added, combating malpractice was “hampered by a tacit acceptance of corruption.” Corrupt tactics highlighted in the campaign group’s report include paying doctors to participate in surveys of medicines they have never actually prescribed, and companies secretly ghostwriting clinical trials research before passing it off as the work of impartial academics. Bribery and corruption, the report says, also allow some companies to get round manufacturing regulations, helping to create a situation where about a quarter of medicines consumed in low and middle-income countries are falsified or sub-standard.
Claiming that the global pharmaceutical sector was “wide open to corruption”, she added: “It is shocking that despite scandal after scandal, policymakers simply are not taking seriously the corrosive effect of corruption. The red flags are being ignored. Pharmaceutical companies, it was claimed, could also buy a positive but misleading gloss on trials of a drug’s safety and effectiveness. The report said one study found that 94 per cent of industry-funded clinical trials of antidepressants was written up to suggest positive results, but when the US Food and Drug Administration re-examined the same studies, it found only 51 per cent had genuinely positive outcomes.
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