Product News and Recalls

Pharmaceutical industry influences medical policy

The American Psychiatric Association recently voted to drop its old recommendation against diagnosing depression in the bereaved, which the Washington Post noted could be a financial bonanza for antidepressant manufacturers.

But according to an investigation by the Post, the committee that drafted the new diagnostic guidelines was composed largely of people with financial links to the pharmaceutical industry.

A story in the Post says officials with the Institute of Medicine argue that such ties between medical providers and the pharmaceutical industry “could put public health at risk.”

It’s not rare, either. In 2011, for example, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel voted narrowly to keep birth control pills containing the compound drospirenone on the market, despite evidence that they carry a higher risk of blood clots than other available types of birth control pills. Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

Four members of the panel, enough to sway the vote, later turned out to have financial or professional ties to the pills’ manufacturer.

The Post report quotes Lisa Cosgrove, a research fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, as saying that “when you have so many of these industry relationships on a committee, it creates a pro-industry bias that compromises their ability to be objective.”

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

See the story here: