Sunday, 18 May 2014

in today's Herald 'Urgent review as nearly half of health boards ignore pharma disclosure rule (Registers of Interest)'

'Urgent review as nearly half of health boards ignore pharma disclosure rule' news piece in Sunday Herald 18 May 2014 by Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon).

"Government investigation has been launched after nearly 50% of health boards ignored NHS guidance requiring GPs to register their financial interests with the pharmaceutical industry.

Six out of 14 boards, including Greater Glasgow, failed to record if doctors are being paid by drug companies. Civil servants have launched an urgent review of the oversight. Several exposes have revealed the financial links between doctors and Big Pharma.

The industry paid £38.5 million to UK doctors last year, a sum that included consultancy services and fees for attending conferences. But drug companies do not have to name the doctors who benefit until 2016.

Dr Peter Gordon (Herald photo)
Dr Peter Gordon, a consultant psychiatrist at NHS Forth Valley, last year lodged a petition at ­Holyrood calling for legislation to ensure employees declared payments. It then emerged that NHS guidance had been in place for a decade.

The 2003 circular states that, in respect of the pharma industry, boards must establish a register of interest for all NHS employees and primary care contractors. Hospital doctors are classed as NHS staff, while GPs are primary care contractors. The Scottish Government wrote to the 14 regional boards about their compliance with the guidance. The responses reveal big divergences on the section relating to GPs."

Read complete Sunday Herald article

My comment on this article:
"Well done to Dr Peter Gordon for highlighting this important issue, of doctors not declaring their links with drug companies and being transparent about any potential conflicts of interest.

As an unpaid carer of family members who have been forcibly treated with psychiatric drugs and as a survivor myself of mental illness and coercive drug treatment I am keen to know the truth about what is euphemistically called "educational" talks by pharmaceutical companies. I remember being prescribed antipsychotics against my will which then depressed me. Following which I was prescribed venlafaxine, an antidepressant, which further flattened my mood and caused suicidal ideation.

This happened in 2002/4. In March 2005 I broke my fibula in 3 places when only walking down a stair, after a job interview. I got the job and started it after learning to walk again with a 6 inch metal plate in my leg. Recently I found out that maximum doses of venlafaxine, particularly for older people (I was in my 50's) can cause bone loss.

As a mental health activist and campaigner my aim is to help improve choices for people experiencing mental or emotional distress. So that drugs aren't the only tools on offer but a range of talking therapies, intensive if need be, are available at the point of need."

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