Patients first please, we're British

  • by: |
  • 07/05/2007
According to Reuters, British drugmakers are launching a legal challenge to moves by the state-run National Health Service to switch large numbers of patients onto cheap generic prescription medicines.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) believes such schemes are potentially unsafe and primary care doctors are receiving additional payments to prescribe certain low-cost medicines in contravention of European law.

ABPI argues patients should have to give explicit consent for any switching rather than leaving them to object if they wish to do so.

A Department of Health spokesman said the government would rigorously defend the legal challenge.

We here at Drugwonks don't believe that doctors should be paid to prescribe anything. Their only incentive should be to do what's best for their patients. And that goes for any innovator company that would do the same thing for on-patent medicines.

But, somehow, when governments practice cost-based rather than patient-centric medicine they are called "good stewards." That's absurd -- and dangerous.

For an eloquent example of one doctor's frustration with the escalating generic switcheroo, please see CMPI senior fellow Dr. Marc Siegel's article, "The Unreal World." Here's a link:

At a time when we are debating the issue of biosimilar interchangability, let's not forget to keep our eye on what's best for the patient, not what's cheapest for any given payor.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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