Friday, October 20, 2006

BigPharma and Labour- a sickly relationship

The Labour MP Dr. Ian Gibson who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on cancer admitted last night that he had been "naive" to get involved with Cancer United, a controversial, pan-European campaign. Roche, the world's biggest manufacturer of cancer drugs is the only funder of the Campaign.Ian Gibson had been invited to be filmed for the launch of the campaign during the Labour conference in Manchester. Alastair Campbell, the prime minister's former spokesman, said he was "upset" he had become involved in the campaign as well.

Since Labour came to power, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)has secured guarantees and assurances that member companies could work with government in the lucrative assured market of vaccines production. The close involvement of pharmaceutical companies with government agencies has allowed the industry to develop a unique system of protection for its products. Furthermore, BigPharma has consistently pressured the government to strengthen its monopoly market position in Britain and Europe and to help wipe out competition from nutritional supplements and herbal medicines. We all should be gravely concerned that non -elected industry representatives, whose companies stand to earn billions in sales to the government, now seem to be setting the agenda on policies for health. The web of relationships between manufacturers, regulators and sellers has become very, very entangled. And the stakes for consumers couldn't be higher.

Gibson and Campbell should have known better. They, and their party, are clearly part of the problem not part of the cure. My diagnosis is that the rot at the core of NuLabour is untreatable.


Ellee said...

There's no doubt that Dr Ian Gibson should have known better, but then he should have done before his cass comments about diabetes and inbreeding:

istanbultory said...

Yes, the man is a serial offender at making gaffes. His remarks on diabetes were a disgrace.

Derek Wall said...

shocking, medical monopolies are bankrupting the NHS...every couple of days there are attacks on NICE, it would be interesting to look at the profit margins enjoyed by companies like Roche.

istanbultory said...

Thanks, Derek. You run a very creditable blog.
Protected monopolies, guaranteed markets for drugs in the NHS and secretive deal making between government, BigPharma and spin doctors/ PR merchants pose a serious threat to our health system. And the whole process of scientific research and testing. We are all worse off for Labour’s shady approach to the the UK's pharmaceutical industry.