Breaking the Drug Company Stranglehold

In my previous article I reported on a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes efforts of drug companies to influence public policy when it comes to guidelines for the use of ADD/ADHD medication. The Australian Health and Medical Research Council was forced to shelve a new framework for the management of these drugs when it emerged that the majority of the members of the panel tasked with designing it received funding from drug companies with a vested interest in increasing prescription rates.

One of the lead researchers, US based Joseph Biederman, pocketed as much as $1.6 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2007 – Presumably enough to convince him to fight their corner! We should all be thankful to the Australian government for blowing the whistle on what is presumably a widespread practice in most Western countries. The content of new draft guidelines (to be used while the process of drafting something more permanent is started from scratch, presumably this time without drug company influence) is also heartening.