Current Posts – 17 Nov 2015 – 2nd Post

Clever marketing made a major contribution to statins becoming the best-selling type of drug in the world. Many of those techniques are now seen to have benefited profits rather than patients. But this has proved no bar to doing exactly the same things to increase sales of the next generation of cholesterol lowering drugs. Dr Kendrick reveals what a small change in the rules can do to boost the bottom line.

Just over two years ago HealthinsightUK was launched with a commitment to promote the treatment of lifestyle diseases by encouraging patients to make changes in the habits that were making them ill. This simple and obvious idea has now made it to prime time television as a three part BBC 1 series headed by a GP who’s both supportive and nutritionally literate. Think of the social and financial savings if all GPs were like that.

Much of the discussion around the food tax has been practical – such as how much should it be and will it penalise poor people. But its implications are much wider. It’s based on research that clearly shows the damaging effect of some foods and the benefits from replacing  them with others. So logically diet should be widely used as a clinical intervention alongside drugs and what are the implications of that?

Calls to reform medical research can often seem like pie-in-the-sky. The campaign to get pharmaceutical companies to be more truthful about the results of their trials limps along because what company is going to be keen on reforms that may interfere with a billion dollar profit? Bottom line is that companies exist to make profits and if that conflicts with patients’ interests, patients lose out. The solution could lie with an unusual Italian research institute.





Editor: Jerome Burne |

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