Drugs Regulator to publish conflicts of interest.
Tue, Mar 23, 2010
THE STATE’S drugs regulator is planning to provide public access for the first time to the declarations of interest of its staff, board and committee members in pharmaceutical companies.
The Irish Medicines Board, which licenses new drugs and medical devices, plans to bring its practices into line with the European Medicines Agency, which publishes such declarations online, The Irish Times understands.
The agency yesterday rejected claims in an academic journal that senior people working in or with the IMB face potential conflicts of interest as a result of past links to the pharmaceutical industry.
Orla O’Donovan of UCC’s department of applied social studies, writing in the journal Social Science Medicine, claimed the agency “manages” rather than prohibits potential conflicts of interest and restricts public access to information on the issue.
Writing in the same journal, Prof John Abraham of the University of Sussex described the lack of public access to the declaration of interests by committee members as “shocking” and “an unacceptable democratic deficit in modern Europe”.
IMB rules prohibit staff or their families from having any financial interest in the pharmaceutical industry and from working on products that they may have had an involvement with in previous employment. Members of advisory committees are asked to confirm at each meeting that they have no conflict with matters under discussion.
However, declarations of interest have not been publicly available up to now because they are deemed to contain personal information which is exempt from release under freedom of information legislation.
© 2010 The Irish Times