14 September, 2012, 11:38 http://rt.com/news/france-medicine-useless-spending-107/
Half of France’s drugs are ‘useless’ and five percent are dangerous, a book by two top French doctors
claimed. The duo believes the pharmaceutical industry is forcing ineffective drugs
on the market, costing taxpayers up to ten billion euros a year. The duo
reviewed 4,000 French drugs and found that 50 percent were ‘useless,’ 20 percent were ‘badly tolerated’
and five percent had adverse effects.
Philippe Even, former head of the Necker Hospital in Paris, and Bernard Debré, doctor and member of parliament for the UMP party,
recently co-authored a book titled ‘The Guide to 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines.’ The book
claimed that France could save up to ten billion euros a year by halting social security reimbursements for drugs that are
hazardous or have no health value. The pharmaceutical industry is “the most lucrative, most cynical and least ethical
of all the industries,” Dr. Even said. He claims that in order to reduce budget shortfalls in France’s healthcare
system, “one simply has to take the dangerous, useless and ineffective medicines off the market.”
The book was written
in light of a Mediator Affaire report Dr. Even and Dr. Debré conducted in 2011 for former President Nicolas Sarkozy, where
they investigated an incident where some 2,000 people were killed by a prescribed diabetic drug before
the medicine was taken off the market. Their report stated that the French medical
system was in dire need of reform, spurring Dr. Even and Dr. Debré to write their book. The
two made a list of drugs that pose health risks, including cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory and anti-smoking drugs, and contraceptive
Statins, drugs taken to lower cholesterol, were just one of the many drugs found to be “completely
useless,” Dr. Even said in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur. “[Statins] are taken by three to five
million French people, which costs France two million euros per year.”
France a top drug consumer: According
to 2011 study, France is the world’s fifth-largest market for pharmaceuticals, with the average French person having
47 pills and prescriptions in their medical cabinet. The combined cost of those medicines is around 532 euros per person,
with the state covering 77 percent of the price, France24 reported.
“We have to do a big clean-up of our pharmacies,” Dr. Even
told Le Parisien. “France has a huge public debt and the state can make considerable savings.” “Meanwhile
in the UK, where people take far fewer medicines than us, people are no less healthy as a result,” he said.
The two believe that, while there is no room for ‘useless’ drugs
on the market, people should certainly continue to use effective drugs. “Antibiotics are the best [medical] discovery
of all time,” Even told Le Parisien. “Antiretroviral drugs have given us a very real lead on AIDS and
a large number of anti-cancer medicines have had an immense impact on our treatment of the disease.”
Book blasted by medical establishment: The Professional Federation of Medical Industrialists (LEEM) criticized the book
as un-academic and unclear. The group argued that the doctors’ assertions could have a destabilizing effect, needlessly
alarming ill patients into ceasing treatments for their diseases.
French report trashes Pharma, calls many drugs 'useless'
September 14, 2012 | By Eric
A couple of French
medical experts have some really nasty things to say about Big
Pharma in a book
they were commissioned to write after the scandal in France over
the weight-loss drug Mediator, which
was tied to hundreds of deaths there. They claim that half the drugs
prescribed to patients are of no use, or even dangerous, and the government could save €10 billion ($13 billion) a year
if it quit paying for them, The Guardian reports. Bernard Debré, a physician and member of parliament, and Philippe Even, director of the prestigious Necker Institute,
suggest that stopping use of the drugs could prevent up to 20,000 deaths and reduce hospital admissions by up to 100,000. In their book, "The
Guide to the 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines" they evaluated the costs, effectiveness and risks of the drugs available
in France, some of which they say "are completely useless." They are particularly harsh about lipid-regulating statins and
have singled out 58 drugs, that are used for a wide range
of conditions, like diabetes and osteoporosis, which they claim are outright dangerous.
industry is the most lucrative, the most cynical and the least ethical of all the industries," Even tells The Guardian.
"It is like an octopus with tentacles that has infiltrated
all the decision-making bodies, world health organizations, governments, parliaments, high administrations in health and hospitals
and the medical profession."
The French trade group the Professional Federation of Medical Industrialists,
is having none of it, claiming that many of their examples are not precise and pointing out that France has a government agency
that oversees pharmaceuticals. Of course, France dissolved and replaced its drug
safety agency earlier this year in response to a couple of medical scandals. The predecessor agency
was highly criticized for allowing the diabetes drug Mediator, made by French drugmaker Servier
to remain on the market even after it was linked to thousands of deaths and heart valve damage cases. It was often prescribed for weight
loss. There was also an outcry last year when it was reported that a French company used industrial-grade silicone
in breast implants that had been rupturing. Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked for the report after the public
outcry over Mediator.
Queried by The
Guardian on why the French rely so heavily on drugs if they are not effective, Even suggested that they had been brainwashed into asking for drugs. "Today we have doctors who want to give people medicines and
sick people asking for medicines. There's nothing objective or realistic about this."
Published in The Guardian, UKs most respected independent news service © Guardian News and Media 2012
French doctors: Half of all prescribed medicines are ‘useless or dangerous’
By Kim Willsher, The Guardian, Friday, September 14, 2012 13:08 EDT © Guardian News and Media 2012
Half of all medicines being prescribed by doctors in France are either useless or potentially
dangerous for patients, according to two eminent medical specialists. They blame the powerful pharmaceutical companies for
keeping these drugs on sale at huge expense to the health system and the taxpayer.
Professor Philippe Even, director of the prestigious Necker Institute, and Bernard Debré, a doctor and member of parliament, say removing what they describe
as superfluous and hazardous drugs from the list of those paid for by the French health service would save up to €10bn
(£8bn) a year. It would also prevent up to 20,000 deaths linked to the medication and reduce hospital admissions by up to
100,000, they claim.
In their 900-page book The Guide to the 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines,
Even and Debré examined the effectiveness, risks and cost of pharmaceutical drugs available in France. Among those that they
alleged were “completely useless”
were statins, widely taken to lower cholesterol. The blacklist of 58 drugs the
doctors claimed are dangerous included anti-inflammatories and drugs prescribed for cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, osteoporosis,
contraception, muscular cramps and nicotine addiction.
The Professional Federation of Medical Industrialists denounced the doctors’
views as full of “confusions and approximations”. “This book is helping to alarm those who are sick needlessly
and risks leading them to stop treatments,” it said in a statement. Christian
Lajoux, the federation’s president said: “It is dangerous and irresponsible … hundreds of their examples
are neither precise nor properly documented. We must not forget that the state exercises strict controls on drugs. France
has specialist agencies responsible for the health of patients and of controlling what information is given to them.”
Professor Even told the Guardian most of the drugs criticised in the book are
produced by French laboratories. He accused the pharmaceutical industry of pushing medicines at doctors who then push them
on to patients. “The pharmaceutical industry is the most lucrative, the most cynical and the least ethical of all the
industries,” he said. “It is like an octopus with tentacles that has infiltrated all the decision making bodies,
world health organisations, governments, parliaments, high administrations in health and hospitals and the medical profession. “It has done this with the connivance, and occasionally
the corruption of the medical profession. I am not just talking about medicines but the whole of medicine. It is the pharmaceutical
industry that now outlines the entire medical landscape in our country.”
The French consume medication worth around €36bn every year, around €532
for each citizen who has an average 47 boxes of medicine in cupboards every year. The state covers
77% of the cost, amounting to 12% of GDP; in the UK spending on medicines is 9.6% of GDP. “Yet in the UK people
have the same life expectancy of around 80 years and are no less healthy,” said Even.
The authors were commissioned by former President Nicolas
Sarkozy to write a report over the Mediator affair, a drug developed for diabetes patients but prescribed as a slimming aid that has been
linked to the deaths of hundreds of patients who developed heart problems. However,
Even accused the industry of having a get-rich-quick attitude to making medicines and said it was interested in chasing only
easy profits. “They haven’t discovered very much new for the last 30 years, but have
multiplied production, using tricks and lies. Sadly, none of them is interested in making drugs for rare conditions
or, say, for an infectious disease in countries with no money, because it’s not a big market. Nor are they interested
in developing drugs for conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease because it too difficult and there’s
not money to be made quickly. It has become interested only in the immediate,
in short term gains. On Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry is third after petrol and banking, and each year it increases
by 20%. It’s more profitable than mining for diamonds.” Asked to
explain French people’s apparent dependence on medication, Even said: “For the last 40 years patients have been
told that medicines are necessary for them, so they ask for them. Today we have doctors who want to give people medicines
and sick people asking for medicines. There’s nothing objective or realistic about this.” He added: “There is nothing revolutionary in this book. This has all been known for some time.”
The Monde.fr with AFP | http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.lemonde.fr/sante/article/2012/09/13/publication-d-un-guide-des-4-000-medicaments-utiles-inutiles-ou-dangereux_1759378_1651302.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3DBernard%2BDebr%25C3%25A9%2B%252B%2BPhilippe%2BEven%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbo%3Dd%26biw%3D1073%26bih%3D930&sa=X&ei=JjoFUaOXKqf7iwKwxoHABg&ved=0CHMQ7gEwBjgK
The book of 900 pages and lists, according to the Nouvel Observateur , "50% of unnecessary drugs, 20 % Of poorly tolerated, 5 % Of 'potentially dangerous', but incredible paradox, 75 % Are reimbursed. "Their delisting would yield
between 10 and 15 billion euros to Social Security. Prof. Even attacks especially statin drugs against cholesterol," swallowed by 3 to 5 million French " costing "on France 2