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Glaxo crack down on drug promotions

A crackdown on “sexed up” drug endorsements has been launched by GlaxoSmithKline as it responds to growing pressure to change the way drugs are promoted.

It says it is making major changes to its system of funding “educational programs” for doctors after similar moves by some of its major competitors.

The programs often seek to boost a company’s expensive new drug while ignoring downsides such as risk and whether it works better than older, cheaper products.

The move will see Glaxo axe programs run by commercial PR lobbyists, some of which were found to be ghost-writing promotions that were then attributed to respected researchers.

A spokesman says it will now only sponsor programs connected to professional medical associations, teaching hospitals and their affiliates, which must be accredited by the company.

Meanwhile, Pfizer has said that from next next year it will disclose all payments of $500 or more for consulting and other services to all medical personnel who prescribe drugs.

Merck and Eli Lilly have also announced similar plans.

Copyright Press Association 2009

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