17 June 2015
The Chief Medical Officer for England has called for an independent review of the safety and efficacy of medicines in order to restore public trust in doctors and scientists.
Professor Dame Sally Davies is concerned that recent controversies and debates over the use of medicines have led the public to view doctors and scientists as ‘untrustworthy’, which she says is not in the interest of patients or the public’s health. In February, she set out her concerns in a letter to the president of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The letter cited as examples recent debates over the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs for people at low risk of developing heart disease and the anti-viral treatment Tamiflu, according to the BBC.
The BBC said the CMO wrote: “There seems to be a view that doctors over-medicate so it is difficult to trust them. And that clinical scientists are all beset by conflicts of interest from industry funding and therefore untrustworthy too”.
The independent review should report by the end of the year.
In response, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Prof Maureen Baker said: “The main focus of the GP is always the wellbeing of the individual patient and patients should be reassured that we will prescribe medication only when necessary and where other alternatives have been explored”.
She went on: “It is important that patients can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of medications that are used, right across the health service, and the intervention of the Chief Medical Officer is welcome and timely”.