"Check-up Your Medicines to Save Your Life"

No.2 Cholesterol

Message from Aborad

Welcome to "Kusuri-no-Check"!

Christophe Kopp
International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB) President
Prescrire International (France), The Chief Editor

As chairman of the International Society of Drug Bulletins I am glad to welcome this new Japanese bulletin aimed at consumers.

Drug companies have succeeded in controlling the majority of drug information sources used by doctors, pharmacists and patients in most countries.

A key word used by the drug industry to promote its products to doctors and patients is 'innovation'. What does that mean for the patient? Is a newly marketed product safer than existing medicines? Does it improve quality of life compared to available medicines, and is quality of life properly defined? Does it improve life expectancy relative to current treatments?

These are the real questions. Demystifying the term 'innovation' is one of the roles of a valuable drug bulletin. A simple approach is to break 'innovation' into three concepts and qualify it properly from the patient's viewpoint. The concept of a 'newly marketed product'. Strictly speaking, an innovation must be qualified as 'technical' or 'industrial' (a new chemical entity or a new molecule produced by biotechnics for instance). An industrial innovation or newly marketed product do not tell us if they provide a benefit for the patient compared to existing products. A newly marketed nonsteroidal antiinflamatory drug (NSAID) can be a wonderful technical innovation; yet postmarketing pharmacovigilance can probe it is much more toxic than the so-called old NSAID, ibuprofen. That shows the determining place of the third concept: 'therapeutic advance' as assessed from the patient's viewpoint.

Industry's strategy aims at blurring the three concepts either through sophisticated advertisements, or by imposting its agenda on regulatory bodies.

I hope this new bulletin will help the patients take an active part in managing health problems, while deflating hazardous and false claims about medicines.

Sorting out the best pill from the worst pills without funding from industry or regulatory bodies is no easy job. I warmly encourage those working on the bulletin to take up the challenge.

The best of luck.