Flying the flag : or are New Zealand ethics fraying in the wind ?
. . .
New Zealand is moving towards faster ethics approval for pharmaceuticals.
The move has raised eyebrows among those concerned at the country's reputation for a lack of regulation and related potential for corruption.
New Zealand Doctor noted the news on a page of items dealing with tighter corruption controls here and overseas:
Ethics committee recommendations "sensible" - Hutchison
National MP and Parliament's Health Committee chair Paul Hutchison told conference attendees the Government viewed the recent enquiry recommendations on improving ethics committees as "pretty sensible stuff".
It was clear from submissions from committees that a raft of practical changes was needed - eg, speedier processes, a clearinghouse, smaller committee size and an option to add expert members.
Industry submitted it was "blindingly obvious" clinical research was important for New Zealand, whether in medical devices, pharmaceuticals or functional foods, he says.
The call to streamline ethical approval was echoed by many at the conference, including Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust director Richard Robson.
The site also noted that the Serious Fraud Office had created a new position of general manager, fraud and corruption, further distancing the office from moves by the former Labour government to change focused to so-called "organised" crime or gangs.
"Asked about companies sponsoring a researcher to present results to a conference, he says if the hospitality is disproportionate, it can be seen as being intended to foster sales or to inappropriately obtain or retain business."
Government spends more than $13 billion a year on health care, with some $700 million going on pharmaceuticals, according to Pharmac figures, representing the lowest level of spending on health care and drugs in the developed world.
This is despite New Zealand being one of only two countries in the world allowing direct to consumer marketing, the other being the United States, which spends more than $7,000 per person, compared to less than half that here.
. . .