World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Human Body -

To bet­ter mon­i­tor the ef­fect of drugs, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies in Europe in­vest around €100 mil­lion ($155 mil­lion) a year in so-called ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies. These see doc­tors pre­scrib­ing a par­tic­u­lar drug and doc­u­ment­ing its ef­fects. But is the process re­ally help­ing to make pre­scrip­tion drugs safer? Many ex­perts doubt it. The med­i­cal ben­e­fits of these covert stud­ies is low, while the fees paid to doc­tors are high. For Pro­fes­sor Karl Lauterbach from the Uni­ver­sity of Cologne, this im­bal­ance is clear ev­i­dence that ob­ser­va­tional stud­ies en­tice doc­tors into pre­scrib­ing cer­tain medicines more of­ten than oth­ers. Against this back­ground it’s also prob­lem­atic that in some coun­tries nei­ther the state nor the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies mon­i­tor the con­nec­tions be­tween doc­tors and the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal industry.

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