Select Committee on Health Written Evidence


Letter from the President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine to the Chairman of the Committee (PI 120)

  The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine was established in 1989 as a Faculty of the three Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom to ensure that appropriate standards are set, examined and maintained within this specialist field in order to best serve both patients and the public health.

  The mission statement of the Faculty is as follows:


  Pharmaceutical medicine is a discipline that involves the discovery, development, evaluation, registration, monitoring and ethical marketing of medicinal products and medical devices. The responsibility of the pharmaceutical physician within this process is to guard the interests of patients by working to standards which ensure that research studies are conducted according to Good Clinical Practice (GCP), that safety data are collected, acted upon and reported to the highest international standards and that all communication with medical professionals and patients is accurate and ethical.

  I fear that some of the evidence that has been provided to you by those advising you and also some of the witnesses might be leaving you with some misunderstandings. Whilst your enquiry is into the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, and we do not and nor should we represent the industry, many of the claims and statements constitute general allegations against pharmaceutical physicians.

  It is on this basis that I feel I ought to write to you.

  Since the Faculty was formed we have continued to develop the examination system that was already in place so that it is now one of the most challenging of the Diploma examinations within the Royal Colleges. In addition we have developed a Higher Medical Training (HMT) programme similar in structure to those already in place for all other medical specialties. This has been operational for 2 years and over 100 physicians have already enrolled.

  In addition we are working with the General Medical Council to ensure that pharmaceutical physicians not only have the opportunity to revalidate, but are encouraged to do so under the new arrangements being put in place by the GMC.

  As I am sure you are aware all the protocols for clinical trials carried out by the pharmaceutical industry have to be approved both by the MHRA and an Ethics Committee. These studies are amongst the best designed of any that are undertaken in human subjects, are carried out under a great deal of scrutiny and quality control procedures and analysed according to strict statistical criteria.

  To suggest that pharmaceutical physicians are not properly trained or not capable of doing their job to an adequate standard, as has been suggested by some of your witnesses, is disingenuous.

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Prepared 26 April 2005