Is Australia's National Medicines Policy failing? The case of COX-2 inhibitors

Agnes Vitry, Joel Lexchin, Peter R. Mansfield

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Australia has a National Medicines Policy with aims that include quality use of medicines, but policy stakeholders failed to protect Australia from the COX-2 (cyclo-oxygenase-2) inhibitor disaster. Drug regulators did not warn prescribers appropriately about potential cardiovascular risks. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme did not limit unjustified drug expenditures on COX-2 inhibitors. Drug companies ran intense and misleading promotional campaigns on COX-2 inhibitors without adequate controls. Independent drug information was insufficient to counter the effects of the millions of dollars spent on advertising. Core elements of the National Medicines Policy - in particular the drug approval process, the post-marketing surveillance system, the control of drug promotion, and the quality of independent drug information - require major reappraisal if we want to avoid similar disasters in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-744
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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