Monday, 11 August 2014

Is the Alcohol Abuse APPG just a front for 'Big Pharma'?


When the debate over cigarette packaging started the tobacco control lobby was very quick to finger some MPs - like Oliver Colville, for example - who had attended the Chelsea Flower Show on 'big tobacco's' ticket. A fair cop, I'm sure you'll agree.

Well I've another fair cop for you. Yesterday the airwaves were filled with details from a report published by the Alcohol Abuse All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG). This rehashed, courtesy of Alcohol Concern (who provide the secretariat for ths APPG), a lot of previously published proposals from the temperance lobby. This, of course, explains how that lobby was so swift to issue appropriately supportive press releases.

However, underneath all this smiling care and consideration is a link with a Danish pharmaceutical business called Lundbeck. The UK arm of this multinational business funds the work of the Alcohol Abuse APPG. Indeed if you google the connection between Tracey Crouch MP (or for that matter Ian Gilmore, the leading liver surgeon and temperance campaigner) you will find that, time and time again, they appear on a platform funded by Lundbeck or subsidiaries of Lundbeck.

So what is Lundbeck's interest in all this? Quite simply it wants to push its products and is using the MPs and doctors to do just that:

Selincro (nalmefene) was approved at the end of February and is the first new treatment for alcohol dependence in Europe for more than a decade. Lundbeck noted that the drug, a dual-acting opioid system modulator that acts on the brain’s motivational system, will be launched in other countries later this year and in 2014.

Now I'm sure Selincro is a perfectly fine product but it's pretty clear that the public health lobby should not allow itself to be captured in this way by commercial interests.



Anonymous said...

Alcohol cravings drug nalmefene granted approval in Scotland
7 October 2013

"Scotland has become the first country in Europe to prescribe a new drug which reduces cravings for alcohol.

"Nalmefene has been given the go-ahead by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), which approves drugs for use on the NHS.

It is designed for people who are heavy drinkers but not the most severely-dependent alcoholics. Scotland has become the first country in Europe to prescribe a new drug which reduces cravings for alcohol."

"It reduces the release of dopamine in the brain, lessening the "buzz" or reward sensation associated with alcohol."

"Prof Jonathan Chick, consultant psychiatrist at Queen Margaret University Hospital Edinburgh, said: "I am pleased that Scottish patients will have access to nalmefene, which represents a new option for treating some people with alcohol dependence by helping them to cut down their drinking when they may not be ready, or have no medical need, to give up alcohol altogether."

And another round of public denormalisation should boost sales no end.

1 March 2011

"Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalising alcohol – it is not like other types of food and drink.”


Chris Oakley said...

It is sadder than that Simon. Tracey Crouch has a degree in politics, practices politics and has never had a real job. She is however ambitious so chairs a glorified front for a prohibitionist agenda. She has little clue what she is talking about, is too besotted by public health spin doctors to research her subject properly but is determined to make a name for herself. She is perhaps well meaning but is frankly not fit to represent an electorate that is sick to the back teeth of being bullied by the extremists who are taking advantage of her.

I suggest that people read the comments boards beneath the uncritical predictably supportive articles published by the BBC and The Guardian yesterday to get a true picture of just how popular the prohibitionists actually are.

Why the Conservative Party cannot grasp the fact that ending state sponsored lifestyle bullying would be a big positive for the majority is beyond me. UKIP get it and that will help hurt the Tories in May.