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Medsafe Continues to Ignore Pfizer's Sham Website

Medsafe Continues to Ignore Pfizer's Sham Pamol Website

By Ron Law
Independent Risk & Policy Analyst

When asked this week, "How's Pfizer's scam website going?" Medsafe replied, "Action has not yet been taken on the pfizer-Pamol website. This issue is classed as low priority," says risk & policy analyst, Ron Law.

This follows a Medsafe email on October 20th 2004, "As I have said before, I intend to follow up the website issue with the company. Please be aware that due to present workloads, this may take some time."

So, for over two months since Medsafe was made aware that Pfizer's instructions to consumers wanting product information about Pamol leads consumers to a sham website, Medsafe still ignores the problem.

If this was a dietary supplement company, the Director General of Health would have immediately issued a privileged statement and Medsafe would have been putting out press statements warning consumers about this shameful and dangerous behaviour.

Paracetamol generates by far the most calls about poisons to the National Poisons Centre in Dunedin each year.

Paracetamol is responsible for many deaths in New Zealand each year.

And yet our medicine's regulator turns a blind eye to the purveyors of a leading brand of paracetamol directing consumers to a sham website for product information.

This follows on from the Advertising Standards Authority refusing to accept a complaint about Pfizer's sham Pamol website claiming that packaging did not constitute an advertisement, and ignoring the fact that the complaint related to the label on the bottle as well which is defined in the Medicines Act as an advertisement.

Pfizer are in clear breach of both the ASA's Therapeutic Code of Practice and the Medicines Act, and yet neither the Advertising Standards Authority nor the Government's Drug regulator Medsafe are interested.

"If the government's appointed guardians of our medicines regulatory system are not upholding the law, nor protecting the interests of consumers, then whose interests are they protecting?" asks Ron Law.

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