Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Medsafe decision is simply depressing

Medsafe decision is simply depressing

Medsafe has ignored worldwide calls for a highly controversial and potentially dangerous anti-depressant drug to be withdrawn from the market and instead has allowed its continued sale to New Zealanders, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley, the Green Health spokesperson, urged Medsafe to immediately withdraw Serzone, prescribed for moderate to serious depression, from the market because of a demonstrated link to liver failure and death.

"The evidence is mounting that this is a drug with potentially fatal side-effects and that we have very little need for it in New Zealand," said Ms Kedgley.

"Since February 2000 we are aware of 14 cases of hepatic (liver) illnesses - seven of liver injury and five cases of abnormal liver function - in patients who are prescribed Serzone in New Zealand.

"I want answers from Medsafe and the Minister of Health as to why it is taking so long for this drug to be removed from the market, when serious risk of liver damage from the drug have been know for years.

"There are other drugs available for depression treatment, so why keep this drug on the market?" she asked.

"It seems odd that we went into overdrive and withdrew hundreds of complimentary health products over a minor over-the counter travel medicine but when it comes to a pharmaceutical with significant side effects the Government is dragging its feet."

Reports of liver injury of which the drug is a factor have increased steadily around the world. Serzone has been removed from the European and Canadian markets and there have been calls in both Australia and the United States for the drug to be banned.

A national class-action lawsuit was launched on behalf of Canadians who have become ill or died as a result of taking Serzone, and similar actions have developed in Australian and the US.

"The rate of liver failure that leads either to death or the need for a transplant is about four times higher than normal according the US Federal Drug Administration, whose concern was so great they now require a warning of 'life-threatening liver failure' on each packet of Serzone," said Ms Kedgley.

"The reports of liver failure, while not numerous, are hugely concerning. Medical safety information lists potential problems ranging from a severely inflamed liver and jaundice and can lead to kidney and brain degeneration, while death or the need for a transplant can arrive between two weeks and six months after beginning Serzone therapy."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The America’s Cup, Critical Race Theory And A New, Weekly Music Playlist

So… Why don’t they just cut to the chase, and call it the Emirates Cup? As this column predicted several months ago, the next America’s Cup challenge is headed overseas. Here’s what Werewolf said back in March:
Emirates has made a major commitment to Portsmouth/Isle of Wight as a sailing centre of excellence – and voila, that’s where the next challenger of record is coming from, and where the next Cup contest could well be sailed. Such incredible luck for Emirates, right..? More>>


NZ First Returns: Winston Peters - AGM Address

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to be in Auckland for the 28th New Zealand First Party Conference. It is our intention and mission to remain the most successful political party outside of National and Labour in the last three decades... More>>

Marine: Wider Roll-out Of Cameras On Boats To Support Sustainability And Protect Marine Life

Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations... More>>


Jewish Council: New Zealand Not Immune From Rise In Antisemitism

The representative body of New Zealand Jewry, the NZ Jewish Council (NZJC), has expressed concern about the high number of antisemitic incidents in New Zealand recorded last month. Spokesperson for the NZJC, Juliet Moses, said... More>>

NZNO: Nurses Reject DHB Offer And Confirm Strike Action

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says its 30,000 members who work in DHBs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a second offer in their current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations... More>>





InfoPages News Channels