A bill in the French upper house of parliament, the Senate, aimed at averting conflicts of interest in the pharmaceutical sector now has a section that could in fact encourage conflict by creating potentially painful class action cases against firms.
Four days after the European Commission approved Merck & Co.'s protease inhibitor for hepatitis C, Victrelis (boceprevir), the European Medicines Agency has given the nod to its rival, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Tibotec's Incivek (telaprevir).
The head of Prof. Kent Woods, chief executive of the UK drugs regulator, the MHRA, must be spinning. Over the past week, he has been elected by his peers to chair the management board of the European Medicines Agency. And on Saturday, June 11, it was announced that he had received a knighthood in the UK Queen's Birthday Honors List.
Woods takes over the management board chair from Pat O'Mahony, chief executive of the Irish Medicines Board, having played a role in nominating the head of the Italian Medicines Agency, Guido Rasi, to fill the vacant position of executive director of EMA.
Woods, who continues as chief executive of the MHRA, has a three-year mandate at the management board, which oversees EMA and has 37 members, drawn from all the regulatory agencies in Europe, the European Commission and Parliament, patient and physician groups.
He qualified in medicine from Cambridge, UK, studied at Harvard School of Public Health, and was director of the National Health Services's health technology assessment program immediately prior to taking up his post at the MHRA in 2004.
Wood was knighted along with 20 others, including Dr Hugh Pelham, director of the MRC's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, a source of numerous biotech breakthroughs, and the IVF pioneer, Prof. Robert Edwards.
Also receiving a CBE in this honors list was Kevin Young, executive vice president, commercial operations, at the US biotech Gilead Sciences, for services to the development and marketing of life changing medicines. He joined Gilead in 2004, having previously worked at Amgen and AstraZeneca. Young is also a board member of ReSurge, a humanitarian organization providing reconstructive plastic surgery in developing countries.
After a six-month delay, and an embarrassing re-run of the selection process, the management board of the European Medicines Agency has finally picked the person it wishes to be the next executive director of the agency, the head of the Italian Medicines Agency, Guido Rasi.