The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines – the latest

I notice this news item from the BBC and its misleading headline – ‘Europe’s concern over fake pills’

It’s about my old mate Jim Thomson and his latest initiative to keep us patients safe… The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines. You can read my previous posts about the EAASM here and here.

The BBC article starts:

In the space of one year there has been a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit medicines seized in the European Union.

In 2005 there were five hundred thousand fake medicines discovered – last year that figure shot up to 2.5 million.More and more people are becoming concerned that some of these fake drugs might be entering the legitimate supply chain via what is known as the parallel trade in medicines.

One of those is Jim Thompson who has just set up an organisation called the European Alliance for Access to safe medicines.

“This trade is perfectly legal but the problem is these drugs will be passing through many hands. There is no audit trail for that drug. It might travel through one hand, fifteen or 25, who knows?”

Each government in the EU sets the price of drugs in its country. In the UK, where buying power is higher than poorer countries in Southern Europe, drugs are more expensive than say Greece or Spain.

So dealers can buy them up and sell them to the UK at higher prices. They will have to be repackaged in new boxes or English labels are stuck over the foreign writing…

also

…the big drug companies believe that the parallel trade is likely to be increasingly targeted by drug counterfeiters.

The cynical amongst you might think that Jim and the EAASM only link the parallel trade with counterfeit drugs because the EAASM has actually been set up with pharmaceutical money in order to play its part to tarnish a legitimate and safe practice (parallel trading) that poses competition to the major pharmaceutical industries.

The cynical amongst you might think that – I couldn’t possibly comment…

I also notice in the article that Graham Satchwell is quoted… is this the same Graham Satchwell who is involved with Jim Thomson at thehealthwell.org?

Could it even be same Graham Satchwell who used to be head of security at Glaxo?

If you want further information about the EAASM enquiries are to be sent to the Medicom Group“The company’s media-neutral vision is believed to be unique in the independently-owned sector of pharmaceutical marketing providers. A PR company will naturally provide clients with PR strategy and tactics, medical education agencies will propose educational tactics and publishers will promote print execution. The capacity of Medicom Group to provide all of these core marketing disciplines creates a unique environment in which an integrated tactical strategy most appropriate for the client’s brand can be delivered. This is at the forefront of the Medicom Group offering.”

The Medicom Group has an impressive client list including Glaxo, Pfizer, Roche, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi Aventis etc etc.

Now, of course this in itself is not a bad thing…

What I wonder though, is who is footing the bill for the EAASM? What part is Medicom playing in this new ‘alliance’? What are the aims of the EAASM?

Just who are Jim Thomson’s EAASM partners and what do they have to gain from taking this position?

16 Responses to “The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines – the latest”

  1. graham satchwell Says:

    Yes I can confirm all those ‘Graham Satchwells’ are one in the same. I dont know much about this forum, my google alert indicated that my name had been used and hey presto! Here I am. Anyway, just to let you know, for what its worth, my view on all this. Big drug companies, like big ‘anything’ companies, work in their own interest making what alliances they can to serve their own ends. That doesn’t mean that everything they say is wrong, or anyone who has a similarity of view on a particular issue is ‘on their side’. The fact is that counterfeit medicines ARE a growing threat and you do yourself no service by attempting to diminish the arguments supporting that position. I am happy to elaborate if you want. Best wishes, Graham.

  2. Jim Christian Says:

    Graham Satchwell was never Head of Security at Glaxo.

  3. BOB FIDDAMAN Says:

    graham satchwell Says:
    September 10th, 2007 at 8:40 am
    Yes I can confirm all those ‘Graham Satchwells’ are one in the same.

    Jim Christian Says:
    September 10th, 2007 at 12:46 pm
    Graham Satchwell was never Head of Security at Glaxo.

    Duh, so which one do we beleive?

    Fid

  4. admin Says:

    Thanks for your input Graham – but my main point remains… if the parallel trade and counterfeit medicines are such a danger to us poor vulnerable, patients, then why do the pharmaceutical companies feel they have to address the issue via the back door by forming what amounts to a fake ‘alliance’ – a fake patient group?

    The term is astroturfing, I understand.

    What’s wrong with being open and honest?

  5. Matthew Holford Says:

    Hmmm. According to the organizers of the Pan-European Summit for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in the EU (catchy), Graham Satchwell is ex Head of Security at both G$K and Microsoft. We’d better get in touch with the organizers, who had Graham speaking at said Summit, and set them straight.

    In any event, I think Graham’s right, drug companies are serving their own ends first. What one should be careful of is mistaking the Worshipful Company’s concern over counterfeit medicines for a concern about patients’ health – there’s no evidence of the latter, thus far.

    Matt

  6. Matthew Holford Says:

    Sorry, did I remind you to “do more. feel better. live longer”? I meant to.

    Matt

  7. Matthew Holford Says:

    Graham Satchwell says “We are not short of regulations and laws but they are not being enforced.”

    I’d agree with that. Regulation 50, anybody? I wonder if Michael Deats could help us with that, if the CPS can’t.

    Matt

  8. graham satchwell Says:

    Further to my last, at least two questions arise. First, When Jim Thomson says I wasn’t head of security at Glaxo he is technically correct, I was Director of Corporate Security for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia for Glaxo Smith Kline, I had a boss who was global head of security. Secondly, the comment re ‘fake patient safety groups’. This is not really terrain, but I think that in a perfect world that patients’ voices would be united and of obvious importance to pharma companies. The organising and coordination of patients views is obviously time-consuming and has a financial cost – enter then the fundraisers and financial contributors. What then is the alternative???

  9. graham satchwell Says:

    Whoops! It wasn’t Jim Thomson that said I wasn’t head of security for Glaxo but Jim Christian. Now I only know one Jim Christian. Come on Jim, tell them what you do!

  10. admin Says:

    Graham, you can’t really expect us to believe that Jim T is “organising and co-ordinating patients’ voices”.

    Maybe he’d like to organise and co-ordinate the thousands of us who have been harmed by Seroxat… but then there’d be no money in that from the drug companies, would there?

    And please tell Jim and whoever wrote the EAASM website that parallel traders and counterfeiters are two very different kinds of people…

  11. graham satchwell Says:

    Dear ‘Admin’ (Not sure how to see your real name) I absolutely have no doubt that you know 1,ooo times more than me about Seroxat and the results of its use and GSK’s role in all of that. BUT when it comes to parallel trade and counterfeiting of pharma, I do know a bit. If you think there is no link between the two, and would like to examine the opposing case then I will gladly send you some evidence. Tell me, why are you so supportive of parallel traders? Is it because ‘big pharma’ is obviously not?

  12. graham satchwell Says:

    What’s happened to Jim Christian? There he was telling you that I was not the security boss at GSK and now that I’ve popped up he’s gone quiet, come on Jim, where are you?

  13. BOB FIDDAMAN Says:

    graham satchwell Says:

    …The organising and coordination of patients views is obviously time-consuming and has a financial cost – enter then the fundraisers and financial contributors. What then is the alternative???

    Blogs such as this and mine too Graham, no funding whatsoever.

    You have to admit we have made a noise and opened many, many eyes?

    I applaud you for coming on here and speaking publically.

    To admin:

    Jim Christian is… or was Global Head, Corporate Security at Novartis

    Fid

  14. graham satchwell Says:

    Dear Admin,
    Sorry I did not answer your major point “you can’t really expect us to believe that Jim T is “organising and co-ordinating patients’ voices…..Maybe he’d like to organise and co-ordinate the thousands of us who have been harmed by Seroxat… but then there’d be no money in that from the drug companies, would there?”
    Whenever I talk to Jim I get the impression he really cares about ‘victims’ and I hope and beleive he would not see himself as ‘locked in’ to any arrangement that compromised that. But I would rather speak for me and let him speak for himself. When it comes to the Seroxat issue, and for what its worth (perhaps not much) I will gladly give my support to any patient/victim initiative that is ecience based, whether that pleases or offends GSK/Pfizer/ the Regulators/ other buggers or not.

  15. admin Says:

    Graham – you still haven’t really answered my point – I think the EAASM has more to do with the interests of drug companies than of patients. I think it is a business intiative, funded by drug companies, for drug companies.

    The only organising and co-ordinating being done is on behalf of big pharma.

    Why hide the fact? Why style it an ‘Alliance’? Why not just tell the truth and tell it like it is?

    That is where my distrust springs from.

    It’s astroturfing.

  16. graham satchwell Says:

    I think this sort of blogg (the only one I’ve participated in) is very useful indeed. I am not part of the Alliance you refer to and have (had) no idea who was party to it (though I knew/guessed that big pharma was/is). I am a committed atheist but accept completely the sentiment that ‘good can be done with the devils money’. So why not try to participate in the Alliance (or is that naive?). I have no great attachment to the pharma industry or the supposed Regulators. I think my position (generally try to tell the truth as I see it) makes them nervous. The comment by the Novartis global head of Security Jim Christian (if it was him- after all I could call myself Tony Blair and I think you’d be none thew wiser) that ‘Graham Satchwell was never the head of Glaxo security’ was a small attempt to lesson the interest in my views on counterfeiting – they dont match Jim’s you see.


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