DoH threatens penalties over failure to copy letters
More than two weeks after the shock withdrawal of Vioxx, GPs have still received no official guidance on how to deal with the consequences. From the Department of Health and its Chief Medical Officer there has been nothing but silence. And NICE has amply justified its 'as useful as a chocolate fireguard' tag, requiring a 12-hour meeting to add a single line to its guidance, no longer advising the use of Vioxx.
The European Medicines Agency provides the one ray of light, with plans to report back on cox-2s this week. But British GPs should not have to look to Europe on a matter so urgent, and one affecting 400,000 patients in this country. Add in the tardiness of the cascade system which left many GPs learning of the chaos from their own patients and it amounts to a scandalous information vacuum.
When patient safety is at stake, the Government has a duty to provide GPs with guidance that is clear, accurate and above all timely. The Vioxx shambles must not be repeated.