Should the TGA accept gifts?

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This article on the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) caught my eye. Apparently they haven’t been keeping a register of gifts, but now that they’ve been reminded, of course they will do so.

Firstly, surely a simple ‘oops’ isn’t all that’s required here is it? Surely this a major breach and sanctions must be applied? Or is it a guideline only?

Secondly, what the hell is the TGA doing accepting gifts in the first place? Their mission is “TGA – safeguarding public health & safety in Australia by regulating medicines, medical devices, blood & tissues”. How can any agency in this position deem ANY gifts acceptable, especially as we know how ‘generous’ the large pharmaceutical companies are (for example). I’ll bet the ACCC doesn’t accept gifts from oil companies or banks.

When I worked as an engineer for the Dept of Defence, it was policy at our establishment to accept NO gifts from contractors, no matter how small. Similarly, now working for a consulting firm conducting tender evaluations, even a cup of coffee from a vendor whom we may be evaluating is out of bounds.

So for something as critical as public health and safety, an area in which there is great scope for physical and financial harm, surely a higher standard is required.

Why do they need gifts anyway? What services are they providing to warrant them? I can understand gifts for visiting dignitaries, or, gifts to someone who has already assisted you in some way (e.g. thanks for a great year’s work, or, thanks for helping me complete my PhD thesis, etc. etc.). But I’ll bet most of the gifts in question are like political donations: thanking you in anticipation of furthering my agenda or having my product approved. Call me a cynic.

This ridiculous breach of propriety and trust comes from the organisation which has in recent years been tackled by the likes of Loretta Marron who has taken them on for their tacit support of crazy alternative therapies and devices, a selection of which is described in this article.

Clearly the TGA is asleep at the wheel – Ms Marron (for one) has shown them up to be doing anything but safeguarding public health and safety, and this latest breach, which does nothing to dispel the appearance of a conflict of interest, puts a big question mark over their ethics, or at the very least, their administrative capabilities.

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6 thoughts on “Should the TGA accept gifts?

    About Research Transparency « rationalbrain said:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    […] Research Transparency by rationalbrain on January 23, 2011 Further to my recent spray about the TGA accepting gifts, and Elmore Oil’s dubious research offerings, there has been a lot […]

    SCENAR & the Pathology of a Scam « rationalbrain said:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    […] against companies and individuals making claims of efficacy. While I’ve had a crack at the TGA recently, Loretta and Mick have kept them on their toes, by filing continuous complaints and ensuring that […]

    SCENAR and the Pathology of a Scam « rationalbrain said:
    February 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    […] against companies and individuals making claims of efficacy. While I’ve had a crack at the TGA recently, Loretta and Mick have kept them on their toes, by filing continuous complaints and ensuring that […]

    […] Over the past year I’ve managed to take a couple of swipes at our Therapeutic Goods Administration, notably here and here. […]

    TGA reforms? Much ado about nothing. « rationalbrain said:
    December 15, 2011 at 1:03 am

    […] copped a bit of stick on this blog for its rubber-stamping of dubious treatments and devices (see here fore example). There was some hope for optimism based on this article a little while […]

    Meet my new Friends « rationalbrain said:
    March 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    […] also on the executive as CEO is Loretta Marron, of whom I’ve written before, (here, here and here). Between them, John and Loretta have pestered the TGA to clean up its act, and must take […]

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