NEW DRUGS FOR OLD: When to say ‘no’ to your GP

Zealous readers of our book Secrets of the Drugs Industry (we’ll be asking questions at the end) will know to be very wary if your GP suddenly prescribes for you a different drug. Chances are that it’s a new, untested drug, and you may even have been unwittingly conscripted into a drug trial.

One such case came to light the other day. Dr Robert Macindoe Adams, who practised in Hertfordshire, enrolled 12 of his patients into drug trials without their consent, and even overstated the symptoms of two of them to make them eligible for the trial.

One patient became suspicious after she was enrolled in a trial of the calcium-channel blocker lercanidipine. She expressed concern about the sudden change of prescription, and the numerous times that Adams was taking blood samples. In his response, Adams failed to mention that she was taking the new drug.

Adams was suspended for 12 months by a panel hearing of the General Medical Council, although his counsel says he is no longer practising.

Interestingly, nothing was mentioned about the financial sums involved in recruiting ‘volunteers’ to new drug trials, but it’s been estimated at around £3,000 per person.

Dr Adams’s recruitment campaign was modest compared with some doctors who carry on this iniquitous practice without ever being found out. Perhaps their patients never read Secrets of the Drugs Industry.

(Source: British Medical Journal, 2003; 326: 304).

* To order your copy of Secrets of the Drugs Industry, visit our website:

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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