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May 21, 1973

Drug Regulation and AMA Department of Drugs

JAMA. 1973;224(8):1185. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220220083020

Sir Derrick Dunlop has recently assessed the role of government in regulation of the production and prescription of medicines in the United Kingdom and the United States.1 After briefly tracing the history of governmental control of medicines in the two countries, Sir Derrick compared the two systems that have developed.

While noting that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is "the premier drug regulatory organization in the world which has done so much to protect the public," Sir Derrick stresses that both it and its counterpart, the UK Safety of Medicines Committee, share the same prohibition: they may not make judgments on the comparative efficacy of medicines. Such matters, he notes, should be settled by "the free processes of scientific publication, debate and undergraduate and postgraduate education." However, whereas the UK Committee consists of part-time individuals whose careers do not depend on their membership in the Committee, the