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Prescrire's annual Drug Awards: just two minor improvements in 2009

No "Pilule d'Or" ("Golden Pill") and no drugs placed on the "Honours List" in Prescrire's 2009 Drug Awards.

Prescrire's Drug Awards single out innovations that demonstrate tangible improvements for patients. Judged each year by the editorial staff which operates with total independence, the awards are made in accordance with a standardised procedure and governed by published rules. Details are available online at www.prescrire.org.

The Awards are based on Prescrire’s evaluation, carried out over the preceding year, of available evidence on new drugs or new therapeutic indications granted for existing drugs. Through a rigorous sifting process, drugs are ranked according to the degree of therapeutic progress they offer: improved efficacy; fewer or less severe adverse effects (for a similar degree of efficacy); easier or safer administration.

The drugs deemed "noteworthy" make a modest contribution to improved patient care. The drugs on Prescrire's "Honours List" provide a clear advantage for some patients when compared with existing treatments, despite certain limitations. The "Pilule d’Or" ("Golden Pill") is awarded to drugs that provide a major therapeutic advance in a field where no effective treatment was previously available.

In 2009, as in 2008, no Pilule d’Or was awarded, no drug earned a place on the Honours List, and only 2 drugs were deemed noteworthy.

It is time that the pharmaceutical companies and drug regulatory agencies change their focus to concentrate on research that meets patients' needs

©Prescrire April 2010

"2009 Prescrire Drug Awards" Prescrire International 2010; 19 (106): 86 (pdf, free).

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