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The 2012 Prescrire Drug Awards: too little genuine progress for patients

Two new drugs were rated “Noteworthy”, but the Prescrire Awards for 2012 included no “Golden Pill” award and no additions to the “Honours List”.

Every year, Prescrire’s Drug Awards recognise new drugs, or new indications for drugs already on the market, representing tangible progress for patients. Chosen in complete independence by the Editorial Staff of the non-profit French journal Prescrire, the Awards reflect the analysis of the available data on new products published in the journal over the past year.

A painstaking sorting process allows drugs to be rated according to the therapeutic advance they represent. This can consist of greater efficacy, less frequent or less severe adverse effects (for similar efficacy), or the possibility of administering the treatment more easily or more safely.
For 2012, yet again, no “Pilule d’Or” (“Golden Pill”) award was handed out. And no new drug or new indication for a drug already on the market represented significant enough progress to be added to the “Honours List”.

Two drugs were deemed to have contributed, modestly, to the treatment of certain patients and were therefore singled out as “Noteworthy”: abiraterone (Zytiga°) as a third-line treatment in metastatised cancer of the prostate; and boceprevir (Victrelis°), in association with the usual treatments, for certain chronic cases of hepatitis C. These two drugs display some efficacy, but also significant adverse effects, making them of only limited interest.

These two modest achievements are the reflection of a disappointing year, both for patients and for healthcare professionals on the lookout for new products that represent a genuine therapeutic advance.

©Prescrire 8 February 2013

"2012 Prescrire Awards" Prescrire Int 2013; 22 (136): 79-82. (Pdf, free).

Download the full review.
Pdf, free

The Annual Prescrire Awards
(February 2013)