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Drug Risks:  A Brave new world?

Lucien Abenhaim
Professor of Public Health, University of Paris and Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatics McGill University and Professor of Risk Management, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Date: 24 October 2006
Time: 1-2.30pm
Venue: CARR Seminar Room, H615

Drugs are among the most frequent risk factors to which persons are exposed in the developed world as their side-effects affect millions of persons every year. They thus represent an interesting model to study the relations between scientific knowledge, risk assessment, decision-making under uncertainty, the conflicts of various interests, risk perception and policy-making. The conference will address these issues in comparing two examples experienced by the lecturer: the story of the marketing and withdrawal of 'appetite suppressants' in Europe and the US in the 90s and the story of Vioxx in the years 2000. The new so-called 'Risk Management' policies set up both at the US FDA and European Medicine Evaluation Agency since 2005 will be discussed in these perspectives.

Lucien Abenhaim, 55, holds a MD from the University of Paris (1977) a MSc from McGill and a PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris (Information, Risk and Decision, 1986). He is a Professor of Public Health at the University of Paris 5 (2003-present) and an Honorary Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2005-present). He has previously taught as a Full Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University (1989-1999). He held the position of General Director of Health of France (1999-2003). In this later capacity he has overseen the public health of the country and participated in European regulatory decisions. He also was an elected Member of the Executive Committee of WHO (2002-2003).