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10th December 2020

MEZIS appeal at the turn of the year: vaccine safety must not be sacrificed for the sake of profit or pressure of time
Call for prudence, diligence and transparency even in pandemic times

 In Germany intensive efforts are already being made to provide logistics and personnel for the vaccination of broad sections of the population at the turn of the year.

The Doctors’ Initiative MEZIS e.V. – Mein Essen zahl’ ich selbst (MEZIS – I pay for my own food), which has made its mission to raise awareness of influences and conflicts of interest in medicine and health care since its foundation, is making the following appeal to decision-makers in politics, health and regulatory authorities and physicians at the end of the challenging year 2020:

MEZIS urges the German government to continuously and carefully assess and weigh up the benefits, risks and costs throughout the entire process of planned mass vaccination with a novel vaccine. The scandals surrounding the Pandemrix vaccine and Tamiflu against swine flu, all of which were widely used under pandemic pressure and were ultimately either ineffective (Tamiflu) or caused serious side effects (Pandemrix), should provide an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. We call on those being responsible to create a climate in which each and every individual can make an informed and objective decision for or against a vaccination – including the balance of the interests of the individual and of the society. A “mandatory vaccination through the back door” (e.g. for travelers or medical personnel) must be ruled out by the federal government.

MEZIS expects that – despite the immense political, economic and social pressure regarding the approval of the vaccine- the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) will fulfil their big responsibilities as regulatory authorities and give top priority to drug safety even in times of the need to push back the COVID-19 pandemic.

We welcome the requirement of continuous and very critical monitoring of the vaccine during application, which -given the circumstances- must and will replace an important part of the otherwise lengthy and comprehensive pre-approval study process. We suggest this task should be performed by the neutral Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), which has been established for this purpose. It can also provide citizens with evidence-based, balanced and industry-independent information on vaccination.

Like IQWiG in its statement of 14 May 2020 [1] we call on the pharmaceutical industry being responsible for vaccine development, to provide full transparency. We expect all responsible authorities and committees to be granted comprehensive and immediate access to all study data so that a well-founded recommendation on the use of the vaccine, risks and contraindications can be developed. Mistakes due to lack of transparency in the approval studies, as already published from Brazil, must not be repeated! [2]

We urge our medical colleagues and the medical staff being in charge of the vaccinations in the hospitals, clinics and vaccination centres to carefully educate their patients regarding the many unanswered questions and also to precisely record and report side effects to the responsible authorities. For this purpose, sufficient time as well as evidence-based, industry-independent information material must be available. 

The population’s trust in the vaccination as an effective means should not be gamble away carelessly due to lack of transparency and a high profit.

The principle of medical action “Primum non nocere – first of all do not harm” should always be noted- especially in the case of a vaccination with so many aspects that cannot  yet be assessed.

Quellen:
[1] https://www.iqwig.de/de/presse/pressemitteilungen/2020/alle-klinischen-studiendaten-zu-covid-19-arzneimitteln-und-impfstoffen-sollten-mit-dem-tag-der-marktzulassung-veroeffentlicht-werden.13015.html
[2] Arzneimittelbrief, AMB 2020, 54, 85: „Zur Entwicklung genetischer Impfstoffe gegen SARS-CoV-2 – technologische Ansätze sowie klinische Risiken als Folge verkürzter Prüfphasen “

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MEZIS achieves Break-through with first International “No-Free-Lunch”-Meeting

„Luther“ places demands at centers of the health care lobby

Representatives of „No-Free-Lunch“-groups from 15 nations and all continents accepted the invitation of their German partner initiative “MEZIS – Mein Essen zahl’ ich selbst” (translation: I pay for my food myself). Together, they worked on conflicts of interest in health care and their implications between the 15th and 17th of September 2017 in the “House of Democracy and Human Rights” in Berlin.

Read more in our Press Release

And here you find all pictures of the conference.

Who we are

We are MEZIS (“Mein Essen zahl ich selbst”—I pay for my own lunch in German), an initiative founded in 2007 of incorruptible (German speaking) doctors. Our aim is to counteract the “hug strategy” of the pharmaceutical industry:

  • MEZIS fights the ubiquitous influence and unwarranted power of the pharmaceutical industry in healthcare.
  • MEZIS raises awareness among fellow doctors and medical students that accepting pens, food, trial sponsorship, travel expenses and remuneration for post marketing surveillance studies (PMSS) makes one’s prescribing habits vulnerable to influence.
  • MEZIS demands a clear prohibition of influencing and corruption in the regulations of medical professionals.
  • MEZIS promotes producer-independent information and Continuing Medical Education programmes (CMEs) as well as medical software that is free from advertising.
  • MEZIS is part of the world wide “No free lunch”-network.

How do we work in practice?

If doctors lack one thing, it’s time. Thus MEZIS works in a decentralized manner and communicates via e-mail, a mailing list and through the website www.mezis.de. Our public relations work highlights the subject in the media. Our regional groups form networks of local colleagues.

Why MEZIS?

As doctors, we carry great responsibility for our patients! Accurate and objective information without the bias of commercial interests is a necessary prerequisite, especially for prescribing drugs. However:

  • According to estimates 15,000 pharmaceutical representatives visit 20 million practices and hospitals in Germany every year, advertise their products, bring their gifts and remunerate doctors for post marketing surveillance studies (PMSS). They treat doctors to lunch or dinner and pay participation and travel fees for Continuing Medical Education programmes (CMEs).

    The result: Advertising for drugs that are usually more expensive without proving any therapeutic progress replaces objective information. Money, gifts and food influence physicians‘prescribing behaviour.- The pharmaceutical industry sponsors most CME programmes and can therefore ensure that the “right” topics are covered. Medical speakers are often receiving inappropriate remuneration and even their slides are often provided by sponsors.

  • Data from trials by pharmaceutical companies often doesn’t get published or gets published incompletely. Planning and analysis are often rigged to provide a favourable outcome. This data then influences guidelines and publications in medical journals, especially those that are financed through advertising revenues.
  • Pharmaceutical companies hire their own authors, who furnish important medical informational homepages with announcements that are biased and guided by their own interests.
  • Diagnostic criteria of disease are broadened (disease mongering) to manufacture more conditions that can be medically treated. The dangers of diseases are exaggerated (fear mongering). Patient self-help organizations are sponsored and provided with inadequate information. This increases the pressure on prescribing doctors.

The consequences: spending on drugs increases especially through expensive pseudo-innovations that have no proven additive therapeutic value and potentially have unknown risks. The trust in the doctor-patient-relationships is questioned.

Does this resonate with you?

Then become part of MEZIS! MEZIS is open to all German speaking doctors and dentists (80 € / year). All other can be passive members (40 € / year). Please contact info [at] mezis.de.

More information

info [at] mezis.de