May 28, 2024


Government meddling in drug approvals is not an issue only in the US, where foot-dragging over the morning-after pill has landed the Bush Administration in hot water. In Lithuania, the government is defying the European Union, its State Medicines Control Agency, NGOs and several parliamentarians over an anti-cancer drug. The locally- made drug Graslava was sold widely in Eastern Europe before Lithuania joined the EU. It is a less expensive imitation of Amgen’s Neupogen, a product which speeds up the process of white blood cells. However, all other EU countries have banned it, as there are concerns about its safety.

The dispute has become a political hot potato. The deputy head of the State Medicines Control Agency deregistered it, but when the director returned, she reinstated the drug and sacked the deputy. Employees of the agency say that they fear losing their jobs if they oppose the drug.