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Drug Company Disguised Advertising As Science 172

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the maximize-shareholder-value dept.
ananyo writes "A former pharmaceutical company employee has blown the whistle on drug promotion disguised as science. Drug companies occasionally conduct post-marketing studies to collect data on the safety and efficacy of drugs in the real world, after they've been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 'However,' writes the anonymous author in an editorial in the British Medical Journal (subscription required), 'some of the [post-marketing] studies I worked on were not designed to determine the overall risk:benefit balance of the drug in the general population. They were designed to support and disseminate a marketing message.' According to the whistleblower, the results of these studies were often dubious. 'We occasionally resorted to "playing" with the data that had originally failed to show the expected result,' he says. 'This was done by altering the statistical method until any statistical significance was found.' He adds that the company sometimes omitted negative results and played down harmful side effects. Nature says it was unable to work out who the writer was but they likely worked on diabetes and the studies criticized were from the Denmark-based pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk."
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Drug Company Disguised Advertising As Science

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:41AM (#40310713)

    I work in drug marketing, (software dev at an ad agency) and all I can say is that my pot dealer is more ethical than a typical multinational drug company.

    If it's not illegal, they will do it. If you don't want drug companies to do something, make it illegal. Libertarian nonsense won't fix this problem any more than it helps deal with other problems.

    Drug companies have lawyers, and always seek to obey the law (and sometimes fail). They don't care about ethics. They care about the law, and perception. Their purpose is to maximize shareholder value, not do good for the world.

    As for me... yes I sold out.. no I don't care. It's a cold world.

  • by bergelin (1320345) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:52AM (#40310883)
    They marketed a drug called Victoza before recieving authorization to market it [pmcpa.org.uk] several times, and "making claims and comparisons that were misleading, disguising promotional material and failing to provide information which reflected available evidence".
  • Re:zzzz (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:27PM (#40311447) Homepage

    The vast majority of the time it is.

    You have been brainwashed by anti medical science FUD.

    Not when it comes to Big Pharma. They are impressively consistent. About the only thing they've done of late is to get more subtle.

    Even with all of the rules and regulations foisted on them to be more ethical, they will skirt the law and ethics are hard as they can. 'Unrestricted' educational grants to seminars who have speakers who get money from the very same company who inevitably have a positive spin for the drug or device the company is marketing. Yes, the spins are getting more nuanced - in the past they were just openly blatant about it, now they will discuss some positive data, a dribble of controversy and then come up with a positive recommendation.

    And don't even get me started on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising.......

  • Re:Big Surprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by ldobehardcore (1738858) <steven.duboisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:28PM (#40311469)

    Just look at the latest generation of psoriasis drugs. Their lists of severe side effects is a mile long, and to me seem just as bad or possibly even worse than the disease they treat. Do you want your whole immune system knocked out to treat mild to moderate psoriasis. I enjoy not having to constantly worry about pneumonia TB and systemic fungal infections.

  • Re:Big Surprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @12:40PM (#40311671) Homepage Journal

    The Pharmaceutical companies don't strap you into a seat and toss pills down your throat all will-nilly.

    On the contrary, I think this is exactly what they did by pushing the PREP and MSEHPA acts.
    Whether the politicians do it "for the greater good" or not doesn't change that it's the Pharmaceutical companies that sponsor it, because enforced medication whether needed or not means more money for them.

  • Re:Big Surprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @02:29PM (#40313123)

    >How could all that possibly be necessary?

    They're old. Stuff starts going wrong.

    >Wouldn't it be better just to suffer through whatever symptoms they have?

    No. Suffering through the symptoms of diabetes, hypertension, atrial fibrillation pretty much sucks and also leads to earlier death than otherwise.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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