Bad Pharma: account of the bottomless corruption of the pharma industry is a stirring call to arms

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12 Responses to “Bad Pharma: account of the bottomless corruption of the pharma industry is a stirring call to arms”

  1. I’ve been following enough of these stories for long enough that I have concluded exactly what you did: the odds are no better than chance that any new medication is actually safe and efficacious, that FDA approval means nothing any more. It’s why I have a pretty firmly held rule that until a medication’s patent has run out, there just hasn’t been long enough, there just haven’t been enough patient outcomes to study, to know whether it’s safe or not, so I don’t want it in my body.

  2. johnphantom says:

    I received a settlement for side effects from one of these new drugs. I don’t think it was enough, since I have diabetes now. I read the documentation my lawyers sent me, and the funny thing is if I had died, my family would have received less.

    • koturnin says:

      Was it an atypical neuroleptic/antipsychotic by any chance? (I don’t mean anything by it; I’m a psych patient and mostly familiar with psychotropics anyway.) Some of the new ones have absolutely ridiculous rates of associated diabetes and obesity… I remember reading about a Zyprexa trial where the participants averaged 30lbs weight gain in a month! Truly scary considering that loads of negative studies funded by drug companies are never published.

      What I really hope for is free public access to all publications funded publicly or submitted to the FDA for new drug approval. Subscription and individual article prices are absurd considering how much of the labor is free or already paid for. But that’s a bit OT

  3. nixiebunny says:

    Um, perhaps unbridled capitalism isn’t such a great idea after all? I remember a time when medical advertising as outlawed – a time before this sort of abuse. What say we go back to that time?

    • Mercher says:

       I don’t see how it’s “unbridled capitalism”. There’s a ton of regulation involved – it’s just not working very well.

  4. ethicalcannibal says:

    There is that doctor saying, “don’t prescribe meds to family that hasn’t been out on the market for at least five years.” I heard it again and again as a nurse from folks. Usually from docs that distrusted the approval process. 

  5. Martin Liebermann says:

    British Medical Journal just published an editorial that refers to the Goldacre book. The industry has to give researchers access to all data, before BMJ will publish any clinical studies:  http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7304

  6. John Leach says:

    I really like Ben Goldacre, but Medialens recently wrote about how he missed out some important fundamental issues about this industry. And when questioned about it, was a bit hand-wavy (and when pressed further, after this article was written, fell back to name calling instead). I was pretty disappointed in his responses. http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=702:bad-pharma-bad-journalism&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=2

    • Niel de Beaudrap says:

      Given that the further “fundamental issues with the industry” noted by the article is essentially just “it’s run on capitalism” (as simple as that: its thrust is essentially that economics undermines pharmacology), it perhaps isn’t surprising that Ben Goldacre had less to say. Not only is he no economist, but even if he agreed, shouting it from the mountaintops would be a likely way for his warnings that the science has been corrupted to be silenced in the mainstream. Presenting the public with the existence of a problem is necessary before presenting a probable cause.

      Of course, your linked article doesn’t address the name-calling that you say was his reaction to the article; it is pretty self-congratulatory, though, about having rendered him unable to reply, when he was likely considering that he could better spend his time elsewhere.

  7. MPs have to declare their interests. Why don’t we have a mandatory register of interests for all clinicians, researchers and decision makers when it comes to the promotion, prescribing and approval of pharmaceuticals and medical products? When Dr Joe Bloggs says everyone over 45 should be taking a statin I’d like to know exactly how much ‘support’ he has received in dollar terms from their makers.

    • Tynam says:

      The simplest, most scientifically effective solution would be even easier: a register of clinical trials.  Companies shouldn’t be able to start a clinical trial without declaring in advance what the trial is, the sample size and methods, and what the acceptance conditions are.  Then log it.  A drug can’t be approved until all trials have been published.

      As always in security issues, an audit trail is the missing piece.

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