Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grab Your Buyer Beware Boots in Pharma's New Wild West

If past behavior is indicative of future performance, hold onto your buyer beware boots. Not only can airlines treat customers like prisoners and not offer refunds, drug companies can manufacture data on the efficacy of their drugs. The New York Times reported:

The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article to be published Wednesday in a leading medical journal.

The Journal of the American Medical Association said the analysis showed that Merck had apparently manipulated dozens of publications to promote Vioxx.

“It is clear that at least some of the authors played little direct roles in the study or review, yet still allowed themselves to be named as authors,” the editorial said.

Combine this with a new Food and Drug Administration rule relaxation, and America faces the prospect of more drug company fiction to increase sales, revenues and profits. The FDA plans to allow drug companies to market "off label" uses of their products as long as an article on the practice has been published by a trade magazine.

Let's see, if they gamed the old system with all its controls, what will they do with a virtual Wild West for off label indications? I smell some snake oil coming, and guess who's ready to help? An affiliate of the infamous, politically connected Carlyle Group specializes in helping big pharma market their goods.