Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Ghost of Pharma Quality

The Food and Drug Administration planned 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.

Merck manipulated dozens of publications to promote Vioxx, a dangerous drug. The drug maker drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication.

Wyeth paid ghost writers to produce favorable journal articles on Prempro. Company executives came up with ideas for medical journal articles, titled them, drafted outlines, paid writers to draft the manuscripts, recruited academic authors and identified publications to run the articles — all without disclosing the companies’ roles to journal editors or readers.

Buyer beware belongs in the era of snake oil salesman. It's return under the George W. Bush administration is most disturbing.