Pharmaceutical Corruption News Articles
Excerpts of Key Pharmaceutical Corruption News Articles in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important pharmaceutical corruption news articles from the major media suggesting a cover-up.
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Stanford faculty still taking drug firms' money
2010-12-20, San Francisco Chronicle/ProPublica
Last year, Stanford banned its physicians from giving paid promotional talks for pharmaceutical companies. One thing it didn't do was make sure its faculty followed that rule. A ProPublica investigation ["Dollars for Docs"] found that more than a dozen of the school's doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of Stanford policy - two of them were paid six figures since last year. Conflict-of-interest policies have become increasingly important as academic medical centers worry that promotional talks undermine the credibility not only of the physicians giving them, but also of the institutions they represent. Yet when it comes to enforcing the policies, universities have allowed permissive interpretations and relied on the honor system. That approach isn't working. Many physicians are in apparent violation, and ignorance or confusion about the rules is widespread. As a result, some faculty physicians stay on the industry lecture circuit, where they can net tens of thousands of dollars in additional income. Critics of the practice say delivering talks for drug companies is incompatible with teaching future generations of physicians. That's because drug firms typically pick the topic of the lecture, train the speakers and require them to use company-provided presentation slides.
Note: "Dollars for Docs" is an ongoing investigation into the influence of drug company marketing payments on medical providers. To search for a doctor in the database, click here.
A placebo is a placebo is a placebo ... or maybe not, a new study suggests
2010-10-18, The Los Angeles Times
Many drug trials involve a placebo, a sham drug whose results are compared with the results of the real medication. A placebo is supposed to contain a harmless substance, such as sugar or vegetable oil, which has no significant effect on the body. In [a new] study, researchers delved into 176 studies published in reputable medical journals ... from January 2008 to December 2009 to see if placebo contents were disclosed and if so, what they were. The study authors argue that placebo ingredients may not always be as inconsequential as some may think. They write: "For instance, olive oil and corn oil have been used as the placebo in trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs. This may lead to an understatement of drug benefit: The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids of these 'placebos,' and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, can reduce lipid levels and heart disease." Certain placebos, they add, may skew results in favor of the active drug. The researchers referenced a trial for a drug used to treat anorexia linked with cancer in which a lactose placebo was used. Since lactose intolerance is common among cancer patients, the fact that some suffered stomach problems from the placebo may have made the actual drug look more beneficial. "Perfect placebo is not the aim," they write, "rather, we seek to ensure that its composition is disclosed."
Note: For key reports from major media sources on important issues related to health and medicine, click here.
Johnson & Johnson CEO: 'We made a mistake'
2010-09-30, CNN Money
Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon delivered both a mea culpa and clear admission to [the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform] that his company let the public down through numerous recent drug recalls. He also admitted that the company secretly bought up defective drugs without informing regulators and consumers of its actions. The committee has been investigating circumstances that have led to more than half a dozen recalls this year of non-prescription cold and pain drugs such as Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin made by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. Weldon's [pledge] to never let this happen again was met with some skepticism. [Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY)] said [the] testimony indicates some very serious problems in "the way Johnson & Johnson viewed its responsibility to the public and its day-to-day relationship with the FDA." There is often a thin line between "working cooperatively" and having a "cozy relationship," he said. "The documents we have seen in this case indicate this line may have been crossed early and often."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
Cholesterol-Busting Statins: Study Raises New Concerns
2010-06-29, ABC News
Nearly two years ago, a study known as the JUPITER [Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention] trial hinted at a new era in the use of statins -- one in which the cholesterol-busting drugs could be used to stave off heart-related death in many more people than just those with high cholesterol. Now, however, researchers behind a new review that takes a second look at the findings of the landmark study say that these results are flawed -- and that they do not support the benefits initially reported. Not only did this second look turn up no evidence of the "striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications" reported by investigators behind JUPITER, but it has also called into question drug companies' involvement in such trials, according to an article in the June 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Moreover, Dr. Michel de Lorgeril of Joseph Fourier University and the National Center of Scientific Research in Grenoble, France, and coauthors argue that major discrepancies exists between the significant reductions in nonfatal stroke and heart attacks reported in the JUPITER trial and what has been found in other research. "The JUPITER data set appears biased," Lorgeril and coauthors wrote in conclusion. De Lorgeril and coauthors point out that nine of 14 authors of the JUPITER article have financial relationships with AstraZeneca, which sponsored the trial.
Note: There is intriguing evidence that much of the fear around cholesterol was fabricated to sell drugs. For more on this, see the article by one of the most respected doctors on the Internet at this link.
Pfizer Employee Claims Company Fired Her After Infection From An Engineered Virus
2010-03-16, Popular Science
A former Pfizer scientist is suing the pharmaceuticals giant after alleging she contracted an artificial, HIV-like, virus created by a colleague. In her lawsuit, Becky McClain claims Pfizer unlawfully dismissed her while she suffered bouts of paralysis brought on by the man-made virus. Pfizer denies these accusations, and says McClain simply didn't come to work, and only linked her problems to engineered-disease exposure after she was fired. According to McClain, researchers in her lab genetically engineered an artificial lentivirus, a class of viruses that also includes HIV. McClain believes that she became infected by the virus due to faulty safety measures, resulting in complete body paralysis as often as 12 times every month. Most likely, we will never know if it is Pfizer's virus that caused McClain's health problems. The court case will focus mostly on safety procedures in the laboratory, not on what exactly from the lab caused the illness. Also, Pfizer refuses to release the genome of the suspected virus, preventing both identification of the disease, as well as the development of a possible cure.
Note: Isn't it interesting that Pfizer is involved in creating HIV-like viruses? How long has this been going on?
Questions for Dr. Marcia Angell
2009-08-12, New York Times blog
[Anne Underwood:] President Obama hopes to increase the number of Americans with insurance and to rein in costs. Do you believe any of the plans under consideration by Congress will accomplish those goals? [Dr. Marcia Angell:] They won’t, and that’s the essential problem. If you keep health care in the hands of for-profit companies, you can do one or the other — increase coverage by putting more money into the system, or control costs by decreasing coverage. But you cannot do both unless you change the basic structure of the system. Q. Segments of the health care industry — pharmaceutical companies, for instance — are promising to cut costs. A. It’s not going to happen. These are investor-owned companies. Their fiduciary responsibility is to maximize profits. If they behaved like charities, heads would roll in the executive suites. Q. But what about market mechanisms for reducing costs? Wouldn’t the public option, for instance, provide competition for the insurance companies? A. Theoretically it would, but I doubt the public plan will pass. Industry is lobbying against it, and the president has not said this is a “must.” Even if it does pass, I’m afraid the private insurance industry will use their clout in Congress — and they have enormous clout in Congress — to hobble the public option and use it as a dumping ground for the sickest while they cream off the young and healthy for themselves. Q. How? Won’t insurance companies have to cover all applicants regardless of health status? A. It’s hard to regulate an enormous industry without setting up a bureaucracy to oversee it. That’s very expensive and creates a whole new set of problems.
Note: Dr. Marcia Angell is a senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. A longtime critic of the pharmaceutical industry, she has called for an end to market-driven delivery of health care in the United States. To read a two-page summary of her critique of market-driven health care, click here.
Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments
2009-06-13, Washington Post
Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer's debate. The list of members who have personal investments in the corporations that will be affected by the legislation -- which President Obama has called this year's highest domestic priority -- includes Congress's most powerful leaders and a bipartisan collection of lawmakers in key committee posts. Their total health-care holdings could be worth $27 million, because congressional financial disclosure forms released yesterday require reporting of only broad ranges of holdings rather than precise values of assets.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), for instance, has at least $50,000 invested in a health-care index, and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a senior member of the health committee, has between $254,000 and $560,000 worth of stock holdings in major health-care companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck. The family of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee drafting that chamber's legislation, held at least $3.2 million in more than 20 health-care companies at the end of last year. "If someone is going to be substantially enriched by the consequences of the vote, particularly if it represents a meaningful amount of their net worth, then there is a problem," said Harlan Krumholz, a professor of medicine at Yale University.
Note: For more powerful information on major corruption in health care reform, click here. For lots more on government corruption from reliable, verfiiable sources, click here.
UCSF says reports on drug trials skew positive
2008-12-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
What are the pills in your medicine cabinet, and how do you know they're best for you? When drug companies seek approval to market new medicines, they must show the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the results of all the tests they've run on volunteer patients - at first on only a few, then on dozens, and finally on hundreds or sometimes thousands. After winning approval, the companies typically sponsor reports of those tests in medical journal publications, which many doctors often rely on to determine whether to prescribe new drugs for their patients. Now a skeptical team of medical investigators at UCSF has accused the major drug companies of bias by distorting the results of their trials in those publications, making it hard for doctors to judge for themselves the pros and cons of prescribing the new drugs. As a result, the researchers say, patients may sometimes be taking medicines they don't need - or with unwanted side effects - that their doctors have prescribed on the basis of inadequate information. The UCSF team, led by Lisa A. Bero of the medical center's Institute for Health Policy Studies, probed the details of 164 drug trials involving as many as 1,500 patients over a two-year period and then examined reports on those trials that were published in medical journals, as well as those that remained unpublished. "We found really important information from the official trial reports that were either not published at all or that stressed mostly the positive results of trials in the published versions," said Kristin Rising, a physician at the institute who did the major investigation.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Psychiatric Group Faces Scrutiny Over Drug Industry Ties
2008-07-12, New York Times
It seemed an ideal marriage, a scientific partnership that would attack mental illness from all sides. Psychiatrists would bring ... their expertise and clinical experience, drug makers would provide their products and the money to run rigorous studies, and patients would get better medications, faster. But now the profession itself is under attack in Congress, accused of allowing this relationship to become too cozy. After a series of stinging investigations of individual doctors’ arrangements with drug makers, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, is demanding that the American Psychiatric Association, the field’s premier professional organization, give an accounting of its financing. "I have come to understand that money from the pharmaceutical industry can shape the practices of nonprofit organizations that purport to be independent in their viewpoints and actions," Mr. Grassley said. In 2006 ... the drug industry accounted for about 30 percent of the association’s $62.5 million in financing. One of the doctors named by Mr. Grassley is the association’s president-elect, Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg of Stanford, whose $4.8 million stock holdings in a drug development company raised the senator’s concern. Commercial arrangements are rampant throughout medicine. In the past two decades, drug and device makers have paid tens of thousands of doctors and researchers of all specialties. Worried that this money could taint doctors’ research plans or clinical judgment, government agencies, medical journals and universities have been forced to look more closely at deal details.
Note: For many powerful reports of corporate corruption, click here.
Drug Co. To Pay $515M Over Marketing
2007-09-28, CBS News
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and a former subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle federal and state investigations into their drug marketing and pricing practices. The civil settlement ... resolves a broad array of allegations against Bristol-Myers Squibb, dating from 1994 through 2005. Among them was a charge that the ... company illegally promoted the sale of Abilify, an anti-psychotic drug, for pediatric use and to treat dementia-related psychoses. Neither use is approved by the U.S. [FDA]. Although physicians are permitted to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, drug companies are prohibited from marketing them for uses that have not been approved by the FDA. U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said when pharmaceutical companies market drugs for unapproved uses, there is a potential risk that patients could be harmed, because the drugs have not been tested as rigorously as they are during the FDA approval process. The government also alleged the company paid illegal inducements in the form of consulting fees and trips to luxury resorts to influence doctors and other health care providers to buy and prescribe the company's drugs. The company's former generic drug subsidiary, Apothecon Inc., also was accused of giving illegal enticements to induce retail pharmacy and wholesale customers to buy its products. Bristol-Myers Squibb misreported its best price for the anti-depression drug Serzone, violating a law that requires drug companies to report their lowest price to Medicaid, prosecutors said. The company was selling Serzone to a larger commercial purchaser at a lower price, prosecutors said. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apothecon also inflated prices for an assortment of oncology and generic drugs knowing that federal health care programs established reimbursement rates based on those prices, Sullivan said.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption, click here.
Diagnosis: Conflict of Interest
2007-06-13, New York Times
The revelation that the diabetes drug Avandia can potentially cause heart disease is the latest in a string of pharmaceutical disappointments. Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004 because it doubled the risks for heart attacks and strokes. Eli Lilly recently paid $750 million to settle lawsuits alleging that Zyprexa causes diabetes. Many have criticized the Food and Drug Administration as being too lax about monitoring drug safety. While those criticisms have merit, there is another culprit: the transformation of continuing medical education into an enterprise for drug marketing. The chore of teaching doctors how to practice medicine has been handed to the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, dangerous side effects are rarely on the curriculum. Most states require that doctors obtain a minimum number of credit hours of continuing medical education each year to maintain their medical licenses. Not so long ago, most of these courses were produced and paid for by universities and medical associations. But this has changed drastically over the past decade. Drug-industry financing of continuing medical education has nearly quadrupled since 1998, from $302 million to $1.12 billion. Half of all continuing medical education courses in the United States are now paid for by drug companies, up from a third a decade ago. Because pharmaceutical companies now set much of the agenda for what doctors learn about drugs, crucial information about potential drug dangers is played down, to the detriment of patient care. For example, GlaxoSmithKline footed the bill for dozens of educational courses intended to emphasize the benefits of Avandia over other drugs.
Note: For a concise, reliable overview of medical corruption, click here.
Inside Medicine: Some 'diseases' invented for profit
2007-05-26, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento's leading newspaper)
By Dr. Michael Wilkes. When is a disease really a disease? Young doctors in training work hard, and so do lots of other people. When people work 24 hours in a row ... the body feels tired. Is this fatigue an abnormal physiologic state requiring medication and treatment, or is it a normal part of belonging to the human race? If abnormal, then doctors and pharmaceutical companies argue that the fatigue requires treatment. If it is normal -- despite a movement to label it as an illness -- then post-work fatigue belongs to the growing phenomenon of disease-mongering. "Disease-mongering" ... is the process of trying to convince healthy people that they are sick, or people with minor problems that they have extremely worrisome symptoms. This is all in an attempt to sell treatments. Countless examples of disease-mongering are driven by the pharmaceutical industry's drive to sell drugs. Conditions such as female sexual dysfunction syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, toenail fungus, baldness and social anxiety disorder (a.k.a. shyness) are a few places where the medical community has stepped in, thereby turning normal or mild conditions into diseases for which medication is the treatment. Most pharmaceutical companies devote huge amounts of money to prevent, control and cure diseases. When their profits don't match corporate expectations, they invent "new" diseases to be cured by existing drugs. What happens to real diseases when [the media] are filled with information promoting disease mongering? Government funding for public health campaigns pales by comparison with the billions spent by pharmaceutical companies on disease mongering intended to increase the markets for their products.
Note: For more reliable information about major corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
Doctors' Ties to Drug Companies Called Commonplace
2007-04-25, Washington Post
The ties between doctors and drug manufacturers are close indeed. Most physicians (94 percent) reported some type of relationship with the pharmaceutical industry ... according to [a] study, published in the April 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Most of these relationships involved receiving food in the workplace (83 percent) or receiving drug samples (78 percent). More than one-third of the respondents (35 percent) were reimbursed for costs associated with professional meetings or continuing medical education, while more than one-quarter (28 percent) were paid for consulting, delivering lectures or enrolling patients in clinical trials. Over the past two decades, physician-industry relationships have attracted increasing scrutiny. One review found that, on average, physicians meet with industry representatives four times a month, and medical residents accept six gifts annually from industry representatives. "We know that these relationships have benefits and risks, and we know that they benefit the companies that are involved, and we know from our data that they benefit doctors," said study author Eric G. Campbell, an assistant professor of health care policy at the Institute for Health Policy at Harvard Medical School. "The real question is to what extent do these relationships benefit patients, and the answer is, we don't know." Campbell said that he found it hard to believe that free football tickets for a doctor would trickle down to benefit patients.
Note: For an excellent article by one of the foremost doctors in the nation on how the pharmaceutical industry has corrupted politics and damaged our health, click here.
F.D.A. Warns of Sleeping Pills’ Strange Effects
2007-03-15, New York Times
The most widely prescribed sleeping pills can cause strange behavior like driving and eating while asleep, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday, announcing that strong new warnings will be placed on the labels of 13 drugs. Use of those medications and other similar drugs has soared by more than 60 percent since 2000, fueled by television, print and other advertising. Last year, makers of sleeping pills spent more than $600 million on advertising aimed at consumers. Sales in the United States of Ambien and Lunesta alone last year exceeded $3 billion. Last year ... some users of the most widely prescribed drug, Ambien, started complaining online and to their doctors about unusual reactions ranging from fairly benign sleepwalking episodes to hallucinations, violent outbursts, nocturnal binge eating and — most troubling of all — driving while asleep. Sleep-drivers reported frightening episodes in which they recalled going to bed, but woke up to find they had been arrested roadside in their underwear or nightclothes. The agency also received reports of people making phone calls, purchasing items over the Internet, or having sex under the influence of sleep medication. In each case the consumers had no recollection of the events, which they said had occurred after they took their pills and headed for bed. "Hopefully this will make doctors think twice before blindly giving patients a prescription," said Dr. Mahowald. He also criticized marketing of the products. "I personally think the extent of advertising has just been unconscionable," he said.
Note: A reliable insider told us of a harrowing story where his company and the FDA made a secret agreement not to report numerous deaths resulting from one test drug so that it would pass and bring major profits. For lots more reliable, verifiable information on major corruption in the drug companies affecting your health, click here.
Texas Governor Defends Vaccine Order
2007-02-22, MSNBC/Associated Press
Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday angrily defended his relationship with Merck & Co. and his executive order requiring that schoolgirls receive the drugmaker's vaccine against the sexually transmitted cervical-cancer virus. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Perry's chief of staff had met with key aides about the vaccine on Oct. 16, the same day Merck's political action committee donated $5,000 to the governor's campaign. In issuing the order, the governor made Texas the first state to require the vaccine Gardasil for all schoolgirls. But many lawmakers have complained about his bypassing the Legislature altogether. The executive order has inflamed conservatives, who said it contradicts Texas' abstinence-only sexual education policies and intrudes into families' lives. Critics have previously questioned Perry's ties to Merck. Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff, now lobbies for the drug company. And the governor accepted a total of $6,000 from Merck during his re-election campaign. Merck has waged a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to get state legislatures to require girls to get the three-dose vaccine to enroll in school. But on Tuesday the pharmaceutical company announced it was suspending the effort because of pressure from parents and medical groups. The Kentucky House on Thurday passed a bill that would require the vaccination for middle school girls unless their parents sign a form opposing it. Virginia lawmakers have also passed legislation requiring the vaccine, but the governor has not decided if he will sign it.
Note: The drug company lobby is the most powerful in the U.S., as reported by the former editor-in-chief of one of the most respected medical journals in the U.S. Click here for more.
Eli Lilly accused of shaping drug guidelines
2006-10-18, MSNBC/Associated Press
Several government doctors say drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. subtly orchestrated medical guidelines for treatment of an often lethal blood infection, hoping to boost sales of a drug whose value is being debated. “This company is trying to insinuate its drug into many aspects of patient care that industry really shouldn’t be involved in,” said Dr. Naomi O’Grady, a critical care specialist at the National Institutes of Health. Three of her NIH colleagues claim in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine that Lilly worked through medical societies to influence standards for treating the blood infection, sepsis. Ultimately, Xigris was incorporated into the guidelines. Both the guidelines committee and a larger information campaign on sepsis were heavily funded by [Lilly]. Dr. Phil Dellinger, who helped lead the guidelines committee, said...“We’ve been catching grief because we’ve been taking a lot of Lilly money — and we’re appreciative of Lilly giving it.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Xigris in 2001, despite an evenly split vote by its advisory committee. The lead author of Thursday’s journal article, Dr. Peter Q. Eichacker, voted against approval. Some critics are unhappy that the drug, which works only for the sickest patients, was approved on the basis of a single experiment. Academic officials acknowledged in the published guidelines that Lilly gave more than 90 percent of $861,000 in grants for the campaign and medical recommendations. O’Grady, of NIH, said a panel of disease experts that she headed refused to endorse the sepsis guidelines largely because Lilly “convened the whole panel.”
Note: For lots more on how the powerful pharmaceutical industry endangers our lives, click here.
Donations tie drug firms and nonprofits
2006-05-28, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia's leading newspaper)
The American Diabetes Association...privately enlisted an Eli Lilly & Co. executive to chart its growth strategy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness...lobbies for treatment programs that also benefit its drug-company donors. The National Gaucher Foundation...gets nearly all its revenue from one drugmaker, Genzyme Corp. Many patient groups and drug companies maintain close, multimillion-dollar relationships while disclosing limited or no details about the ties. An Inquirer examination of six groups, each a leading advocate for patients in a disease area, found that the groups rarely disclose such ties when commenting or lobbying about donors' drugs. Combined, the six received at least $29 million from drug companies last year. The amount ranged from 2 percent to 7 percent of revenue at the Arthritis Foundation, to 89 percent to 91 percent at the much smaller National Gaucher Foundation. The funding usually comes from the companies' marketing or sales divisions, not charity offices. Grants often rise with promotional spending as a drug hits the market and fall when sales ebb. Donations from Merck and Pfizer Inc. to the Arthritis Foundation more than doubled, to at least $1.65 million combined, in 2000 as they launched Vioxx and Celebrex. Merck explicitly wove the foundation into sales strategies. In 2000-2001, the American Diabetes Association did not disclose an unusual gift from Lilly: a lent executive, Emerson "Randy" Hall Jr., who moved into its Alexandria, Va., headquarters and coached it on growth strategies, all paid by Lilly.
Note: If you want to understand how the huge pharmaceutical industry influences what you know about their drugs, this article is a must read. You may first want to read a riveting two-page summary of an exposé by the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, who details major collusion and corruption in the pharmaceutical industry at http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup
Drug firms accused of turning healthy people into patients
2006-04-11, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
According to reports published today...healthy people are being turned into patients by drug firms which publicise mental and sexual problems and promote little-known conditions only then to reveal the medicines they say will treat them.The studies, published in a respected medical journal, accuse the pharmaceutical industry of "disease mongering" - a practice in which the market for a drug is inflated by convincing people they are sick and in need of medical treatment. The "corporate-sponsored creation of disease" wastes resources and may even harm people because of the medication they turn to, the researchers add. In 11 papers in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine, experts from Britain, the US and elsewhere argue that new diseases are being defined by specialists who are often funded by the drug industry.According to the researchers, the campaigns boost drug sales by medicalising aspects of normal life.
Note: For more on how the pharmaceutical companies can negatively impact your health and your wallet:
Medical research increasingly funded by industry
2006-03-17, Reuters/Princeton Media Associates
From 1994 to 2003, medical research funded by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies steadily increased and now surpasses research funded by government or public sources, according to a review of the most frequently cited studies. In the new study, reported in the March 17th online issue of the British Medical Journal, the sponsorship of 289 articles...was determined. Overall, 60% of articles had government or public funding and 36% were funded by industry. However, this masks the dramatic rise in industry funding that occurred over time: in 1994, roughly 30% of articles were funded by industry compared with over 50% in 2001. Moreover, 65 of the 77 most cited randomized controlled trials involved industry funding. "Medical research should reflect public needs more closely and the efforts of all of those involved should be better coordinated," the authors emphasize.
Merck CEO Resigns as Drug Probe Continues
2005-05-06, Washington Post
Merck & Co.'s longtime leader Raymond V. Gilmartin abruptly resigned yesterday on the same day congressional investigators released a slew of documents detailing how the company continued to aggressively promote its arthritis drug Vioxx after it knew of potentially serious safety concerns. The documents...showed that Merck directed its 3,000-person Vioxx sales force to avoid discussions with doctors about the cardiovascular risks identified in a major clinical trial of the drug in 2000. Sales representatives were told instead to rely on a "Cardiovascular Card" that said Vioxx was protecting the heart rather than potentially harming it. They were [also] trained how to smile, speak and position themselves most effectively when talking with doctors, and were exhorted to sell Vioxx and other Merck drugs using the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Vioxx was withdrawn from the market last September after another clinical trial found that people who had taken the drug for 18 months were five times more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those on a placebo. Merck was sharply criticized in a hearing into how the company and the Food and Drug Administration had handled the safety concerns surrounding Vioxx.
Explore our full index
to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.