Big Pharma snared by net
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Observer (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Posted: December 30th, 2006
No one foresaw ... the shocking extent to which the internet would change the terms of trade between corporations and society. One of the world's largest drug companies [was] the first victim. Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, the world's second-largest pharma, denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $2.5m ... for concealing evidence of its antidepressant Seroxat's potential for harming children, while doing them no measurable good. Infinitely more frightening ... this pharma had the backing of institutions that we, the public, rely on to protect us from poisoning by prescription. The Royal College of Psychiatrists had insisted only a year earlier that 'there is no evidence that antidepressant drugs can cause dependence syndromes'. It was really the internet that allowed public health activists to do an end run around GSK's and the medical authorities' denials of the drug's risks. An explosion of websites dedicated to vivid accounts of antidepressant reactions told these campaigners about hundreds of thousands affected by a problem that officially did not exist. Health activists in Britain and America have uncovered the core of pharma might. In both countries, clinical drug tests are paid for by the pharmas, who tweak the trials' design for the best possible results. Until recently, only the most favourable findings got published in the 20,000-odd biomedical journals, many of them dependent on pharmas for funding. The drugs are approved for marketing by regulators, whose salaries are mostly financed by the subjects of their evaluations. The medicines are then prescribed by doctors routinely courted with pharma gifts ... meant to persuade them to change their prescribing habits.
Note: For a two-page summary with lots more reliable information on major health cover-ups by a doctor who was editor-in-chief of one of the most pretigious medical journals in the world, click here.