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Drug firms a danger to health - report
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Guardian (One of U.K.'s leading newspapers)

Guardian (One of U.K.'s leading newspapers), July 26, 2006
Posted: November 11th, 2006,,1806084,00.html

Drug companies are accused today of endangering public health through widescale marketing malpractices, ranging from covertly attempting to persuade consumers that they are ill to bribing doctors and misrepresenting the results of safety and efficacy tests on their products. In a report that charts the scale of illicit practices by drug companies in the UK and across Europe, Consumers International - the world federation of consumer organisations - says people are not being given facts about the medicines they take because the companies hide the marketing tactics on which they spend billions. "Irresponsible marketing practices form a serious, persistent and widespread problem among the entire pharmaceutical industry," says the report, which analyses the conduct of 20 of the biggest companies. Scandals such as the withdrawal of Vioxx ... show that unethical drug promotion is a consumer concern. Merck withdrew the drug in September 2004, but allegedly knew it could increase the chances of heart attacks and strokes from 2000 and has been accused of manipulating study results to play down the risk. More than 6,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company in the United States by people who claim they suffered heart attacks as a result of the drug. There is no room for complacency when drug companies spend twice as much on marketing as on research...but do not publish information on their drug promotion practices.

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