Pfizer caught faking it again
By Christine O’Brien on 01/08/2010
Big Pharma crimes uncovered AGAIN?
How many times do we have to go through this before the rest of the world stops trusting Pfizer? Yet again, it’s been uncovered that they tampered with trial results to seek more opportunities to line their pockets. And you can bet they’ll bounce back to do it again.I’m not at all surprised. But that doesn’t mean I’m not seeing red.
Once again, Pfizer’s been caught in shady dealings. And once again, we’re all left to pick up the pieces.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University examined internal documents from Pfizer and found the Big Pharma giant appears to have altered or just trashed unfavorable study findings in an effort to expand the use of their epilepsy drug Neurontin.
Looking for more cash as always, they were looking into getting it out there for pain and migraines. So they lined up trial after trial, eager for approval. And in the meantime, they kept nudging doctors about these off-label uses (though we all know that kind of marketing is illegal).
Now, clinical trials are supposed to be built around a very specific scientific question. And of course there are rules,including that, once that question is asked, researchers can’t go back and change it without an official amendment.
Rules? Pfizer doesn’t need no stinkin’ rules!
When Neurontin didn’t perform as they wanted, Pfizer started playing musical chairs with the study outcomes. Some they changed. Some they shifted around. And some, they just ditched. Of 20 study reports that should have been available, eight never made it into medical journals. Of the 12 that did make it, a full eight were altered.
Despite being sued for their actions back in 2004, the Pfizer studies in question still aren’t publicly available.
These actions are terrible, to be sure. But the way they’re covered by the media isn’t helping, either. When I found this story, it was in the Health section of ABC’s Web site. A multi-billion dollar company plays with the numbers in search of more and more money, and it’s “Health” news because the company makes drugs. Yet when financial companies mess with the lives of the American people, it doesn’t get shuffled off to “Business,” does it?
This kind of news needs to be brought to the front page. Tucking it away in the “Health” section just isn’t going to cut it. Because once a company starts screwing around with the lives of millions of people, that’s no longer “Health.” It’s front-page-headline worthy news.
But as long as these reports keep getting pushed to the inner sections of the news, they’re a lot easier to ignore. And Big Pharma is free to keep doing whatever they want with our lives.
And, as long as we keep letting drug companies fund their own research, this is going to keep happening again and again. We can’t trust them to keep our best interests at heart—with these criminals, the almighty dollar will always win out over our health and well being.
Source: “Report Shows Pfizer’s Hand in Neurontin Studies,” ABC News (abcnews.go.com).
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