Marketing Efforts for Anti-psychotics Brings on Lawsuits

October 3rd, 2010 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

October 3rd, 2010 New York Times contains a long analysis of the problems in the marketing of antipsychotic drugs. These efforts have included ghost-writing medical journal articles, under-the-table financial inducements to medical speakers and generally pushing to expand the diagnostic criteria while burying side effects. These efforts have reaped huge profits for the companies but headaches as well in terms of lawsuits and government investigations. One of these cases involves AstraZeneca’s Seroquel. Documents revealed in lawsuits show that the company tried to hide the risks of weight gain and diabetes with the drug. One study showed that Seroquel users gained 11 pounds a year! Antipsychotic Drugs РSide Effects May Include Lawsuits РNYTimes.com

There are two lessons here. For one, this kind of behavior by pharmaceutical companies poisons the well for obesity drugs. Many in the medical community and at the FDA see in obesity drugs the same kind of fertile ground for abuse as in anti-psychotics. The second observation is that, for this category of anti-psychotics, the FDA tolerates safety problems which would be the death-knell for obesity drugs. Not the least of these safety signals is weight gain. The FDA is perfectly comfortable approving drugs which increase body weight and disapproving drugs which cause weight gain. That this pattern is so accepted by the medical community is a stunning. Why does medicine tolerate this?

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