Jul 022012

The long running settlement talks finally concluded and GlaxoSmithKline paid $3 Billion dollars in fines to the US government. Along with the various allegations of promoting off-label use of its drugs, the company was also involved in bribing the doctors.

"GSK's sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations to paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours to a European pheasant hunt to tickets to Madonna concerts, and this is just to name a few," said Carmin M. Ortiz, U.S. attorney in Massachusetts.

The most despicable act of Glaxo was to promote Lexapro for use in children. Glaxo had no clinical trials or other data to show that the drug was effective in children!


 Posted by at 2:35 pm
Jul 012012

The FDA approved lorcaserin (Belviq) for weight loss this month. Company supporters are calling it a breakthrough new drug, a first of its kind, etc., etc. Pretty soon TV ads will start popping up asking people to lose weight with the help of their doctors. Pharmaceutical representatives will start unloading packages of free samples at doctors’ offices all over the country.

The drug company will spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the Belviq. Americans will spend billions of dollars on its new darling drug. The drug company will make billions in profit.

All this excitement for a drug that helps a 220 pound individual lose seven extra pounds during the first year compared to those taking a placebo. But, after two years the same individual would weigh only four pounds less on lorcaserin as compared to those taking a placebo!

The clinical studies that formed the basis of FDA's approval are not available at this time. However summary at the FDA site suggests that lorcaserin has a very incidence of unpleasant side effects, such as headache, dizziness and nausea. The patients who started on lorcaserin had a 40% drop off rate due to side effects.

Would you take a drug if you knew that it is 40% likely to make you sick?

 Posted by at 9:07 am