[Research] How Big Pharma & Big Herba lie

epileric

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This article is by Ben Goldacre, a doctor who has written books on how science is manipulated to show desired effects. This article shows one of the ways it's done.

The Studies he's using as examples here are for neurontin & gabapentin.

The Steps (Study of Neurontin: Titrate to Effect, Profile of Safety) trial on gabapentin was different. Instead of recruiting lots of patients through a few centres, the company turned that on its head. Why? Because Steps was a study focused on marketing, and not even in the conventionally cynical sense: it was a "seeding trial", designed and implemented on behalf of the marketing department, to promote the use of the drug by seeding as many prescribers of the drug in as many sites as possible.
http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/01/bad-science-drug-trials-seeding-trials?cat=commentisfree&type=article

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/01/bad-science-drug-trials-seeding-trials?INTCMP=SRCH

In case anyone is interested in reading more on the topic of science being manipulated check out [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Science-Ben-Goldacre/dp/000728487X/?tag=bs0b-21"]Bad Science: Amazon.co.uk: Ben Goldacre: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XNHAp4aJL.@@AMEPARAM@@51XNHAp4aJL[/ame]
 
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Nakamova

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I realize not all Big Pharma companies are equally horrid, but it does seem that in general way too much focus is on marketing and re-marketing a drug rather than actually analyzing and improving it.
 

epileric

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I realize not all Big Pharma companies are equally horrid, but it does seem that in general way too much focus is on marketing and re-marketing a drug rather than actually analyzing and improving it.
It does seem that way but you also have to realize that it's the marketing & re-marketing that we are exposed to.

Relative to the amount of research done, not very many medicines are deemed safe or marketable so of course we don't see that or hear of that research but more research is always a good thing.
 

Blue Cat

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Actually, it's quite easy to find out what is in various phases of development of any quality drug company and if they fail their end points, why. I am a company analyst and access to some of the scientists involved (some of which are also officers of the companies, and who can go through the biological details as well) so have fairly good knowledge of this area. This is not to say all are good or honorable, but as with most companies who are not honorable, they don't survive in the end. Do you realize that hundreds of drugs are worked on at various stages of development, but only a handful are found to be viable and safe. Without the ability to fund the research and development, we'd all have a choice of dialantin and not much more.
 

Nakamova

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I understand the funding issues that make the pharmaceutical industry so high-risk financially, but I don't think that automatically excuses marketing practices that fall into an ethical grey area. If the pharma business model is "broke" then sleaziness isn't the right way to fix it. (Not that I have any idea what a solution would be -- if there were an easy answer it would have already been implemented.)
 

Blue Cat

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I am not saying all marketing is appropriate, correct, or honorable. I am not saying that all profits are nothing but profiteering. I was merely noting that using a broad brush on anything can unfairly label all. Have you ever heard of 1%'ers? Many say motorcyclists are rowdy, gang-like and otherwise undesirable. It is the 1% that are bad that make the other 99% judged unfairly. Sadly there are no easy answers to anything like the needs of healthcare - if too controled there is no development and only stagnation since no one is motivated or funded to do anything. The overmarketing or "creating need" through marketing (eg all our lovely TV ads) is also not right. Somewhere there is a middle ground but who knows how to find it.
 

epileric

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Personally I think the answer (or at least part of the answer) lies in teaching the population more about critical thinking and the scientific method so that we can critically analyze how valid the marketing we're exposed to is.

That is why Ben Goldacres book interests me.
 

Cint

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The overmarketing or "creating need" through marketing (eg all our lovely TV ads) is also not right. Somewhere there is a middle ground but who knows how to find it.
I hate it that now there is drug marketing thru TV ads. The pharmaceuticals are ripping people off enough as it, so they need NO more marketing. How about the drugs that were originally developed as AEDs, some are now used for some other far-fetched illnesses? Or the anti-psychotics prescribed for Bipolar can cause Type 1 Diabetes? I bet they didn't have those drugs in the control lab long enough in the U.S., or enough people didn't die to have some of the drugs taken off the market. At least that is what happened to me with Zyprexa. I heard it was taken off the market in Japan because people did die because of the diabetic comas from the drug. The pharmaceuticals are making their $$ by power of suggestion to the general population.

Check out this website:
Big Pharma Spends More On Advertising Than Research And Development, Study Finds
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080105140107.htm
 
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