Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drug Companies Tweaking Results For Marketing?

It appears so:
"The truth for most drugs is usually something like this: Xlimicorconaphil was found, via the usual FDA process, to be marginally better than the generic in some subset of the population. Xlimicorconaphil produces slightly different side effects, or of different intensity or frequency. The drug company, having to recoup its investment, takes this information, dresses it up, and sells the pill as New and Improved!

"Nothing shady about this, especially in our all-marketing-all-the-time culture where such behavior is expected of everyone. The real worry is if doctors cease being skeptical gatekeepers."
I wonder if doctors ever were skeptical gatekeepers? Well, a few are. Dr. Briffa is one, and in a post from 2010 he notes:
"A commentary published earlier this year [2]draws our attention to the fact that while initial statin trials were overwhelmingly positive, more recent evidence has been generally negative. Specifically, since 2005, all but one statin trial has yielded neutral or negative results [3-11].It was in 2005 that new regulations regarding the registration and publishing of clinical trials came into being."
The numbers he presents in that post lead one to think that the only reason statins were found to be effective is that the researchers only released the positive results...

Nevertheless, in another post Dr. Briffa observes:
"Generally speaking, doctors have almost unbridled enthusiasm for cholesterol-reducing drugs including statins..."
Caveat emptor.