Unethical practices - drug industry

Kurt James Purcell purcell at ee.ualberta.ca
Tue Aug 15 10:29:04 EST 1995

vinkers at gallium.chem.vu.nl (vinkers) writes:

>Besides, what do physicians know about neurotransmitters :-?

     Well, I would hope that they know that neurotransmitters exist, that
there are more than one type, and that they control almost every aspect of 
our lives.  If not, he's (she's) one crummy doctor and I certainly wouldn't
want to see them if I had Parkinson's.

     We won't go into how I think all doctors should take upgrading courses 
and so some of thoses older physicians will stop prescribing like
it's still 1950.  Last year there were 1300 new drugs developed. 
It's mind boggling to even think of how many have been invented since 1989 
(when I graduated).  
     You do raise a very good point about product monographs.  I also think
all physicians should take a course in reading these things.  You'd be shocked
at what these companies (not all, but at least some) do to skew the statistics.
In one case I was reading, a drug caused 19%  of people to get drowsy.
The placebo caused 7% of people to get drowsy.  (all of this is in small
type).  Then, it really large letters at the top of the article it has
"Causes drowsyness in only 12% of patients". (they assumed they could
subtract the 7% from the 19% as the 7% would have gotten 
drowsy anyway).  Now some drug company who told the truth would have
"Causes drowsyness in 19% of patients" .  

     If you were a busy physician who only had time to read the bold
print while you were in the john, which drug would you prescribe, assuming
all other things were equal?  

Michelle LaBrosse-Purcell
B.Sc (pharmacology)

purcell at nyquist.ee.ualberta.ca		                  
University of Alberta,			 
Edmonton, Alberta.                       

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