Unethical practices - drug industry

Sy Fisher sfisher at utmb.edu
Sun Aug 27 20:50:53 EST 1995

jffiii at aol.com (JFFIII) wrote:
>The accusation of drug companies deliberately withholding information
>after a drug has been approved and marketed is one of those very rare but
>uncalled for events I alluded to in my previous letter.  Sy Fisher states
>that drug companies deliberately withhold vital information gleaned from 
>clincal experience.  Again, this has happened but is so rare as to be
>newsworthy.  Monitoring side effects is something all major innovators of
>drugs do and voluntary withdrawals are fairly common--even when it hurts. 


> Hope everyone is healthy.      John

-John (? Last Name)

I think it's rather sad that you so glibly continue to
make an assertion that is simply not true.  I again repeat 
that I have never charged "that drug companies deliberately 
withhold vital information gleaned from clincal experience." 
You will not find that statement in my original post (which 
I'm still not sure you've ever read thoroughly) or in any of 
my subsequent posts.  What I did reply to you recently was:

"I agree that no drug company wants to market a product, or 
even keep a product on the market, 'at all cost.'  But once 
a drug has got by FDA, and absent the discovery of unexpected 
pernicious ADRs, a number of companies are prepared to push 
the limits of ethical behavior when they feel that their 
profits are being threatened.  You say that 'All major drug 
makers (brand name innovators) closely monitor their products 
to see if any additional side effects will occur that were not 
evident in the extensive clinical trials that must be carried 
out before approval takes place.'  You omit the additional fact, 
however, that pharmaceutical manufacturers are required by law 
to submit to the FDA reports of all suspected domestic ADRs.  
And except for any life-threatening ADRs that could lead to 
both a public health and a public relations disaster, the 
companies drag their feet when it comes to postmarketing 
monitoring, which in general is most superficial.  I've learned 
the hard way that one quintessential example of this is in the 
area where two or more drugs can be systematically compared for 
their ADR profiles--the industry simply does not want this type 
of research going on.   

"A few weeks ago I finished a "Part II" follow-up to "Hanky-Panky 
in the Pharmaceutical Industry" that I've been waiting to post in 
September after Labor Day, when many people will have returned from their 
vacations.  It concludes with the following paragraph:

 " 'Somehow we ought to be able to loudly and clearly warn 
the 'ethical' pharmaceutical industry that, while we admire 
and are grateful for their many therapeutic accomplishments, 
we will not tolerate their placing dollars before truth.' 

" I hope you agree. And if you haven't read my original post from 
July (which includes no reference to any "efforts by drug companies
to keep previously undiscovered side effects swept under the carpet"), 
I'd be happy to E-mail a copy to you.     

"-Sy    (BTW, would you at least please E-mail me your last name, 
title, and company?)"

*   *   *   

So, jffiii at aol.com, why can't you try to be responsive to what 
I did say, rather than what I didn't say?

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