Unethical practices - drug industry

Lisetta Hagens lisetta.hagens at mhmr.state.tx.us
Fri Sep 1 15:52:25 EST 1995

Wait a moment.Your statement about the study you are citing that 
nifedipine (brand name Procardia) causes more heart attacks in 
hypertension sufferers than no treatment at all is not entirely accurate. 
 That study was RETROSPECTIVE and studied people who WERE treated for 
hypertension with nifedipine or some other type of anti-hypertensive 
drug.  The people treated with nifedipine had more heart attacks than 
those treated with other drugs.
BUT the study has some scientific flaws: (1) It could not compensate for 
prescriber bias toward various drugs, meaning the sickest people (already 
prone to heart attacks) may have gotten the nifedipine because it is 
relatively easy to tolerate compared to some other antihypertensives.
(2)the study was based on the IMMEDIATE-RELEASE form of nifedipine (ie, 
10mg capsule) which has never been FDA approved for treatment of 
hypertension.  The approved form of nifedipine for hypertension is 
SUSTAINED-RELEASE such as Procardia-XL or Adalat-CC.  These forms of 
nifedipine were not covered in the study.  I am not shilling for the drug 
companies, they've screwed me over enough in my lifetime. But the way the 
media is jumping on this from the scare-tactic angle is unconscionable. 
People who need medication may stop using it for no good reason.
Except for the fact that the media can be unilateral in reporting a story 
and we just assume a free press is an accurate press.

L.Hagens, RPh

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