Physician Blows Whistle on Big Pharma Studies in New Book: Bad Pharma

English physician Ben Goldacre has written a book called Bad Pharma excerpts of which are now being published. I haven’t read the whole book yet, which is being published by Fourth Estate next week, but the excerpts are exactly what the doctor ordered–a clear, precise excoriation of the big drug industry from the point of view of a hard working doctor, trying to do the best he can for his patients. Physicians and the ┬ápublic worldwide, especially in the United States are being massively mislead about the benefits and potential dangers of drugs on the market. Ben Goldacre points out through various examples and recent studies showing that drug companies sponsor studies from which only favorable data is published. The unfavorable data is left unpublished. Often the drug trials are poorly designed on too small a sample, who are often unrepresentative patients. sometimes the results are pre-determined by the nature of the purposely misleading studies. Goldacre begins by walking through his experience with the drug Reboxetine, an antidepressant. In a major study in 2010 a group of researchers was able to bring together all the data collected on the drug only to learn that the original studies were misleading, leaving out bad results and that it is no better than a dummy sugar pill. Another drug highlighted in the book is paroxetine made by GlaxoSmithKline. It was learned that the company knew that the druh did not work in children and yet it sought authorization for the drug to be used for children. In addition, the company never told the doctors that the children were being exposed to side effects. Interestingly, the present system does not prohibit hiding negative data. Perhaps law makers will take note.

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