Thursday, August 20, 2009

Here We Go Again: Court documents Allege Big Pharma Used Ghostwriting Program to Promote Antidepressant

Here is a shocker. More documents indicate that Big Pharma engaging in nefarious conduct to peddle drugs. Who is the FDA protecting, us or Big Pharma. I realize there is a revolving door at the FDA, but at some point, someone has to say enough is enough.

The AP (8/19, Perrone) reported that, "according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press," pharmaceutical maker "GlaxoSmithKline used a sophisticated ghostwriting program to promote its antidepressant Paxil [paroxetine], allowing doctors to take credit for medical journal articles mainly written by company consultants." In fact, "an internal company memo instructs salespeople to approach physicians and offer to help them write and publish articles about their positive experiences prescribing the" medication. "Known as the CASPPER program, the paper explains how the company can help physicians with everything from 'developing a topic,' to 'submitting the manuscript for publication.'" The AP notes that "the document was uncovered by the Baum Hedlund PC law firm of Los Angeles, which is representing hundreds of former Paxil users in personal injury and wrongful death suits against GlaxoSmithKline," alleging that "the company downplayed several risks connected with" the medicine, "including increased suicidal behavior and birth defects."

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