Drug company fraud revealed

This latest incident does nothing to strengthen our trust in Big Pharma

R

ecently, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical company, was found guilty of wrongful marketing and withholding information about their products. As a result, GSK must pay $3 billion over misconduct concerning the antidepressant Paxil, the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the anti-diabetic drug Avandia.

Failing to include unfavorable information about a drug is an error of omission that would affect overall sales. In the other cases, wrongful marketing means the drug company was marketing drugs for untested or unapproved uses.  This is otherwise known as “off-label” use. GSK was found guilty of encouraging doctors to use their medications in ways that were not as they were intended. The first issue concerned Paxil. GSK was marketing Paxil as an antidepressant for children. It has been approved for treatment of depression in adults, but not in children. The clinical studies conducted on children and adolescents, all showed a lack of efficacy of Paxil in this age group (Mercola.com, July 2012).

Wellbutrin, another antidepressant, was illegally marketed for weight loss and to treat sexual dysfunction. While Wellbutrin is in a different class of antidepressants than Paxil, a decrease in side effects does not equate with primary indication.

Avandia, an anti-diabetic drug, entered the market in 1999. By 2007, a scientific study had “linked this drug to a 43 per cent increased risk of heart attack, and a 64 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular death compared to patients treated with other methods” (N Engl J Med, Jun 2007).

This isn’t the first time a huge drug company has been caught illegally promoting off-label uses of drugs. In 2009, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion over the same issue on four of its drugs.

Does this conduct from these huge drug companies shake our trust in the Big Pharma orchestrated medical system? Probably.

Part of the problem may be that people think marketing is forthright and based on facts. On the contrary, marketing is designed to get products and ideas sold. Facts come from research and even scientific studies can be misleading.

What is the bottom line? Doctors are permitted to prescribe drugs as they see fit but suppliers are not allowed to advertise off-label, or unapproved, uses. Ultimately, when your doctor makes a recommendation and hands you a prescription, you at that point choose to accept it, dismiss it or hold an “I’m not sure yet” stance.

Perhaps you may find the motivation to gather more information about a given treatment.  It might not be easy, but we would hope our trusted physician has already done this for us and is ethical enough not to be swayed by marketing tactics. So, let this event act as a reminder to everyone to take an active role in our health and seek less hazardous interventions if possible.

 

Just Posted

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

The total earnings of Town of Qualicum Beach council and mayor amounted to $186,649 in 2020, including expenses. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Nine Qualicum Beach town employees earned more than $100K in 2020

Mayor and council received earnings totalling $186,649

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read