Drug Companies – Foxes Guarding the Chicken Coop

There has been no shortage of bad press for drug manufacturers, almost all of of it for good reason.  They appear willing to do just about anything to make a buck.  Hide the results of research documenting drug’s dangers.  Price gouge on drugs critically necessary for patient survival.  Falsely market drugs that don’t work.  The list goes on and on.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a recent investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Medpage Today  revealed that drug companies far reaching influence at times extends from the development of a controversial new diagnosis to the FDA approval of the branding and sale of drugs to treat it.

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One example of such conduct involves a condition called premenstrual dystrophic disorder, PMDD, a form of PMS.  13 years before it was even recognized as a psychiatric condition, however, Eli Lilly secretly met with FDA regulators at Lilly’s expense.  At that meeting, despite significant disagreement by the American Psychiatric Association, Lilly and the FDA determined PMDD was a distinct psychiatric condition.  Later, guidelines to help physicians identify and treat it were developed by a small group of researchers, funded by a drug manufacturer.  On top of it all, almost all of those researchers had worked for companies that manufactured drugs recommended for the treatment of PMDD.  Not surprisingly, the research upon which those treatment guidelines were based  was flawed, overestimating the prevalence of PMDD which ultimately supported the position that PMDD was a unique diagnosis potentially leading to overdiagnosis and treatment  .

So, drug companies can make up a condition, fake research to support its existence, improperly market it to doctors, and suggest that their drugs are necessary to treat it.  If they ain’t a fox in a chicken coop, I don’t know what it.

 

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