FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Can Wyeth Fool American Women Twice?

Can Wyeth win back the 40 million Premarin and Prempro users it’s lost since 2002–along with $1 billion a year in profits–with a new menopause drug?

Or will the once-bitten women who have filed more than 5,000 law suits claiming the hormones gave them cancer feel fooled twice?

Pristiq, a serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), is a metabolite of Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR–which netted $3.7 billion in 2006–and an unabashed patent extender since Effexor XR goes off patent in 2010.

In February Pristiq was approved by the FDA for the treatment of adults with major depressive disorder but its launch as the first non-hormonal treatment for menopausal symptoms is what Wyeth hopes will fill the Premarin/Prempro/Effexor black hole to the tune of $2 billion a year.

Unfortunately, instead of a green light to market Pristiq for menopause last July, the FDA–also once bitten after Vioxx, Avandia and Vytroin–said to Wyeth not so fast.

Why did two women in the study group taking Pristiq have heart attacks and three need procedures to repair clogged arteries compared with none taking placebo it wanted to know? How can Wyeth assure long term safety when 604 of the 2,158 test subjects took Pristiq for only six months and 318 for a year or more? And what about serious liver complications seen in the studies?

Nor do drug industry insiders on the chatroom cafepharma sound like they’re scooping up Wyeth stock.

“Pristiq is not a good drug by any standard,” wrote one anonymous poster. “We tried to get 100 mg approved as the standard dose. But our patients got so sick that they could care less about the efficacy. They just couldn’t tolerate the drug long enough to see any improvement.”

Like longer than six months?

“No study exists showing any anti-depressant including Pristiq works any better than a placebo for reducing hot flashes, which are subjective anyway and only last a few minutes long at worst,” wrote another anonymous poster. “That is a heavy price to pay to take a heavy duty drug 24/7 for a few minutes of daily relief that a sugar pill also provides. FDA is crazy (or bought) if they allow this unproven drug travesty on the market.”

A third poster predicted women wouldn’t trade, “hot flashes for decreased libido, nausea, increased blood pressure and incredible withdrawal issues,” found with Pristiq. “Women and their physicians are not as gullible as they were back in the Premarin days.”

Even psychiatrist Daniel Carlat who wrote an expose for the New York Times magazine called Dr. Drug Rep last year about his experiences as a Wyeth paid spokesman, is dissing Pristiq.

“Every patient who takes Effexor produces Pristiq in their own body, at no additional charge,” he writes in a blog article called Top 5 Reasons to Forget About Pristiq.

Moreover Wyeth’s own investigator on the major Pristiq trials, Dr. Michael Liebowitz, admits it is “not a revolutionary drug” writes Carlat.

Of course you can’t blame a one trick company that cut its teeth on the Feminine Forever idea that age in women is a disease that needs treating for churning the demographics. Especially as it lays off 1,200 US workers, closes manufacturing plants and fights for its life.

Was it Wyeth’s fault that the hormone “therapy” it pushed for decades actually increases breast cancer by 26 percent, heart attacks by 29 percent, stroke by 41 percent and doubles the risk of blood clots and dementia?

But if US women embrace a major psychiatric drug with possible liver and heart complication side effects after the hormone hoax–manufactured by the same company and at four times the cost of Prempro/Premarin, $4 per day–

Fool me twice–?

MARTHA ROSENBERG is staff cartoonist on the Evanston Roundtable. She can be reached at mrosenberg@evmark.org

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail