FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
Michael Welton
Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing
Peter Bolton
The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce
Ramzy Baroud
‘World Refugee Day’: Palestinians Keep Their Right of Return Alive Through Hope, Resistance
Louis Proyect
The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?
Binoy Kampmark
Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful
Norman Solomon
Clueless and Shameless: Joe Biden, Staggering Frontrunner
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem
Lawrence Davidson
On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”
Mel Gurtov
Impeach Trump
Rajan Menon
America’s Suicide Epidemic: It’s Hitting Trump’s Base Hard
Dan Bacher
Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill
Ralph Nader
Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail