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).

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Craig Collins
Why Did Socialism Fail?
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposal Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail