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).

November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail