FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Meltdown in the Drug Industry

Think you’ve got problems? Imagine being a 40K a year tuition college student catapulting toward graduation with no hot job offers or even prospects!

Once upon a time you could rely on pharma when all else failed for a decent starting job — even if you did have to live in New Jersey.

Not anymore. Pharma is melting down like Wall Street–and for the same reasons.

Toxic assets? Unsafe drugs. Ponzi schemes? Safety studies that were there were never there to begin with. Indecent profits footed by taxpayers? Medicaid fraud and “patent drugs.” Mayday mergers? Pfizer/Wyeth; Merck/Schering-Plough. New “business models”? Biologics and vaccines.

In fact while the nation gasps at AIG and Freddie losses, pharma is running a strong second with Merck paying out $4.85 billion for Vioxx, Pfizer $2.3 billion for Bextra (and $430 million for Neurontin) and Lilly $1.4 billion for Zyprexa.

After this month’s Wyeth v. Levine Supreme Court ruling, settlements over fen phen, Baycol, Vytorin, Ketek, Avandia, Bextra, Celebrex, Prempro, Premarin, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel, Lexapro, Celexa, Cymbalta, Fosamax, Boniva, Effexor, Lyrica, Geodon, (pant, pant), Ablify, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Chantix, Singulair, Ambien and Trovan should be forthcoming.

Of course you can blame the Bush Administration’s FDA packed with industry vets who waved their buddies’ new drugs through after six week trials for the iffy drugs on the market. You can blame ghostwriters, “bought” doctors and direct to consumer disease advertising for getting them in medicine cabinets and on formularies.

But it’s the public that asks itself, do I have Restless Legs Syndrome, Social Phobia, Fibromyalgia and Nonrestful Sleep? (see no money down; no doc; no income verification home mortgages.)

Still, the days when pharma reps would drive up to the state mental hospital and just ask for the order — like the Pfizer reps who made over 200 visits to Western State Hospital in Tacoma, WA in four years where 118 prescriptions of controversial Geodon are written a day–are over.

Gone are the days when reps could just slide by the nursing home to see how their Seroquel, Risperdal and Zyprexa scripts were doing — elderly warning label notwithstanding — or collect their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder veteran “dividend” from psychoactive drugs for combat and after combat.

Gone are the antipsychotic and SSRI “deficiencies” of the poor, mentally challenged and children on Medicaid now that the drugs are causing diabetes and the states are suing.

Few third party payers and benefits managers are falling for the patent drug two-step anymore including the — drum roll please – -Once A Week version and the Time Release version. And even pharma’s pork to universities — the embarrassing “continuing medical education” courses that “teach” doctors their sales pitch — are under the ethical microscope.

No, whereas, drug reps once had their own room at the doctor’s office to put up their pin striped pant legs and waltzed in in front of waiting patients, “No Drug Reps” signs now appear.

Just when the public was forgetting that Merck/Schering-Plough’s miracle cholesterol drug Vytorin was worthless and maybe harmful; that Merck’s bone drug Fosamax sometimes fractured the bones it was supposed to strengthen and causes esophagus cancer and osteonecrosis, just when people were forgetting that Wyeth’s hormone drug Prempro causes breast cancer, new subterfuge surfaces.

In February, New York-based Forest Laboratories was charged with illegally marketing antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro, burying a damning FDA study and paying Dr. Jeffrey Bostic, director of school psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, $750,000 a year to promote illegal pediatric drug uses in US District Court in Boston.

In March London-based AstraZeneca was charged with lying about atypical antipsychotic Seroquel’s diabetic side effects in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando and disseminating research about Seroquel’s “safety” by two women who were having affairs with its US Medical Director for Seroquel, Dr. Wayne MacFadden.

Surprise! They are looking for jobs too.

MARTHA ROSENBERG is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. She can be reached at: mrosenberg@evmark.org

 

 

 

 

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

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
April 18, 2019
Gerald Sussman
Russiagate is Dead! Long Live Russiagate!
Lance Olsen
Perverse Housing Policy Perverts Forest Policy
Richard Ward
All Will be Punished
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail