The Secret Sell of Drug Sponsorship

"Security guards, secret guest lists and silent sponsors were not what some participants were expecting when they turned up at a meeting in Sydney earlier this year to discuss new medicines. Billed as a 'Collaborative Forum' at the University of NSW, the invitation had been signed by three medical groups including Arthritis Australia. Academic kudos for the forum was provided by a major report prepared by the University of Canberra. What was missing from the invitation, the conference papers, the academic report and the high-profile media coverage was the name of a key sponsor who had helped orchestrate and fund the whole affair: Wyeth, the United States-based pharmaceutical giant," the Australian Financial Review writes. "The 'public' meeting and its accompanying report have subsequently formed part of a major campaign to have expensive new medicines more readily
subsidised on the publicly funded $4.7billion Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.One of those medicines is Wyeth's rheumatoid arthritis therapy Enbrel, which, while effective, has a price tag of almost $20,000 per patient per year."