Pharmaceuticals

More Selective Science from Pharmaceutical Front Group

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is criticizing the Providence Journal for publishing an op-ed article by Robert Goldberg while failing to disclose that Goldberg and his organization, the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

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Marketing Drugs for a Disputed Condition

"Fibromyalgia is a real, widespread pain condition," stresses a woman in a television ad for Lyrica, a Pfizer drug that recently became "the first medicine approved to treat the pain condition." But some doctors have their doubts. These skeptics "say vague complaints of chronic pain do not add up to a disease. ... The condition cannot be linked to any environmental or biological causes." Even Dr.

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Drug Ads Raise Legislators' Blood Pressure

The U.S. Congress is investigating "the pharmaceutical industry's use of celebrity endorsements in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements." First up are ads for Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor, which feature the inventor of the artificial heart, Dr. Robert Jarvik.

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Drug Ties Lead to "Wishful Conclusions"

"Meta-analyses," or reviews of several studies' worth of data on a single drug, influence patient care and healthcare policy. Increasingly, the people carrying out these meta-analyses have financial ties to drug companies. So researchers at Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco set out "to determine whether financial ties to one drug company are associated with favourable results or conclusions in meta-analyses on antihypertensive drugs," which are taken to lower blood pressure.

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The Fakest Time of the Year: The 2007 Falsies Awards

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the year that the Falsies Awards have truly arrived!

Groucho maskHere at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), we've dearly treasured our Falsies since we gave the first awards out in 2004. After 12 months of reporting on the cynical, manipulative and just plain anti-democratic pollution of our information environment, we love adding an extra dash of humor to our work. But this year's Falsies Awards are extra super special.

Amgen Website Invites Testimonials, Posts Off-Label Claims By Patients

This screenshot from the "Protect Cancer Patients" website shows what it looked like before "The Cancer Letter" exposed its solicitation and publication of patient testimonials without proper scientific evidence to support them. The company has subsequently removed the testimonials.To mobilize elderly Americans in an effort to overturn the new Medicare coverage policy for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs, which boost red blood cell production), Amgen Inc. appears to have borrowed a strategy from the purveyors of alternative medicine.

The company launched a "Protect Cancer Patients" website, where visitors were invited to submit testimonials about the healing powers of ESAs. Also, they could contact members of Congress, or review the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services coverage decision and the House and Senate resolutions to vacate it.

Though the Internet designation ".org" suggests that the site is operated by an advocacy group, the "privacy policy" section notes that "this site is owned and operated by Amgen Inc." and can be used for communications with the company.

On the home page, the site is described as "online headquarters of a national campaign to protect cancer patients on Medicare from a decision denying them ... coverage for needed medicines."

"Amgen's mission is to serve patients, which is why we openly support the Protect Cancer Patients website," Kelley Davenport, an Amgen spokesman, said in an email. "The site educates cancer patients on Medicare and their caregivers about a Medicare policy that impacts cancer patients, so that their voices and concerns are heard by government policymakers.

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