Three million people worldwide are taking the new, heavily advertised anti-cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin, despite a lack of clinical evidence that they reduce cardiovascular disease or heart attacks, or help patients live longer.
An analysis of Merck internal documents concluded that the pharmaceutical company carried out a clinical study of Vioxx in 1999, "primarily to support a marketing campaign before the drug's launch." Merck stated that the study was done "to test side effects of the painkiller Vioxx," which was pulled from the market in 2004, after being linked to an increased risk of heart attacks.
"Washington's largest lobby, the pharmaceutical industry, racked up another banner year on Capitol Hill in 2007, backed by a record $168 million lobbying effort," reports M. Asif Ismail.
The Swiss drug company Roche has been suspended from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) after adverse findings over its promotion of the weight-loss drug Xenical.
"The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a recently created front group for pharmaceutical interests, has been churning out industry-funded propaganda that demonizes evidence-based medicine, universal health care, the government, and all critics of pharma while attempting to portray industry as a selfless provider of cures and education," write Norman Kelley and Adriane Fugh-Berman.
As CMD recently reported, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, have instituted a voluntary, and therefore unenforceable, code to guide drug makers' relationships with doctors.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has announced a ban on giving branded items to doctors. The pens, notepads, mugs and other gifts are ubiquitous in medical offices. Some, like Senator Herb Kohl, think it is a step in the right direction. "We've been pushing to see reforms like this for some time now.
Eli Lilly has been fined A$60,000 for issuing a media release promoting a version of its erectile dysfunction drug Cialis despite an Australian ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. In April Eli Lilly released Cialis Once-a-Day. To coincide with its launch, the company issued a media release headlined "New research reveals scheduled sex a turn-off," which promoting the results of a Lilly-commissioned opinion poll.