In early September, "major newspapers reported the alarming news that suicides among young people were on the rise because of a precipitous drop in the use of antidepressants," writes Alison Bass. The academic study the news articles were based on concluded that new safety warnings for young people using antidepressant drugs had discouraged doctors from writing prescriptions for depressed youths.
Ben Goldacre, a London-based doctor and writer, was a little "surprised" by a recent offer posted in an email on a science writers' mailing list.
In May of this year, the drug company Eli Lilly announced that it would post details of "all educational grant funding and other monetary contributions provided to U.S.-based organizations" into an online database. Tucked away amongst the numerous grants made in the first six months of 2007 are details of funds provided to patient groups, various research centres and a sprinkling of political groups.
To "cut costs and reduce questionable prescriptions," 20 U.S. states contract with Comprehensive NeuroScience (CNS). CNS "identifies doctors who are prescribing psychiatric drugs outside of recommended guidelines. ...
The lead U.S. drug industry lobby group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), spent $10.7 million in the first six months of 2007 lobbying the U.S. government.
Following Dr. Steven Nissen's publication of a study warning that "GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia increased the risk of heart attacks by 43% and death from cardiovascular events by possibly 64%," he was publicly pilloried. "More than one story from ostensibly different sources" derisively referred to him as "St Steven," the "Patron Saint of Drug Safety," and "Saint Steven the Pure," reports Evelyn Pringle. Among the attackers was FDA spokesman Douglas Arbesfeld.
The New Jersey rapper, Sudden Death, has launched a free-to-play track which mocks the drug industry's direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA). The song, titled Pillagers, describes the experience of a man taking two dozen pills for various conditions being prescribed the notional drug Liquiplox that "relaxes the lining of your throat making it easier to take pills". "Liquiplox isn't for everyone.
"If I had to do it all over again, I don't think I would use the Ontario system," said Canadian cancer patient Lindsay McGreith. "I would get my wife to drive me to Buffalo, because I know in Buffalo you'd get looked after, whereas here you'd just sit for seven and a half hours. ...
Medicines Australia, the drug industry's peak lobby group, has lost a legal bid to protect member companies from being required to disclose details of hospitality they provide at "educational" events for doctors.