Why you should take Zoloft – for everything!

The smarty-pants over at The Onion have come up with a few new uses for Pfizer’s blockbuster anti-depressant drug Zoloft while taking aim at those Direct-To-Consumer (“ask your doctor”) ads convincing consumers they need it. Even though this concept is a gag, it’s frighteningly close to the reality that Big Pharma is creeping towards.  Continue reading

Bioethical journal: “How drug marketing corrupts every part of the scientific and medical network”

When a psychiatrist stands up and blasts Big Pharma, you know something is very wrong. This happened recently with the publication of an Australian study exposing corrupt drug company marketing practices, including covering up adverse side effects and pushing patients on to new, more expensive drugs even when those are less effective. Adelaide psychiatrist Dr. Peter Parry and his American colleague Dr. Glen Spielmans reported in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry:

“Drug marketing is a very sophisticated system which corrupts every part of the scientific and medical network.  Science has largely been taken captive in the name of increasing profits for pharmaceutical firms.”

Parry and Spielmans defend this shocking assessment by pointing to over 400 internal documents obtained from U.S. and European drug companies for this study. Continue reading

The medicalization of everyday life

bad science coverDr.  Ben Goldacre, a British doctor writing in his weekly Bad Science column in The Guardian last fall, told this disturbing cautionary tale:

“In 2007, the British Medical Journal published a large, well-conducted, randomised controlled trial, performed at lots of different locations, run by publicly-funded scientists.  It delivered a strikingly positive result.  It showed that one treatment could significantly improve children’s anti-social behaviour. The treatment was entirely safe, and the study was even accompanied by a very compelling cost-effectiveness analysis.

“But did this story get reported as front page news? Was it followed up on the health pages, with an accompanying photo feature, describing one child’s miraculous recovery, and an interview with an attractive happy mother with whom we could all identify?  Continue reading