Undermining Scientific Research

Just anther example of how today´s medicine is being corrupted by corporate influence.

Deep Pockets of Big Pharma Driving Drug Data

By Alice Wessendorf
Created 07/04/2011 – 8:00am
Deep Pockets of Big Pharma Driving Drug Data

Question: When’s a clinical trial not a real clinical trial?

Answer: When it’s a “seeding trial.”

Confused? Don’t worry, most people would be.

The fact is if you were to mention “seeding” to most folks they’d likely think you were talking about planting crops. But there’s a much darker side to seeding, one born, ironically, in the bright and shiny boardrooms of Big Pharma.

A seeding trial is a clinical trial set up and funded by a pharmaceutical company for the primary purpose of marketing and promoting a drug. From the start the trial could be biased with a certain expected outcome from those holding the purse strings.

And get this…seeding trials are not illegal.

Oh sure, they are considered unethical and are generally frowned upon…at least on the surface…by the research community. But the reality is that Big Pharma has very deep pockets and as a result they go on all the time

For a prime example you may not need to look further that a rising star in the Pfizer stable of drugs, the epilepsy drug gabapentin.

Best known by the brand name Neurontin—but also sold as Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, and Nupentin—gabapentin is also widely prescribed for pain and neuropathic pain as well as the off-label…not to mention highly controversial…use as a treatment for bipolar disorder. (The drug not only has been shown to be an ineffective mood stabilizer it has also been associated with suicides and violent. But that’s a story for another time.)

According to an article published in the June 27th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine a clinical trial of gabapentin, that was supposed to be for studying dosages of the drug, could actually be nothing more than a seeding trial designed to expose more docs to the drug and ultimately to dupe them into writing more prescriptions for the stuff.

Sadly, the questionable gabapentin trial, called “Study of Neurontin: Titrate to Effect, Profile of Safety [STEPS],” resulted in not just one but two articles being published in major medical journals. (I can almost picture the Pfizer marketing crew high-fiving each other as they put a check mark in the “mission accomplished” box on this one.) Yet when independent consultants reviewed the documentation from the trial all kinds of alarm bells went off.

To start with the study was shoddily designed. It was both uncontrolled and unblinded making the quality of the data coming out of it dubious at best. But even worse documents from the study shockingly suggest that Pfizer’s marketing team could have been involved in data collection!

In fact, the documents appear to suggest that the marketers saw the trial itself…not just the end results…as an excellent promotional vehicle for their cash cow gabapentin.

So let’s review. We have Big Pharma manipulating clinical trials and drug data in order to line their already full pockets with even more cash.

I wish I could say that I’m surprised. But sadly I can’t because, after all, greed is a bottomless pit.

Remember, the only difference between a predatory criminal and Big Pharma is sufficient capital to form a corporation.


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