Doctor's Faith Shattered After Glaxo's Latest Scams


Conventional doctor's faith in Big Pharma shattered after Glaxo's latest scams

Writing in Forbes magazine, Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholz notes that in spite of his desire to believe in the good intentions of the pharmaceutical industry, the actions of companies such as GlaxoSmithKline continue to disappoint him.

"I want to believe in America's pharmaceutical companies," Krumholz wrote on Feb.25. "I want to believe that people in these companies believe that the best strategy for success is to do what is best for patients. I want to believe that they are interested in scientific truth and eager to know of any safety issues and ready to share that information with the public.

"This week I was disappointed again."

Krumholz was referring to a report, issued by the Senate Finance Committee, concluding that even as Glaxo scientists were voicing warnings about the safety of the blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia, the company was taking aggressive measures to discredit critics who publicly raised similar concerns.

"The pages of the Senate report read like a spy novel: Glaxo receiving confidential documents leaked by a sympathetic academic who consulted for the company; the company embarking on a campaign to intimidate critics who warned about potential safety issues with the drug; and executives pulling strings to release data early from a scientific study that was supposedly controlled by an 'independent' committee of researchers," Krumholz said.

The report drew on more than 250,000 internal company documents.

In his article, Krumholz calls for an end to secrecy and intimidation in pharmaceutical research. He calls for all studies conducted on a drug to be made public for independent review once that drug secures FDA approval. He calls for an end to company interference in the studies they finance, and an end to intimidation of academics who question drugs' safety.

"The free flow of information about the effects of drugs . . . will best serve the public's interest," he concludes.

by: David Gutierrez, staff writer


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