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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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December 11, 2006

Torcetrapib: The Foil-Lined Hat Perspective

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Posted by Derek

Since I've been getting some more less-than-friendly email from Kevin Trudeau fans recently, I thought I'd take a minute to point out something that may not have been generally appreciated. What does the complete failure of a drug like Pfizer's torcetrapib say about the evil-pharma conspiracy theories that Trudeau and his type like to spin?

I mean, think it through: Pfizer spends hundreds of millions of dollars, only to find that their drug has unexpected toxicity. Not the horrible, chemical-weapon toxicity that the conspiracy mongers talk about, mind you: 11 deaths per thousand versus 6 deaths per thousand. But development stops immediately, as it should, the very day that Pfizer's executives get the news. Two days after trumpeting the compound as the biggest thing in their pipeline, they pull it and walk away from the billions of dollars that could have been.

How, exactly, does this fit the Evil Conspiracy worldview? Isn't this, according to Trudeau, exactly the same as all the other drugs already on the market? Why would a company walk away from all that cash just because of a measly little figure like 5 excess patient deaths per thousand? If you believe Kevin Trudeau, everyone who takes anything is being poisoned already.

I know I'm going to regret making this offer, but here goes: I'd be interested in hearing a Trudeau-ite explain this one to me. If you buy into his story, why any drug ever fails in the clinic must be a real head-scratcher, since you'd think that the Evil Pharma Overlords would be able to hocus the data enough to make any sort of toxic junk look good. And this one must seem especially weird.

So tell me, you folks who are convinced that I and all my colleagues in the drug industry are poisoning the world: why did torcetrapib fail? Ground rules: you have to know what torcetrapib is, and you have to have some basic understanding of what it was (in theory) supposed to do. ("Improve cholesterol to try to prevent heart attacks" is enough of an answer for that one - there's a free one for you). And you have to be able to spell Pfizer, and to have read at least one news story about the drug's demise. Have at it in the comments section.

Comments (55) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Cardiovascular Disease | Clinical Trials | Snake Oil


COMMENTS

1. Torcetrapib on December 11, 2006 6:35 PM writes...

Well, I believe that the drug companies don't deliberately do 'evil' or 'good'. Their goal is to please stockholders. Period. If that entails doing 'evil', then they would usually not hesitate to go ahead and do it. It should be remembered that keeping a drug on the market or removing it is nothing more than a business decision, and not particularly a moral one. Let's say they know that the drug kills 5 instead of 4 people. Even after having this knowledge, they would withdraw the drug from the market if and only if the loss incurred in doing it is actually less than the loss they would incur if they were to go ahead and market it anyway. If their calculations indicate that the profit from the drug would more than compensate for the loss they would face if they had to withdraw the drug from the market after some stipulated time, then marketing the drug anyway is nothing more than a business decision for them. The profit might be projected to even compensate for the dozens of lawsuits that they might potentially lose.
It's like companies choosing to pollute the environment because of the realization that the money they would have to pay in fines would still be less than the money it would cost them to comply with environmental laws.
So I think that Pfizer withdrawing the drug should not be viewed as a particualrly benevolent act (that doesn't mean at all that I agree with Kein Trudeau), but only a business decision, neither 'good' nor 'evil'. In case of pharma, reputation also is a big thing, and if that's going to suffer, then it could be enough of a weight to turn the scales to one side or the other. The factoring is obsviously complex.
The bottom line is, in general, I don't think any corporation is 'evil' or 'good'. It simply aims to maximize profits and please stockholders. Any evil or good is defined by outsiders, and is collateral.

Permalink to Comment

2. Derek Lowe on December 11, 2006 9:12 PM writes...

You're absolutely right about the business part. The thing is, you want a system set up so that the moral hazards aren't easy to come across - that is, where the temptation to market a deadly but profitable drug just isn't an issue.

But the Trudeau types don't buy that - their view is that "deadly but profitable" describes just about everything on the market.

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3. eugene on December 11, 2006 9:16 PM writes...

The drug failed in phase 3 because it didn't do what Pfizer wanted. Is that simple enough? But it's not what "you" think it wanted... What Pfizer wanted was for the drug to be addictive, so that when you go off it, you start feeling worse (unless you take a natural cure to compensate). I mean, why do you think you need so many trials for drugs that Pharma makes?

To prove that they are safe for humans!? Don't be ridiculous. Then drug trials would take a year tops.

All that it did was cause a few extra deaths, which is fine, but you don't want it to cause more deaths than natural, or else the victims would notice. It's not enough to give the sheeple pills anymore, Pharma realized that they need to put stuff in there upon which the organism becomes dependant. But it's got to be subtle, because there are too many courageous people exposing their lies.

Read Kevin's book. Most cures in his book have been proven to work and have gone through real 'clinical trials'. I just don't know how the people in charge of 'clinical trials' for Pharma can sleep at night...

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4. trrll on December 11, 2006 9:16 PM writes...

There are lots of way to maximize profits and please stockholders. I don't doubt that Kevin Trudeau is maximizing profits, and if he has any stockholders, they are probably pleased. So what makes one company maximize profits by selling snake oil or cigarettes and another company maximize profits by producing drugs to relieve suffering? Perhaps some companies and stockholders actually like to feel good about themselves while they are making their money?

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5. eugene on December 11, 2006 9:17 PM writes...

Okay. How did I do? On a scale of one to ten? I always worry that I use too much colour and not enough forceful rhetoric. Oh... darn.

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6. d_orbital on December 11, 2006 9:48 PM writes...

..."but you don't want it to cause more deaths than natural, or else the victims would notice."

Would they really notice if they're dead?

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7. eugene on December 11, 2006 10:14 PM writes...

If all the victims were dead, then the drug wouldn't make any money. Pharma likes to poison you slowly. The drugs turn you into a junkie who goes out to their job like a zombie, brings back some cash and swallows their pills to get their high at night, while sending the dealers the cash. Careful though, you don't want to overdose!

You're better off smoking the real stuff this way. Pot probably will cure you instead of killing you like Vioxx or Torcetrapib.

And you d_orbital. What are you, but a potential victim?

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8. d_orbital on December 11, 2006 10:21 PM writes...

Oops, I meant would the victims (read: dead) notice if they were dead ;)

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9. SA Researcher on December 11, 2006 10:42 PM writes...

(Note: I'm not actually a Trudeau-ite, I'm just trying to think like one. It burns us, precious!)

Nobody, not even Trudeau, is ready to argue that drug companies are stupid. The trick, which they have thus far managed admirably, is to come up with drugs that sicken patients gradually, drawing them into a deepening spiral of dependence on pharmaceuticals, rather than killing them outright. As the first commenter pointed out, the principal business of a drug company is to make money. To do this, they need people to buy their drugs, and keep buying their drugs until they die. The drug companies know that nobody will buy a drug that is obviously killing people; just look at the Vioxx fiasco and you'll see why safety trials are so crucial to the drug companies.

See, on the face of it, the trials are exactly what they appear to be. The pharma conspiracy has to convince people that their poisons are safe, and in this age of increasing consumer awareness of the risks inherent in drug use, nothing less than a full-blown multi-million-dollar trial will do. But from the drug makers' perspective, the trials are something else entirely. They have to make sure their customers aren't dying off too quickly to present a stable future source of income. Dead patients don't buy drugs, but patients suffering from ill-defined problems with uncertain sources buy them by the truckload. Thus, the most successful drugs for the poison-pushers are exactly the ones that perform exactly as they're "supposed to" in trials. Ever notice how many "little" side effects all those trials show? Headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue... that stuff is gold for the drug companies. Sure, they sound like no big deal, but add all those things up and you've got one sick patient who will buy anything to feel better. They've got us hooked through the nose, in no small part because they use these big showy withdrawals as yet another means of convincing us that they're only working for our health, even as they slowly sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

--

Okay, I got all Dr. Strangelove there at the end, but still. E for effort?

Also, have you seen this? No real info, but at least the fools are saying *something*

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10. milkshake on December 11, 2006 11:13 PM writes...

Here are the other ground rules (not in tinfoil but in Saran wrap):

1. All pharma companies are evil; Pfitzer is the ringleader. When Pharma is not momentarily evil it has some nasty agenda.
2. Don't listen their sinister propaganda - the fact is that cheap and life-saving medicines are kept hidden from patients.
3. It is well-proven that doctors are in confederacy with pharma. Doctors don't like you to get better - they are slowly poisoning you instead.
4. If you publish these secrets they will prosecute you. They will try to assasinate you. They will lock you away and then will experiment on you

Permalink to Comment

11. eugene on December 11, 2006 11:15 PM writes...

That was good SA Researcher. A good example of plagiarism!

Except for the Dr. Strangelove bit.

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12. Scientifically challenged on December 11, 2006 11:18 PM writes...

You people are scientifically challenged. Speaks volumes about the US school system.

Trudeau is a snake oil salesman.


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13. milkshake on December 11, 2006 11:50 PM writes...

I just would like to point out and to warn everybody that people paid by pharma industry are probably following this discussion thread quite carefully and they can find out n few clicks who you are and where you live. You should not underestimate this - we may live in nominally 'free'country but you never know where your name, address, social security will end up, on what kind of watchlists. Because they have the means.

The will they have always.

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14. jim on December 12, 2006 12:24 AM writes...

#12 Dry wit or are you sarcasm-challenged? If the latter than your statement about the educational system is ... ironic.

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15. Jose on December 12, 2006 1:26 AM writes...

Apparently, 75% of adult Americans cannot put cell, molecule and atom in size order. How can you really expect to have any kind of scientific discourse with total scientific iliteracy like that?

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16. Milo on December 12, 2006 6:57 AM writes...

Jose, you are not helping the situation by actually putting them in order for us :-)

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17. daen on December 12, 2006 9:16 AM writes...

> > 75% of adult Americans cannot put cell, molecule and atom in size order

> Jose, you are not helping the situation by actually putting them in order for us :-)

Smallest first, right? ;-)

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18. bloodletting on December 12, 2006 11:00 AM writes...

Some of these comments show a complete ignorance of scientific theory. Why don't we get the ten commandments back in school, get rid of that evil sectarian evolution hocus pocus, and start teaching our kids how prayer will save them from all ailments! Oh yeah, that's how they did it during the F'n DARK Ages and when the TALIBAN was in charge. Educate yourselves people. Think for yourselves!

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19. GoBlue on December 12, 2006 11:43 AM writes...

Please explain how a "real" clinical trial would only take "a year, tops."

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20. Derek Lowe on December 12, 2006 12:30 PM writes...

I can see that I should have heeded the advice about not summoning up anything that you don't know how to send back down. . .

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21. milkshake on December 12, 2006 1:44 PM writes...

Herr, die Not ist groß!
Die ich rief, die Geister,
Werd ich nun nicht los.

Derek, I think you should read the book "Big Pharma - Big Lies. The Things Your Doctor Does Not Want You To Know"

In this book you would find how to re-invigorate your body, re-juvenate your cells, jumpstart your metabolism, clense your liver and digestive system, how to rid your body of toxins that cause cancer, asthma and diabetes. How to live long and healthy life by using only natural ingredients, minerals and vitamins. This research is based on the most advanced european hollistic sciences and it is proven to cure 94% of modern "diseases".

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22. Palo on December 12, 2006 2:57 PM writes...

I want to point out, to make things clear, that I think Derek is only attacking Kevin Trudeau and followers and he is not trying to lump together all criticism of Pharma-run clinical trials.

I know Derek knows there's is a decent, rational and well-intended criticism of some pharma practices, and yes, very often they include some corrupted (ethically corrupted or just plain data-corrupted) clinical trials.

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23. Harry on December 12, 2006 3:01 PM writes...

LOL, Derek, et al- you know it's hard to tell the satirical comments from the "true believer" ones!

If I wasn't familiar with the names of some of them, I'd believe that they actually supported that charlatan and huckster Trudeau.

Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the zombified legion of Trudeauvians may be the passage of time. They tend to have short attention spans.

Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes!

Harry

Permalink to Comment

24. Derek Lowe on December 12, 2006 3:23 PM writes...

Palo, that's true - questions about "why did you do trial X this way", or "how come you didn't look for Y", or "why haven't you released that data from trial Z" - all of those I have no problem with.

But you should see some of the e-mail I get from the Trudeau-ites. They start with how they're glad I lost my job, and go on from there.

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25. Lipitor on December 12, 2006 3:29 PM writes...

I can't believe that Trudeau's book has received more than 2000 mostly favourable reviews on Amazon.

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26. kiwi on December 12, 2006 4:07 PM writes...

you could always write a book "evil pharma: the insiders view" and after a week of grabbing money from various foil-lined hat-wearers, retire to the caribbean and buy your own island. it'd be a good source of income for the ethically flexible.

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27. Hap76 on December 12, 2006 4:42 PM writes...

You all simply are deluded by the PR of the pharmaceutical industry. Don't you realize that by pulling torcetrapib from the market, Pfizer is trying to show the public that they are honest and well-intentioned, so the next time they release a drug and don't mention its secondary effects, the public will assume that the drug has no side effects and is perfectly safe? Besides, with all those fluorines all over the place, how could this drug have ever been thought safe - it doesn't look natural at all.

Let me tell though, the edges of my tinfoil hat keep hurting my ears - if I bend it up any more to round the edges it won't stay on my head. Can anyone help me with this?

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28. sad for us on December 12, 2006 5:28 PM writes...

Derek-
I've recently discovered your blog and enjoy your info a lot.
This whole thread just saddens me. I can't believe how easy it is to find this many people who are such suckers for this all natural garbage. As a med. chemist, all I know is that I can't wait to get out of bed in the morning to work on a project that could have real meaning to someone. We go all out to get the best activity possible for our compounds, and I can't imagine sacrificing safety. It's just plain sad that these people are so adamant about this all natural garbage. (aren't some of the most toxic things in the world made by nature??).
Anyway, this has been very eye-opening.
Bottom line- we need better public relations, a better school system, and maybe someone to sue this Trudeau guy for fraud. Okay, back to working my butt off so someone may get healthier some day

Permalink to Comment

29. Srikanth on December 12, 2006 6:09 PM writes...

Hah!Sad for us, you must be an American medicinal chemist (you know, a poorly educated American). Natural products represent a more extensive pharmacopeia than those silly combi-chem things you work on. Natural cures are the only real cures unless you have gene therapy going on in your basement. Drug companies are creating dependency, that is for certain. I have no choice but to become a chemist to escape poverty, but I see drug companies are evil. When I begin work in two months I will not be posting as unlike Americans I know what real work is. (that's why Americans lose their job!).

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30. Norman Yarvin on December 12, 2006 7:17 PM writes...

Ah, come on, Derek, isn't it obvious why they pulled torcetrapib? They accidentally found a compound that actually cured people, so of course they had to pull it, to protect the rest of their product line. Oh, and by the way, they stole the active ingredient from a particular variety of yeast from India, long used as a natural remedy, which I just happen to be selling.

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31. SRC on December 12, 2006 7:31 PM writes...

Norman's right. Mix up some neem oil with some Indian yeast and some basmatic rice, roll it up into a suppository, (ahem) apply it, and you'll be right as rain.

It's why India is so well known for the excellent health of its citizens. Kevin, move over!

Permalink to Comment

32. jim on December 12, 2006 8:16 PM writes...

Does anyone else think it's funny that the only serious pro-all-natural-garbage post here is from the arrogant Indian "chemist" explaining that we're uneducated? Unless that's a joke, too? Help me out, Srikanth.

Permalink to Comment

33. eugene on December 12, 2006 9:29 PM writes...

jim,

It's all a joke probably. The real Trudeau supporters arrive several months later after we've all forgotten about this thread. Just look at the older Trudeau posts. I just had a look see today, and the loons have been come out in force. They are too scared to come out and play when all of us are still around.

And no, I don't feel sorry for the deluded pro-Trudeau posters on those threads. Like one of them said, they have free choice and that's great, but their views represent a danger to others that is scientifically proven. Of course, scientific proof has no place in 'natural' medicine.

If Aspirin, a natural compound from willow, is proven by the scientific method to work, then it must be bad for you. And if you drink willow bark extract and your stomach starts bleeding, then it probably wasn't because all those little warnings on the Aspirin bottles said you're have a slightly higher risk of getting it if you take Aspirin.

As long as Trudeau's views only represent a danger to 5% of society, I'm perfectly fine with it. Sorry, it's too much effort to educate every last person; it's like pulling teeth. I'll be happy with 95% not buying it.

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34. eugene on December 12, 2006 9:31 PM writes...

Although the Srikanth post does sound sorta funny. Like funny as if it were genuine funny.

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35. sim on December 12, 2006 10:21 PM writes...

>Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the zombified legion of Trudeauvians may be the >passage of time. They tend to have short attention spans.

I would imagine that they tend to have short lifespans as well!

Permalink to Comment

36. eugene on December 12, 2006 11:43 PM writes...

Hey Derek, you like German? How do you like some Marxist Brecht German?

Ihr saht den weisen Salomon,
Ihr wisst, was aus ihm wurd.
Dem Mann war alles sonnenklar,
Er verfluchte die Stunde seiner Geburt
Und sah, dass alles eitel war.
Wie gross und weis war Salomon!
Und seht, da war es noch nicht Nacht,
Da sah die Welt die Folgen schon,
Die Weisheit hatte ihn so weit gebracht,
Beneidenswert, wer frei davon!

So yeah, you should envy Trudeauites. See where your "knowledge" got you!

Permalink to Comment

37. Milo on December 13, 2006 6:49 AM writes...

OK, now I am confused...

So, American med chemists are poorly educated, implying that our graduate programs are not up to snuff. Then why do we still have lots of folks from other parts of the world coming here for grad school?

Derek, is it true (as #28 implies) that blogging killed your med chem job? Say it ain't so.

Does a foil hat keep out stupidity?

Permalink to Comment

38. Ashutosh on December 13, 2006 10:36 AM writes...

With reference to #28 et al.- It is true that natural products are in general more potent than synthetic ones, partly because they have been elegantly tailored by millions of years of evolution to possess bioactivity. But there's a difference in isolating some natural product from a root and then fine tuning its activity to make it bioavailable and effective in human beings, and eating the root by grinding it and mixing it with rice.

Permalink to Comment

39. MTK on December 13, 2006 12:41 PM writes...

Well, nice try at getting a semi-serious discussion around this going, Derek. eugene pretty much typifies what was going to happen. a) a real response(#3) which was followed by b) a plea for validation(#5) which was followed by c)irrelevent mocking (#35) when validation wasn't forthcoming. No additional arguments or evidence, just vile when you don't accept.

That's the way it is with true believers/fanatics.

Permalink to Comment

40. eugene on December 13, 2006 4:25 PM writes...

That's right. We've got more and more people believing that there was no plane that crashed into the Pentagon and that Mossad was behind 9/11. Don't get me started on those fake moon landings though. NASA had some damn fine movie studios back in the 1960s.

Drug company pulling a drug to make it look like they are not evil? Please. Their budget probably exceeds that of those NASA fakers these days. I find the only truth these days is to be found in Scientology. Which reminds me MTK, you should have a look see in one of our churches. You sound like you have a dangerous psychological imbalance, just like me before dianetics helped me out.

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41. Anonymous on December 13, 2006 6:28 PM writes...

"34. sim on December 12, 2006 10:21 PM writes...

>Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the zombified legion of Trudeauvians may be the >passage of time. They tend to have short attention spans.

I would imagine that they tend to have short lifespans as well!"

Dammit sim you beat me to the punch on that joke by hours! Too slow I guess... It would be funnier if there weren't people going off their anti-virals because they are told that they will be cured of HIV by multivitamin cocktails. Or people that refuse cancer treatment when the doctor tells them that they have 2/3 chance to live and the snake-oil man tells them that his way cures 100%. Or people going of the meds they get for a bipolar disorder, because Scientology tells them to, and then going on Oprah and making fools of themselves in front of the entire world.

PS it's late here so the grammar is kinda poor. Sorry about that, I think you get the point.

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42. B-Man on December 13, 2006 8:50 PM writes...

It’s funny but I now trust Pharma more than Trudeau. Since when could any big organization keep any substantial secrets? I'm sure a few Trudeau luddites have infiltrated Pharma..ie Peter Rost but few bombshells have emerged. So there are no secrets. Trudeau admits he is a criminal and rides around in fancy cars. What will it take for you to turn on him? He is snowing you because you are looking vic. Most of the stuff he touts can’t hurt you or help you. Snake oil is the opium of the masses. Please refrain from voting in this country..

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43. Torcetrapib on December 14, 2006 2:37 PM writes...

I can't believe that Trudeau's book has received more than 2000 reviews on Amazon, most of them favourable.

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44. Moly O on December 14, 2006 4:04 PM writes...

I taught my chemistry students to distinguish between synthetic vs. natural and between beneficial(or benign) vs. dangerous.

There is no doubt that there are compounds that are synthetic and beneficial. Sometimes a pharmacuetical can save a life or help us heal. Sometimes alternative or natural methods work even if they have not been through scientific testing. Sometimes natural compounds are poison.

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45. eugene on December 14, 2006 7:30 PM writes...

Okay, good work Molly O et. al. I agree, the best remedy is proper education. However, that's not for everyone. That's why you guys should be the carrot part of the equation to teach those who have been led astray.

Me? I see myself as a giant stick that's hitting Trudeau on the head repeatedly until he becomes a better person. Nothing fixes Kevin Trudeau like a giant and painful stick.

I think we'll make a great team.

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46. John on December 17, 2006 8:45 AM writes...

I know I'm late to this thread but I'd like to throw something out there. I am medicinal chemist and have been in chemistry for at least ten years now. I have always been a fervent believer in reason and scienctific investigation, understanding disease mechanisms and finding molecules to alleviate symptoms (and/or hopefully cure!). I still am or I wouldn't be doing what I do. I don't know anything about this Trudeau guy (I imagine he makes claims about curing cancer or AIDS or something off the wall like that but I could be completely wrong) but I did have a very close friend who was very sick for a long time. Some of it was in her head but she definitely had (at the very least) severe chronic fatigue syndrome and other ailments that made it almost impossible for her to lead a normal daily life. She had been going to doctors for over seven years, tried EVERYTHING. Then she kind of (not really) went off the deep end by becoming a raw food vegan, taking all sorts of detoxing herbs and flushes, colonics and basically avoiding any kind of chemical. I have to admit that the results were astonishing. It actually made me do a few of them for my liver and intestines (not a very big commitment or anything) and they made me feel better too. Just generally more healthy feeling. I was running faster, working harder and longer, getting more things done. I don't know if it has anything to do with my daily regimen and I would certainly be the first person to check myself into a hospital if I had any kind of disease but I also don't think all those natural food people are mindless kooks (although I would agree that there are definitely more than are found in pharma). The body is a complicated thing and sometimes different things work for different people, that's all.

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47. John on December 17, 2006 8:45 AM writes...

I know I'm late to this thread but I'd like to throw something out there. I am medicinal chemist and have been in chemistry for at least ten years now. I have always been a fervent believer in reason and scienctific investigation, understanding disease mechanisms and finding molecules to alleviate symptoms (and/or hopefully cure!). I still am or I wouldn't be doing what I do. I don't know anything about this Trudeau guy (I imagine he makes claims about curing cancer or AIDS or something off the wall like that but I could be completely wrong) but I did have a very close friend who was very sick for a long time. Some of it was in her head but she definitely had (at the very least) severe chronic fatigue syndrome and other ailments that made it almost impossible for her to lead a normal daily life. She had been going to doctors for over seven years, tried EVERYTHING. Then she kind of (not really) went off the deep end by becoming a raw food vegan, taking all sorts of detoxing herbs and flushes, colonics and basically avoiding any kind of chemical. I have to admit that the results were astonishing. It actually made me do a few of them for my liver and intestines (not a very big commitment or anything) and they made me feel better too. Just generally more healthy feeling. I was running faster, working harder and longer, getting more things done. I don't know if it has anything to do with my daily regimen and I would certainly be the first person to check myself into a hospital if I had any kind of disease but I also don't think all those natural food people are mindless kooks (although I would agree that there are definitely more than are found in pharma). The body is a complicated thing and sometimes different things work for different people, that's all.

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48. eugene on December 17, 2006 12:52 PM writes...

John, I try to eat natural food and have a healthy lifestyle too. I don't try to write a book and make money out of it, claiming there is a conspiracy to poison the populace with comatoseness and McNuggets promoted by Fast Food and Pharma. Chronic fatigue has a lot to do with lifestyle for me. A lot of health problems can be solved with lifestyle changes that people aren't willing (or capable after becoming addicted to food and cars) to make.

If your friend had bipolar disorder though, and decided to go the "full Trudeau", she probably wouldn't be your friend anymore.

Just take a walk when it's light out and don't eat take out for a few weeks. You don't need to read a conspiracy book for that.

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49. provocteur on December 17, 2006 3:14 PM writes...

I wld like eugene to explain how life expectancy and quality has improved since big pharma came over...or does it happen to be a myth!!

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50. eugene on December 17, 2006 3:27 PM writes...

Sorry, I can't be bothered. Check the archive of this blog and get back to me when you learn something. If you're too lazy, then you win: Pharma is evil.

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51. eugene on December 17, 2006 3:31 PM writes...

Oh wait, I've got one personal one. You see, I get these headaches every month or so and I used to take nothing for them when I was a kid, which left me feeling horrible the whole day and all I wanted to do was lie in bed and sleep until it went away. I couldn't think and I felt like someone was tying a rope around my head tighter and tighter. But now when I start getting a headache, I just take an ibuprofen or acetaminophen and voila! I feel better in an hour and can go about my daily business.

Quality of (my personal) life greatly improved! Thank you Big Pharma!

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52. Anonymous on December 18, 2006 3:44 AM writes...

I was just looking into this torcetrapib fiasco, and what I find most interesting about it is that Pfizer would *only* test it in combination with Lipitor--and as soon as they found out that this wouldn't work for them, then they scrapped the whole project. Now, is it possible that it was an interaction between the two drugs that caused the increased mortality, and that torcetrapib by itself wouldn't have this effect? I think it's likely, actually, considering how far down the pipeline torcetrapib already was. So, next question--did Pfizer just scrap a potentially promising drug to raise good cholesterol just because they couldn't use it to extend the lifespan of their current big moneymaker, Lipitor? Well, that's what this behavior looks like to me. Maybe it's an inkblot--you see them trying to save lives, I see them scrambling for another way to squeeze a few more years of profit out of an existing drug--not that that's new, or anything...

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53. Phrank! on February 2, 2007 9:07 AM writes...

Why is it that drug companies are looked upon differently than another publicly traded company? When Ford lays-off thousands of workers the US sees this as necessary capitalism. When Pfizer does the same thing, they are called evil and only looking to have a better bottom line.

At the end of the day, Science is very difficult; both intellectually and economically. The answer to the ethical sink holes here is more oversight. Does anyone actually think car companies would spend the extra money to make their cars safer were it not for federal laws requiring it?

Perhaps if federal patent protection were lengthened for each new drug (say to 40 years) the governement could then force companies to charge less per pill, but still recoop the same amount in the end.

Big pharma is no more evil than Ford or WalMart in our capitalist society.

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54. Anonymous on May 21, 2009 9:32 AM writes...

The big pharma question I want answered is why it was a quick, relatively clean decision to pull torcetrapib, but then there are grand quests to extend psychiatric drugs from one indication to the next, even when significant nasty side effects are apparent in the data.

Is it that in cancer trials the 'excess deaths' are more noticable? Is there something different about the product teams working on CNS drugs?

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55. Rethoryke on May 21, 2009 9:36 AM writes...

The big pharma question I want answered is why it was a quick, relatively clean decision to pull torcetrapib, but then there are grand quests to extend psychiatric drugs from one indication to the next, even when significant nasty side effects are apparent in the data.

Is it that in cancer trials the 'excess deaths' are more noticable? Is there something different about the product teams working on CNS drugs?

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