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March 20, 2009
What Results Did You Have In Mind?
Of course, no sooner do I come out defending drug company research than we have this to think about:
"An influential Harvard child psychiatrist told the drug giant Johnson & Johnson that planned studies of its medicines in children would yield results benefiting the company, according to court documents dating over several years that the psychiatrist wants sealed. . .much of (Dr. Joseph Biederman's) work has been underwritten by drug makers for whom he privately consults. An inquiry by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, revealed last year that Dr. Biederman earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007 but failed to report all but about $200,000 of this income to university officials.
. . .One set of slides in the documents referred to “Key Projects for 2004” and listed a planned trial to compare Risperdal, also known as risperidone, with competitors in managing pediatric bipolar disorder. The trial “will clarify the competitive advantages of risperidone vs. other neuroleptics,” the slide stated. All of the slides were prepared by Dr. Biederman, according to his sworn statement."
There are other examples. Some of this is marketing-speak, to be sure. But mixing up the marketing stuff with the inner workings of the clinical trials is a very bad idea. For sales and marketing people, it's always onward and upward, positive attitude, create-your-own-successful-reality. You most definitely do not want that worldview in a clinician: "Just the facts, ma'am" is more like it. And that doesn't sound like what we're seeing here.
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