In a piece published in British newspaper The Daily Mail, psychiatrist David Healy claims pharmaceutical companies commonly use deceptive tactics to manipulate clinical trials for new drugs. As a result, Healy alleges, health regulatory agencies approve drugs that are not only ineffective, but dangerous for patients who use them.
He writes that the corporate tactics include the following:
- Conducting clinical trials and not publishing any negative results that come out of them.
- Paying public relations consultants to present negative trial results in a way that makes them look good.
- Hiring ghost writers to write up the results of clinical trials, then paying medical professionals to put their names on the reports.
- Specifically designing clinical trials in a way to prevent negative results from showing up, such as making them too short to detect long-term side effects.
“There are a number of examples of drugs with serious side-effects that the pharmaceutical companies have actively hidden from drug watchdogs as well as patients,” Healy writes.
As an example, he mentions the class of anti-depressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Healy claims pharmaceutical companies have actively concealed evidence that SSRIs raise the risk of suicide.
Healy isn’t the only medical professional to raise concerns about SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft. Several studies have linked the use of SSRIs during pregnancy to birth defects, including serious heart and lung ailments.
See Healy’s piece here: