Product News and Recalls

Medical journals print biased studies

An article in the Washington Post says major medical journals routinely print studies over which pharmaceutical companies can exert major influence. That company influence “has become a common practice that reflects the growing role of industry money in research,” the article says.

As an example, the Washington Post cites a 17-page article in the New England Journal of Medicine that rated GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia the best of three diabetes drugs. GlaxoSmithKline funded the trial that formed the basis of the article, and paid each of the 11 authors.

Avandia was later linked to increased risk of heart attacks. Earlier this year, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion to settle a number of charges, including allegations that the company intentionally suppressed information about Avandia’s risks.

Antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have been linked with potentially deadly heart and lung defects in newborns. SSRI antidepressants include Prozac and Zoloft.

The Washington Post did a review of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, which is arguably the most prestigious medical journal in the world. Over a year-long period ending in August, the journal published 73 articles on original studies of new drugs, encompassing drugs approved by the FDA since 2000 and experimental drugs.

Of those, the Washington Post found, 60 were funded by a pharmaceutical company, 50 were co-written by drug company employees and 37 had a lead author who had previously accepted outside compensation from the sponsoring drug company in the form of consultant pay, grants or speaker fees.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries from SSRIs.

See the article here: