THE CRIMES OF PFIZER
JULY 12. MSNBC is running a piece on its site (a transcript of a Dateline show) which reveals, to the uninformed, a staggering medical- drug scandal at Parke-Davis, a division of Warner-Lambert, a subsidiary of Pfizer.
The company has pushed a little drug called Neurontin, approved for epileptic seizures, up the hill and into the wild-blue yonder of a variety of off-label uses---e.g., for so-called bipolar disorder.
Neurontin now outsells Viagra.
The company has used salesmen and ďmedical liaisonsĒ to lie to medical doctors in their offices about the wonderful results Neurontin has achieved for pain and bipolar and practically anything else under the sun.
As if itís some wonder drug. A magic pill.
Company documents and voice-mails reveal a can-do kick-*** attitude. As in, GO OUT THERE AND PUSH THIS DRUG TO DOCTORS FOR USE WITH ANY PROBLEM. GO FOR IT. DONíT HOLD BACK. DONíT EVEN THINK ABOUT SAFETY CONCERNS.
Doctors have been paid to allow salesmen to sit in their examining rooms for a full day, look at patientsí medical records, and watch the docs write out scripts for Neurontin.
Doctors have been paid to travel to holiday resorts and listen to hype about off-label uses of Neurontin.
Parke-Davis has used a paid cutout to write blue-sky articles about the wonderful results of Neurontin for many conditions. The cutout then paid doctors a grand a pop to sign their names to the already-written pieces, which were planted in medical journals.
Internal memos promoting the aggressive and illegal Neurontin sales campaign reached the desks of some bigshots at the company, where theyíve produced no remedial action.
A federal lawsuit against Pfizer seems close to gaining its day in court.
What MSNBC does not say is, these practices are SOP at many, if not all, big drug companies.
After the Dateline show, Iím sure a whole lot of shredding machines are going full-bore from Zanzibar to North Carolina.
And we havenít even touched on the LEGAL use of drugs which are toxic.
The FDA approves medical drugs for specific uses. This is on-label. Then, doctors begin to experiment on live patients, prescribing the drugs for uses which are not approved. This is called off-label, and itís legal. Thatís right.
But when a drug company lies, and pressures and induces doctors to engage in specific off-label practices, the law finally kicks in.
It will be interesting to see what penalty is imposed on Pfizer, if all these charges are shown to be true. 300-400 million in fines would be chicken feed, judging by the sales performance of Neurontin.
At one point, according to evidence NBC has obtained, the company considered applying to the FDA for approval of these off-label uses for Neurontin, but decided against it, because the process would take too long, given the time-limit on Neurontinís patent.
Instead, the company apparently just kept on lying and shucking and jiving doctors, who played along, took money, and closed their eyes.
If youíre a person who trusts all doctors all the time, you might want to read this article again. Then again, you might want to pretend you never read it.
And if you believe that all articles on drugs that appear in medical journals are thoroughly vetted, you might want to do a reality check there too.
Imagine the wild stories Neurontin patients have to tell.
And the FDA and arrogant down-their-nose docs and so-called quackbusters are raging about ďthe dangersĒ of nutritional supplements.
They should try to clean their own house, but if they do, there might not be any house left.
They might be pumping gas or dealing coke.
JON RAPPOPORT www.nomorefaknews.com