Sunday, January 27, 2008

Drug Companies: the Supreme Beings

Recently the FDA has come out and announced that the cardiovascular drug, Vytorin (a patented combination of two other FDA-approved drugs Zocor and Zetia), would undergo further studies to determine why the drug actually increases plaque in arteries when compared to patients just taking Zocor. This combination "in theory" should have been another miracle drug since Zocor has been "proven" to reduce cholesterol and Zetia has been "proven" to block the body's absorption of cholesterol from food. Although Vytorin decreases the "bad cholesterol" LDL greater than Zocor alone, what explains the elevation in plaque levels? Did Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp deliberately delay telling the FDA and the public about their findings? Why did the FDA approve the drug without knowing such crucial information? Could any of the answers lie in the fact that the companies had $5 billion in sales of Vytorin in 2007. As the attorney general Andrew Cuomo of New York states about how New York's Medicaid program paid about $21 million dollars for the drug instead of purchasing cheaper generic alternatives: "We will investigate and, when appropriate, hold accountable drug companies for engaging in irresponsible and deceptive conduct and any deceitful marketing of prescription drugs." Come on... seriously. When has the punishment ever fit the crime when talking about how these drugs Vytorin, Viox, etc. ever make it to the market when the facts were hidden? How are these FDA-approved? What does FDA-approved mean these days? A slap on the wrist is usually what the punishment ends up being AFTER record profits have been met. It is sad to see how the director of the FDA's Office of New Drugs actually defends the timeline from when the drug company found the results in 2006 to sharing the information. Please visit the following link from WebMD, witness the irony and keep in mind the final sentence when thinking about the FDA's priority about enforcing the drug companies release of critical information:


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