Thursday, March 19, 2009

More On: Judicial Secrecy And Seroquel, Shrouded In Controversy.

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s Judicial Secrecy And Seroquel, Shrouded In Controversy.

The Washington Post has an interesting article, “A Silenced Drug Study Creates An Uproar,” dealing with the Seroquel case. What started out simply as "Study 15" has become a serious problem for AstraZeneca, the makers of Seroquel.

Here's what happened.

Study 15, issued in 1997, the same year the FDA approved Seroquel, raised "serious concerns about an entirely new class of expensive drugs." Nothing gets the attention of a pharmaceutical manufacturer better than the manufacturer’s pocketbook. The thought that Study 15 might jeopardize an entire class of "expensive" pharmaceuticals was more than AstraZeneca could handle, so they buried the study.

AstraZeneca never shared the negative research data of Study 15 with doctors, opting instead to publish positive results for Seroquel based on "less rigorous studies.” Further, AstraZeneca minimized the metabolic problems that might lead to diabetes. In the process, AstraZeneca marketed Seroquel, collecting $12 billion over the past 3 years. That's right "$12 billion."

The details of Study 15 have emerged as a result of lawsuits filed nationwide. Taxpayer-funded research has found that new anti-psychotic drugs such as Seroquel are 10 times more expansive and did not really offer a "real advantage" over older anti-psychotic medications. In fact, they presented risks that AstraZeneca minimized.

The real problem here is more than corporate greed! Rather it's the problem of indifferent conservative judges who enter “secrecy orders” to protect corporate greed and prevent the dissemination of information such a Study 15. Judicial secrecy orders that compromise public health and safety need to stop now!

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