August 23rd, 2010
By: Jonathon Benson
Corruption and fraud in the drug industry is nothing new, but a new report to be presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association reveals that most new pharmaceutical drugs offer practically no benefits and a whole lot of negative side effects.
Donald Light, sociologist, professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and author of the new study, explains that the drug industry as a whole produces all sorts of “lemon” drugs that do not work, whose efficacy has not been proven and whose manufacturers are protected from responsibility by industry protection laws.
“Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs’ benefits,” he said in a press release. “Then, they spend two or three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs. Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug.”
According to an independent review, only about 15 percent of new drugs even work as stated, and most new drugs — whether they offer a benefit or not — come with serious side effects that are now a significant cause of death in the U.S.
The report explains that drug companies deliberately expose large amounts of people to ineffective, harmful drugs in trials, but skew them to make it look as if the drugs are effective. They then submit hosts of incomplete, inaccurate data to the FDA for approval, followed by large marketing campaigns designed to convince doctors to prescribe the newly approved drugs for both approved and unapproved uses.
According to the report, an analysis of 111 final drug applications revealed that 42 percent were missing adequate randomized trials, 40 percent had inaccurate dosage testing, 39 percent failed to show drug efficacy, and roughly half revealed the drugs to have serious adverse side effects.
Light also emphasized that, because drug companies control both the scientific testing process and the selection of which tests get submitted to the FDA or get published, the entire process is biased and flawed.