13 - 15 June 2017 | San Francisco, CA

Friday, June 01, 2007

Weekly Pharma News Review

There's so much news coming out about the pharmaceutical industry that I would love to comment on, but I haven't the time. Here are a few stories that came across my desk this week that fall into that category. By your clicks, I can determine which ones I may dive into deeper in future posts to this blog.

Ketek: Drug's chilling path to market
Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. thought it had a blockbuster in Ketek pronounced kee-tek. It would be marketed as the next amoxicillin, a widely used antibiotic to treat the sinusitis and bronchitis that plague millions of Americans each year.

But before Ketek could come to market, the FDA required proof that the expensive new drug was at least as good as the existing treatment. So Aventis devised Study 3014, a clinical drug trial involving 1, 800 private physicians and thousands of their patients nationwide.

But something went awry. You can read more about the story here and view my comments regarding this drug trial that I made back in May, 2006: "Celsius 3014: Ketek, Drug Safety, & Bioterrorism"
Pfizer Charged in Nigeria With Using Children as Test Subjects
Nigerian officials say Pfizer illegally used 200 children, some of whom died, as test subjects without getting parental consent, the Washington Post reported today. Pfizer faces criminal and civil charges that may result in more than $2 billion in fines, The Post said. Pfizer denies it acted inappropriately and said Nigerian government officials were aware of the research program.

I wrote about this and compared it to the movie Constant Gardener back in May, 2006: "Pfizer Imitating Art or Vice Versa?"
States: Beware of Pharma Lobbyists Bearing Gifts
WHEN LOBBYISTS for major drug companies embark on major pushes with politicians, the results are seldom laudable. Though there is reason to hope that a new Merck vaccine, Gardasil, will significantly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, lawmakers nationwide moved with unseemly haste to require inoculations for all young girls. Their rush seems especially precipitous in light of a new study that has raised questions about how effective the vaccine ultimately will prove.

I'll file that under "I told you so." See my post "Does Merck Need a Vaccine for Bad PR?" and the followup post "Gardasil: Less Hype May Help".
Viagra May Kill Your Sperm
New lab studies suggest the little blue pill may impede fertility, and so the researchers say “recreational users” should be informed the drug may hurt their sperm function.

"Given that the majority of sperm acrosome react on exposure to (Viagra), the drug may cause significant impairment to their fertilizing potential," they write in the Fertility and Sterility journal.

Of course, not every guy may be upset to hear this. For some, it may taken as a green light to have more unprotected sex. And this is where Pfizer turns a liability into a brand new marketing opportunity, right?

Younger fellas, who don't want to have kids, may now think of Viagra as not just a party drug, but a form of birth control. And for those older gents with erectile dysfunction, well, they may now be further emboldened to pursue those elusive May-December relationships, and not have to worry about appearing to be an offspring’s grandfather, instead of...daddy.
That's it for now. It seems I've already commented on most of this, except for the Viagra-disabled sperm. Maybe on Monday...

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