Christian Science Monitor Examines Recent Criticism of Pharmaceutical Industry
The Christian Science Monitor on Monday examined the "slew of revelations [that] have stung drug makers in recent months," putting the pharmacy industry in "danger of joining Big Oil and Big Tobacco as one of the bad boys of American industry." Recently, the industry has faced questions about concealing negative clinical trial data and withholding information about antidepressants' link to suicidal behavior in children. According to the Monitor, "the drumbeat of revelations has damaged the industry's credibility," and "a steady stream of critical books ... lambastes" the industry's practices.
Dr. Jerome Kassirer, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and author of "On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health," said criticism of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is "deserved." He added, "[T]hey exaggerate the amount of money that's used to produce new products. They are producing too many drugs that don't have any special added value, a bunch of 'me too' drugs."
PhRMA spokesperson Jeff Trewhitt said, "It's obviously frustrating. We think it's the result of a barrage of distorted allegations, and we are trying to fight back" (Lamb, Christian Science Monitor, 9/20).
WBUR's "On Point" on Thursday in the second hour of the program discussed the pharmaceutical industry and whether higher drug prices are necessary because of research and development costs for new treatments. Guests on the program included Marcia Angell, a pathologist, former editor of NEJM and author of the book, "The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do About It"; Lori Reilly, deputy vice president for policy and research at PhRMA; and Peter Rost, vice president of marketing for endocrine care at Pfizer (Ashbrook, "On Point," WBUR, 9/16). Complete audio of the program is available online in RealPlayer, Windows Media and Quicktime Media formats.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.