AstraZeneca: ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ Hiding Seroquel Flaws

From The Washington Post: A Silenced Drug Study Creates An Uproar

The study would come to be called “cursed,” but it started out just as Study 15.

It was a long-term trial of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. The common wisdom in psychiatric circles was that newer drugs were far better than older drugs, but Study 15’s results suggested otherwise.

As a result, newly unearthed documents show, Study 15 suffered the same fate as many industry-sponsored trials that yield data drugmakers don’t like: It got buried. It took eight years before a taxpayer-funded study rediscovered what Study 15 had found — and raised serious concerns about an entire new class of expensive drugs.

Study 15 was silenced in 1997, the same year Seroquel was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia. The drug went on to be prescribed to hundreds of thousands of patients around the world and has earned billions for London-based AstraZeneca International — including nearly $12 billion in the past three years….

A recent (informal) survey at the Pharma Marketing Blog asked “What’s the Cause of the Drug Industry’s Bad Reputation?” The results showed the view of industry to be seriously out of step with that of the public. The blog also quoted one pharma exec as asking “How in the hell do we have such a bad reputation?” Hmm, yes, how indeed.

~ by Nancy Walton on March 18, 2009.

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