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Are pharmaceuticals out to kill you? | I Am So Annoyed

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Are pharmaceuticals out to kill you?

Sunday, December 13th, 2009   9:49 am | Author: Isabelle | Health/Medical |
Tags: , , ,

There is a story in the New York Times today about an estrogen drug manufactured and sold by Wyeth (now Pfizer).

 

The drug, Prempro, was sold as a drug to treat the symptoms of menopause and hyped as also addressing problems with heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and blindness.

 

“MILLIONS of American women in the 1990s were told they could help their bodies ward off major illness by taking menopausal hormone drugs. Some medical associations said so. Many gynecologists and physicians said so. Respected medical journals said so, too.”

 

“Connie Barton, then a medical office assistant in Peoria, Ill., was one woman who responded to such messages. She says she took Prempro, a hormone drug made by Wyeth, from 1997, when she was 53, until 2002, when she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. As part of her cancer treatment, she had a mastectomy to remove her left breast.”

 

“Now Ms. Barton, who said in an interview that she used Prempro in part because her doctor told her it could help prevent heart disease and dementia, is one of more than 13,000 people who have sued Wyeth over the last seven years, claiming in courts across the country that its menopause drugs caused breast cancer and other problems.”

 

“In October, a jury in a Pennsylvania state court awarded Ms. Barton $75 million in punitive damages from Wyeth on top of compensatory damages of $3.75 million.”

 

Pfizer said it will appeal and that the drug is safe and that Wyeth did not mislead anyone.

 

“…Wyeth worked over decades to maintain the image and credibility of its hormone drugs even as the products were repeatedly under siege.”

 

Wyeth “over several decades spent tens of millions of dollars on influential physicians, professional medical societies, scientific publications, courses and celebrity ads, inundating doctors and patients with a sea of positive preventive health messages that plaintiffs’ lawyers say deflected users’ attention from cancer concerns.”

 

“Even as evidence mounted of an association of the drugs with cancer — first in the 1970s with Premarin and endometrial cancer, then in the 1990s with Prempro and breast cancer — Wyeth tried to contain the concerns, the court documents show. (A note handwritten in 1996 by a Wyeth employee responding to a new report of breast cancer risks associated with hormone therapy said: “Dismiss/distract.”)”

 

“In 2002, researchers halted the largest clinical trial ever conducted of women’s health because participants who took certain combined hormones had an increased risk of breast cancer — as well as a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots in the lungs — compared with those taking a placebo.”

 

It  makes me ill to read that companies knowingly deceived patients only to bolster their bottom line.

 

Senior executives should be held criminally liable for their actions. Losing money in a court case is just not enough compensation for those who were victimized.

 

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