Monday, March 2, 2009

The Seroquel Deception Documents

As I covered in my last post, AstraZeneca is in the midst of a Disney World sized headache in Orlando, where a federal judge is sifting through various allegations regarding the safety risks of the antipsychotic Seroquel. That headache has now become a blinding migraine, because the judge ordered many of the disclosure documents unsealed, and as predicted, we all now have a front-row seat at data manipulation at its finest.

There's too much to comment on so I'm happy to report that the extremely clever anonymous blogger at Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry has already done much of the heavy lifting for us. You must immediately go to this post to see how the pharmaceutical industry actually works.

Apparently, back in 2000, the marketing and scientific honchos at AZ knew about the results of an internal meta-analysis showing that Seroquel is less effective than both Risperdal and that ancient antipsychotic Haldol.
Rather than alerting physicians to this critical piece of data, they had one of their hired guns issue the following statement in a press release: "Almost 50 years later, however, many patients are still taking these medications [such as Haldol], even though more effective treatments like Seroquel exist."

Yes, this is one of those nausea moments, for physicians, for the unsuspecting public, and especially for AZ investors, who are watching their stock's inexorable tumble down, down, down.

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