We continue the discussion of principles you can use to protect yourself against Big Pharma’s endangering your health.
Principle number two: The truth told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.--William Blake
Here's how this principle worked in the Celebrex case. It's quite a detective story. You can read the details in Overdosed America, Chapter 3: False and Misleading: The misrepresentation of Celebrex and Vioxx.
Pharmacia, the manufacturer of Celebrex, needed some promotional material. They designed a study to show that Celebrex caused fewer serious gastrointestinal side effects than older nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) including ibuprofen. This study was to last one year. For the first six months all went well. Patients taking Celebrex had fewer serious gastrointestinal complications then patients taking ibuprofen and some other older, less expensive, NSAIDS. In the second six months, however, things went very wrong. Patients taking Celebrex began to have more serious side effects than the older NSAIDS group. What to do? Simple! Publish the first half of the study proving what Pharmacia wanted to prove and say the results of the second six months would be published later. It worked like a charm. An article appeared in a prestigious medical journal stating that Celebrex was safer to take than the older NSAIDS because it caused fewer serious gastrointestinal side effects. Sales took off and continue strong.
Isn't it beautiful? Pharmacia told the truth: in the first half of the study Celebrex really did produce fewer side effects. They forthrightly said this was only half the study. And they may eventually be telling the truth about publishing the results of the second half; after all, it's only been about five years. In the meantime, tens of thousands of people have paid millions of dollars for the privilege of having more serious gastrointestinal side effects than they would have had with the older, much less expensive drugs.
If something about this doesn't sound exactly right to you, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Here's a suggestion: join the American Association for Health Freedom. This organization will keep you informed about what Big Pharma is up to and makes it easy for you to contact your representative, Senators, and appropriate people in the Obama administration about your concerns. Some of what you read may scare you and/or make you want to throw up. It will also encourage and empower you to know that there are thousands of people who care enough about their health freedom and their ability to protect themselves and their loved ones to get the information and support they need to fight for both.
My next post will probably be Principle Number Three: The New Golden Rule.