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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Japanese doctor who exposed a drug too good to be true calls for morality and reforms

Tomoko Otake
Japan Times
Originally posted November 15, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Kuwajima says the Diovan case is a sobering reminder that large-scale clinical trials published in top medical journals should not be blindly trusted, as they can be exploited by drugmakers rushing to sell their products before their patents run out.

“I worked at a research hospital and had opportunities to try new or premarket drugs on patients, so I knew from early on that Diovan and the same class of drugs called ARB wouldn’t work, especially for elderly patients,” Kuwajima recalled in a recent interview at Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital, where he has retired from full-time practice but still sees patients two days a week. “I had a strong sense of crisis that hordes of elderly people — whose ranks were growing as the population grayed — would be prescribed a drug that didn’t work.”

Kuwajima said he immediately found the Diovan research suspicious because the results were just too good to be true. This was before Novartis admitted that it had paid five professors conducting studies at their universities a total of ¥1.1 billion in “research grants,” and even had Shirahashi, a Novartis employee purporting to be a university lecturer, help with statistical analyses for the papers.

The article is here.
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