Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Drug wars heating up

Well, the anti-depressant drug wars, and in this case, we're talking about a 55 million dollar market. The state of NY is suing Glaxo about Paxil because the "company had withheld negative information and misrepresented data about the efficacy and safety of prescribing the antidepressant drug Paxil to children".
The civil lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, says that starting in 1999, Glaxo suppressed the results of four studies that did not find the drug effective in treating children and adolescents and that suggested a possible increased risk of suicidal thinking and acts.

"By concealing critically important scientific studies on Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline impaired doctors' ability to make the appropriate prescribing decision for their patients and may have jeopardized their health and safety," the attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, said in a statement.

...In the lawsuit, Mr. Spitzer asserts that an internal GlaxoSmithKline document from 1999 showed that the company intended to "manage the dissemination of the data in order to minimize any potential negative commercial impact."
Paxil is not approved for children and adolescents, by the way. And Europe, who is usually way ahead of the US when it comes to drugs, says this about Paxil
In April, a European Union advisory panel recommended that Glaxo strengthen warnings about severe withdrawal symptoms when patients stop taking Paxil.

European Union regulators also recommended that Paxil not be given to children because clinical trials had found the drug to be associated with increased risk of suicidal behavior and hostility.
I'm all for proper treatment of kids. My concern about Paxil is that studies show there are serious issues with this drug for pediatric use.