How many of us have been prescribed a medication, which is FDA approved for a specific condition, yet has been claimed to be effective for other conditions as well? If I was to guess, I would say that many of us with chronic incurable illness have experienced this at some point.
Doctors are putting their trust (or perhaps motivated by greed) in phamaceutical companies, who claim that certain medications have been found to benefit conditions which they have not been FDA approved to treat. In turn, patients are putting their trust in doctors, that they are being prescribed a medication that has proven to be effective and considered safe to address these "off label" uses. There is a reason that drugs go through the process of getting FDA approval for specific uses! It is not illegal for doctors to prescribe medications for "off label" uses, however it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs for uses which have not been FDA approved.
What happens if the pharmaceutical companies are not being honest about the results of their research?
There has been more chaos in the pharmaceutical world. In the last couple of days Pfizer has been making headlines with their drug Neurontin, which is FDA approved to treat epilepsy.
It is alleged that Pfizer has been illegally promoting Neurontin for uses not approved by the FDA, to treat various health issues.
It is even reported that Pfizer’s own studies indicate that Neurontin has been no more effective than the placebo, for treating these health issues, yet the company failed to notify anyone of these findings.
A Boston jury has found the company guilty of promoting these unapproved uses for the drug. The violation falls under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act)law. Which dictated that the original penalty of $47 million dollars be tripled, which will actually cost Pfizer $141 million dollars.
The company plans to appeal this decision, so I guess we’ll have to hang in there to see what happens with this case.
All in the name of money? It infuriates me that these giant pharmaceutical companies care more about the mighty dollar, than they do about human life. Once again, I’m thoroughly disgusted by this industry, and feel that patient’s best interest is the least of their concerns.