Remember the post I wrote back in January on a Spanish study concerning “high risk” smoldering myeloma patients? (I use quotation marks because the “high-risk” criteria were established by the study authors themselves…not by an independent group of myeloma specialists…as far as I can tell, anyway.) If this study doesn’t ring a bell, click here to read about it: http://margaret.healthblogs.org/2010/01/20/a-high-risk-smm-study-presented-at-ash-2009/
Relevant to today’s topic: in January, I found out that 9 of the 23 study authors are closely connected to Celgene, the makers of lenalidomide; indeed, two of the authors were Celgene EMPLOYEES (hello???)…these titbits made me suspicious, to put it mildly…anyway, I made my position clear in my post…no need to vent here, too…
Ah, before I continue: out of curiosity, just now I checked the Clinical Trials website and, yes, the Spanish study is still recruiting participants…(I am sure you can imagine what I think about that…but I prefer not to comment…oh okay, just one teeny tiny growl: grrrr…!).
And now we get to the point of this post. Today I feel vindicated…you see, I just finished reading a Science Daily article on how pharmaceutical companies influence and manipulate clinical trials: http://tinyurl.com/355lqwk Bloody hell!!! For more information, here is the link to the original article, printed in “Deutsches Aerzteblatt International”: http://tinyurl.com/2bw2xr6
This bit of news really came as no surprise to me (remember Vioxx?)…but I admit, it is very very frustrating. I mean…
…whom can we trust?
Sometimes you can trust yourself, but most things are suspicious!
At the cost of nearly $7000 a month for lenalidomide (Revlimid) in the US, I’m sure that Celgene would love to be able to sell it to the large pool of MGUS people. Their price of nearly $5000/month for the existing drug thalidomide is also way exorbitant.
I know that some people do benefit from lenalidomaide (I know one of them), but certainly not all. I appreciate that some profit is necessary for research to continue, but the company to my knowledge has never made it clear how much of their income goes to that purpose.
I would be curious to know how much these drugs cost in Italy.
Have you heard of vitalethiene? It is also known as beta-alethine? It is very effective against MM and other cancers as it boosts the immune system allowing the body to heal itself. My brother-in-law is a Dr. in Bio and mentioned that it is in clinical trials, however this wonderful discovery is currently involved in some sort of litigation. No surprise there. My husband has MM. We hope to see this available in the near future.
Thought this an interesting commentary on the clinical trial system in the U.S.
Marcia Angell has been a stern critic of U.S. health care in general and the pharmaceutical industry in particular. She is scathing on the topic of how clinical trials are conducted in America:
“Many drugs that are assumed to be effective are probably little better than placebos, but there is no way to know because negative results are hidden…. Because favorable results were published and unfavorable results buried … the public and the medical profession believed these drugs were potent…. Clinical trials are also biased through designs for research that are chosen to yield favorable results for sponsors. For example, the sponsor’s drug may be compared with another drug administered at a dose so low that the sponsor’s drug looks more powerful. Or a drug that is likely to be used by older people will be tested in young people, so that side effects are less likely to emerge. A common form of bias stems from the standard practice of comparing a new drug with a placebo, when the relevant question is how it compares with an existing drug. In short, it is often possible to make clinical trials come out pretty much any way you want, which is why it’s so important that investigators be truly disinterested in the outcome of their work…. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.”