Pharma

BBC Reports GlaxoSmithKline Paid Academics to Fudge Data on Child Paxil/Suicide Link

| Mon Jan. 29, 2007 1:55 PM EST

The BBC is broadcasting a report later today alleging GSK tried basically tried to make up for studies that showed that Paxil did not help depressed children (and put some at risk of suicide) by issuing other studies, studies that just so happened to be conducted by scientists on their payroll, that found guess what? Just the opposite :

GSK's biggest clinical trial of Seroxat on children was held in the US in the 1990s and called Study 329. Child psychiatrist Dr Neal Ryan of the University of Pittsburgh was paid by GSK as a co-author of Study 329. In 2002 he also gave a talk on childhood depression at a medical conference sponsored by GSK. He said that Seroxat could be a suitable treatment for children and later told [BBC program] Panorama reporter Shelley Jofre that it probably lowered rather than raised suicide rates.
In amongst the archive of emails in Malibu, Shelley Jofre was surprised to find that her own emails to Dr Ryan from 2002 asking questions about the safety of Seroxat had been forwarded to GSK asking for advice on how to respond to her. She also found an email from a public relations executive working for GSK which said: "Originally we had planned to do extensive media relations surrounding this study until we actually viewed the results".

Don't you hate when science gets in the way of good PR?

Mother Jones has been reporting on big pharma's disturbing pattern of pushing dangerous psychotropic drugs on kids with little (or counterveiling) evidence of their safety for many years. Try these on for size:

Doping Kids: As pharmaceutical companies push their products, more and more kids are being treated with powerful -- and untested -- adult drugs.

Disorders Made to Order: Pharmaceutical companies have come up with a new strategy to market their drugs: First go out and find a new mental illness, then push the pills to cure it.

Prosecuting for Pharma: Antidepressant manufacturers team up with district attorneys to make sure the Zoloft defense doesn't fly.

And if you want to be truly terrified of Pharma's lack of oversight and how it puts our kids at risk, read:

Medicating Aliah: When state mental health officials fall under the influence of Big Pharma, the burden falls on captive patients. Like this 13-year-old girl.

For an archive of our Big Pharma stories, check out our new Environment and Health page.