Monday, May 25, 2009

Seroquel - Emails shows marketing blocked company scientists from expressing concern about safety

Last Tuesday, emails were released to the public that show the Marketing department at Astra Zeneca interfered with company medical and scientific personnel on bringing attention to safety concerns regarding weight gain and other issues.

Click on the title of this article for the link to the full article.

This is no surprise as we have been raising the issue of interference from Marketing in many of the issues facing big Pharma these days....

If it were not for these law suits we would not be able to access this information. No wonder Pharma was so very "Pro" Preemption...

Click on this link to peak at the actual emails that were released last week - PharmaGossip


  1. Former,
    Doesn't this article and many others like it highlights the purposeful mindset preemptors take against logic or ethics. Their logic is all profit based which is so dangerous in the pharmaceutical industry.

    When so much money, so many jobs and a company's name are riding on a product, is it any wonder that the marketing and finance departments within an organization become so strong and then finds ways to ignore the science and therefore ethical behavior in favor of profit?

    So we have the Whistleblower Protection Act and Sarbanes Oxley, among many other examples as proof of the bad side of human nature in corporations.

    For Pharmaceutical Companies, Preemption facilitates the construction of a kind of “black hole”, within a company where unseen and unethical things begin to happen.

    At some point in time corporate pressures will activate the back hole, sucking in highly stressed participants who have had to justify their unethical activities in any number of ways for the corporation.

    One way of looking at the issue is that we owe it to these people to maintain the pressure of lawsuit as a counteracting force. The pull of the corporate black hole of corruption will not be nearly as strong when preemption is eliminated.

  2. JaynesDay,

    I like your analogy of the "black hole" how appropriate!

    The bad news is that when issues like this come to light it shows us that there are some people in the world who have decided that human life is not worth preserving. We are expendable.

    But, like I have always said, it is we "humans" that bring these corporations to "life". Corporations cannot "think" for themseleves no more than a computer can. Guns don't kill either. It is we the humans that inflict the damage to ourselves.

    I think the people in the marketing department should be take some of these drugs themselves. It might change their attitudes. I am quite sure that a few of them are "biopolar" anyway....

    You know the natural herbal supplement market is beginning to look a lot more credible to me these days....

    Notice how one of the issues that keeps coming up is that Pharma says that there are no independent clinical trials for natural remedies, but it seems there aren't any for pharmaceuticals either. Every time we strip away the data we find out that it was altered, or in other ways tampered with. Why bother?

    On a serious note, I think that pharma should ask their medical and scientific staff to take marketing courses and let them do the marketing. Hiring people out of business schools with no medical background to run the marketing of pharmaceuticals is clearly a mistake...

  3. See the related story on Seroquel "inner workings" below

    The latest releases give us a fuller sense of the process within AZ. Very interesting.

  4. Former, thank you for this posting

    “If it were not for these law suits we would not be able to access this information.”

    Lawsuits help to inform and keep us safe. When that right is taken away we are all in danger.

    Even though Levine won, lobbyists will not stop trying to buy state legislatures like they did in Michigan. Although the Supreme Court said “no” to preemption, how will individual states be protected from such assaults? Michigan Senate Leader, Mike Bishop, refuses to look at bills passed by our House (for the 2nd time) that would rescind the Drug Immunity Law, a 13 year old policy that gave the pharmaceutical industry total immunity from product liability.

    We have state rights, but how do we put a check on the laws passed by elected officials? And do state’s rights trump the rights of the people?

  5. It's ironic that preemption based on the Costitution--that would, for example, disallow states from reinstituting slavery--has, indeed, protected individual rights from the will of power cliques within individual states.

    Unfortunately, the problem with the Michigan law has not been defined as a Constitutional one.

  6. ISMP QuarterWatch for FDA's Quarter 3, 2008, Adverse Events report:

    Seroquel(quetiapine) comes in at number 12.

  7. Preemption says state law cannot exceed federal law.

    If federal law grants individuals the right to hold drug companies accountable (Levine) how can a state deny that right?

    I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me Michigan’s drug immunity law is in violation of that right and that preemption is on our side.

  8. Hi Joe,

    I think it depends on how you define "law." In the recent Obama memo contra preemption, it was pointed out that state requirements often can (and should) exceed federal requirements--for max auto emissions, for example--because of the particular situation in particular states.

    I'm not a lawyer either, but I don't think a state creating its own product liability regime, is in the same category of a state requiring more, but I see the logic.

    Michigan requires more (i.e., the moon), in order to bring suit. But it requires less re: FDA approval being a sufficient condition to shield. As you know, FDA itself once called its regulations "minimal requirements." Perhaps it will again.


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