As reported by the Chicago Tribune, U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson has ordered that thousands of pages of Wyeth documents be unsealed. At issue is Wyeth’s marketing practices and the safety of their hormone replacement therapy drugs, Prempro and Premarin. The release request was made by The New York Times and the biomedical journal Public Library of Science (PLoS).
The data is relevant in a case involving 8,000 combined lawsuits which will be heard by Judge Wilson. Of interest is whether Wyeth properly reported the risks of breast cancer from hormone therapy.
As described in a Decwember 12, 2008, New York Times article, Wyeth had relinquished the documents to Sen. Grassley for use in a Congressional investigation regarding the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on doctors.
“Wyeth, the pharmaceutical company, paid ghostwriters to produce medical journal articles favorable to its female hormone replacement therapy Prempro, according to Congressional letters seeking more information about the company’s involvement in medical ghostwriting.” See: Wyeth’s Use of Medical Ghostwriters Questioned - NYTimes.com
Although shown to a jury, the documents have been under a confidential seal and not made available to the public. However, on June 17, 2009, the Times joined PLoS in their attempt to have the documents released.
“‘These documents will educate the public and allow them to better understand materials they use every day in making their often life-depending health care decisions,’ said Little Rock attorney Gerry Schulze, who represented the Times.’”
Questions: If Wyeth is found to have hid and embellished medical data, who is the most guilty?
B. The doctors who signed or allowed their names to be used in published articles?
C. Our legal system for allowing such information to be kept from the public?
D. All of the above
What should be done to protect the public?
To read all about it, see: Judge orders Wyeth papers unsealed -- chicagotribune.com, Associated Press, July 25, 2009