Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Pharma companies accused of concealing risks of antidepressants

Pharma companies accused of concealing risks of antidepressants | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Pharmaceutical companies have been accused of failing to report the high risk of suicide among youngsters who take antidepressants.

In the largest review of its kind, researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Center at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, examined 70 European clinical trials involving more than 18,000 patients taking five of the most common antidepressants.

The results showed that the risk of suicide and aggression in children and adolescents taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) doubled.

The researchers found that after comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports pharmaceutical companies had misclassified deaths and suicidal events to ‘favor their products.’ Instances of increased aggression were also not accurately reported.

Tarang Sharma, author of the study, which is published today in the BMJ, said manufacturers were not doing enough to highlight the dangers.

The full study can be seen here.

Pharma Guy's insight:

In general the larger companies have walked away from psychiatry. There are a few companies who have maintained efforts in the area. Many withdrew from neuroscience entirely. See "Just When We Need It, #Pharma Interest in Mental Health Wanes"; 

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Man Worried Antidepressants Will Leave Trace Of Original Personality

Man Worried Antidepressants Will Leave Trace Of Original Personality | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

CORAL SPRINGS, FL—Expressing concerns about the effects of the medication on his brain, local man Aaron Stilner told reporters Wednesday that he’s worried the antidepressants his physician prescribed will leave traces of his original personality.

“I know my doctor wants me to start on SSRIs right away, but I don’t want to take any pills before I know for sure they will completely change who I am,” Stilner said of the new prescription, which he fears will fail to erase all semblance of his former self and allow certain of his longstanding and defining character traits to persist.

“I guess I can always switch medications if I find that this one doesn’t alter every one of my individual characteristics. The last thing I want is for there to be any risk I’ll end up being recognizable to my friends and family.”

At press time, Stilner had requested to increase his dosage by an additional 20 mg.

Pharma Guy's insight:

It's a spoof, but isn't that what we want form these drugs? Especially if we are talking about serial killers who are off their meds! 

You might be interested in this: "Making A Killing:" Scientology Video Blasts the Pyschiatry-Drug Industry-FDA Complex!

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Bereavement: APA Paves Way for Antidepressant "Cash Cow" Indication

Bereavement: APA Paves Way for Antidepressant "Cash Cow" Indication | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

[Written by Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a pharmacist, medical writer, and principal at]

Antidepressants are not recommended to overcome bereavement. These drugs can mask grieving which will only return after the person stops taking them. They can take weeks to kick in and have a long list of side effects.

A 2014 study examined the prescribing of antidepressants to bereaved parents who lost their newly born children. Of those prescribed medication, antidepressants were most common (80%) followed by benzodiazepines/sleep aids (20%). The bulk (75%) of these prescriptions were written within a month after the death. Obstetrician/gynecologists wrote nearly all prescriptions given shortly after loss, not giving the parent time to work through the process.

Disturbing questions

The majority of parents who were prescribed antidepressants took them long-term. These data raise disturbing questions about prescribing practices for anyone who grieves over a loved one. The grieving process gets close at what it means to be human. Handling that process over to professionals armed with pills approximates the most dangerous misuse of pharmaceuticals imaginable.

Nevertheless, powerful Big Pharma would rather have you take a pill to better fuel the $10 billion antidepressant market. Lost your sock in the laundry? There’s a pill for that. Someone cut you off on the highway? Pills for that too. Just had a bad day? Another pricey medication is a-waitin. Anyway, isn’t that what martinis are for?

But more seriously, when should the bereaved be medicated? For years, the official handbook of psychiatry, issued by the American Psychiatric Association, advised against diagnosing major depression when the distress is “better accounted for by bereavement.” Such grief, experts said, was better left to nature.

In what some prominent critics have called a cash cow for the drug companies, the American Psychiatric Association voted in 2013 to drop the old warning against diagnosing depression in those who are mourning, paving the way for more of them to be diagnosed with major depression , and, thusly treated with antidepressants. It’s a game of "I will scratch your back if you scratch mine."

Of the 11 members of the American Psychiatric Association committee that spearheaded the change, 8 of them reported financial connections to pharmaceutical companies — either receiving speaking fees, consultant pay, research grants or holding stock, according to the disclosures filed with the association. Six of the 11 panelists reported financial ties during the time that the committee met, and 2 others reported financial ties in the 5 years leading up to the committee assignment, according to APA records.

Pharma Guy's insight:

The next big boon for pharmaceutical marketers will be in the mental health field. But in this case, there is virtually no worry about effectiveness because (1) there are no biological tests to support mental illness diagnoses, and (2) changes are in the works that will create many new mental illness diagnoses for which there are no biological tests to substantiate.

Drug companies, says Dr. Allen Frances, the chairman of the committee that created DSM-IV, psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, "would undoubtedly find ways of penetrating the huge new markets with medications having largely unproven benefit and very substantial side effects." For more on that, read Pharma Marketers are Salivating in Anticipation of Mental Health "Epidemic"

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