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Deliberate fraud uncovered in antidepressant studies: Falsified data led to millions of children being poisoned by psychiatric drugs

Antidepressant drugs

(NaturalNews) In what has been termed "one of the biggest frauds in American healthcare history," pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham – now GlaxoSmithKline – was proven to have falsified data in clinical trials for an ineffective antidepressant drug that caused suicidal thoughts in more than 10 percent of children to whom it was prescribed.

Paroxetine, which was marketed under the names Paxil and Seroxat, was introduced in 2001, following the publication of a trial carried out by the company itself that claimed the drug was "generally well tolerated" by children and adolescents suffering from depression.

The drug was prescribed to more than 2 million American children the following year.

An independent re-analysis of the trial was recently conducted by The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal). Their research concluded that paroxetine was no more effective than a placebo and caused suicidal thoughts in 12 of 93 children who took the drug.

The new study also revealed that the company ignored data related to the increased risk of suicide and noted that the original study – known as Study 329 – was typed up by a hired medical writer while one of GSK's senior scientists involved in the trial was being investigated by U.S. authorities for his ties to Big Pharma.

Bribing the medical profession

GSK was ordered to pay a record $3 billion in damages for wrongly promoting the dangerous drug between 1997 and 2004. The company paid doctors to attend events promoting Paxil and provided them with other perks, such as hunting trips and spa sessions.

The promotion effort undoubtedly was a factor leading to the subsequent overprescription of the drug to millions of children.

BMJ editor Fiona Godlee pointed out that this case is part of a widespread general practice on the part of pharmaceutical companies involving the overstating of a drug's effectiveness while playing down dangerous side effects.

Overstating benefits, understating dangers

"This long running saga has within it all the seeds of our current discontent - industry malpractice, paid opinion leaders twisting the results of trials, hidden data allowing manufacturers, academics and clinicians to overstate the benefits and underplay the harms of treatment," Godlee said, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Other researchers have reached similar conclusions.

From ProjectCensored.org:

A recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, evaluated 185 meta-analyses, and found that one third of them were written by pharma industry employees, who were 22 times less likely to have negative statements about a drug than unaffiliated researchers. Almost 80 percent of the studies had some sort of industry tie, either through sponsorship (funding of the study), or conflicts of interest, where one or more authors were either industry employees or independent researchers receiving industry support (speaking fees, grants, etc.).

In a 2006 study examining industry impact on clinical trials of psychiatric medications, industry-sponsored trials reported favorable outcomes 78% of the time, compared with 48% in independently funded trials. Antidepressants are one of the largest pharmaceutical markets, yet it is likely that the problem of scientific fraud extends to other drugs and vaccines. The need for oversight (government and industry) is increasingly obvious.

The game is rigged

These figures tell the whole story. If industry-sponsored trials are 40 percent more likely to produce favorable results than independent trials, then clearly something is wrong with the system.

Allowing the pharmaceutical industry to conduct its own clinical trials with no independent reviews or governmental oversight is a recipe for disaster. Pharmaceutical drugs kill tens of thousands of people each year.

Lately, the FDA has been busy going after the makers of natural dietary supplements and calling their products unsafe. Meanwhile, the big drug companies get a free pass to market their poison – even when they know it kills children.






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