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Seroxat Archives - Independent, The (London), Nov 8, 2004






Independent, The (London), Nov 8, 2004


DOCUMENTS HAVE emerged showing how the makers of an antidepressant drug planned to double sales by marketing it as a cure for minor anxieties.

Use of Seroxat, which has been linked to suicides, would have been extended to conditions treated without drugs in plans by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The 250-page marketing strategy has been passed to the House of Commons Health Select Committee, which is investigating the drugs industry.

Called Towards the Second Billion - a nod to Seroxat's sales of $1bn (pounds 540m) - the 1998 paper suggests that people with common phobias could be persuaded to take the drug.

Doctors said phobias were renamed as "social anxiety disorders" to suggest that they could be treated with tablets.

Professor David Healy, of Cardiff University, said: "The thrust was to move sales to $2bn by pushing it to people who were not clinically depressed."

Mental health campaigners said the document raised concerns about how pharmaceutical companies market drugs and influence medical research.
Since its launch 14 years ago, millions of adults and children in Britain have taken Seroxat. Prescription to children was banned last year.



Copyright 2004 Independent Newspapers UK Limited
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