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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

AstraZeneca 'suppressed' drug test data


Image: prospect.rsc.org


According to the BBC website, pharmaceutical giants, AstraZeneca, have been accused by an ex-employee of suppressing data regarding their anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel.

The BBC writes:

Seroquel's former UK medical adviser told the BBC he was pressured to approve promotional material which said weight gain was not an issue.

Seroquel was launched in 1997 for treating schizophrenia and later for bipolar disorder. John Blenkinsopp, the company's former UK medical manager, claimed he was pressurised by the company's marketing arm to approve claims about the drug which he felt did not reflect the medical evidence.

"The clinical studies at the time of the launch of Seroquel showed patients developed significant weight gain, significant both statistically and clinically," he told the BBC's File on 4.

"They [the marketing team] came at me with a number of potential claims all of which were trying to intimate that Seroquel was not associated with weight gain - the data pointed in the opposite direction," added Mr Blenkinsopp who was speaking publicly for the first time since he left the company in 2000.

He said: "I understood where they were coming from. I had some robust discussions and exposed them to the data but that didn't seem to stop them because they were desperate for a differential advantage over one of the competitor products and they didn't have one.

"In the end I was put under quite a significant amount of pressure by the marketeers to sign off claims with regards to the lack of weight gain and I was unwilling to sign that off. The marketeers made it clear it could be career limiting for me," Mr Blenkinsopp added.




The MHRA says it has seen no evidence of this and maintains it carries out thorough and detailed reviews of any application.



I think we've been down this road before.

Fid

Tipped by Stuart Jones

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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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