Pharmaceutical giants, Pfizer, have been putting it about lately. Not content with teaming up with the UK medicines regulator [The MHRA] they have now branched further afield and teamed up with the Canadian Medical Association.
Pfizer, whose rap sheet is almost as big as GlaxoSmithKline's, have been causing me concern over the past year or so. With no advertising allowed for prescription drugs here in the UK they, it would appear, are advertising on TV and radio...by proxy.
Back in January 2009 I reported how the British drug regulator, the MHRA, had teamed up with Pfizer in a massive public relations exercise with regard to fake prescription drugs being purchased over the internet. The MHRA teamed up with Pfizer to launch a series of advertisements throughout British cinemas, later they would get the message out on TV advertising slots.
The advertisement campaign was hard-hitting and, I believe, designed to stop people buying cheaper drugs on the internet. All above board... or so we were led to believe.
The advert depicted a male opening a parcel and highlighted just how dangerous it could be when buying drugs over the internet. Here's the 30 second ad.
You'll note that viewers are directed to a website at the end of the ad. The website is brought to you by Pfizer. Visitors to the site are greeted with a dark image of a body lying on a coroner's table.
Pfizer have now teamed up with The Canadian Medical Association [CMA] and, according to an article that has appeared in The Globe and Mail, are facing huge criticism.
The CMA have apparently sought the expertise of Pfizer to create an education program for physicians across the country. The Globe and Mail writes:
Some members of the medical community say the CMA is heading down a dangerous road and warn that partnering with Pfizer Canada Inc. may cross a serious ethical line that could negatively influence doctors' treatment decisions.
No shit Sherlock!
Pfizer, who manufacturer the controversial antidepressant Zoloft, appear to be slipping through the back door to promote their wares. If they ain;'t teaming up with a limp-wristed medicines regulator, they are worming their way into doctors surgeries throughout Canada. One can only guess at the incentives they will be giving doctors to promote and prescribe their products.
Pfizer also manufacture other drugs that have received less than favourable consumer approval over the years, drugs such as Chantix, Effexor [due to merger with Wyeth in 2009], Neurontin, Viagra, Xanax and Zoloft.
Pfizer pleaded guilty in 2009 to the largest health care fraud in U.S. history and received the largest criminal penalty [$1.19 billion] ever levied for illegal marketing of four of its drugs. One of Pfizer’s drugs they had been pushing doctors to prescribe was the epilepsy drug Neurontin for uses the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] had never approved.
Should alarm bells be ringing in Canada? I think so. With a company who has pleaded guilty to the illegal promotion of marketing a number of drugs for unapproved uses, it would appear that Canada, or in particular the Canadian Medical Association, are giving Pfizer Carte blanche to, once again, be the puppet masters of the medical profession.
I'd bet a week spent in the company of Shania Twain and a box of Viagra [not that I'd need them] that Pfizer are also entering the medical system of other countries too, we just don't know it...yet.
Or maybe I'm just an old cynic.
The evidence, however, is clear...the Seroxat Scandal - The paperback