Kaiser Poll Show Support for Personal Imporatation

Kaiser Poll Show Support for Personal Imporatation

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time for critics of importation to look closer to home

Our most recent posting, actually a reposting, of an earlier criticism of Dr. Marv Shepherd, who, in his role as Director of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies and Chairman of the Pharmacy Administration Division at the University of Texas-Austin College of Pharmacy, warned about the dangers of prescription medicines sold via internet mail-order pharmacies, suggesting that anyone making such an order, risked getting unsafe and/or counterfeit medicines, prompted a response from one reader who suggested that we lacked the courage of our convictions because while the Doctor 'signed' his papers, we published anonymously.

The writer failed to notice that sections of our blog site clearly identified us as the publisher of the site, so we expanded our identification. Interestingly, the critic had signed his/her response, 'Anonymous'.

But to move on. Let's see how concerned Dr. Shepherd and others who make misleading charges in an attempt to discourage individual importation of safe, affordable medications from licensed registered pharmacies are about the safety standards of the pharmaceutical industry itself.

This news release from the Missouri Attorney General indicates how two leading manufacturers risked the safety of Americans by their failure to report negative effects of two medicines they produced.

It is especially interesting to note that the attorneys general of 36 states were involved in the 'settlement' with Merck and Schering-Plough, but look where the drugs come from--Singapore, where the companies had a joint venture, named somewhat uncreatively MSP-Singapore.

So here is our standing invitation to Dr. Shepherd to show that he is truly concerned about prescription drug safety and holding pharma accountable for honest, open communications.

Using the University's PR budget, we urge him to do a study on bad medicines foisted upon the American public. Identify the companies, the medicines, and the potential health impact of the deception of pharma. Then, issue a news release about the need to make sure that pharma doesn't endanger the health and well-being of Americans.

The release follows. It is evident that the health threat to U.S. citizens from the misinformation of pharma is more of a threat than personal importation of safe, affordable prescriptions from licensed, registered pharmacies in Tier One countries.

Attorney General Koster announces Missouri to receive $100,000 in
settlement with Merck and Schering-Plough
--drug companies slow to disclose negative drug-study results--

Jefferson City, Mo. -- Attorney General Chris Koster today
announced a multi-state settlement with Merck & Co. Inc, Shering-Plough
Corporation, and a joint venture of the two companies, MSP Singapore
Company, LLC.

“When pharmaceutical companies slow reports of negative
drug-study results they are as good as lying to the public,” Koster
said. “It is unconscionable that a drug company would withhold
information that physicians and their patients need to make good
health-care decisions,” Koster said. “The agreement with Merck and
Schering-Plough sends a strong message that this Attorney General’s
office will be vigilant on public health issues and that we will not
allow businesses to put profits before patients.”

The settlement resolves an investigation into the companies'
lengthy delay in releasing negative results from the clinical trial
called ENHANCE (Ezetimibe and Simvastatin in Hypercholsterolemia
Enhances Atherosclerosis Regression). In this study, the
cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin (a combination of the drug Zetia and
simvastatin) was no more effective reducing formation of plaque in
carotid arteries than the cheap, generically available
cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin. Although ENHANCE ended May 2006,
a partial reporting of negative results did not occur until January 2008
and complete results were not published until the following April.
Prior to release of study results, Vytorin had been heavily promoted in
direct-to-consumer advertisements.

The settlement terms that now apply to Vytorin and Zetia are
requirements to:

● Obtain pre-approval from FDA for all direct-to-consumer
television advertisements;

● Comply with FDA suggestions to modify drug advertising;

● Register clinical trials and post their results;

● Prohibit ghost writing of articles;

● Reduce conflicts of interest for Data Safety Monitoring
Boards that ensure the safety of
participants in clinical trials; and,

● Comply with detailed rules prohibiting the deceptive use
of clinical trials.

In addition to these terms, the companies agreed to pay the
investigation costs of the 36 states participating in the settlement.
Missouri will receive $100,000 for its work on the investigation.
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