Thursday, January 29, 2004

Antidepressant Makers Withhold Data on failed drug trails

As seen in this story in the Washington Post

Makers of popular antidepressants such as Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor have refused to disclose the details of most clinical trials involving depressed children, denying doctors and parents crucial evidence as they weigh fresh fears that such medicines may cause some children to become suicidal.

The companies say the studies are trade secrets. Researchers familiar with the unpublished data said the majority of secret trials show that children taking the medicines did not get any better than children taking dummy pills.

Although the drug industry's practice of suppressing data unfavorable to its products is legal, doctors and advocates say such secrecy distorts the scientific record.

"Conflicts of interest and the company control of the data have thrown out the scientific method," said Vera Hassner Sharav, a critic of the drugs and a patients' rights advocate. "If hundreds of trials don't work out, they don't publish them, they don't talk about them."

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Psychiatrist arrested for Fraud

Chief State’s Attorney Christopher L. Morano announced the arrest of Trumbull doctor and psychiatrist Liasne Leedom, age 42, of 140 Old Dyke Road, of Trumbull in Conneticut, who is charged with putting patients at risk and defrauding the Medicaid program.

Leedom was arrested on warrant charging her with one count each of Larceny in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Practicing Pharmacy Without a License, Conspiracy to Commit Use of the Title "Doctor", Vendor Fraud in the Second Degree and Conspiracy to Commit Vendor Fraud in the Second Degree, and four counts of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree.

She faces a maximum possible sentence of 69 years incarceration if convicted of all charges.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

A Suicide Side Effect? What parents aren't being told about their kids' antidepressants

As reported in the San Fransisco Chronicle

At the emergency room, the staff administered charcoal to absorb the drugs, then transferred Angela to a psychiatric hospital. The next day, the hospital psychiatrist called Reich. "He told me it was a drug-induced suicide attempt," she said, related to the increased dosage of Paxil.

Neither Angela, Sara nor her husband, Jim, an internal medicine doctor, knew Paxil might carry a risk of triggering suicidal thoughts or actions. Aside from a generic statement that depressed people are more likely to attempt suicide, there is no mention of such a risk in Paxil's prescribing information.

A long sad tale. check out the link for the full horror story