As corrupt as it gets

As corrupt as it gets

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Alicia Adams started taking Zyprexa for bipolar disorder when she was just 18 years old. In a matter of months, she ballooned from 93 pounds to 170 and developed severe diabetes.

"The depression got worse," she said. "I closed myself off from everyone - stayed in my bedroom. I didn't do much of anything."

Thursday, Eli Lilly, which makes Zyprexa, plead guilty to charges so egregious they're criminal: marketing the sometimes dangerous drug in ways never proven safe or effective, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Zyprexa is only FDA-approved to treat a specific bipolar disorder and severe schizophrenia. But millions have taken it for unapproved or so-called "off label" use, including:
# children in foster care
# people who have trouble sleeping
# elderly in nursing homes.

Prosecutors say Eli Lilly engaged an army of thousands of sales representatives in widespread illegal marketing.

They were "trained to use the slogan 'five at five,' meaning five milligrams at 5 o'clock at night will keep these elderly patients quiet," said Laurie Magid, acting U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania.

Problem is: Zyprexa has serious side effects including weight gain, diabetes, even heart failure.

Shahram Ahari is a former Eli Lilly sales rep and told his story for an education project for doctors.

"Seizures, things like that have happened as well. And those are, you know, pretty catastrophic side effects to have in your patient," Ahari said.

Eli Lilly has agreed to pay $1.4 billion, including the largest criminal fine ever imposed on a corporation. Ironically, that's about as much as the company's Zyprexa sales in the first quarter last year.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc on Wednesday said it paid $35 million to some 4,500 doctors and researchers from July through December 2009 for a variety of services, including speaking fees, expert advice and work on clinical trials of its medicines. …

Continued: The world's largest drugmaker last year agreed to pay a record $2.3 billion fine and plead guilty to a criminal charge related to improper promotions of 13 of its medicines, but said the new disclosures were already in the works before that widely publicize

The $2.3 billion fine marks a new record corporate penalty charge in the US, far outweighing the $1.5 billion fine meted out by the DoJ in January this year to Eli Lilly for similar fraud surrounding the drug Zyprexa. The Pfizer investigation came to light when six whistleblowers made allegations against the drugs giant.

One of the six former employees, John Kopchinski told the BBC: “It’s hard to do what’s right when everyone else around you is following management sales directive.” Mr Kopchinski described how Bextra was being pushed by sales teams to orthopaedic surgeons when the drug had not been tested in this area.

“At that particular dosage you’re subjecting patients to a host of side effects and other areas that have not been studied scientifically,” Mr Kopchinski revealed.

Pfizer faces $142M in damages for drug fraud
(AP) – 9 hours ago

BOSTON — A federal jury has found that Pfizer Inc. violated anti-racketeering laws in promoting its epilepsy drug Neurontin for unapproved uses and must pay at least $142 million in damages.

The jury sided with California-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, the first to try a Neurontin case against the drugmaker.

Kaiser claimed it was misled into believing Neurontin was effective for off-label treatment of migraines, bipolar disorder and other conditions. Pfizer argued that Kaiser physicians still recommend the drug for those uses.

Jurors ordered Pfizer pay $47.36 million in damages, which will be tripled to nearly $142.1 million under the racketeering law.

A Pfizer spokesman says the company will seek to overturn the verdict.

Trudy Moore (Ottawa, ON) wroteon May 21, 2009 at 12:32am

One of the scientists hired by Merck actually ADMITTED he falsified data.......

Former Harvard Researcher Faked Sleep Apnea Study
Apr 13, 2009 | Parker Waichman Alonso LLP

A former Harvard researcher has admitted falsifying a medical study. According to Boston.com, Dr. Robert Fogel has been disciplined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for faking data in a sleep apnea study funded by federal research grants.

This is the second time in recent months that a medical researcher has been caught falsifying a study. As we reported last month, medical journals have been asked to retract drug studies involving Vioxx, Celebrex, Lyrica and other drugs that were conducted by Dr. Scott S. Reuben of Baystate Medical Center.

Because of Reuben’s “research”, it had become routine for doctors to combine the use of painkillers like Celebrex and Lyrica for patients undergoing common procedures such as knee and hip replacements. Not surprisingly, Reuben has strong ties with the pharmaceutical industry. According to the Journal, he had been a paid speaker on behalf of Pfizer - the maker of Lyrica and Celebrex - and it paid for some of his research. Wyeth provided $10,000 in grant money to. Reuben from 2001 to 2003, the Journal said. Merck also funded some of Reuben’s work.

Fogel also has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Since leaving Harvard, Fogel has been employed by Merck Research Laboratories, where he is now director of clinical research at its respiratory and allergy division in Rahway, N.J.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2006 Fogel apparently confessed to his former supervisor at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital that he had falsified data in the 2003 sleep apnea study. According to the Office of Research Integrity at HHS, Fogel:

Changed/falsified roughly half of the physiologic data
Fabricated roughly 20% of the anatomic data that were supposedly obtained from Computed Tomography (CT) images

Changed/falsified 50 to 80 percent of the other anatomic data

Changed/falsified roughly 40 to 50 percent of the sleep data so that those data would better conform to his hypothesis.

Published some of the falsified and fabricated data in an abstract in the journal Sleep in 2001.

According to Boston.com, Fogel falsified the data so that it would conform with his hypothesis. The falsified paper concluded that the shape and volume of a person's airway combines with obesity to make those patients more likely to suffer sleep apnea.

According to the Office of Research Integrity at HHS, Fogel has entered into a voluntary disciplinary settlement, in which he agreed, among other things, to be excluded from research funded by the US Public Health Service for three years unless he is actively supervised.

Fogel told the publication The Scientist that since his admission, Harvard's office of research integrity reviewed 30 studies in which he was involved. He told

The Scientist that the 2003 sleep apnea study was the only one that included fake data.

"What I did was obviously horrendously wrong," Fogel told the magazine. "I never really thought through the consequences, and once I did this I got myself into a loop that I found I couldn't get out of."

Here is a better explanation of what they did...

http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/print/55671/

and in Elsevier's own words...

Elsevier said it had failed to meet its own "high standards for disclosure" when it produced a magazine that pretended to be an independent scientific journal but was actually a marketing front for Merck's anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx".

So, setting all the small details aside, Elsevier admits to wrong doing and I will go back to my original question - how are the royal we supposed to trust drug companies are behaving with honesty and integrity when such issues come to light? Why would I trust that IF they KNEW vaccines WERE harming my child, they would fully admit and disclose that??

I was just reading somewhere (I will see if I can come across the link) where years ago one of the drug companies denied that vaccines were their money makers - that Vioxx, for example, brought in much higher revenue. Well, we all know what happened when they realized it was dangerous. Vaccines are now filling that Vioxx niche. So, if they were to discover (or if they already know and I am willing to bet that's the case, hence immunity which I'd like to hear your thoughts on) that vaccines are harming millions, why would I trust they would ever be honest about that? I am willing to wager they would do whatever they could (a la Vioxx) to cover that up.
From the album:

"The medical-pharmaceutical establishment under the spotlight" by Vaccination Information Network (VINE)
Added May 23, 2009
Carol Ricucci
Carol Ricucci
The article states "Fogel also has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Since leaving Harvard, Fogel has been employed by Merck Research Laboratories, where he is now director of clinical research at its respiratory and allergy division in Rahway, N.J."

My question is, why wasn't he prosecuted but allowed to work for the company 'Merck' as a director of clinical research, when instead he should be sitting in a JAIL cell at the infamous State Prison at Rahway, NJ.