Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Drug industry
“Drug companies maximize the sales of new drugs by hyping their benefits while downplaying significant risks. In 2010 the European Medicines Agency began releasing patient-level data from the clinical trials used to approve new medicines in Europe – a development hailed by American, and European researchers and researchers around the world as a major step towards drug safety.
This process has been shut down by a lawsuit taken by two American corporations – AbbVie, makers of Humira, the number one selling medication in the world with projected sales of $10 billion in 2013; and InterMune, whose pulmonary-fibrosis drug Esbriet has recently been approved in Europe at a cost of over $40,000 per year.
AbbVie and InterMune have filed suit to deny access to the data from their trials on the benefits and harms of these drugs, claiming these vital facts are “trade secrets” whose release would harm their profits. Their action has led to the shutdown of the entire public-access program, leaving millions of patients worldwide, and their doctors, in the dark.
We call on AbbVie and InterMune to drop their European Union lawsuit and release all patient level data on Humira, Esbriet and their other products. Vital data on drug safety should never be hidden as a “trade secret.”
Members of the organization have also sent a letter to “style expert and TV host” Stacy London, who has become a pitch person for AbbVie’s psoriasis drug, Humira. The letter ends:
“It would be a shame if AbbVie were able to exploit the trust that women have in you. You are in a unique position to restore some balance to the debate – perhaps even to call on AbbVie to drop its fight in the European courts to prevent the public from learning about Humira’s risks.”
The Joan of Arc imagery comes from the organization’s hope that the TV personality could become the movement’s Joan of Arc if she embraced their “Data Access Cause.”
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