NIH on Abbott Labs: They Lied

If you watch TV you’ve seen these ads. They’re lies.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) cholesterol drug, Niaspan, got a patent way back in 1997. The folks at Abbott have been selling a ton of this crap ever since. It is in the Top 50 of all drug sales. I don’t have the total cumulative sales, but in 2009 global revenue came to $717,000,000, in 2010 it was more than $900mm. Over the life of the drug, total sales are in the tens of billions. The stuff is worthless. It might even be bad for you.

The National Institute of Health did a five-year study. The conclusion:

“The lack of effect on cardiovascular events is unexpected and a striking contrast to the results of previous trials and observational studies,” said Jeffrey Probstfield, M.D.

NPR had this guy (another expert) on air to discuss the findings. When asked to comment on the results of the NIH study he had this to say:

“The drug did not change the health outcome at all.”

“We’re not as smart as we thought we were.”

The Congressional Budget Office did a write up about this last week. The CBO found that in 2008 spending for drug promotion came to $21 billion in just the US. Of that ¼ was spent on ads to consumers. The CBO raises the very legitimate question of whether this promotional effort by the drug companies is actually educating the public or just manipulating the public to buy drugs that are either not needed or simply don’t work at all.

I bitch and moan about the banks, the Fed, Treasury, the SEC and the other financial players that seem to be lying and cheating us on a regular basis. Add to that list the drug companies. The big pharmas are the same as the banks. They don’t really care about their customers. They just want to sell pills and make profits. They have the FDA in their pocket. As usual, the average citizen gets thrown under a bus.

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About Bruce Krasting 208 Articles

Bruce worked on Wall Street for twenty five years, he has been writing for the professional press for the last five years and has been on the Fox Business channel several times as a guest describing his written work.

From 1990-1995 he ran a private hedge fund in Greenwich Ct. called Falconer Limited. Investments were driven by macro developments. He closed the fund and retired in 1995. Bruce also been employed by Drexel Burnham Lambert, Citicorp, Credit Suisse and Irving Trust Corp.

Bruce holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Ithaca College and currently lives in Westchester, NY.

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2 Comments on NIH on Abbott Labs: They Lied

  1. Your banner headline “They Lied” is a distortion of the truth at least as bad as that of the drug companies.

    Study after study, very many independent of Abbot Labs showed that taking Niacin increased HDL. Many many other independent studies showed a correlation between low HDL and increased risk of heart disease. The entire medical community drew the conclusion that since low HDL correlated with increased risk of heart disease and Niacin raised HDL that Niacin would therefore decrease heart disease. This conclusion was drawn before Abbot even started developing Niaspan. This new study stunned the entire medical community.

    I have taken Niaspan for many years and am upset that I wasted my money, but it did raise my HDL without the side effects I experienced with plain Niacin. Every single doctor I went saw thought that raising HDL levels would help prevent heart problems.

    • Why are we so sure that higher HDL prevents heart problems just because there’s a correlation? It could just be an indicator that you’ve got good heart health. Artificially manipulating HDL with drugs may not be of real benefit, and this is just the latest bit of research that seems to point in that direction.

      There’s a correlation between the parking brake light on a dashboard of a car, and that same car not rolling down a hill when parked. But the light is just an indicator. If I stick two wires and a 9 volt battery across its terminals, it will light up, but that will not stop the car from rolling.

      HDL may just be that indicator light.

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