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.