What Big Pharma thinks of you

Between these guys and the spineless FDA, we’ve become nothing but feed to these people. I’m glad I’m so suspicious, it’s saved me from many a drug that turned out to be bad:

As early as 2004, Merck knew its blockbuster osteoporosis drug Fosamax was causing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) after in-office dental procedures and ridiculed afflicted patients. The condition, also called jawbone death, occurs when traumatized tissue doesn’t heal but becomes “necrotic” and dies. “Ma toot hurts so bad” mimicked Merck bone scientist Don Kimmel in a 2004 email to Merck health science consultant Sharon Scurato about the type of patient who was developing ONJ. Such a patient “could be an oral hog,” wrote Kimmel, then a bone scientist in Merck’s department of Molecular Endocrinology/Bone Biology and trained as a dentist–someone with pre-existing infections and periodontal disease who omits preventative care.

Newly available emails and internal Merck documents reveal the company was far from concerned or surprised when ONJ-links to Fosamax surfaced in the early 2000’s and launched elaborate spin campaigns to keep the $3 billion a year pill afloat. In fact, animal studies revealed ONJ in rats given bisphosphonates (the class of drugs Fosamax belongs to) as early as 1977, Kimmel admitted under oath in 2008.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who say they developed ONJ after dental procedures like tooth extraction because they took Fosamax. Treating ONJ is almost impossible, said dentists and oral surgeons quoted the Review-Journal in 2005, because “further surgery in an effort to correct the problem only exacerbates it, leaving the patient with even more exposed bone and even more disfigured,” Jaw removal, bone grafts, and even tracheostomies were reported by the News-Press in 2006. “Even short-term oral use of alendronate [Fosamax] led to ONJ in a subset of patients after certain dental procedures were performed,” read a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association in 2009.

Besides attributing ONJ to patients’ bad oral hygiene and, tautologically, their advanced years, Merck withheld crucial safety data from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) when the group sought to develop a position paper on bisphosphonate-related ONJ. Of 428 suspected ONJ cases related to Fosamax, 378 of which were highly likely to be ONJ, only 50 cases were shared with ASBMR, according to court documents.

2 Responses to What Big Pharma thinks of you

  1. russ December 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Common thread; always the common thread when it comes to corporations. Doesn’t matter which ones.

    Clothing makers in Bangladesh come to Walmart and say our costs of production need to increase because we really should install more fire exits.

    Walmart screams “no”, saying in essence ‘we’d rather see them die in a fire”. And so they do.

    Airplane hijackings occurred for years and years prior to 9/11. It was proposed to have airlines install a metal bar on the inside of the flight cabin door to keep out would be highjackers. “Noooooo”, they wailed. “Too costly”. Thousands died.

    And now these smarmy “experts” at Merck, perfectly willing to withhold crucial lab results to protect a big selling line of drugs, and perfectly willing to trade away lives in the bargain.

    Which is why the time is long overdue to start invoking criminal penalties and the equivalent of corporate death penalties on these miserable corporate “persons”. When they take lives as a matter of “just doing business”, revoke and tear up their corporate charters.

    They all have clauses saying they are supposed to operate for the public good. When they fail to do that, get rid of them.

  2. Tracey December 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    GENIUS IDEA: Corporate Death Penalty! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

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