Big Pharma up to dodgy tricks again
The pharmaceutical companies are no strangers to skulduggery and market manipulation. They are behind the biggest marketing scam on the planet; namely, creating a multi-billion dollar global market for a completely useless product on the back of junk science and manufactured fanaticism. The parallels with the AGW scam are inescapable
Considering Seroxat’s shady history I’d have thought they would be happy to be shot of it…and then I remembered how much profit it makes them!
The suppression of unfavorable research findings on Paxil (Seroxat) by GSK — and the legal discovery process that uncovered it — is the subject of Alison Bass’s 2008 book Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial.
The Office of Fair Trading has said it had found evidence that the FTSE100 pharmaceutical giant made “substantial payments” to Alpharma, Generics UK and Norton Healthcare which it claims were used to stop them releasing version of its paroxetine anti-depressant drug.
In a “statement of objections” released on Friday, the anti-trust watchdog alleged that the agreements “infringed competition law” which in turn hits National Health Service costs.
Ann Pope, Senior Director of Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets at the OFT, said: “The introduction of generic medicines can lead to strong competition on price, which can drive savings for the NHS, to the benefit of patients and, ultimately, taxpayers. It is therefore particularly important that the OFT fully investigates concerns that independent generic entry may have been delayed in this case.”
Ms Pope said the allegation were not confirmed but are being investigated.
The OFT maintains that the three generic companies were each attempting to supply a generic paroxetine product in competition to GSK’s branded version of the drug called Seroxat.
It is alleged that GSK approached the firms and accused them of infringing on its patents on the drug which was at the time one of its best sellers. The disputes were resolved by a series of agreements.
“The OFT’s provisional view is that these agreements included substantial payments from GSK to the generic companies in return for their commitment to delay their plans to supply paroxetine independently,” the OFT said.
“The OFT considers that if companies act to delay the potential emergence of generic competition the NHS may be denied significant cost savings.”
In an emailed comment a spokesman said GSK had just received the OFT objections and needed “time to carefully review it”.
However, he said the allegations related to events that occurred between 2001 and 2004 that the European Commission had already investigated and “concluded its enquiry with no further action”.
The spokesman said: “GSK supports fair competition and we strongly believe that we acted within the law, as the holder of valid patents for paroxetine, in entering the agreements under investigation. These arrangements actually resulted in generic versions of paroxetine entering the market before GSK’s patents had expired.”
He added: “We have cooperated fully with the Office of Fair Trading in this investigation, which covers activities that happened between 2001 and 2004. The paroxetine supply agreements under investigation were terminated in 2004.”