Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Depressing news for big pharma

A review of all the data concerning new generation antidepressants has concluded that they are no better than placebo. Critically data which big pharmaceutical companies have tried to bury was included in this review, meaning that for the first time ever a full set of trial data was available.

I have long suspected that antidepressants are no better than placebo, the signs have been there for all to see; as even the best evidence that the big pharmaceutical firms could manufacture was hardly very convincing. So when scientists forced them to reveal the buried data, the truth had to out in the end.

This case highlights the dangers that come with health care being privatised. Big business does not care whether its products actually help anyone or not, only selling their produce and consequently generating profit is important to them, hence the rise of things such as bottled water.

The dangers lie not only in the form of useless drugs such as antidepressants being used to create a multi-billion dollar industry, but they also lie in the side effects of these drugs which make them much more dangerous than placebo tablets. For example SSRIs increase the risk of major gastrointestinal bleeding in all patients by a factor of three, and may also increase the risk of patients committing suicide. Hardly a cheap safe placebo are they?


GP said...

If the findings are correct and antideprssants are no better than placebo, then it doesn't mean that they have NO useful effect! Indeed, placebos can be a safe, cheap and effective means of treating many ailments. Sadly, our ability to prescribe these wonder drugs on the NHS was removed in the interests of "science" about 25 years ago. Somehow just telling someone that "it will get better on it's own in due course" is not so effective. Nowadays, placebos are used very effectively by "alternative" and "complementary" practitioners whilst NHS Drs are not allowed to use them. Such is progress.

Garth Marenghi said...

indeed, progress comes in many backward forms!

why can't we just say 'there's not much point doing much, things will sort themselves out'?

instead we have a culture of dependency based upon disingenuous promises from some rather dodgy people peddling pap

the A&E Charge Nurse said...

Statins will be next.
What a waste - over £700mil spent by the NHS each year on the cost of these drugs alone (leaving aside additional expenditure associated with blood tests/medical examination, etc).

There is simply no scientific evidence to support such widescale, indiscriminate and exhorbitant prescribing.

jayann said...

Antidepressants? Or only SSRIs?