Yet another Big Pharma company has been fined due to unscrupulous marketing practices: Astra Zeneca the Anglo-Swiss drugs company has been fined just over half a billion US dollars ($520 Billion) in a settlement announced today. This comes hot on the heels of a much larger settlement ($1.4 Billion US dollars) by Eli Lilley relating to their product, Zyprexa.
Seroquel is among the top-selling drugs in the world with 2009 sales of $4.9 billion (15% of AstraZeneca’s $33.2 billion in revenue is for schizophrenia and specific types of bipolar mania).
So, what was the problem?
AstraZeneca was charged with promoting Seroquel to physicians for use “off-label” in children and the elderly. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses but FDA rules state that drug manufacturers may only promote their products for approved conditions and age groups. The Department of Justice said it had taken action as AstraZeneca had deliberately and actively promoted Seroquel to doctors “off-label” for a range of uses not authorised by the Food and Drug Administration, including aggression, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and sleeplessness.
How did the drug company actually promote their product to doctors?
The DoJ accused the company of marketing the drug to doctors who were not specialists in schizophrenia and psychosis, for which it was authorised, and of funding education programmes (i.e. these can include incentives such as glamorous holidays masquerading as ‘educational events”) and employing doctors as highly paid speakers and even going so far as to have doctors as named authors on academic articles “ghostwritten” by Astra Zeneca’s backroom boys to promote Seroquel.
Eric Holder, the attorney-general, said:
“Illegal acts by pharmaceutical companies and false claims against Medicare and Medicaid can put the public health at risk, corrupt medical decisions by health care providers and take billions of dollars directly out of taxpayers’ pockets.”
The settlement comes at a time when the company faces litigation in the US totaling more than $1.2bn from thousands of plaintiffs, including many patients who claim they became overweight or diabetic following prescription of the medicine.
The excellent Dr John Briffa has a new book out - and it is an absolute winner!
The central tenet of the book is that an intelligent application of a low carb/high quality protein diet, coupled with correct exercise techniques can help us to modulate insulin production and this in turn helps to shift that stubborn belly fat.
Although Dr Briffa has aimed the book at men - which is fair enough as they are under-represented in the diet/health publishing sector - the book is totally applicable to women too.
There are no gimmicks here - the approach is sane and logical and grounded in excellent science - as we would expect from Dr Briffa. I particularly appreciate his expertise and real understanding of how modulation of blood sugar and thus insulin, contributes to fat gain and loss.
The book is written in a very accessible way and is a very quick read. What I mean by that is that you don’t have to wade through lots of heavy-weight stuff before you get to the meaty bits (no pun intended!). The info you need is right there in front of you and this means that it is very easy to become highly motivated to make the changes that Dr Briffa suggests.
A personal observation is that I would have loved to see a few more vegan options as low carb can be difficult on this kind of regime. Aside from that though, there are plenty of options for a variety of vegetarian dietary programmes.
You can buy Waist Disposal here:
Jayney Goddard is one of the world's leading experts in the field of complementary medicine and natural healthcare. Her passion is natural anti-ageing; Jayney teaches people how to rewind their biological clocks so that they are more resilient to the diseases of ageing. The strategies Jayney uses are grounded in excellent science and have been shown to halt and even reverse those conditions we associate with ageing.