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Sunday, October 09, 2005

# 58 Are New Better Than The Older Ones?

Are Newer Drugs Any Better Than Older Ones?

A government-financed study comparing a variety of drugs used to treat schizophrenia has demonstrated that highly hyped newer drugs are little better, if at all, than older and cheaper medicines.
All Five Work, None Work Well
The study looked at four new-generation drugs, known as atypical antipsychotics, and one older drug. All five blunted the symptoms of schizophrenia, although three-quarters of the patients eventually stopped taking the drugs because of problems with side effects.
One of the newer drugs, Zyprexa, did help patients control symptoms for longer than the other drugs did, but also had a higher risk of serious side effects, including an increased diabetes risk.
Almost 1,500 people with the disorder participated in the study, which examined how long the drugs could be effectively used in real-world situations. After 18 months, 64 percent of the patients taking Zyprexa had stopped, and at least 74 percent had quit each of the other medications. Reasons for stopping use of the drugs included their being ineffective, intolerable side effects, or neurological symptoms such as stiffness and tremors.
Big Profits, Big Costs
The new drugs garner $10 billion in sales annually and account for 90 percent of all antipsychotics sold nationally.
The study is likely to have a great effect on state Medicaid programs, many of which are short on funds; the newer drugs cost three to 10 times more than the older drugs. The National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that Medicaid programs spend over $3 billion a year on antipsychotics, more than for any other class of drug.

New England Journal of Medicine
September 22, 2005; 353 (12): 1209-1223 Free Full-Text Article

New York Times
September 20, 2005 Registration Required

Spartanburg Herald-Journal
September 20, 2005

Dr. Mercola's Comment:
This study lays open one of the dirtiest little secrets of the pharmaceutical industry: new, massively hyped drugs are often no better than the older drugs they are replacing -- just more expensive for you, which means more profits for the drug companies. Since most of these drugs are required for life, it is an ongoing annuity for them.
The profit window for a drug is considered to be the lifespan of its patent. Once the patent runs out, the price can no longer be artificially inflated, as cheaper, generic versions of the drug can be made by other companies. So companies quickly bring other patented drugs on the market, claiming that they are newer, better, more effective, and safer than the older versions.
In fact, they are often minor variations on the older versions, changed just enough for a new patent. Even when there are significant differences, as in the case of this study, the side effects are often just as bad, and the effectiveness just as poor. A drug they can sell for a higher price is much more important to them than a drug that is more effective.
And the difference in price can be astonishing. A month's supply of the older drug in this study, perphenazine, was $60. The same amount of Zyprexa was $520. Pretty steep for a drug that might give you diabetes.
If you're wondering why the results of this study sound so logical and rational, yet so downbeat for the mega-drug companies, note that it was financed largely by the government, with few connections to the drug industry.
Another dirty little secret of the drug companies is that their drugs' shelf lives are typically much longer than they note. They put short shelf lives on them so you will throw any older drugs away and increase their revenues by purchasing more. This is a major issue for the military and a review five years ago tore open the secrets on this issue.
Related Articles:
Drug Industry Lies About New Drug Research and Development
Drug Companies Engage in Illegal Sales Practices: U.S. Issues Warning
New Diseases That Keep Drug Companies Rolling
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1 comment:

Daniel Haszard said...

I applaud your blog,i took zyprexa which was ineffective for my condition and gave me diabetes.

{Only 9 percent of adult Americans think the pharmaceutical industry can be trusted right around the same rating as big tobacco}

Zyprexa, which is used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, accounted for 32% of Eli Lilly's $14.6 billion revenue last year.

Zyprexa is the product name for Olanzapine,it is Lilly's top selling drug.It was approved by the FDA in 1996 ,an 'atypical' antipsychotic a newer class of drugs without the motor side effects of the older Thorazine.Zyprexa has been linked to causing diabetes and pancreatitis.

Did you know that Lilly made nearly $3 billion last year on diabetic meds, Actos,Humulin and Byetta?
Yes! They sell a drug that causes diabetes and then turn a profit on the drugs that treat the condition that they caused in the first place!

I was prescribed Zyprexa from 1996 until 2000.
In early 2000 i was shocked to have an A1C test result of 13.9 (normal is 4-6) I have no history of diabetes in my family.
Daniel Haszard