A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that drug companies purposely exaggerated the effectiveness of the 12 most prescribed antidepressants by publishing only positive drug trials, and shelving negative ones:
The researchers in examined the American Food and Drug Admistration (FDA) register and requested data from all 74 trials of the most commonly used antidepressant drugs. They then compared the results from all the trials, to just the trials that had been published in the medical literature. The findings are quite shocking:
- A total of 37 studies viewed by the FDA as having positive results were published; 1 study viewed as positive was not published.
- Studies viewed by the FDA as having negative or questionable results were, with 3 exceptions, either not published (22 studies) or published in a way that, in our opinion, conveyed a positive outcome (11 studies).
- According to the published literature, it appeared that 94% of the trials conducted were positive. By contrast, the FDA analysis showed that 51% were positive.
In other words, when all the studies are examined, there’s only about 50-50 chance that a scientific study of an antidepressant drug will find it more effective than placebo in treating depression.
Shocking, I know, that any company would purposely mislead doctors into prescribing more of their medicine, when they knew it worked at best, JUST AS MUCH AS NOTHING AT ALL. But hey, $21,000,000,000 a year in antidepressant sales will make a lot of people do a lot of shady shit. The Wall Street Journal has this fun little graph showing exactly who these people are, and exactly how shady their conduct is:
Print this out and leave a couple copies in your doctor’s waiting room, or better yet, hand it to him/her directly. Doctors are unfortunately, just as stupid as everyone else when it comes to drugs, only in a smarter way. At least they get paid for it.