Paul Alper writes:
Maybe it is time to return to really important things such as medical swindles in particular, Tamiflu. Consider Tamifu and its financially-influenced and influential supportors as seen from the fabulous Susan Perry of Minnpost:
The group of researchers who conducted the Lancet study [supporting Tamiflu]was described in a commentary that accompanied their study as also being “independent” But is that true? No. As [Jeanne] Lenzer points out (in her BMJ article and in a later follow-up piece), all four coauthors of the Lancet meta-analysis have received speaker’s or consultancy fees, grants or contracts from either Roche, the company that makes and sells Tamiflu, or Gilead, the company that holds the patent to the drug.
And the conflicts of interest don’t end there. The listed funding source for the Lancet study — the Multiparty Group for Advice on Science (MUGAS) — received an unrestricted grant from Roche specifically to pay for the study.
It gets even murkier. MUGAS was co-founded by the managing director of a Belgium-based public relations firm, Semiotics, which receives 20 percent of its funding from Roche, according to Lenzer.
For the record: The authors of the Lancet study deny that Roche had any influence on their study’s design or its results.
And from Lenzer:
The CDC Foundation, created by Congress to “connect CDC to the private sector to advance pubic health,” provides funding to the CDC. The foundation confirmed to The BMJ that the CDC received a directed donation from Roche via the foundation for the [“Take 3”] campaign, stating, “Roche provided a grant of $198,000 to CDC Foundation [which] has an administrative fee of 13.5%, so $174,800 was provided to [the CDC to] support qualitative research into influenza prevention and treatment messaging.”
This is not the only money the CDC takes from the industry. Unbeknownst to many, the CDC receives substantial industry funding through the CDC Foundation. A spokesperson said that over the past three years the foundation has received an average of about $6.3 [million] from the industry a year, 21% of the foundation’s overall funding. Since 1995 the foundation has received funding from more than 150 corporate “partners,” including Gilead, which holds the patent on oseltamivir [Tamiflu], as well as Genentech and Roche, the drug’s manufacturers.
Neither the CDC nor the foundation provided data on how much funding Roche, Gilead, and Genentech have donated to the CDC in addition to that for the Take 3 campaign.
I can relate to this, as I’m working right now with Novartis on a couple of projects which help support the Stan project. It all seems ok to me but I can see the general potential for problems.
P.S. Alper points to this news article by Ben Goldacre, who wrote on 10 Apr 2014:
Today we found out that Tamiflu doesn’t work so well after all. Roche, the drug company behind it, withheld vital information on its clinical trials for half a decade, but the Cochrane Collaboration, a global not-for-profit organisation of 14,000 academics, finally obtained all the information. Putting the evidence together, it has found that Tamiflu has little or no impact on complications of flu infection, such as pneumonia.
That is a scandal because the UK government spent £0.5bn stockpiling this drug in the hope that it would help prevent serious side-effects from flu infection. But the bigger scandal is that Roche broke no law by withholding vital information on how well its drug works. . . .
Wow. Evilicious indeed.