December 23, 2009
There was only one thing worse than being unemployed in 2009: working for the drug sector.
Not only did the two biggest drug settlements in US history occur in 2009–Eli Lilly’s $1.42 billion for mismarketing Zyprexa and Pfizer’s $2.3 billion for Bextra, Geodon, Lyrica and Zyvox fraud–the Supreme Court ruled people can sue if they’re harmed by a prescription drug even if it had FDA approval.
No wonder Wyeth and Pfizer and then Merck and Schering-Plough formed defensive mergers in 2009, the former timed to knock out headlines about the Bextra settlement.
High profile suicides also occurred in 2009 prompting the FDA to add black box warnings to the asthma drugs Singulair, Accolate and Zyflo, the antismoking drugs Chantix and Zyban and authorities to question the antidepressants given to 80 percent of Iraq war veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.
The open secret of industry subsidized journal articles and Continuing Marketing, sorry Medical Education courses (CMEs) also came under Congressional investigation in 2009–as did the drug industry ties of faux grassroots groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and high flying researchers like Harvard’s Joseph Biederman, MD.