The Market Oracle
By Michael Stathis
April 15, 2010
Is there any reason why Pfizer shares are down today?
Just yesterday, shares were trading at ~ $17.30. Today, with the DJIA up by 0.7%, Pfizer is down by nearly 1%.
A clue to this sell-off MIGHT be due to the anticipation by investors of increasing pressure to change the way drugs are prescribed. This could also trigger several lawsuits down the road.
Recently, another study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discussing elevated suicide risks associated with the use of anticonvulsant drugs. Anticonvulsants have been approved by the FDA for people diagnosed with epilepsy.
Of course, this is not the first study showing anticonvulsants raised the risk of suicide.
In 2008, the FDA required all anticonvulsant drugs to have a warning label that disclosed a two-fold increased risk of suicide. However, warning labels are rarely effective. They simply enable drug companies to continue to sell what many experts feel to be dangerous drugs, while having the safeguard of a disclaimer.
When patients receive a prescription for a drug to address a medical condition, they assume it’s a safe drug; otherwise, it wouldn’t be approved for use. And their doctor certainly wouldn’t prescribe it if it weren’t safe, would he?
According to DEA and FDA regulations, physicians are free to prescribe any drug for any condition they see fit, known as off-label use. As a result of off-label usage, anticonvulsants are prescribed for many different medical conditions like bipolar disorder, pain and migraine headaches. As you might imagine, in some cases, off-label use has accounted for a big chunk of drug sales.
The class of drugs prescribed most by physicians for off-label uses are the antipsychotics (Prozac, Xanax, Zyprexa, etc). The FDA has approved these drugs to treat a variety of neurologic conditions such as depression and bipolar disease. However, drug companies have used many methods to get physicians to prescribe them for a wide range of off-label uses.
Read entire article: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article18652.html