On Saturday, March 1, 2008 the Business Day section of the New York Times featured FDA’s approval of this new antidepressant. It is interesting that there is no attempt to hide what is really going on here: Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ patent on Effexor XR is about to expire and, to maintain the company’s profit picture, another drug is needed. While details are still scanty, it is likely that Pristiq (where on earth do they get these names?) will be no more effective than other antidepressants–that is, barely if at all more effective (whatever that means) than a placebo. In other words, it is not patients’ health and well-being that is the goal; it is corporate profits.

It is a fair bet that Pristiq has not been tested “head-to-head” against other antidepressants manufactured by other drug companies. We can also be sure that the FDA approved Pristiq based on a length of treatment far shorter than it will actually be prescribed for. Remember that the FDA approved Prozac on the basis of only 6 weeks’ testing. (The logic was, I believe, that, if any adverse “side-effects” were going to show up, they’d show up sooner rather than later!)

It is probably also a safe bet that the experimental design was tampered with to exclude “non-responders,” and that physicians were paid handsomely for recruiting patients into the pre-approval studies. 


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