alli… “side effects” or “treatment effects”?

So Glaxo have entered the blogosphere with alliconnect in order to sell their new drug:

“You may have heard about alli by now. It’s the only FDA-approved OTC (over the counter) weight loss product. We’ve launched alli with a major advertising campaign (see our TV ads on YouTube). We’ve started this blog (yes, it’s the official alli corporate blog) in order to do something a bit different”.

Problem is, no one will be taken in by Glaxo and this latest soft-sell initiative. The truth about alli is much more like this: Drug Company VP Admits New Diet Drug Made Him Crap His Pants and the (very) unofficial alliconnect blog which paints a realistic picture about Glaxo and the deeply cynical nature of the way it does business…

Lastly, can I just ask someone at Glaxo when drug side effects became known as “treatment effects”? The change in language seems to be a clumsy attempt to divert patients from the truth.

You can hear the conversations in pharmacies all over America: “Don’t worry, alli doesn’t have any side effects at all – no, what you’re experiencing are simply treatment effects”.

Reminds me about this: “Seroxat doesn’t have withdrawal problems – what you are experiencing is “discontinuation symptoms”.

Yeah, right.


Marty Keller – the plot thickens

I suppose that the question has to asked about who actually wrote the Study 329 manuscript that Marty Keller put his name to – see my previous post here for some clues.

But it’s not just me who has issues about Keller and study 329 – Matthew Holford at Seroxat Sufferers has been writing:

“I will leave the gentle reader to ponder that particular question as I return to the issue at hand. Now, we should, perhaps, recall that Study 329 was a cluster fuck, as far as SmithKline Beecham (“SKB”) was concerned (my succinct appraisal of its position). The data suggested that the drug was dangerous and inefficacious in the target demographic (minors), by the Company’s own admission. We should recall that the Company engaged a PR Company, Scientific Therapeutics Information, Inc. (“STI”), to prepare a piece for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, JAACAP, and that Dr Martin Keller seemingly was chosen to endorse this piece, because he was perceived to be a key opinion leader, whatever that might be. Although, in the words of Drs Keller and Ryan, it seems that anybody who wanted to put their name to it, should feel free to do so, according to their draft letter to the Editor of JAACAP, Dr Mina Dulcan. I suppose that’s one way to bulk out one’s CV. Next, the piece, written by one Sally Laden, I am reliably informed, who no longer works for STI, received some stiff criticism from reviewers, if I may understate it like that, before having marketing authorizations refused in both the UK and US, although, as far as I am aware, none of the criticism was ever acted upon. Amusingly, in the draft letter to Dulcan, Keller and Ryan argue that if a trial fails to demonstrate efficacy, then the regulator will refuse to license. I was similarly amused by the additional detail that Keller and Ryan read into Drs Jureidini and Tonkin’s critique. By extension, anybody who agrees with Drs Keller and Ryan will be as intellectually and morally superior, as they are, in their view.

Anyway, I don’t like to dish dirt, so you can Google Laden’s name, for yourself. Actually, no. Here’s one perspective on the Cyberonics business, in the Write Stuff. And here’s another, from the Alliance for Human Research. Make of that what you will, although I would note that Cyberonics is not directly concerned with ghostwriting, and so doesn’t fit my theme as well as I would have liked, because, per Laden’s own words, as quoted by Bloomberg News, she was just a facilitator (ie, she made things easier, presumably). A ghostwriter, as in the 329 case, will always be anonymous”.

You can read the whole article (and others) here.

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