Res 351 week 2

Topics: Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical trial Pages: 5 (985 words) Published: February 22, 2015

Unethical Research in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Lyndsae Erdmann
James Bankston

Unethical Research in the Pharmaceutical Industry
The Pharmaceutical drug companies have a tendency to focus more on the sales and revenue than the research of any given product. This trend leads to misrepresentation of crucial scientific research on products. “A wide variety of research practices has been described as being used to distort the medical literature in favor of a clinical trial sponsor’s pharmaceutical intervention,” (Ross, Gross, & Krumholz, 2012, para. ).But also, not only do the drug companies practice unethical research studies, they spend money pushing products and incentives to physicians for writing the prescriptions for those drugs. That monetary value of those incentives is, often, more than the research on the drug itself. Two companies have been accused, tried, and charged for smudging results and falsifying findings for their benefit. It appears that pharmaceutical companies have interchanged the quest of treating and healing sickness and disease with the sole purpose of making money. The Problem

Merck & Co. marketed a drug called Vioxx. The drug was said to have less gastrointestinal problems than its competition – Naproxen. However, Vioxx had considerably more side effects including; heart attacks and strokes (Vershoor,C.C, 2006). Merck and Co. were accused of several unethical acts, therefore, the drugs were pulled from the market in September 2004. Unfortunately, not before 100 million prescriptions were filled. Merck & Co. was also accused of misrepresenting or concealing of study results to doctors. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that previous studies of three patients had been withheld. All three patients suffered heart attacks when taking Vioxx. Sales reps for Merck & Co. were trained to use subliminal selling tactics. Additionally, Merck & Co. only chose biased speakers of their products at educational events.

Another major player in the pharmaceutical business, Pfizer, has also been under scrutiny for unethical conduct. The drug Bextra was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2001 for treatment of arthritis and menstrual cramps. Incidentally, it was not approved for acute pain nor was it said to be any more powerful than Ibuprofen. During this time, Pfizer was also under investigation for unethically marketing another drug. Reps for Pfizer were told to dismiss the earlier allegations and inform doctors that Bextra could be administered for surgical pain. On top of that they would advise prescribing higher doses than recommended by the FDA,; even with high risks of heart problems and kidney failure (Gardinar, H. 2009). The Process

Both companies were held accountable for their unethical behavior, each having to pay a significant amount of money. However, no amount of money can compensate for the people that were at risk for taking these drugs. Marketing drugs with high health hazards is not only unethical, it is also morally wrong. The drug companies market their products in one of the two ways; they either direct market to the patient or through the doctor. To the patient, they create the need to have the medicine. The patient then insists to the physician they must have it. The patient then tells the doctor to prescribe it to them. When this occurs, the doctor is no longer looking out for the best interest of the patient and merely suffices their preconceived need. The affected ones in these scenarios are, mostly, the patients. They are being prescribed drugs that are not necessarily the best option along with potentially devastating side effects. Doctors are also affected. They are left with the choice to overlook the health concerns of the patients in order to serve them. Companies like Merck & Co. and Pfizer go directly to the doctor’s offices, pay them incentives, and even pay for trips to educational seminars. Therefore, doctors...

References: Cooper, D., & Schindler, P. (2011). Business Research Methods (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Gardiner, H. (2009, Sep 03). Pfizer to pay $2.3 billion to settle inquiry over marketing. New York Times (1923-Current File). Retrieved from
Ross, J. S., Gross, C. P., & Krumholz, H. M. (2012, Jan). Promoting Transparency in Pharmaceutical Industry-Sponsored Research. American Public Health Association, 102(1), 72-80. Retrieved from
Verschoor, C. C. (2006). Pharma Industry Has Many Ethics Issues. Strategic Finance, 87(8), 16-19
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