Friday, December 17, 2004

Wish I had said that.

From the Cosh-meister:

Pfizer has now had to absorb the nonnews that Celebrex, its COX-2 inhibitor for arthritis, carries cardiac risks similar to those which led Merck to pull Vioxx earlier this year. In other amusing news, Astra-Zeneca announced that a new lung-cancer treatment, Iressa, failed to outperform placebo in a huge clinical trial. There's a particularly strong thread of black comedy in that announcement, as Iressa had been approved for sale by the FDA with a requirement for a weird caveat to customers that "There are no controlled trials demonstrating a clinical benefit, such as improvement in disease-related symptoms or increased survival." (Trivial considerations at best, no doubt, for a lung-cancer sufferer!)

The case of Iressa also makes this statement in the Reuters report sound rather hilarious, to my ears at least:

Industry analysts said the slew of bad news reflected the difficulties of bringing effective new medicines to market and the increasingly tough regulatory environment in terms of proving safety and efficacy.

What Iressa's failure proves, of course, is exactly the opposite. It was a drug cleared for sale with no genuine scientific evidence for its efficacy and with a warning right on the bottle saying, basically, "We're not sure this pill will help you."


Go read the whole thing, especially his final, "incidental" thought at the end. Fascinating.