Fake Drug Trial

Last month, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a scathing reassessment of a 12-year-old research study of Neurontin, a seizure drug made by Pfizer. The study, which had included more than 2,700 subjects and was carried out by Parke-Davis (now part of Pfizer), was notable for how poorly it was conducted. The investigators were inexperienced and untrained, and the design of the study was so flawed it generated few if any useful conclusions. Even more alarming, 11 patients in the study died and 73 more experienced “serious adverse events.” Yet there have been few headlines, no demands for sanctions or apologies, no national bioethics commissions pledging to investigate. Why not?

One reason is that the study was not quite what it seemed. It looked like a clinical trial, but as litigation documents have shown, it was actually a marketing device known as a “seeding trial.” The purpose of seeding trials is not to advance research but to make doctors familiar with a new drug.

Full NYT article on fake drug trials.

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ken says:

    I read this when it first appeared in the New York Times. Seem absurd.

  2. Madeline says:

    Disgusting and bizarre.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    I assume that seeding trial was only one of several clinical studies used to seek approval. But I can see how drug companies could use the clinical trial process to make doctors aware of a new product.

  4. Virginia says:

    Interesting marketing scheme. It makes perfect sense to market to docs that way.