Friday, March 19, 2010

NPR Wins Scripps Howard Award -- For Its "Deep Dive" -- On Merck's Fosamax®

As I indicated right before Christmas 2009, the NPR business journalists who looked into the way Merck marketed Fosamax® did a superb job of demystifying the complicated science surrounding the controversy.

Such an outstanding job, in fact, that the prestigious Scripps Howard Foundation has just this morning bestowed the Jack R. Howard Award upon Alix Spiegel, the NPR radio journalist who put it all together (snippet from

. . . .This is the story of how pills for osteopenia ended up in [Katie] Benghauser’s medicine cabinet, and in the medicine cabinets of millions of women like her all over the United States. But more broadly, it’s the story of how the definition of what constitutes a disease evolves, and the role that drug companies can play in that evolution. . . .

As noted in the story, Merck pushed to create a machine that would allow more doctors’ offices to scan bones [in order to sell more Fosamax, to women who might only marginally be candidates to take the powerful drug]. . . .

Quite-so. Well-done.


Anonymous said...

There's also a story in today's LA times regarding rhabdomyolysis and renal failure with high doses of Zocor and higher risk in those of chinese descent.

This is consistent with what I have been saying here and elsewhere for a long time.

Many lethal drug reactions are due to issues related to drug metabolites or drug metabolism.

Increased risk for some of these reactions can be predicted by knowledge of drug metabolism and in some cases pharmacogenetics.

Knowledge of an individual's pharmacogenetics is not necessary for communicating risk information. Instead knowledge of the individual's ethnic background is often sufficient to indicate a higher probability of risk.

Companies and the FDA have known of this for years (in some cases nearly 20 years) and have been remiss in not including such information in labeling.

Failure to include such information in labeling in my opinion means the drug is misbranded.


condor said...

Makin' it a new post, now!

Thanks, Salmon!