Saturday, December 8, 2012

Minimizing Side Effects at Merck--the Old Paycheck Effect

One of the more enthusiastic members of my very small fan club kindly sent me this link:

Now, I don't want to make too much of this post from a clearly biased source, and the incendiary part of the post is obviously the idea that the big drug company would not only cause terrible side effects in patients who take their drugs, but then proceed to heap scorn on the patients who report the side effects. But what seems mainly to come through loud and clear is the simple refusal on the part of supposed scientists working for the company even to see the link between the drug (alendronate) and the adverse reaction (destruction of the jawbone following dental procedures), despite a large accumulation of both animal and human data pointing toward the connection. So somehow, if you give an animal that drug and you see jawbone destruction, suddenly that animal is no longer a reliable experimental model and the results don't count.

If you ever had occasion to doubt if author Upton Sinclair was on to something when he wrote, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it," this little anecdote about Merck staffers might shed some light.

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