Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Do you believe that drug companies feed you the truth? If so, I'll bet you believe in the Tooth Fairy too. The latest player in drug maker scandles is Warner-Lambert Co., who allegedly lied to doctors about Neurontin's effectiveness, claiming the epilepsy drug could be used to treat pain, headaches, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and alcohol detoxification.

As resitution for its deceptive marketing practices, Warner-Lambert was court-ordered to pay a $430 million national settlement for illegally promoting the epilepsy drug Neurontin for uses not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Neurontin is FDA-approved for epilepsy and nerve pain related to shingles. However, 90 percent of Neurontin usage is for "off-label" use.

While physicians are free to prescribe drugs for off-label use, federal law prohibits drug makers from marketing drugs for treatments that are not approved by the FDA.

Here's what got Wanrner-Lambert in toruble - From 1992 to 2004, Warner-Lambert paid doctors to promote Neurontin and trained them to submit false billing statements in order to get Medicaid and Medicare to pay for the drug.

Parents, if your doctor has prescribed Neurontin for attention deficit disorder or bipolar, I would suggest you take a serious second look at that prescription and decide whether or not you trust it.

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