Question: When’s a clinical trial not a real clinical trial?
Answer: When it’s a “seeding trial.”
Confused? Don’t worry, most people would be.
The fact is if you were to mention “seeding” to most folks they’d likely think you were talking about planting crops.
But there’s a much darker side to seeding, one born, ironically, in the bright and shiny boardrooms of Big Pharma.
Seeding trials are funded by drug companies
A seeding trial is a clinical trial set up and funded by a pharmaceutical company for the primary purpose of marketing and promoting a drug.
From the start the trial is likely to be hopelessly biased with a certain expected outcome from those holding the purse strings.
And get this… seeding trials are not illegal.
Oh sure, they are considered unethical by some and are generally frowned upon… at least on the surface… by the research community. But the reality is that Big Pharma has very deep pockets and as a result they go on all the time
For a prime example you may not need to look further than what was a rising star in the Pfizer stable of drugs, the epilepsy drug gabapentin.
Best known by the brand name Neurontin—but also sold as Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, and Nupentin—gabapentin is also widely prescribed for pain and neuropathic pain as well as the off-label and highly controversial use as a treatment for bipolar disorder. (The drug not only has been shown to be an ineffective mood stabilizer it’s also been associated with suicides and violent behavior. But that’s a story for another time.)
Neurontin study may have been a seeding trial
According to an article published in the the Archives of Internal Medicine a clinical trial of gabapentin, that was supposed to be for studying dosages of the drug, may actually have been nothing more than a seeding trial designed to expose more docs to the drug and ultimately to dupe them into writing more prescriptions for the stuff.
Sadly, the questionable gabapentin trial, called “Study of Neurontin: Titrate to Effect, Profile of Safety [STEPS],” resulted in not just one but two articles being published in major medical journals. (I can almost picture the Pfizer marketing crew high-fiving each other as they put a check mark in the “mission accomplished” box on this one.)
Yet when independent consultants reviewed the documentation from the trial all kinds of alarm bells went off.
To start with the study was shoddily designed. It was both uncontrolled and unblinded making the quality of the data coming out of it dubious at best.
Were Pfizer marketers involved in Neurontin study?
But even worse, documents from the study shockingly suggest that Pfizer’s MARKETING team could have been involved in data collection!
In fact, the documents appear to suggest that the marketers saw the trial itself… not just the end results… as an excellent promotional vehicle for their cash cow gabapentin.
So let’s review. We have Big Pharma manipulating clinical trials and drug data in order to line their already full pockets with even more cash.
I wish I could say that I’m surprised. But sadly I can’t because, after all, greed is a bottomless pit.
Remember, the only difference between a predatory criminal and Big Pharma is sufficient capital to form a corporation.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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