Turning Medicine into Snake Oil

May 5, 2006


The Kaiser Family Foundation, in its weekly policy report, discusses the new Jersey Public Interest Group’s publication “Turning Medicine into Snake Oil“. The NJPIRG analyzed 170 enforcement letters that FDA sent to pharmaceutical companies during the five-year period through 2005 over false or misleading ads for the COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx and 149 other medications. According to the report: About 62% of the false or misleading ads targeted physicians, who received information that understated or misrepresented the risks of medications in one-third of those cases; Pharmaceutical companies in a number of cases concealed negative clinical trial results or misreported results; and One-third of pharmaceutical companies that received letters from FDA received more than one letter for the same problem.