3/30/2001 – 60 Minutes Show, April 1 – Clinical Drug Trial Dangers

“Clinical Drug Trial Dangers?”

On Sunday, April 1, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, CBS 60 Minutes will air a
segment entitled “Of Mice And Men.” Steve Kroft reports that
patients taking experimental drugs in clinical trials often don’t
know the doctors administering them are usually being paid by
the drug companies and that the drugs can sometimes worsen
their health.

Between Laughter and Tears on Zoloft, Prozac and Wellbutrin (Zyban)

“…drugs are always give and take. This is not worth the take.”


I’ve been taking Zoloft or Prozac or Wellbutrin (Zyban) for several years. During some parts of this I began drinking heavily to the point of black outs and complete craziness. Most doctors called me an alcoholic. I had been drinking for several years for fun but never had any problems. I am in Law school right now and feel that I can’t remember well or that I have killed brains cells. I feel like I don’t care and like I am trapped inside of another body. The Doctor put my husband on Paxil and that was when I realized we both had to get off the drugs. This is day three and I fluctuate between either laughter or tears. I cried all the way through my patent law class. Deep down inside I know there are problems because, I have never been a C student. Some people say that Law school is hard but I also have a degree in Biochemistry which is a lot harder.

My science background though general in this area alerts me to the fact that there is a balance in all bodily mechanisms and drugs are always give and take. This is not worth the take.

I agree that something should be done. Western medicine which trains our DRS. is not ample for these people to make these assessments. Further, we are always the first real clinical trial because testing does not occur outside the lower animal kingdom until the FDA approves the drug. One doesn’t have to be an elitist to note the difference between our brains and those of lower animals. Further, it is clear that people are effected very differently, this also shouldn’t be that big of a surprise because we have a history incapable of adequate diagnosis in the mental health area. Drug companies are usually the people that pay in class action suits of this nature. This is big business for them and very possible that we have not been given all of the facts even with respect to their animal testing and in vitro experiments. (i.e. tobacco industry) Neurological safety can be nothing less than theoretical, to argue any more than this would put us in a completely reductionist framework when this has not been accomplished scientifically. In other words, we do not yet have proof that our brains operate on one to one biochemical pathways. Even if this were true, there is certainly some interesting conceptually different mechanism at work between individuals. My problem is that once FDA approval goes through because this is a rigorous process, then what do they do to track the “real” test subjects. Arguably here we are left to fend for ourselves because there is a point at which the market takes over all sense of humanity.


Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 85.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

7/25/2000 – Clinical trial revenue streams lead to more scandals

This article might explain why your doctor’s interest has shifted away from
you as a patient. He may be looking at you with $$$$ signs stamped all over
you as he envision another guenia pig for yet another clinical trial funded
by a large drug company.

Most of you are aware, or certainly should be aware, of the scandal involving
the two researchers in Georgia that are now in prison for their fraudulent
research over a ten year period on drugs such as Paxil, Celexa, Zyprexa and
others. They were out spending their millions that was coming in on the
research while their secretaries conducted the research for them.

Now breaking news out of Oklahoma reminds us once again of the dangers
involved when research is conducted in this way. Can you guess yet where the
old family doc who used to make house calls went? Thanks to the
pharmaceutical industry, medicine in America has become nothing more than
just another big business.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness


Clinical Trials – Drug Studies Provide Benefits for Patients, Knowledge and
Revenue for Neurologists

[Neuro Practice 7(6):41,43, 2000. © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins]



A growing number of neurologists are discovering a gold mine in their
clinical practices: Their patient population. Pharmaceutical companies and
contract research organizations (CROs) are looking for patients with a
variety of neurological conditions to participate in clinical studies,
generally for Phase III and Phase IV post-marketing drug studies.
Participating in clinical trials is a worthwhile way to keep current with
medical developments, assure patients access to the latest technology, and
not incidentally, provide a substantial revenue stream for the clinical

“There are many opportunities for neurologists,” says Matthew D. Heller, MD,
co-author with James A. Boyle, MD, of The Physicians Guide to Clinical
Research Opportunities (Los Angeles: Practice Management Information Corp.;
1996). “You’re going to learn about new drugs way before they’re out on the
market. And when physicians come under the crunch financially, it’s a
wonderful way to earn alternative income.”

Physicians in private practice play a key role in the drug development and
monitoring process. While Phase I and Phase II clinical trials involve
healthy volunteers, primarily males, post-marketing studies and many Phase
III clinical trials require large numbers of patients with the conditions
being studied. The pharmaceutical industry depends on physicians with access
to patient populations to participate in post-marketing studies. Clinical
study subjects are needed in the areas of stroke, Alzheimer and Parkinson
diseases, and movement disorders.

“Phase IV post-marketing studies are very good for the general neurologist,”
says Bill Nikolov, MD, neurologist at New York Hospital Cornell Medical
Center, who is a study coordinator for a 21-site clinical trial of topiramate
(Topamax, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical) for the treatment of amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis. “Being involved in clinical research is very good for
professional development, and you learn about new drugs years before the
papers are published.”

Community Setting

In February, the National Library of Medicine launched a website
(clinicaltrials.gov) to provide physicians and patients easy access to
information about the location of clinical trials. There are presently more
than 440 clinical studies involving diseases of the nervous system,
everything from abetalipoproteinemia to Zellweger syndrome, including 115
studies of nervous system neoplasm, 16 studies of Alzheimer disease, and
eight studies of tremor.

Far greater opportunities for clinical research are found in the private
sector, particularly since accelerated drug-approval processes have placed
greater importance on post-marketing studies to identify potential untoward
effects and interactions of prescription medication.

In 1997, the pharmaceutical and biotech industry spent more than $3.5 billion
on grants to physicians who provide investigator services, and the grants
went to fewer than 10% of U.S. physicians, according to consultant Tracy
Blumenfeld, chief executive officer of Wayne, PA-based Physicians Clinical
Research Solutions.

“The demand for productive, high-quality sites [for clinical research] is
increasing rapidly,” says Blumenfeld, whose company markets the clinical
trial capabilities of physician groups to commercial research sponsors.

While demand for physician investigators is rising, so is competition for
private-sector clinical trial dollars. Heller says that the number of
private-practice physicians participating in drug studies has increased 60%
in the last five years. “It’s tougher to get a study these days than it used
to be,” he says. “There are many more investigators. Everybody wants to get
into it.”

Still, opportunities abound for physicians willing to accept the burdens of
clinical research, even for those without a university affiliation. “Often,
drug companies prefer that you don’t have a university affiliation,” says
Heller. “The patients at tertiary medical centers are quite different than
the populations found in the private practice.”

Revenue Stream

Community-based physicians have something that drug makers desperately need
patients. Post-marketing studies require a broad cross-section of patients,
representing a range of ages and illness severity. “It’s the patients they’re
looking for,” confirms Blumenfeld.

Participating in clinical studies can provide a substantial revenue stream
for medical practices. Blumenfeld says that physicians can expect
compensation ranging from $5000 to $10,000 per patient. One stroke study
presently under way pays $8500 per patient, she says.

The seemingly lucrative money in clinical trials has caused the activity to
come under fire in the popular press, suggesting that pharmaceutical
companies are bribing physicians to change prescription habits. However, the
compensation provided to participating physicians includes reimbursement for
office visits and diagnostic testing, typically leaving about 20% after

“Nobody makes a lot of money from post-marketing studies,” says Nikolov. The
most common error made by physicians is underestimating the amount of time
and labor demanded by clinical trials. “It’s important that physicians
realize the time commitment that’s required,” says Blumenfeld. “Physicians
who look at clinical trials as selling data don’t have a clear idea of what’s
involved. It’s not like the pharmaceutical company hands the doctor $5000. He
or she has to work for it.”

U. of Okla. Scandal Leads to Exodus

.c The Associated Press


TULSA, Okla. (AP) – A research scandal that led to the shutdown of 75 human
experiments at the University of Oklahoma medical school in Tulsa has brought
the departure of three top university officials and dismissal proceedings
against a scientist.

“I think we have no choice but to demonstrate we’re making a fresh start,”
university President David Boren said Friday. “We simply have to send a very
strong signal for the sake of all our research programs.”

The scandal broke earlier this month over a skin cancer study. An outside
audit found flaws in the manufacturing the study’s vaccine and lapses in the
monitoring of its participants, all of whom were seriously ill with melanoma.

Twenty-six of the 94 participants who received the vaccine over the three
years of the study died, though officials found no evidence the study
contributed to the deaths.

In the wake of the discovery, the university suspended 70 clinical trials at
the university and the government suspended five others.

Boren said that the university has started termination proceedings against
the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Michael McGee, and that three officials had
either resigned or retired: Harold Brooks, dean of the college of medicine in
Tulsa; Edward Wortham Jr., director of the Office of Research at the Health
Science Center; and Daniel Plunket, chairman of the school’s research
oversight board.

Boren also announced stringent new procedures, including the establishment of
a research compliance office with a hot line for anonymous callers to report


7/02/1999 – Welcome to the Drug Awareness E-Mail Group

The International Coalition For Drug Awareness is a private, non-profit group of
physicians, researchers, journalists and concerned citizens. Our primary focus
is to address the world’s most pervasive and subtle drug problem – prescription
drugs. We are dedicated to educating the people of the world regarding the
potential harmful and life threatening short and long term effects of these
drugs. As the cause of an estimated 200,000 deaths per year in America, drug
reactions are now the third leading cause of death! The most dangerous period of
time for a drug is upon market introduction. At that point physicians and their
patients have information on adverse reactions present in the controlled
environment of a clinical trial, but are unaware of the potential adverse
reactions of these new drugs when dispensed to the general public. We feel there
is a need to track and report patient reactions more carefully and more rapidly
than what is presently being done, which should result in lower medical costs
for the patients and doctors as well. And also might begin to breech the gap
that is beginning to form between well-meaning doctors and maltreated patients.
By keeping prescribing physicians and their patients abreast of recent adverse
reaction reports we hope to cut the number of unnecessary deaths due to drug
reactions and interactions and lessen the number of malpractice suits filed
against physicians as a result of those reactions. Beyond this public education
process our intention is to serve as an watch dog group in relationship with the
FDA and equivalent organizations around the world, encouraging them to remove
drugs which demonstrate high numbers of dangerous adverse reactions and threaten
the public safety.