Raena Morgan: Doctor Scott, how valid are the studies that the drug companies put out, and are most people not able to interpret them?
Dr. Timothy Scott: Yeah, there are a couple problems here. Number one, it’s true that most people, including most physicians, do not have a research design background.
TS: In order to read these studies, you have to know what questions to ask, you know, what statistic did they use? What research design did they use? The average physician gets literature from the drug reps that presents a very one-sided picture. It says thirty-two out of thirty-two studies found that- well who designed the studies? How were they designed? What kinds of variables are included? There are a hundred issues we have to ask questions about that the average physician does not realize they need to know the answers to these questions to determine if this study is valid or not.
TS: You can make research say whatever you want it to say. I can get any result I want if I’m allowed to design the study. In fact, drug companies design the studies, pay for the studies, write up the studies that lead to the approval of antidepressant drugs. People think the FDA is doing this. No, it’s not the FDA.
RM: It’s not the FDA?
TS: The drug studies are submitted to the FDA, the FDA looks at the studies and says okay, and yet the drug companies are allowed to manipulate the drug studies. I’ve already given you some examples of tricks of the trade.
RM: And that’s in your book too.
TS: Yeah, it’s in my book, of course. I have ten examples in my book of things that can be done to get whatever result you want. Well these studies are then submitted to the FDA, and unfortunately sometimes a whole class of drugs will get approved that should never be approved, sometimes leading to the death of lots of people. We have to remember, we have huge numbers of recalls every year. We have about forty-five class one recalls every year.
RM: What’s a class one recall?
TS: Class one recall is a recall that involves a drug that is life threatening, can cause permanent damage, forty-five a year on average.
RM: Forty-five drugs a year?
TS: Forty-five drugs a year, yeah. So we have lots and lots of drugs that get approved and that get withdrawn. Unfortunately, it takes about seven years on average before the drug is withdrawn. Reason for that is that it takes time, it shouldn’t, but it takes time to find out all the damage typically. I’ll give you and example of what really disturbs me. A number of years ago, when we really got some insight into the fact that these drugs are causing suicides, and they do,-
TS: -an antidepressant, what it does is it acts like alcohol. It doesn’t get you over depression any more than alcohol gets your over depression, but it does blunt the mind somewhat,-
TS: -just like alcohol blunts the mind somewhat. So the BGA in Germany in 1987 was the first one approached to approve an antidepressant. Eli Lily went to Germany first, tried to get Prozac approved in Germany. The BGA said “we’re going to do a study.” They did their own experimental study. They assigned Prozac to some subjects and a placebo to other subjects. They found out there was three times as much suicide among those on Prozac. They said “we cannot approve this drug.” So Lilly left Europe, came back to America, went to the FDA, and got their drug approved here. So we’ve known since the beginning, we have a number of studies that are early studies that said this drug is dangerous, it can lead to suicide. Well finally, two decades later, they FDA required that the drug companies put a warning label, a black box on the antidepressant saying, guess what, you’re more likely to be thinking about, contemplating and even taking your own life if you’re on an antidepressant. They put that warning on the drugs for children and young adults. It applies to everyone. But even though they applied it just to children and young adults, immediately a group of psychiatrists that are part of an organization funded by the pharmaceuticals, they’re supposedly non-profit, but they’re funded by the pharmaceuticals, issued a paper that said, “Listen, we believe these drugs do more harm than good. Yes, it may create more thoughts of suicide and more actual suicide, but think of all the people who will commit suicide if they’re not on these drugs. We need to continue to give these drugs.” That paper made national news here and around the world, and so the drugs continued to be prescribed, even though we now know that was really an effort of the pharmaceutical industry. In reality, an independent study of these drugs, every one I’ve ever seen finds that they do lead to more thoughts of suicide and more suicides and more agitation. Of course they can’t deny it. You pick up the package insert, the PI-
TS: -that comes with the drug, put on your reading glasses if your vision is tainted in any way because the print is small, but what you’ll find printed there is aggression, agitation. Again, why do they give a chlorohydrate in twenty-five of forty-seven studies, a relaxant, something to cause a person not to feel that aggression and that agitation? That’s why. And of course this has all come out because of lawsuits. The drug companies will not allow us to see the data. They pay for it, they then write up those studies, submit the ones that have a positive result by twisting the study to the journals, and all that data then goes into their files, and they won’t let anyone see it. When I began studying Effexor, I contacted why- I said I want to see the studies. They would not let me see the studies. I said, “I’m going to print this drug ad that you printed in all these medical journals, and I’m going to simply state what I do know.” That this author, this author and this author for three of the studies that I did find, they were all connected to Wyeth, two were company employees. They were not the first name, they were the second names on the articles, and I said, “I’m going to print that ad.” And they said, “You can’t.” Their attorney told them-
TS -I can’t print their ad, so I contacted the attorney. What I learned was okay, I can take that ad, and I’m going to change it just a little bit. They may still sue me, but I decided I’m going to go that route anyway. I was going to take a chance in part because I thought they probably won’t because they don’t want publicity. And if they do sue me, I’m going to make sure that I don’t own the proceeds to this book. I don’t get the proceeds, it goes to Habitat for Humanity,-
TS: -and that the book is its own business, it’s not tied to me personally in any way.
TS: And so it is its own business, not tied to me, so they can sue and they’re not going to get much, but I really thought that they probably wouldn’t because they don’t want the publicity. In fact, I printed essentially their ad and they never did sue me.
RM: Well you paint a pretty sinister picture of the pharmaceutical industry-
TS: Yeah, rightly so.
RM: -on that turf, you know, on the-
TS: On that issue.
RM: Yeah, right.
TS: That’s right, yeah.
RM: Well thank you, Doctor Scott.
Dr. Timothy Scott explains how the drug companies design and fund studies that support their drugs. You'll be shocked at how the FDA ends up approving these drugs that other countries wont. Find out how he challenged one big pharmaceutical company and what happened next!
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