Pfizer’s (PFE) Little White Lie

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US drug companies have a habit of misleading consumers and even physicians. It is a game they have played for decades. Usually they do not get caught. When they do a great cry goes up for reforming drug trials at the FDA and closer monitoring of pharma marketing practices.

Pfizer (PFE) is the latest alleged cheater. It could not leave well enough on sales of one of its most popular drugs so it may have decided to bend the rules.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Pfizer Inc. marketers urged the suppression of medical studies that reached unfavorable conclusions about the effectiveness of the company’s big-selling drug Neurontin, according to internal Pfizer documents submitted in a lawsuit against the company." It amounted to a cover-up which probably began with the company consulting with Richard Nixon for advice.

As might be expected, Pfizer is fighting charges that it did anything wrong. It did not try to influence medical research. It did not burn documents of delete e-mails. No doctors were given envelops filled with $100 bills.

Pfizer’s problem is that no one will believe its defense. It has turned out that the alteration of drug testing or suppression of trial data has happened too many times before.

The trial information on vitamins and aspirin may even be wrong. Where was the FDA when those products came out?

Douglas A. McIntyre