Last week I heard about the problems a friend of mine is having with Gabapentin, aka Neurotonin. Her husband tells me it harder to quit then methadone. Today Snigs puts up a post about it. Guess it's time for me to say something.
This drug, Gabapentin, might help some people with some afflictions, and in those cases it might be seem like a miracle drug. But was been getting prescribed for all kinds of ailments without anyone knowing whether it will work or not. Mystery ailments? Here, take this mystery drug. We don't know if it will work for what's ailing you, but hey, give it a shot. From some of the reports I've seen it seems like some really nasty shit.
Wikipedia has something interesting to say about it:
Legal actionNumerous cases have been brought against the makers of Neurontin, with convictions arising not only for the illegal promotion of off-label uses. In the first such case, Franklin v. Parke-Davis, whistleblower David Franklin sued under the False Claims Act on behalf of the Federal Government, and secured a $430 million settlement, of which the majority was incurred as fines and penalties in respect of guilty pleas to two felony counts of misbranding drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, some awarded for customer restitution schemes, and around $24m awarded personally to Franklin in recognition of his importance in revealing the matter.
Some of the recent fines paid by drug companies for misbehaving. That big ball represents a three billion dollar fine. The smallest one is a paltry $95 million.
These fines don't seem to dissuade these guys. By the time the court case has been settled, their patent on drug in question is due to expire and they've made their money, which they can now spend on promoting their new mystery/miracle drug. Makes the villain in The Fugitive look like a piker (that means amateur. At least that's what I mean it to mean.)
Biology is a horrible complicated business. That's why I went into computers. Compared to biology, even the most complex computer systems are a piece of cake. Medicine has made great progress in combating many of our ancient diseases, but it seems that for every afflication we have vanquished, ten new ones spring up. They might not be as bad as any of our hereditary scourges, and they might not kill half the people in town, but they can ruin people's lives just the same. So we keep looking for answers, and looking for answers is expensive, so I can understand the drug companies wanting to make money off of their drugs.
I'm not sure what the answer is. Shouldn't the drug companies be allowed to promote their products? Advertising is like the lifeblood of capitalism. Doctors shouldn't be taking money from drug companies, but that sounds more like an ethics issue for the AMA.
One thing that might help is if people knew how much their health insurance company was paying for their drugs. I consume a handful of pills which costs me a dollar or two every day. I don't really know because it's always different, depending on whether I have satisfied my deductible or not, or maybe it's by the phase of the moon. I gave up trying to fathom the workings of the insurance companies a long time ago. So I have to pay some money for these drugs, but I have no idea what the pharmacy is charging my insurance company. I'm pretty sure someone doesn't want me to know, but they are cloaking this secrecy in the name of "you shouldn't have to worry about the money when you're sick, that's what insurance is for". Well, that's BS.
P.S. Something I stumbled over that just looks insane to me: