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General News    H2'ed 3/4/22

Pfizer is not Our Pfriend

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Most people are aware of the COVID-19 windfall to drug makers -- Pfizer made $36.8 billion in global sales for its COVID-19 vaccine, for example, the "highest one-year tally for a pharmaceutical product in history," wrote the Wall Street Journal.

But there was also a huge image windfall for Pharma among the pubic -- including, among progressives. Suddenly Pharma is no longer the industry responsible for 100,000 U.S. opioid overdose deaths just last year, a growing number of talcum powder-related ovarian cancers and 38,000 deaths (and 88,000 heart attacks) from Vioxx.

Suddenly, Pharma is no longer the industry that launched and profited from risky, withdrawn drugs like Baycol, Trovan, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Vioxx, Bextra, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, Raxar, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), Manoplax, fenfluramine, DMAA, Rezulin, temafloxacin and phenacetin; no longer the industry that boasts three lobbyists for every member of Congress -- it is a humanitarian organization that saved us from COVID-19 out of the goodness of its heart.

Meanwhile more risky withdrawn drugs were seen this week. Pfizer's long-acting blood pressure drug, Inderal, was pulled from Canadian shelves because of the presence of cancer-linked nitrosamines. Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix was removed for the same reason last year. What ever happened to quality control?

A quick look at Pfizer's past should send chills down the back of anyone who cares about drug safety. In one week in 2010 Pfizer:

Suspended pediatric trials of Geodon two months after the FDA said children were being overdosed in the trials

Was investigated by the U.S. House of representatives for off-label marketing (promoting uses not approved by the FDA) of the kidney transplant drug Rapamune, specifically targeting African-Americans

Agreed to pull its 10-year-old leukemia drug Mylotarg from the market because it caused more not less patient deaths

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by (more...)
 

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