Spiriva Inhalers: Should We Believe Pfizer or JAMA?

I wrote last week about potential Spiriva inhaler claims, noting that a JAMA article disagrees with Pfizer’s own analysis of the data. What I meant to write but ran out of time is that I cannot say for certain who is on the right side of this issue of whether heart attacks and strokes are caused by the Spiriva inhaler. But I can say that in the battle for credibility, I chose an article in a respected peer review journal like JAMA about 10 million spots ahead of Pfizer.

A Boston Globe article today proves my point. The Globe reports that Pfizer suppressed a large European study suggesting their blockbuster medication Neurontin was ineffective for chronic nerve pain, and they plotted to silence a British researcher who wanted to go public with the data, according to documents produced in a Neurontin case in Boston. In 2004, Pfizer plead guilty to criminal conduct and paid $430 million in fines involving allegations that it illegally marketed Neurontin for “off-label” uses, ranging from manic depression to hiccups. That’s right. Hiccups. Is it hard to understand why plaintiffs’ lawyers are so skeptical about any claims Pfizer makes?
So, yeah, until proven otherwise, I’m going to go with findings I find in JAMA than what Pfizer tells us about the safety of the Spiriva inhalers.

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