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Paxil

Paxil , Wkimedia.org

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By Kristen Anderson

The FDA requires each new drug to undergo rigorous testing and stand up to scientific scrutiny, a process that is designed to protect consumers by thoroughly examining the effects of new medications before they are available to the public. But few people stop to realize that these studies which are mandated by the FDA, are actually funded by the drug companies themselves, clearly a conflict of interest.

Big Pharma has so much influence in the field of scientific research, that the professionals who depend on peer-reviewed studies, i.e. doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, etc., prefer to read meta-analyses as a way to ensure objectivity. These meta-analyses combine evidence from multiple studies to weed out studies that produced irregular or uncommon results. In this way, the meta-analysis is regarded as the purest form of research and is heavily relied on by medical professionals. But, again, if Big Pharma has essentially infiltrated the research industry to the point that the majority of studies are being skewed, even a meta-analysis is unreliable.

Take for example Study 329. GlaxoSmithKline funded Study 329 between 1994 and 1998 and the results showed that Paxil was safe for teenagers. This study was published in 2001 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), a well-respected and peer-reviewed journal. It was later found, however, that the authors had downplayed the negative findings and that GlaxoSmithKline had actually hired a PR firm to ghost write the article! Paxil actually clearly increases suicidal thoughts and impulses among teenagers and this effect was downplayed in the article and not even addressed in the conclusion (the most-read section of a scientific study).

 

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