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Prescription drug research
November 25, 2002 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Oregon Prescription Drug Research. AARP provides a guide to the first publicly funded, unbiased source of information comparing the effectiveness and safety of several categories of prescription drugs.
posted by semmi (3 comments total)

 
How the hell has this not been summarily executed by Merck, Bristol Meyers, etc. yet?
posted by zekinskia at 1:39 PM on November 25, 2002


Well, I'd hardly call AARP unbiased, but I don't think they're biased in favor of the drug companies, anyway. Good info, thanks.
posted by RylandDotNet at 3:10 PM on November 25, 2002


The idea behind this project is good... but this particular effort is flawed.

The information on NSAID's is problematic. The 'Consumer Guide' says that there is insufficient evidence that the COX-2 inhibitor class of NSAID's (e.g., Vioxx) is superior to non-selective NSAID's (e.g., Motrin/ibuprofen) in not causing stomach ulcers and their complications... but the longer and somewhat more technical OHRC Subcommittee Report on the same site says
THE NSAIDS SUBCOMMITTEE CONCLUDED BY CONSENSUS THAT
THERE IS A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE FAVORING
ROFECOXIB IN REDUCING THE FREQUENCY OF SERIOUS
GASTROINTESTINAL EVENTS, PARTICULARLY GASTROINTESTINAL
BLEED, IN COMPARISON TO A NON-SELECTIVE NSAID.
And then it concludes at the end that the evidence is not compelling. (!)

I'm sorry, but this is a mess. Yes, I know the difference between 'statistically significant' and 'clinically significant'. But taken with other evidence favoring COX-2 inhibitors, it sounds an awful lot like the OHRC is trying to worship two different gods, or maximize two interacting variables: they're trying (although they never admit is explicitly) not to favor the COX-2 inhibitors because they are much more expensive than older NSAIDS, even though there is evidence that shows that they are superior with respect to causing ulcer disease in that subpopulation of patients who are prone to it.

I'm not a spokesman for Vioxx. When I use a NSAID myself, I use aspirin or OTC naproxen (Alieve). Most people can do so safely. But I don't think this site makes that point: that although older, cheaper NSAIDS are fine for most people, there are probably some people who will have fewer GI complications using the COX-2's. I'm afraid that these documents worship too much at the altar of Cost, and aren't giving the consumer an accurate message any more than drug company advertising is.

Still, this kind of effort, getting unbiased drug information into the hands of consumers, is good. Maybe we'll see better ones in the future.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:12 AM on November 26, 2002


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