Apr 9, 2008

Dia-Beaten

"Pfizer Inc and Nektar Therapeutics said on Wednesday clinical trials of the inhaled insulin Exubera found increased cases of lung cancer, leading Nektar to end talks with potential partners to market the product.
Nektar shares tumbled 24 percent in early trading, while shares of MannKind Corp, which has been developing its own inhaled insulin, plummeted more than 56 percent. Pfizer was little changed at $21.00.
Over the course of the clinical trials, Pfizer said six of the 4,740 Exubera-treated patients versus one of the 4,292 patients not treated with Exubera developed lung cancer. One lung cancer case was also found after Exubera reached the market.
Pfizer updated the Exubera labeling to include a warning with safety information about lung cancer cases found in patients who used Exubera, which U.S. regulators approved in January 2006.
The warning states all patients who developed lung cancer had a prior history of cigarette smoking, and that there were too few cases to determine whether the development of lung cancer is related to Exubera use.
Pfizer said in October it would stop marketing Exubera, ending its involvement with a product once thought to have the potential to become a $2 billion-a-year blockbuster with the promise of helping diabetics avoid needle sticks. Instead, sales were negligible."
(It's their marketing department that was negligible, I'd say)

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So now the 10-point toss-up question is: Why did Pfizer really pull this drug?
Was it because of what they originally asserted - the lack of sales? Or because the thing causes lung cancer? (A point you can't conclusively determine from the above study, by the way). I mean, the warning does state that "ALL patients who developed lung cancer had a prior history of cigarette smoking."
This story at least confirms that, like a Transformer, there's more to this than meets the eye.
A point that invokes no great surprise when you consider it involves big drug companies. Personally, I call BS on multi-levels.

1 comment:

WF said...

Bah! You know what causes lung cancer? LUNGS! Come on evolution, take a freaking hint!