New drug? No thanks, it’s no better – and your doctor’s probably getting a pay-off

05 March 2012

Think twice if your doctor wants to change your prescription to a new drug.  It’s unlikely the drug is any better than the one you’re taking – and the doctor is probably being paid to promote it.
There’s no evidence to suggest that a new drug is any better than an older, similar, drug, say researchers.  They tracked 39 new drugs launched on the German market in 2009 and 2010, and, at best, they were being compared to a placebo, or sugar pill – and almost never against an established drug.
Drug companies are not forced to compare their new drug against an existing one on the market – and so they almost never do.  And there’s a very real chance that the new drug might even be inferior to established ones.
Despite this lack of information, doctors are always pushing the ‘next great best thing’ – but that’s often because they are getting a pay-off whenever they prescribe it.

(Source: Deutsches Arzteblatt International, 2012; 109: 117-23).

 

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