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"Neurontin had been approved by the FDA in 1994 for a very narrow use - to treat epilepsy as an add - on when other drugs failed to control seizures. (Later it was approved to treat shingles as well.) There wasn`t much money in that, and the company wanted to expand the drug`s market. But there was no time to do proper clinical trials that might allow it to get FDA approval for other uses, because the patent was due tu expire in 1998 (later extended to 2000). So the company apparently devised a plan to get doctors to prescribe Neurontin for unapproved uses - mainly common but vague conditions like pain and anxiety of various forms, and also as the sole treatment for epilepsy. If the campaign were successful, huge markets would be opened up.

Parke-Davis reportedly called its plan a "publications strategy." It would sponsor minimal research, prepare journal articles based on it, and pay academic researchers to put their names on those articles. The studies themselves were so small or poorly designed that few valid conclusions could be drawn from them. Some of the articles contained no new data at all, just favorable comments about Neurontin. Medical education and communication companies were hired to prepare the articles and find authors. One of these firms, for instance, was to be paid $12,000 for each of twelwe journal articles it prepared. It in turn paid academic "authors" $1000 to sign them. - siv 158 Marcia Angell: The Truth About the Drug Companies -

 

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