AstraZeneca makers of Seroquel want to “protect” us by withholding information about the dangers of the drug

This you’ve got to read!!

From the St. Petersburg Times:

AstraZeneca, maker of the blockbuster anti­psychotic Seroquel, is battling to keep information about the drug out of the public’s view … for the public’s own good.

This month in Orlando, lawyers for the drugmaker will argue that unsealing company documents, including unpublished clinical trial data and letters from the FDA, could harm “a vulnerable patient population.”

“This (disclosure) could jeopardize public safety by causing confusion and alarm in patients, who may then discontinue their medication without seeking the guidance of a medical professional,” lawyers for the drugmaker said in a recent filing in federal court.

Seroquel is approved only for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but its use for everything from depression to insomnia to ADHD in kids is so widespread that the drug has been prescribed for more than 22 million patients. Its $4.5 billion in sales last year put it among the top-selling drugs in the world.

In light of Seroquel’s popularity, the argument that hiding information protects patients has public health advocates throwing up their hands.

“They don’t want anybody to know about the side effects of their drug, and they’re keeping secret the results of studies from patients, their doctors and the FDA,” said Dr. David Egilman, clinical associate professor at Brown University’s Department of Community Health.

“Saying they’re protecting the patient is a self-serving, fraudulent argument.”…

…Plaintiffs say the company knew as early as 2000 that Seroquel caused diabetes, weight gain and other health problems, but failed to adequately warn patients and doctors…

…AstraZeneca denies the allegations and has spent more than $500 million defending itself against Seroquel claims. Key to the company’s strategy has been its insistence that millions of pages of documents produced in discovery should remain under seal, out of the public eye.

To Egilman, such blanket agreements in drug liability cases are outrageous. “Confidentiality agreements that prohibit disclosure of important information that may impact public health to state and federal authorities should be illegal,” he said. “The court should at least send all discovery in drug cases to the FDA and DOJ (Department of Justice) for review if they intend to seal them.” (read the rest)

This is outright criminality. When will it end? Dr. David Egilman, you may remember, was one of the heroes involved in busting Eli Lilly with the Zyprexa scandals. You go Egilman!!

Comments

  1. Oh I’ve found this too! I want those internal documents court ordered to be unsealed for public viewing!!!

    I second, “Go, Egilman!”.

  2. womanofhope says:

    I am so upset by reading all of this I just want to scream. I took Seroquel several years ago and found that I became more and more psychotic. Additionally, all I wanted to consume was sugar. Needless to say, I gained quite a bit of weight.

    SCREAM,SCREAM,SCREAM,SCREAM, SCREAM. That felt good.

    Let’s hope AstraZeneca is forced to unseal those documents.

  3. As you know, this is the only thing to get me to sleep. I bow down to it, but I only take 50mg a night, so I have little risk of high blood sugar, etc.

    The only thing I don’t like is that they won’t give it to me for free; the program they advertise all the time is a crock. I really depend on the med, though.

  4. Hi Cricket,
    I miss you around here!

    Well, I have no desire to convince you to do anything other than what feels right to you, but for me, I took between 25 mg and 100 mg of Seroquel for a good 3 or 4 years…

    Most of the time I was only on 25 mg…and it gave me horrible out of control munchies and made me gain even more weight in addition to what depakote and risperdal had made me gain.

    so while I respect your choice to take it, I do want to let people know that 25 mg made me eat compulsively…and I’d never had a eating disorder prior…

    other drugs just made me gain weight without overeating…seroquel was crazy in how it made the craving to eat so intense I truly could not control it—every evening after I took it (usually just 25 mg) I would start to binge until my stomach was sickeningly distended. Then I could finally go to bed. If I did not eat like that I would not go to sleep…

    It also knocked me out for 12 to 14 hours. Which was a major pain in the ass when I as working full-time.

    anyway…all those problems completely gone now and have been since I’ve been off if for over two years.

    and I now no longer have any issues with food that I’m off it.

    also, I believed I needed it to sleep too…I loved it for the same reason..

    I’ve learned how to use natural substances…most specifically amino acids to help me sleep…a nice natural 8 hours in general.

  5. As a person, now on a gram of Seroquel, and soon to turn 47, I only learned of this metabolic syndrome a few years ago.

    Of course, now I’m entirely addicted to the drug.

    OK, I was a scientist before I was disabled and had to stop working. Uh, you want to hide the fact that these drugs are dangerous, so we wont stop taking it?

    Since when does anything that’s scientifically “proven” like Seroquel, need *facts* hidden. That is not the behavior of a company dedicated to science. It is the behavior of fraud.

    Listen, I have seriously considered sueing AstraZeneca myself, though I don’t need the money. Fortunately, I do not have metabolic syndrome – YET. However, I don’t want to tempt fate, and go into my 50’s taking a gram of Seroquel.

    Again, nobody told me of the danger, and nobody told me that I would be stuck on these drugs forever. I originally took them because of stress at work. Well, I have not worked for 5 years, have a lot less stress, have time to eat properly and exercise, and do meditation and biofeedback. And yet, I am still stuck on these drugs.

    I’m not even against prescribing seroquel as it may help for some people, but these people should know that
    1. it is dangerous to your physical health
    2. it may shorten your lifespan
    3. it is addictive and you will be on it forever, even after your crisis, or after you make big lifestyle changes.

    I wish I could go to rehab for these drugs, but as far as I know, this is not available and I’m just some whacko crazy person who has paranoid delusions about a drug company!

    Aren’t we all! :-)

    Best,
    Ari

  6. Ari,
    people do get off the drugs…that’s what this website is in part about…

    there is hope to free oneself.

    and we can certainly help provide people information that might help them make different choices than we made.

  7. Would anyone know if there is someone I could annoy-er-ask about my desire to get these papers made public?

    It is a drug i take. I take 50mg and I am thinking about going down to 25.

    i don’t find myself addicted to any of my meds. coming off some is easier than others. So long as i take it very slow, decreasing these one at a time and in the smallest increments possible i don’t have any bad experiences. Psychiatrists wean people off one drug for another all the time. Its like jumping off a cliff, its the sudden stop at the end. So long as i walk down the mountain I’m ok. One takes a bit longer than the other but its a whole lot safer.

    I haven’t hd a lot of munchies with Seroquel. I had it with Rispidol so we changed it to Seroquel. From my readings on Risperidol (no idea how to spell it and I’m not looking it up) its worse than Seroquel. My step kids are on that and if it was up to me i’d change or reduce he dosage since they are both quite plump now which they never were before. On tip of being the ASD kid they are also fat. its adding insult to injury.

    Eventually they will have a class action suit on neuroleptics i think.

    I think that its hard to fall asleep without it but there are ways. I have a long standing sleep disorder so perhaps i should write something up. All the ideas in magazines only work for those who have light weight sleep problems IMHO.

  8. Hi Nora,
    I’m not sure who the appropriate people to annoy are and they may be different people in Australia then here…

    As far as withdrawing I hope you will rethink making a 50% cut and do it more slowly. It’s potentially dangerous to go faster…the fact that docs do the stuff you mention is out or sheer ignorance and hubris..

    there are lots of directions and resources for safer withdrawal on my about page (tab at top of page)

    best to you.

  9. and Nora, there has actually been a lot of class action suits…with various neuroleptics…and tons and tons of court cases…

    also…I’ve had long standing sleep issues too and dietary changes and amino acids have helped them…

    these meds actually make them worse…
    and once you’ve taken them it takes longer to help your body learn how to do it naturally.

  10. Laura Borst says:

    The drug companies claim that they are trying to “protect” patients by hiding information about Seroquel(and likely, other drugs in Seroquel’s classification). But they are really trying to protect their profits. They want to hide how bad their products are.

  11. Funny how ‘protection’ aligns itself so well with their interests ($$) ‘eh.

    Scary stuff!

  12. Seroquel blew out my Pancreas, made me Diabetic and put me in the Critical Care Unit. The class action lawsuits list Acute Pancreatitis and Diabetes as a major cause from using Seroquel.

    My psychiatrist didn’t say I needed blood work while being on this drug. I did recover from the Diabetes when I stopped the Seroquel. I was taking 300 mg. of it.

    This whole psyche drug over prescribing is just weird.How many folks who are being treated for high blood pressure are on 5-6 drugs??

  13. Seroquel gave me Diabetes and put me in the Critical Care Unit with Acute Pancreattis.The class action lawsuits list both as Seroquel induces side effects.
    I wasn’t told to get blood work done possible for Diabetes??

    So the public is not suppose to know how dangerous a drug is to protect them?? How weird is that??? Of course the mentally ill can’t be given too much information as we can’t process it correctly.We need all our meds in a little white cup-swallow like a good person.

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