Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cymbalta for GAD: Pimp That Thang

John Mack at the Pharma Marketing Blog has laid down the smack on Cymbalta. First, he points out that the Depression Hurts campaign sure looks like off-label promotion, since Cymbalta is FDA-approved for depression, not for pain associated with depression. Note that pain is not an official symptom of depression, so it seems quite strange to market a drug for the pain that allegedly occurs in depression, eh? Also note that the data on Cymbalta for pain in depression are not impressive at all.

Now that Cymbalta has been FDA-approved for generalized anxiety disorder, Mack wonders if some disease mongering is on the way, and he notes that the diagnostic criteria for GAD are fairly vague, which makes it much easier to foist the idea that untold millions of Americans are suffering from GAD. I'd love to see Lilly's sales scripts for the new GAD indication -- if they're anything like the sales tactics for Zyprexa, look for the rate of prescriptions for GAD to skyrocket.


Anonymous said...

I just commented on this over at Furious Seasons, but I just thought of an interesting angle on these Pharma shenanigans.

Seeing as the FDA and medical profession are in no big hurry to do a damn thing about this craziness, I wonder if the SEC my be an effective tree to bark up.

If you look at the priorities of our system now it makes even more sense. Although - personally - I would give more weight to the anger of a parent or patient, it would seem that an investor would also have a legitimate grievance if they bought Lilly stock and were not given the whole story on Zyprexa - for example.

Though securities law is not my forte, I do know that there are some pretty strict disclosure requirements. It is sad, but there may be more protection for the health of your portfolio than the health of your child in this country.

CL Psych said...

I believe you are likely correct. It's rather clear that the FDA is not going to do much, so why not look at the SEC. There could indeed be an interesting case that Lilly's coverup is harmful to investors, as paying out lawsuit $$$ and having Zyprexa sales hurt certainly don't help investor return on investment.