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Norvir documents 1st posted by PAL added to Drug Industry Document Archive

Posted Dec 05 2008 11:06am

The Drug Industry Document Archive, housed at the University of California San Francisco Library, is emerging as an invaluable resource for documenting illegal and questionable practices of pharmaceutical companies. The archive was originally created to house documents that were unveiled in United States of America ex rel. David Franklin vs. Parke-Davis, Division of Warner-Lambert (now owned by Pfizer, Inc), the False Claims Act lawsuit that alleged that Warner-Lambert had illegally promoted Neurontin, a drug for epileptic seizures, for numerous other “off-label” uses not approved by the FDA. That case resulted in Pfizer paying $430 million in a settlement with the U.S. Attorney.

Since that time, documents from other cases and government investigations have been added to the Archive, which “contains over 1500 documents about pharmaceutical industry clinical trials, publication of study results, pricing, marketing, relations with physicians and involvement in continuing medical education.” The documents are searchable by keyword, author and other criteria.

Back in May, we posted 18 previously-sealed documents from the class action lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), alleging that Abbott illegally quadrupled the price of its vital HIV/AIDS drug Norvir in an effort to monopolize the market for protease inhibitor drugs that are taken with Norvir.

These documents show Abbott’s disregard for the welfare of patients taking Norvir, in favor of increased sales. They offer a window into a scheme of pharmaceutical greed that exceeded even the already-high level of greed all too pervasive in the industry. (See the blog entry from back in May, What Abbott Laboratories was Trying to Hide - Court unseals Norvir documents, to see some choice excerpts — including consideration of a plan to sell Norvir only in liquid form, which according to one Abbott executive, tasted “like someone else’s vomit.”)

These 18 documents are now permanently preserved on the Drug Industry Document Archive. You can find them here. We are honored to have them included in the Archive, where we hope that advocates, researchers, legislators, policymakers and just concerned citizens will examine them.

In August, Abbott agreed to settle the class action lawsuit for between $10 million and $27.5 million, depending on the outcome of an appeal in the case. A decision in that appeal is still pending.

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