I have just finished reading “The goose that laid the Golden Egg” by Doug Bremner. It’s a factual account of a Roaccutane study done by Dr. Bremner, who discovered that this drug could and did cause suicide in some users. Following his discovery, Hoffman-La Roche then launched a vicious attack on Mr.Bremner, accused him of fraud (of which he was cleared), recruited an inside doctor to spy on him, and almost ruined his career.
What I found interesting about this book was that the study was instigated by an Irishman who lost his son to Roaccutane. This book is particularly scary because it is a factual account by Dr. Bremner and details the lengths that a pharmaceutical company, in this case Roche, will go to to protect their cash cow, even though they were aware from early on that this drug could cause people to kill themselves and others.
The back page says it all…
“In 2001 Hoffman-La Roche’s drug Accutane was selling in its billions worldwide as a treatment for acne. For those who suffered from extreme scarring acne, it was something of a miraculous treatment, however evidence started to mount that for others it was a death sentence. Over the next few years it was estimated that between 300 and 3,000 young people being prescribed Accutane since its launch had committed suicide or killed others.
In 2001 the father of young man in Ireland who had committed suicide approached Dr. Doug Bremner as Professor of Psychiatry & Radiology at Emory University to see if he could find a causal link between the drug and depression. His findings were that the drug did have an effect on the brain likely to cause acute depression in some patients, which was not surprising as it is a molecular cousin of Vitamin A which is known to cause depression in excessive quantities.
One might think that Hoffman-La Roche would have welcomed these findings. After all, no-one was doubting that Accutane was an extremely effective remedy in many cases, it was just that it appeared to have lethal side-effects in others”.
You might like to think again on that one.
‘The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg’ is the account of what Hoffman-La Roche did next, which was to prosecute a determined, energetic and vindictive campaign against Dr. Bremner designed to suppress his findings and destroy his career and livelihood.
Nonetheless, Dr. Bremner persisted and Hoffman La-Roche have since withdrawn Accutane from the US market, not only for its potentially depressive effects, but also for the likelihood of its causing birth defects and stunting growth.
The goose that laid the Golden egg. Amazon.
Roche withdrew this drug in the U.S in June 2009. It is still available in Ireland. Link.
Roaccutane may cause depression, psychotic symptoms and rarely suicide attempts and suicide. IMB Warning.
Accutane side effects can be so severe that in 2004 the FDA named Accutane one of the 5 most dangerous prescription drugs available…Link
Roche pharmaceuticals has previously pleaded guilty for perpetrating worldwide corruption and fraud and fined $500 million for these crimes.Link