It amazes me how celebrities involve themselves with pharmaceutical companies without feeling the need to find out some background information. Gaybo, Mary McEvoy, Johnny Logan, Niamh Kavanagh, Alan Quinlan and Boh’s FC have all supported Lundbeck’s ‘Lean on me’ campaigns. Even the mental health ‘charity’ Aware have gotten in on the act, despite the doubling of suicide and violence risk when starting SSRIs, including Lundbeck’s Citalopram aka Escitalopram. Then there are the ‘experts’ or Key Opinion Leaders (KOPs) Patricia Casey and Timothy Dinan who have been (and in the case of Timothy, still are) paid for their services to Lundbeck. Whether they have been paid to defend Lundbecks drugs or do it voluntarily, I do not know.
Lundbeck have previously been found guilty of breaching advertising rules, promoting Citalopram under the guise of a depression website, been accused of an ‘utterly disgraceful lack of scientific documentation’ concerning Citalopram, found guilty of fraud and corruption concerning the licencing of their drug Denxit and after acquiring the rights to Indocin IV (used for heart defects in premature babies) promptly upped the price by 1,300 percent. Lundbeck’s vice president said at the time“We can price these almost anywhere we want given the product profiles.”
So what could possibly top that in the dubious company/corruption stakes? Lundbeck are first to create a precedent once again. This time in the case of a ‘pay-for-delay’ fine by the European Commission; 93.8 million euros to be precise. According to the Copenhagen Post “Internal documents uncovered during the investigation mentioned a ‘club’ that facilitated the transfer of large amounts of money among members. Lundbeck paid significant amounts to buy up and destroy competitors’ inventories of generic medications. Generic manufacturers who were in on the scheme were also fined by the commission.”
So maybe these celebrities are doing it for the the good of mankind, for the money, or for a bit of both; whatever the reason, no amount of celebrity endorsement will turn this pharmaceutical company into an ethical, law-abiding corporation.
- Lundbeck fined 700mn kr for blocking generic drugs (testpost.typepad.com)
- It’s Settled: Pay-for-Delay Challenges Had a Big Week (infojustice.org)