Most prescriptions do us no good – but they do line the pockets of pharameuticals

MOST prescription drugs do not work on most people who take them……

Who is making such an astonishing claim?  A practitioner of complementary therapies perhaps? Or someone else with a personal grudge or vested interest against the pharmaceutical industry.

Actually it comes from a senior executive of Britain’s biggest drugs company.

Allen Roses, worldwide vice-president of genetics at GlaxoSmithKline, admitted as long ago in 2003 that fewer than half of patients prescribed some of the most expensive drugs derived any benefit from them.

It is an open secret within the highly lucrative drugs industry that most of its products are ineffective in most patients.

But the comments still sent shock waves through the pharmaceutical world as this was the first time such a senior drugs boss had gone public.

Dr Roses, an academic geneticist from Duke University in North Carolina, spoke at a scientific meeting in London where he cited figures on how well different classes of drugs work in real patients.

His findings were reported by the Independent newspaper.

Drugs for Alzheimer’s disease work in fewer than one in three patients, he said, whereas those for cancer are only effective in a quarter of patients. Drugs for migraines, for osteoporosis, and arthritis work in about half the patients.

Dr Roses conceded most drugs work in fewer than one in two patients mainly because the recipients carry genes that interfere in some way with the medicine.

“The vast majority of drugs – more than 90 per cent – only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people. I wouldn’t say that most drugs don’t work. I would say that most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people. Drugs out there on the market work, but they don’t work in everybody.”

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