Drug efficacy questioned yet again

Business execution is about “getting things done.”  I find it very irritating when a drug is prescribed for people that doesn’t “get it done.”

A story titled “Popular drug for mild Alzheimer’s largely a flop” with the sub-title “Memantine helped control symptoms no better than placebo, study says” appeared in MSNBC.com the 11th of April.   Here are some excerpts:

Though there is no proof that the drug thwarts disease progress, some physicians may prescribe it, and some patients may take it, “under the hopes that it’s better to treat with this drug now rather than it is to wait until somebody becomes severe and then treat them,” said study researcher Dr. Lon Schneider, of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

Doctors should take into account these new findings when they consider treating mild and moderate Alzheimer’s patients with memantine, Schneider said. Additional studies should be conducted looking at the effects of memantine on patients with mild disease, Schneider said.

Hope is not a strategy.  Why are Alzheimer’s patient’s families allowing a drug to be prescribed when there is no known benefit?  All drugs have side effects so anytime a pharmaceutical is taken, there are implications.

If this were an aberration, I wouldn’t mind.  But, this happens all too often.

Not only is this drug being prescribed when there is no established patient benefit, I’d be willing to make a small wager that the cost of this drug is being borne by Medicare to the benefit of the pharmaceutical company and not the patient.  And, what’s worse: the drug isn’t approved to help “thwart the progress of Alzheimer’s.”

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Asssociates Consulting

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