Forbes to Big Pharma: Fess up

Big Pharma looks more and more like a big ostrich these days, Forbes suggests. The brouhaha over Vytorin and Zetia this week is a case in point. If the controversial Enhance study had proven Vytorin to be a veritable roto-rooter for arteries, Merck and Schering-Plough would have trumpeted the news to the sky. Instead, Vytorin--a combo of Zocor and Zetia--failed to show any benefit over Zocor alone. So the companies have done all they could to pooh-pooh the results.

That's a reaction common to drugmakers these days. "Positive results are taken as proof that a medicine works," Forbes says. "Catastrophic failures are explained away. Companies split hairs over side effects instead of recognizing them head-on." And in doing these things, pharma companies simply hurt themselves, raising doubts about their own veracity. Examples? Vioxx side effects weren't acknowledged for years. Ditto Zyprexa's. You can think of more.

- read the article in Forbes