Elidel and Protopic manufacturers fund "yes groups"
which defend their products.
I decided to check the Elidel and Protopic web sites to see what their manufacturers response to the recent FDA advisory about a possible link to cancer was. Needless to say I'm a bit disappointed.
Neither site's main page directly mentions the link between the medicine and cancer. The Protpic site has a small box entitled "Recent FDA Advisory" with links to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) and the National Eczema Association for Science and Education (NEASE), whic have come out against the black box warning
The Elidel site has an inconspicuous link labelled "Recent FDA statement" which leads to statements downplaying the link from the AAD, NEASE and the Inflammatory Skin Disease Institute (ISDI). Here is the AAD statement:
"The American Academy of Dermatology is disappointed that the FDA has taken this action, despite the fact that there is no data that proves proper topical use of pimecrolimus and tacrolimus is dangerous in people. Because these medications are applied to the skin, virtually none of it gets inside the body. It's not the same as taking a pill. These are valuable medications...if used properly..."I am familiar with the ADA, but have never heard of NEASE or ISDI, despite the fact I treat a fair amount of eczema.
The NEASE website allows you to download the annual report for the year ended 2003. Guess who the major contributors to NEASE are? If you guessed patients with eczema and their parents you would be wrong.
Fujisawa and Novartis each gave >$50,000 to NEASE in the 18 months ended 12/31/2003, with no other donors giving >$10,000 and only 2 giving more than $5000. So when NEASE downplays the risk of cancer with these medications, remeber they get a substantial proportion of their funding, perhaps the majority form their manufactueres.
How about the ISDI. I couldn't find the annual report or a donor list online, but this page on the ISDI site, conveniently displays the Elidel logo.
So when you here ISDI executive director LaDonna Williams testify:
"These medications have been the only treatments that have given my children anything resembling a normal quality of life,"remember who pays her salary.
The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 14,000 physicians worldwideSurely they are free of conflict. Nope.
Fujisawa is a "Diamond" level corporate donor, meaning they gave >$500,000 to the AAD in 2004. Novartis "only" made "Sapphire" level ($250,000-500,000). The AAD does have a wider range of pharma donors compared to the others.
So if you think these organizations press releases read like they could have been writting by Fujisawa and Novartis publicists, now you know why