Quand Big Pharma joue avec notre santé

Douze experts internationaux, lanceurs d’alerte et journalistes de référence démontrent comment l’industrie pharmaceutique détourne l’usage des médicaments.

Source: lepoint

« Ceci n’est pas un livre contre les médicaments », écrit Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen en avant-propos de Big pharma, une industrie toute-puissante qui joue avec notre santé. « C’est un ouvrage contre l’industrie qui en détourne l’usage pour faire du profit, au risque de mettre notre santé en danger et de profondément changer la nature de la médecine », précise encore le philosophe, historien et enseignant à l’université de Washington qui a coordonné l’ouvrage. Pour les auteurs – experts internationaux, lanceurs d’alerte et journaliste -, les médicaments sont « des substances étonnantes, admirables, auxquelles nous devons de véritables miracles ». On est donc loin de certains ouvrages à charge contre les médicaments en général ou contre des familles thérapeutiques en particulier, comme ceux récemment rédigés par des médecins français.

« Le tribunal des flagrantes dérives »

En revanche, l’attaque contre les industriels du médicament est violente et étayée par des faits précis qui prouvent qu’il y a quelque chose de pourri au royaume de la médecine… Pour s’en convaincre, il suffit de noter la fréquence des « affaires » impliquant presque tous les grands laboratoires mondiaux. Et parallèlement, les médecins ne sont pas toujours assez vigilants et informés tandis que les agences sanitaires n’empêchent pas systématiquement la vente de produits inutiles et dangereux. Les auteurs expliquent comment les preuves sont biaisées et les risques cachés par les laboratoires. Et comment, « à tous les niveaux, le profit des industriels passe avant l’intérêt des patients ». « Le problème est donc bien plus grave et plus profond que celui de médicaments dont il suffirait de dresser une liste noire ; c’est tout le système de santé qui est à revoir », peut-on lire. Un chantier évidemment énorme.

Dans un chapitre intitulé « Le tribunal des flagrantes dérives », les auteurs prouvent, par exemple, que, s’agissant des prescriptions hors AMM (autorisation de mise sur le marché), le cas du Mediator n’est malheureusement pas une exception. En mai 2004, le laboratoire Warner-Lambert a été condamné à 430 millions de dollars pour le marketing « criminel » de son antiépileptique. La Food and Drug Administration américaine avait autorisé ce médicament pour le traitement de l’épilepsie, en seconde intention. Mais le labo avait demandé à ses visiteurs médicaux de murmurer à l’oreille des médecins que c’était une panacée dans la migraine, le sevrage alcoolique, la neuropathie périphérique et la sclérose latérale amyotrophique.

La « stratégie Wikipédia« 

Certains chiffres sont particulièrement angoissants : chaque année, près de 200 000 personnes décèdent en Europe à la suite d’effets médicamenteux qualifiés de « secondaires ». Les overdoses d’antidouleurs tuent plus que l’héroïne et la cocaïne réunies. L’abus de médicaments a pollué jusqu’à l’eau du robinet, devenue un cocktail de Prozac, d’antibiotiques, d’anticancéreux et de perturbateurs endocriniens.

Les auteurs mettent également en garde contre la « stratégie Wikipédia », autoroute de la désinformation sur Internet. Car ce moyen offre la possibilité d’une publicité invisible, déguisée en information, bref, le rêve de tout publicitaire ! On peut lire dans cet ouvrage les versions originales et modifiées de textes concernant certaines pathologies et leurs traitements. Des pans entiers ont été réécrits. Méfiance aussi du côté des sites des associations de patients, également souvent sous influence ! Que faire, alors ? Il n’existe malheureusement pas de solution toute prête pour combattre une industrie parfois devenue folle et pour redonner à la médecine son visage humain. « Ceux qui veulent aller de l’avant se heurtent à de puissants intérêts économiques, politiques et professionnels », notent les auteurs. Reste à espérer qu’ils ne baisseront pas les bras pour autant…

« Big pharma, une industrie toute-puissante qui joue avec notre santé », éditions Les Arènes, 515 pages, 22,80 euros

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