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Lyrica, Pfizer, and how big pharma gets what it wants- From The Sydney Morning Herald

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An investigation by The Sunday Age and The Sun-Herald has uncovered a sophisticated and well-funded effort by Pfizer to win government subsidy for the drug then promote it to doctors and consumers.  


In 2011, few had heard of Pfizer’s nerve-pain pill Lyrica. It was mostly confined to specialist pain clinics, doses kept low to minimise nasty side-effects.

Eight years later, it is one of Australia’s most prescribed drugs. More than 4 million scripts for pregabalin, the drug’s generic name, were written in 2017-18, costing government and consumers more than $171 million.


That’s come with a huge toll. An investigation by The Age revealed Pfizer’s ‘safe, non-addictive’ nerve-pain pill was highly addictive, dangerous when taken with other drugs, and came with a range of nasty side-effects - including suicidal thoughts.


The drug has been linked to more than 250 drug overdose deaths and six suicides. More than 85,000 Australians are abusing pregabalin, according to one study. Concerned doctors are scrambling to deal with the fallout.






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