Drugmaker Pfizer hid that one of its powerful anti-inflammatory drugs for rheumatoid arthritis therapy, Enbrel, reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 64%, according to a report by the Washington Post.
When researchers at Pfizer made the discovery about Enbrel during an analysis of insurance claims, the company opted not to conduct clinical trials to verify the drug’s effectiveness on Alzheimer’s disease, which would have been a process costing upwards of $80 million.
According to Pfizer, however, science was the real reason the company did not move forward with clinical trials that could potentially verify the drug could prevent, treat and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, which currently has no effective treatment or cure.
Other researchers disagree with Pfizer, arguing it should have made its data publicly available to the scientific community. Pfizer shut down its neurology division in the beginning of 2018, effectively ending its research into Alzheimer’s. Enbrel, an injectable biologic drug, was approved for rheumatoid arthritis in 1998 and has also been approved to treat psoriasis.
Unfortunately, the drug has since run through its patent protection, which may factor into why Pfizer didn’t want to research it further. With rising competition from generics, Enbrel was unlikely to continue yielding high profits for Pfizer.
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