A major hazard of the anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat arthritis is that they damage the stomach.(1) So serious is the problem that any drug free of this side-effect would have an enormous advantage over its competitors.
The anti-inflammatory drug Surgam appeared to have these advantages because it was promoted by the company, Roussel Laboratories, as giving "gastric protection". However, the claims were made on the basis of animal tests and could not be confirmed in clinical trials. As a result of their promotional claims, Roussel were found guilty of misleading advertising and fined £20,000. A report of the case in the Lancet described how expert witnesses for both sides, “...agreed that animal data could not safely be extrapolated to man.”(2)
1) R.Cockel, Gut, 1987, vol.28, 515-518.
2) J.Collier & A.Herxheimer, Lancet, 1987, January 10, 113-114.
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