How should one feel about being quoted in the Wall Street Journal?
Nervous. That’s how.
Louisville cardiologist John Mandrola said, “I’m surprised that the drug has persisted. I don’t know any of my colleagues who would start a patient out on Multaq. It just doesn’t work.”
That seems like a pretty strong statement. If I was a real academic, I might have said something like this: “Multaq has been used less frequently of late due to concerns over its clinical efficacy in suppressing AF episodes.”
Other real experts had even stronger statements:
Steve Nissen, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic, said,
“I think the drug is dangerous.”
And Sanjay Kaul, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, offered this,
“It seems like it’s not even safe in intermediate-risk patients.”
The rest of the story chronicled Multaq’a saga:
Dubious scientific trials, substantial (and persistent) marketing, inefficacy, and now safety concerns. Mr Burton left out that the drug is very expensive and frequently not tolerated because of gastro-intestinal symptoms.
One criticism of the piece was that there were no quotes from the societies or from prominent cardiologists (both American and European) who have been vocal advocates of the drug. I wonder what they would have said?
And I know you might be asking how Multaq got promoted to the first line of the Atrial fibrillation treatment guidelines?
This would be a very good question.
One answer that some might find reassuring: “Sorry, we are human, and humans make mistakes. We will rectify it; now let’s move on. We’ve learned from this saga.”