Failure is inevitable… Show us some failure.
Submitted by Connie.
So, Hannahbanana’s recent post and comment string and this vox-hunt had me thinking this morning. Remember last fall, when we all had a good chuckle at Pfizer burning up three billion dollars with their failed inhaled insulin product, Exubera? Well, the other week Pfizer issued a warning on the product citing that the use of Exubera may lead to lung cancer. Whoa.
As it continues to follow-up patients that have taken the drug, it turns out that 6 of ~4700 patients have developed lung cancer compared to 1 in ~4300 that were treated by other methods.
Now six is not a big number, and in a clinical sense these results are not statistically significant, and the drug passed several years of toxicological studies (and incredibly rigorous pulmonary tox studies) in animals and was found to be clean, AND everyone that developed lung cancer had been a smoker, but yet, that number is a fairly big red flag. Even more worrisome is that cancer is the sort of thing that might take a long time to show itself.
Exubera is considered one of the biggest flops in modern pharmaceutical development history – predicted to make billions in sales just a few years ago, it’s only been used sporadically by a few thousand consumers.
Talk about a colossal failure. Though in hindsight, Pfizer (and all of us) might be glad it wasn’t more popular.