August 9, 2009

Testosterone-raising drug iffy

Commercials targeting U.S. middle-age men with lowered sex drive and melancholy moods may be scientifically unfounded, experts say.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday the advertisements and the study from which their data is gleaned was funded by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, and the company allegedly entered into conspiracy with generic drug manufacturers to keep generic testosterone medications off the market.

Over the last several years, the demand for Solvay's Androgel has boomed, despite health risks, such as those for prostate cancer and heart disease, and in the absence of evidence that the drug really works, the newspaper said.

In February, the Federal Trade Commission alleged Solvay paid two generic firms to drop patent challenges and not to market their AndroGel-similar products for another six years, the newspaper said.

FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz said such pay-for-delay agreements can cost consumers billions of dollars in high-priced drugs.

A spokesman for Solvay, Neil Hirsch, defended said Solvay's patent for AndroGel as lawful, saying the payoffs benefited consumers.