A large pharmaceutical company has come under fire, following reports that it failed to pursue a promising Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
According to the Washington Post, Pfizer researchers urged the company to conduct a clinical trial, after discovering that arthritis drug Enbrel appeared to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 64%. Pfizer officials told the paper that additional research did not take place because clinical trials were unlikely to succeed.
But some scientists said that’s not a good reason to bury results. “It would benefit the scientific community to have that data out there,” Keenan Walker, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, told The Post. Whether positive or negative, “it gives us more information to make better informed decisions.”
Additional reporting speculated on other reasons why Pfizer might have been reluctant to press on with research. They included the high costs of clinical trials and that the drug’s patent was nearing its end.
Alzheimer’s disease is ballooning worldwide. In the U.S. alone, 5.8 million people live with it, and deaths from the disease have increased 145% between 2000 and 2017, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.