Tag: Big Pharma
What can we say? We’ve got Pharma on the mind this week! On Monday Mark offered commentary on the latest “study” being spun to further promote statins to the general population. It seemed like an opportune time to bring you news of a recent report on the “unofficial” business of off-label pharmaceutical marketing and the clever manipulation of drug approval rules and research dissemination.
Two researchers with significant experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., an associate professor in the GUMC Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Douglas Melnick, M.D., a preventive medicine physician in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have published a report in the free online journal PLoS Medicine shedding light on risky and legally questionable practices that have become commonplace in the industry.
Don’t know whether to laugh or cry (I have already screamed), but the headline in today’s LA Times and in many major papers across the country seemed like a paid advertisement for Big Pharma.
“A New Front on Heart Disease: Stain drugs can cut cardiac and stroke risks in people with normal cholesterol levels, researchers say.” Wow! As I predict Dr. Michael Eades will say, “Jesus wept.” As I say, “here we go again digging a hole to place the ladder in so you can wash the basement windows.”
As often as we critique the current health care model and many of its practices, you may have noticed that we also recommend readers discuss our lifestyle recommendations with their doctors. More than some stock disclaimer, we say it with a respectful sense of earnestness and with a healthy dose of cautious optimism (about the “patient/physician” relationship, that is).
We hear it ad nauseum: we live in an information age. Unlike any other generation before, we have immediate access to almost any health information we want, including advice, descriptions, photos, diagrams, personal accounts, and any variety of opinions on whatever condition or concern might be on our minds that day. We can download the latest studies, read up on the latest treatments, learn about alternative and preventative measures, get the low down on whatever wonder drug is making its way through the experimental pipeline. And, yes, we can get lost in a sea of misinformation, bogus commercial or personal claims that, at best, distract and, at worst, derail our path to health.
I’ve been known to critique various elements of the medical establishment now and then, it’s true. (Anyone for a good Big Pharma rout?) But I’ll admit I’m venturing into new and weighty territory today. (My Y chromosome and I will tread lightly and respectfully, I promise.) It’s been a while since my own (indirect) experience in the obstetrics arena, but a new report came across my radar last week that led my mind back to the maternity ward.
It’s the Evidence-Based Maternity Care report (PDF), a collaborative effort of the Childbirth Connection non-profit organization, the Reforming States Group, and the Milbank Memorial Fund. The report was picked up by a modest number of news organizations, but it was reviewed by dozens of top physicians and policy makers across the U.S.
As you’ve likely noticed, we’re getting back in touch with our more surly, snarky side this week. It can be fun now and then to channel one’s inner Fuji…. (Frankly, we can’t imagine MDA without it, and we hope you agree.) From energy drinks, we turn to one of our more popular objects of exasperated investigation and sarcastic commentary. What would we do without you, Big Pharma? Suffice it to say, there’s never a dearth of material with you around. And we thank you for that.
I know you used to be involved in triathlon sports administration. I see so much written about “banned substances” and “cheating” going on in the world of professional sports these days, especially with the Olympics looming. What do you make of all this?
Ray, my position hasn’t changed on this issue in a long while. Here is a piece I wrote for another website two years ago – before Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone in the Tour de France.
Driving my daughter Devyn to the airport yesterday morning at 5:30 (she’s off to a summer-school program in Florence) I was stunned by what I was hearing on my radio. Apparently, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending much more aggressive cholesterol screening for children and urging that kids as young as eight be given statin drugs and/or other anti-cholesterol meds to fend off potential heart disease later in life. Clearly, this is a last-ditch attempt to somehow get control over an increasing problem with childhood obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol issues. What happened to dispensing advice on exercise and healthy eating? Just doesn’t pay enough? On the other hand, in their defense, something tells me they still know very little about either, hence the drugs.
Build the Healthiest Possible Body with the Primal Blueprint
I get emails every day from people who are changing their lives for the better by following the guidelines I outline on this site. But many are looking for more of what the Primal Blueprint has to offer. That is to say, they want a comprehensive break down of the elements that make up the Blueprint; a Primal primer if you will. In coming weeks I will be going into detail – anthropological evidence, modern research, etc. – regarding this health philosophy, but I first want to offer up this summary of the Blueprint. I think it is a good starting point for what is to come.
In this extended article you will find the basic building blocks needed to discover the Primal side of your life. What does this mean? It means learning and understanding what it means to be human. It means using this knowledge to help you make important lifestyle choices. It means modeling your life after your ancestors in order to promote optimal health and wellness. And, most importantly, it means taking control of your body and mind.
If this article intrigues you be on the look out for a much more thorough explanation of how we can learn from our past to shape and mold our future.
My basic premise is this: The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).
A number of months ago we reported that some 45% of Chicago internists (among those who responded to a survey) said they offered placebos to their patients from time to time. The report got people around the country talking – and maybe even wondering about their own prescription history.
Clearly, physicians recognize the impact of placebos, and research has time and again shown their efficacy. So, how does it really work? And who seems to benefit the most from the placebo effect? Is there anyone who can’t be “taken in”? In light of this recent NY Times article about a company that sells cherry-flavored sugar pills to be administered by parents to their unsuspecting children as a placebo we thought we’d investigate.
This morning’s New York Times reports that the FDA is now echoing what many scientists and industry experts have been saying for weeks: the contaminated stores of heparin that have been associated with 81 deaths and 785 severe allergic reactions in the U.S. was likely adulterated on purpose. In March, the FDA issued a major recall of heparin following increasing reports of adverse reactions and deaths connected with the drug.
Tests have shown that heparin components made by a company in China (Changzhou SPL) were contaminated by a manipulated form of a dietary supplement, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. Because the cheaper additive resembles heparin, routine screening didn’t reveal the contamination. Contaminants comprised up to a third of some heparin samples that were tested. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug center explained, “[I]t does strain one’s credulity to suggest that might have been done accidentally.”