Tag: Big Pharma
Last week the British science journal Nature reported the results of an online reader poll that sought to measure the number of scientists who used “cognitive enhancing drug” and readers’ attitude to the drugs themselves. The poll, which was supposed to be part of an April Fools’ feature, revealed some unexpected results. Twenty percent of the 1427 responders (most of them Americans) said they used cognitive enhancing drugs for “non-medical purposes.” Of course, an online poll hardly constitutes a reliable scientific study. Nonetheless, we’re not talking about Mad magazine or The Onion here.
Ritalin was by far the most popular drug of choice (at 60% reported use). Responders said they turned to the drug mostly for extra concentration on tasks. The next most commonly used drug (at 50% use) was Provigil, which promotes wakefulness and is commonly prescribed for narcolepsy. Coming in third were beta-blockers (at 15% use), which are prescribed for high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia but were used in these cases for anti-anxiety effects.
Were those gasps we just heard? Maybe a few people falling out of their chairs? (Sorry about that, by the way.) No, the sky hasn’t fallen, and (as far as we know) hell hasn’t frozen over.
As many of you know, we offer the occasional critique of Big Pharma – its business model, advertising practices, ethics, etc. (No, really?) Although this post doesn’t negate our previous points, we want to present a side of the MDA philosophy that, admittedly, doesn’t get as much blog time.
I’m not a doctor… and I don’t play one on TV, but fer cryin’ out loud, when will they learn? I just want to SCREAM sometimes. Seems bariatric surgery as a possible cure for type 2 diabetes was not enough. Old technology. Now the rocket scientists have determined that surgically bypassing the upper part of the small intestine can cure type 2 diabetes even better than that silly old gastric bypass weight-loss “breakthrough” of just a few months ago. Read this Science Daily article and tell me I didn’t eat bad mushrooms in my salad today.
With the rise of obesity and the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles in the U.S., it’s little surprise that back problems are common in this country. And, sure enough, health expenditures for these problems are going through the roof. According to a newly published research analysis, expenditures for neck and back treatments have risen a whopping 65% since 1997! But here’s the kicker: with all the extra money insurance companies and individuals are paying for back related treatments (surgeries, pain meds, etc.) patients are actually getting less relief. The research comes out of the University of Washington at Seattle and is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
High blood pressure is a major public health threat and one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. An analysis of hospitalization and follow-up care for individuals with severe hypertension, however, shows gaping holes in the maintenance of care.
Granger and colleagues at nearly two dozen institutions around the country created a special registry to find out what happens to patients with acute, severe hypertension – those with blood pressure readings above 160/110 – when they come to an emergency department or critical care setting for treatment. They found that although 90 percent of them already had a diagnosis of high blood pressure, about a quarter of them were not taking the medicines they were supposed to. The researchers also found that extremely high blood pressure was related to high complication and death rates. Many of the patients already had major organ damage and over six percent of them died in the hospital. Upon discharge, most of the patients were given prescriptions for at least two medicines, but 41 percent had to be readmitted within three months.
via Medical News Today
As promised, we’ve been hot on the trail of Big Pharma lately, passing along every bit of damning truth we can find. This Sunday’s LATimes carried an article we call an “essential read” for anyone who’s been following and cursing the industry’s exploitation of the American public.
The strategy that has made the pharmaceutical industry one of the wealthiest and most powerful on Earth is finally starting to betray it. Beginning in just a few weeks, and continuing over the next several years, some of the biggest-selling and most profitable drugs in history will lose their patent protection. …The real problem is that the industry’s scientists have hit a dry spell. They are not discovering enough new drugs to replace the aging standbys. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved just 19 new medicines, according to preliminary data, the fewest since 1983. Lost in all the hand-wringing on Wall Street is a recognition of how the industry got itself into this fix in the first place. For 25 years, the drug industry has imitated the basic business model of Hollywood. Pharmaceutical executives, like movie moguls, have focused on creating blockbusters. …The strategy had a flaw that executives have long ignored: It required extraordinary amounts of promotion at the expense of scientific creativity. To make the strategy work, the drug industry put its marketers in charge; scientists were given a back seat. Is it any wonder that executives at many companies have watched their pipelines of new drugs slow to a trickle?
via LA Times
It’s the season for scrubbing, soaping and sanitizing. After all, no one exactly enjoys getting stuck at home miserable with the latest cold or flu strain making its way through all humankind. But is this obsession with absolute cleanliness really the best way to keep ourselves healthy?
We certainly wouldn’t argue with the positives of basic sanitation, and we even agree that washing your hands at strategic points of the day (following restroom use, please) isn’t a bad idea. The fact remains, however, that we live in a sea of germs throughout the year. Viruses, bacteria are everywhere, and they’re generally supposed to be. The chain of life didn’t evolve in a bucket of Lysol.
Our obsession with sanitization, we would argue, is another classic example of self-imposed paradox. The fact is, frequent washing and use of sanitizers end up stripping our skin of healthy oils that actually serve as an external barrier and defense against pathogens. In the most brutal weeks of winter, people often find themselves with rough, even cracked skin, which then becomes an open sewer for every germ it encounters.
A lot of questions hit the MDA doorstep about HGH, Human Growth Hormone, and with good reason. It’s been touted in some circles as a bottled fountain of youth among other grandiose claims. Countless companies have jumped on that bandwagon, peddling worthless products with HGH labels.
We love to take on the propagandists and snake oil sales industries, and today will be no exception. Shall we begin?
The Basics of HGH
The natural HGH coursing through your body right now is, indeed, a perfectly remarkable anabolic hormone. It’s produced by the pituitary gland throughout life, but the levels gradually decline with age. The hormone is key for children’s growth and the health of the body’s organs. It stimulates the growth of muscle, bone and cartilage and enhances immune function. HGH is prescribed for children who are abnormally short in stature and for adults with diagnosed pituitary deficiency.
While caution is required in interpreting the longer-term benefits of surgery and weight loss, this study presents strong evidence to support the early consideration of surgically induced loss of weight in the treatment of obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
via Science Daily
I have to comment on this recent study that confirms, albeit circuitously, what we have said here for years: type 2 diabetes can be cured. In this case, the so-called medical solution falls under my Rube Goldberg term “Digging a hole to put the ladder in to wash the basement windows.” In this study we see that portion control – when rigorously enforced using risky lap-banding surgery – actually improves insulin sensitivity and, hence, returns blood sugar to more normal levels. Duh. And don’t you love this quote: “Type 2 diabetes is a disease that should aggressively be treated with surgery and not merely controlled with medications.”? Wow.
Got a headache? Pop a pill! Pulled a muscle? Pop a pill! Broke your leg? Uhh…seek immediate medical treatment! While pills can’t cure everything, here in America they are the go-to remedy for almost every illness in the book!
But if you’re not convinced that popping pills is the way to go, it might be time to investigate the natural alternatives to everyday over-the-counter (OTC) pain remedies.
Although one of willow bark’s major claims to fame is that it was recommended by Hippocrates Cos (460-377 BC) to ease the pain associated with childbirth, the reality is this natural remedy was used centuries before by European practitioners and remains popular today for the treatment of pain, fever and inflammatory conditions. The key ingredient in willow bark – which also goes by the name salix alba and white willow – is salicilin, a derivative of the active ingredient in aspirin. In addition to willow bark, salicilin and salicylic acid can be found in several fruits including cantaloupe and grapes as well as the spices thyme, paprika, cumin, dill, oregano, turmeric, and curry powder.