Tag: Big Pharma
With all the attention on Vytorin and Xetia’s unfortunate research results this week, the media is (for the moment anyway) hot on the trail of Big Pharma’s indiscretions. The latest dirt highlights the industry’s so-called “file drawer” treatment of negative drug research findings. The New England Journal of Medicine report focuses on the publication (or lack thereof) of antidepressant drug studies, but it’s clear these selective practices are commonplace.
Take a look:
Nearly a third of antidepressant drug studies are never published in the medical literature and nearly all happen to show that the drug being tested did not work, researchers reported on Wednesday. In some of the studies that are published, unfavorable results have been recast to make the medicine appear more effective than it really is, said the research team led by Erick Turner of the Oregon Health & Science University. Even if not deliberate, this can be bad news for patients, they wrote in their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. ‘Selective publication can lead doctors to make inappropriate prescribing decisions that may not be in the best interest of their patients and, thus, the public health,’ they wrote.
via Yahoo News
Well, folks, Big Pharma has done it again. This one really takes the cake.
When Merck and Schering-Plough revealed Monday that the active ingredient in their top-selling cholesterol meds Zetia and Vytorin had flunked a clinical trial measuring its effect on artery plaque, they opened themselves up to a barrage of attacks.
This drug doesn’t work. Period. It just doesn’t work,’ said Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat helping to lead a congressional investigation of the study, said, ‘It is easy to conclude that Merck and Schering-Plough intentionally sought to delay the release of this data.
The anti-aging drug movement is upon us.
News reports out today inform us that Sirtris, a drug based upon the antioxidant resveratrol (found in red wine), will enter human drug trials as soon as next year. Aging – and so-called diseases of aging – is thought to be caused by cellular breakdown. And fundamental to the proper operation of a cell are the mitochondria. These “engines” of our cells are the key to disease prevention and longevity. From the article – which brings out the glamorous “Lance Armstrong has more powerful cells” example, naturally – we learn about the future of aging pharmaceuticals:
Dozens of different medications are available to treat a child’s sniffles, sneezes and coughs, but I’d caution against using any of them. From Triaminic to Robitussin – which has built a kiddy cold empire by treating cold symptoms individually – increasingly prevalent health concerns have snapped the FDA from its usual sloth. You can read more about the cough syrup warning here. Just as medical research presumed for decades that women’s bodies were exactly like men’s (and therefore did not merit specific research), drug companies have taken it for granted that children are simply small adults. Not so. Cough and cold remedies for infants and children represent a massive revenue stream for OTC drug makers, so you can imagine the scrambling going on in board rooms right now.
Q: What weighs 200,000 pounds?
A: Our annual painkiller consumption.
Painkiller use has boomed by 88% in less than a decade. There are a few reasonable explanations: Gulf War and Iraq War veterans, aging Baby Boomers. But even accounting for these numbers, painkiller use – I say abuse – is an obvious problem. Of course, some “mainstream” docs will talk about improved diagnosis and treatment rates, but I believe the real issue here is that we’re failing to see the value in pain. No, no, I’m not talking about masochism. I’m talking about the vital role pain plays in healing and health. Just as the body evolved the fear response to survive, so too for pain.
I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to our system of healthcare lately. Frankly, I am disgusted not only by the perverse waste of money (we will spend 2 trillion dollars – that’s 17% of our GDP – next year on health related expenses), but also by the obscene lack of success our current system has in helping people achieve, maintain or regain good health. We are getting sicker and sicker as we continue to spend more on healthcare.
When Big Pharma and the health care system get together to “treat” our health issues, it’s like a Dumb and Dumber convention. (It’s a treat, all right.) Allow us to present the ten stupidest drugs, ever. Well, at least the ten stupidest drugs, today.
Are we broken? All signs point to yes: the obesity “problem”, the diabetes epidemic, Sicko at the box office. Yet we risk developing psychological immunity to the spiraling health care problems we face, if for no other reason than saturation. Let’s put our health care problems in perspective. 10. The pharmaceutical industry’s profit margin is six times greater than the average profit margin for all other industries. The average Fortune 500 company can expect profit margins hovering around 3 per cent. Heck, if national growth beats 3 per cent it’s considered a swimmingly good economy. The pharmaceutical industry, however, consistently posts upwards of 18 per cent profit. 9. Twice as much money is spent on marketing drugs as developing and testing them. Pharmaceutical companies spend over 15 billion dollars each year marketing their drugs (about half of that is in the form of free samples to doctors). About 7 billion a year is spent on R&D. It gets better: roughly one-fifth of employees work in R&D; two-fifths work in marketing. 8. The AMA is a sell-out organization. The American Medical Association earns about 20 million dollars a year by selling information about doctors to the pharmaceutical industry. 7. Half of personal bankruptcies are due to unmanageable health care costs. And three-fourths of those are with individuals who have existing health care coverage. Fortunately, our government has made it much harder to declare bankruptcy, so that totally fixes everything! Hooray! 6. America is one of the only industrialized nations that does not have nationalized health care. Contrary to popular opinion that nationalized health care would create a wild ‘n crazy bureaucracy, this is patently and demonstrably false. Nationalized health care has already been successfully and efficiently implemented in most industrialized nations. In fact, single-payer national systems cost half as much as our glorious version. No more million-dollar salaries to CEOs or oceans of paperwork to deal with all the deductibles, HMOs, and premiums. In fact, 15 cents of every American health care dollar goes to simply handling all the paperwork of our patchwork system. 5. America is one of the sickest nations on earth. Contrary to popular opinion that American health care is the best and Americans enjoy relatively long lives and good health, we are among the very sickest, fattest, shortest-lived of industrialized nations. In fact, our life spans and infant mortality statistics more closely resemble that of many developing nations. We spend the most money on drugs, the most money on surgeries, the most money on total health care, the most money on health insurance premiums, and we have the highest lost productivity costs of any nation. Period. You know who we beat? Latvia. 4. 18,000 Americans die every year because they do not have health insurance coverage. 50 million Americans have no health insurance. At least that many more are under-insured. We exacerbate our health care costs: Americans who do not have adequate care wait until routine health problems become severe, thereby greatly increasing both deaths and costs. … Continue reading “10 Alarming Health Care Stats Put in Ruthless Perspective”
Forget insulin injections – the humble pumpkin may be a suitable treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics in the near future.
Researchers found that plain old pumpkin extract helped worn-out pancreatic cells regain sensitivity and begin producing insulin.
Pumpkin 1: I hate diabetes.
Pumpkin 2: Oh, I know. It is lame.
Diabetes develops when blood sugar levels are persistently high. The pancreas, which produces insulin to stabilize blood sugar, cannot keep up. The body can also simply become insensitive to insulin. In the United States, 20 million people have diabetes, and as many as 60 million more are estimated to be undiagnosed and/or prediabetic. Diabetes increases your risk for retinopathy (a fancy word for blindness), reduces immunity to infection (often leading to amputation of extremities and limbs), heart disease, obesity, and stroke.
Diabetes organizations that adhere to traditional medical therapies typically present diabetes as almost mysterious in origin. That is, they will explain that diabetes results from pancreatic exhaustion or insensitivity, but they do not explain why this happens. Now where was my Kit Kat?
Though type 1 diabetes is not diet related (though a bad diet will exacerbate the disease), type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle. A diet low in refined carbohydrates and a lifestyle that includes daily exercise are the first important steps to preventing the onset of diabetes. Of course, with the average American diet (as many as 4,000 calories a day from junk food) and the sedentary lifestyle that are so prevalent, it’s no wonder diabetes is a runaway epidemic!
At any rate, pumpkin shows promise. What will Big Pharma do?
We Really Need More Drinkable Grains
How to Get Sick and Die
The Vegetable Conspiracy
The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar, & Type 2 Diabetes
[tags] pumpkin, diabetes, insulin, pancreas, research, science, medicine, news [/tags]
This just out from Business Week: “Are Pharmas Addicted to Lifestyle Drugs?”
I know I rail against drug use. I have no problem with life-saving technologies that honor and extend the lives of human beings. And the good news is that the FDA is finally taking action (it only took half a dozen scandals). What I get furious about are the lifestyle drugs. For example, Alli, Ambien and Prozac. Obesity, insomnia and depression are all common and they are all seriously detrimental to health and longevity. They are all frequently preventable through lifestyle changes. In some cases, they aren’t, and for those cases, I say do whatever needs to be done. There are individuals who work out daily, eat a clean diet of vegetables and lean protein, supplement with plenty of high-quality fish oil, and take steps (like therapy and meditation) to manage stress, yet still fight depression. I can’t stand the harbingers of the extreme who believe everything can be resolved with a salad and a chipper attitude. People are unique.
That said, how many of the thousands on Prozac are stuck in stressful, sedentary office jobs, shoved into tiny urban apartments, living on junk food and alcohol, watching television and never moving their buns off the couch? It seems to me that our modern lifestyle is a recipe for depression – I’m surprised more people aren’t depressed. Staring at a computer all day and being inundated with media and noise are fairly traumatic experiences when you consider what our grandparents did in a day, yet the ever-resilient human body finds ways to cope.
Though we can’t necessarily get different jobs or pack up and move to the Bahamas, there are significant lifestyle adjustments within the easy reach of most individuals that can effectively support proper weight, rest, and mental health.
When people are eating packets of cigarettes and driving in their sleep while taking a drug like Ambien, it’s time to rethink our approach to health. Pharma makes a load of cash off the problems created by our Western lifestyle. Who’s addicted?
Stick around for the Tuesday 10. This week: tips to beat stress…naturally!
[tags] lifestyle drugs, Ambien, Alli, Prozac [/tags]