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December 27, 2011

Painkiller 10 times stronger than Vicodin being developed - sparking addiction fears
Drug companies are developing a painkiller ten times stronger than Vicodin which addiction experts fear could spark a wave of abuse.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)

December 23, 2011

Patient advocacy group funded by success of painkiller drugs, probe finds
The news about narcotic painkillers is increasingly dire: Overdoses now kill nearly 15,000 people a year – more than heroin and cocaine combined. In some states, the painkiller death toll exceeds that of car crashes. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared the overdoses from opioid drugs like OxyContin an “epidemic.” And a growing group of experts doubts that they work for long-term pain. But the pills continue to have an influential champion in the American Pain Foundation, which describes itself as the nation's largest advocacy group for pain patients. Its message: The risk of addiction is overblown, and the drugs are underused. What the nonprofit organization doesn't highlight is the money behind that message.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

December 21, 2011

Report: Judge dismisses case against parents who stopped chemo for 10-year-old son
A judge has thrown out charges of medical abuse against the parents of 10-year-old Jacob Stieler after they discontinued the boy's chemotherapy treatments, according to UpperMichigansSource.com. Judge Thomas Solka denied a state petition to force Erin and Kenneth Stieler to resume Jacob's treatment for Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. The Stielers decided to stop treatment after scans showed no trace of the cancer in Jacob's body.
Read article at mlive.com (Michigan, USA)
Comment: As was tragically experienced by the parents of Dominik Feld in Germany only a few years ago, the political and medical stakeholders of the “pharmaceutical business with disease” will go to almost any lengths to enforce the carrying out of toxic chemotherapy treatments upon children suffering from cancer. Increasingly, however, the facts about chemotherapy are becoming more widely known and parents are questioning both the safety and the efficacy of these dangerous drugs. To learn about natural health approaches to the treatment of cancer that have been shown to block all key mechanisms that make it such a deadly disease, click here.

December 20, 2011

FDA looking into death of patient on Novartis' Gilenya
U.S. health regulators said on Tuesday they received a report of a multiple sclerosis patient who died within 24 hours of taking the first dose of Novartis AG's Gilenya.
Read news report at reuters.com

December 19, 2011

Australian woman wins thalidomide hearing: court
A woman born without arms or legs on Monday won the right to have the class action she is leading against the firms behind thalidomide, a sedative blamed for birth defects, proceed in Australia. The Supreme Court of Victoria dismissed German chemical firm Grunenthal's request to have the hearing in Germany or stayed, saying "it cannot be said that (the state of) Victoria is a clearly inappropriate forum".
Read article at medicalxpress.com

December 7, 2011

'Prozac defence' stands in Manitoba teen's murder case
A Winnipeg judge's ruling that a teenage boy murdered his friend because of the effects of Prozac will not be appealed, confirming an apparent North American first and reviving debate around the widespread prescription of anti-depressants to young people. Justice Robert Heinrichs concluded the 15-year-old boy was under the influence of the medication when he thrust a nine-inch kitchen knife into the chest of Seth Ottenbreit, a close friend. Although the killer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the judge cited the drug's alleged side effects as a reason not to raise the case to adult court, and to mete out a sentence last month of just 10 months – on top of two years already spent in jail.
Read article on the National Post website (Canada)

December 9, 2011

Breast cancer patients 'stop drugs' due to side effects
About a third of breast cancer patients stop taking medication because side effects are more severe than they expect, US researchers suggest.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)
Comment: The toxicity of cancer drugs damages all organs and cell systems in the body. As such, some of the resulting side effects of these drugs, such as irreversible organ damage, last for the remainder of the patients" lives. To cope with these side effects, and alleviate their symptoms, even more drugs are prescribed, thus resulting in still further problems. Moreover, and perhaps worst of all, almost half of all the substances listed as ‘carcinogenic’ – i.e. cancer causing – are pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for various diseases. To learn more, click here to read the groundbreaking new book on cancer by Dr. Rath and Dr. Niedzwiecki.

December 9, 2011

Pfizer Settles Prempro Case After Losing $72.6 Million Verdict
Pfizer Inc., the world"s largest drugmaker, agreed to settle claims that its menopause drugs caused cancer in three women who won a $72.6 million jury award earlier this week, a lawyer said. The New York-based company agreed to resolve claims by Susan Elfont, Bernadette Kalenkoski and Judy Mulderig that hormone-replacement drugs made by two Pfizer units caused their breast cancer, Ted Meadows, a lawyer for the women, said in an interview yesterday. A Philadelphia jury awarded the three women $72.6 million in compensatory damages on Dec. 6.
Read article at businessweek.com

December 1, 2011

This Is America. This Is America on Drugs
Imagine spending billions of dollars a year to advertise a product to a group of people who aren"t even authorized to buy it. Sounds pretty crazy right? Well not if you"re a pharmaceutical company. Thanks to lax laws that make the United States one out of only two countries in the world (New Zealand is the other) where prescription drug makers are allowed to hawk their products directly to consumers on television and radio, the airwaves are chock-full of little green butterflies (Lunesta), smooth-talking bumblebees (Nasonex), and middle-aged hunks who can"t get it up (Cialis, Viagra, Levitra) all working toward one goal: convincing you that you"ll be healthier, happier, sexier, if you can just get your doctor to write you a prescription.
Read blog entry by Christopher Moraff on The Philly Post website (USA)

December 6, 2011

Takeda May Face 10,000 Suits Over Actos Bladder-Cancer Claims
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Asia's biggest drugmaker, may face as many as 10,000 lawsuits in U.S. courts over allegations that its Actos diabetes drug causes bladder cancer, and a group of judges is preparing to decide where they should be consolidated.
Read article at businessweek.com

December 5, 2011

Follow-up study finds prolonged fatigue for those who had chemotherapy for breast cancer
In a follow-up study, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues have found that patients who receive chemotherapy for breast cancer might experience prolonged fatigue years after their therapy.
Read article at medicalxpress.com
Comment: The therapeutic goal of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells by intoxicating the entire body. As such, given the extreme toxicity and dangers of chemotherapy drugs, even a lay person can understand that if medicine is resorting to 'shotgun' approaches in the treatment of cancer, the causes and pathways of the disease are not properly understood by the physicians 'treating' it. To learn about safe natural health approaches to the treatment of cancer that, crucially, have been shown to block ALL key mechanisms that make it a deadly disease, click here.

December 5, 2011

UK launches fund to boost pharma industry
Britain has earmarked 180 million pounds to bring new medical technologies to market in a move that should speed the take-up of new medicines by the National Health Service and make the country more attractive to big pharma firms. Prime Minister David Cameron will talk about ways to boost Britain's 50 billion pound turnover life sciences industry, according to the text of a speech due to be delivered on Monday.
Read on the website of the International Business Times
Comment: Having already ruled out a referendum on Britain's membership of the Brussels EU – despite the fact that most of the country's voters and even half of his own party now want to quit the dictatorial pharma-controlled EU construct – Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to give 180 million pounds of taxpayers' money to pharma companies and pro-drug university research departments makes it crystal clear where his true loyalties lie.

November 29, 2011

Chronic Bowel Disease Drugs Linked to Skin Cancer Risk
Repeatedly taking slightly too much paracetamol over time can cause a dangerous overdose that is difficult to spot, but puts the person at danger of dying. Patients may not come to hospital reporting the overdose, but because they feel unwell. This clinical situation needs to be recognized and treated rapidly because these patients are at even greater danger than people who take single overdoses.
Read news article at yahoo.com

November 23, 2011

Paracetamol: Repeated ingestion of slightly too much can be fatal -- recognize and treat quickly
In a devastating blow to Novartis, a federal judge denied a bid to overturn a verdict in which a jury decided the drugmaker failed to adequately warn about the risks that its Zometa and Aredia bone-strengthening meds caused severe jaw bone damage. And in making his decision, he writes that the jury was shown sufficient evidence to conclude a cover-up was undertaken with “the knowledge and approval of high-ranking officials.”
Read article at medicalxpress.com

November 22, 2011

Merck will pay $950M to settle Vioxx investigation
The Department of Justice said Tuesday that drugmaker Merck will pay $950 million to resolve investigations into its marketing of the painkiller Vioxx.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

November 22, 2011

Novartis Execs, Cover-Ups And Jawbone Damage
In a devastating blow to Novartis, a federal judge denied a bid to overturn a verdict in which a jury decided the drugmaker failed to adequately warn about the risks that its Zometa and Aredia bone-strengthening meds caused severe jaw bone damage. And in making his decision, he writes that the jury was shown sufficient evidence to conclude a cover-up was undertaken with “the knowledge and approval of high-ranking officials.”
Read article at pharmalot.com

November 21, 2011

Pfizer agrees to pay $60 million to settle probe into bribes
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. has agreed to pay more than $60 million to settle an investigation by U.S. regulators into whether the drug maker paid bribes to win business abroad, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Read article in the Los Angeles Times (USA)

November 19, 2011

Military Dropping Anti-Malaria Drug
Almost four decades after inventing a potent anti-malarial drug, the U.S. Army has pushed it to the back of its medicine cabinet. The dramatic about-face follows years of complaints and concerns that mefloquine caused psychiatric and physical side effects even as it was used around the globe as a front-line defense against the mosquito-borne disease that kills about 800,000 people a year. "Mefloquine is a zombie drug. It's dangerous, and it should have been killed off years ago," said Dr. Remington Nevin, an epidemiologist and Army major who has published research that he said showed the drug can be potentially toxic to the brain.
Read article on the ABC News website (USA)

November 18, 2011

Cancer drug Avastin loses US approval
US drug regulators have rescinded approval of a breast cancer drug, saying it is not effective enough to justify the risks of taking it. The drug, Avastin, was approved for US use in 2008, but UK officials have also rejected claims that it prolongs life. Further research showed it did not help patients live longer or improve quality of life, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)
Comment: Patients taking Avastin risk potentially life-threatening side effects including severe high blood pressure, massive bleeding, heart attack or heart failure and tears in the stomach and intestines. To learn how safe natural health approaches pave the way to turning cancer into a manageable disease, click here.

November 17, 2011

Bayer Promoted Heroin for Children -- Here Are The Ads That Prove It
It's not news that Bayer, the venerable German drug company, made its first fortunes in the late 1890s when it commercialized both aspirin and heroin as cough, cold and pain remedies. Many people have seen the sepia images of vintage Bayer's "Heroin" brand medicine bottles. But it's less widely known that Bayer promoted heroin for use in children suffering from coughs, colds and "irritation" as late as 1912, according to an anti-Bayer watchdog group.
Read article on the businessinsider.com website

November 16, 2011

Boy kills friend because of Prozac
Serving as a stark reminder of the cost of our society’s over-reliance on pharmaceutical drugs, a Canadian judge has found that that the widely used anti-depressant, Prozac (fluoxetine), was responsible for a 16-year-old boy committing murder. Before taking the Prozac, the boy had been described as a loving, happy-go-lucky kid, but once on the drug he quickly descended into a ‘dark’ place. In a psychotic bout that was believed to be triggered by the anti-depressant, the boy stabbed a female friend in his home. She died of a stomach wound at the scene in September 2009. Concerns expressed to the boys various doctors by his parents about his deteriorating behaviour were largely ignored and only met with the dose being increased.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (Europe) website

November 16, 2011

FDA Debars Doc In Pfizer Research Scandal
Do you remember Scott Reuben? He was accused of faking research for a dozen years in published studies suggesting after-surgery benefits from Vioxx and Celebrex. Last year, he was sentenced to six months in jail plus three years supervised release after pleading guilty to fraud. The former chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center received grants from various drugmakers but never performed the studies, fabricated patient data and submitted info to journals that was unwittingly published. Now, the FDA has permanently debarring him from providing services in any capacity to a person that has an approved or pending drug product application, according to the debarment order, which was published today in The Federal Register.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: To read more about how Reuben received grants from Pfizer and faked research reporting favorable results for the company’s drugs, click here, here and here.

November 15, 2011

Chemotherapy 'could cause brain damage' in breast cancer patients

  • Study discovers patients who had undergone treatment had significantly less activity in parts of the brain responsible for memory and planning
  • Findings could explain 'chemo brain' - a term used to describe foggy thinking and memory lapses following chemotherapy

Chemotherapy could cause brain damage in breast cancer patients scientists have warned.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)
Comment: The toxic drugs used in chemotherapy do kill cancer cells – but they also kill healthy cells too. That fact alone is bad enough, but it doesn’t stop there. Research has shown that the overall contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults is 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA. As such, it is clear that chemotherapy treatment only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. But with the Pharma Cartel earning revenues of almost $56 billion a year from cancer, it obviously has a vested interest in ensuring that patients do not get to learn about natural health approaches to treating this disease that have been shown to block all the key mechanisms that make it so deadly. To learn how research conducted at the Dr. Rath Research Institute makes the unthinkable possible and paves the way to turning cancer into a manageable disease, click here.

November 15, 2011

Sanofi’s Multaq Doubled Deaths From Heart Disease in Study
Sanofi’s Multaq, approved to treat patients whose hearts intermittently race with quick and inefficient contractions, doubled the risk of death in those with a permanent form of the erratic rhythm, a study found.
Read article at businessweek.com

November 15, 2011

Merck settles Vioxx suits from New York, Florida
Merck & Co has reached settlements to resolve lawsuits from the states of New York, Florida and South Carolina alleging the company misled state regulators about the dangers of the painkiller Vioxx, according to court filings. The confidential sums were revealed in a court filing Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where thousands of Vioxx cases have been consolidated. In 2007, Merck had agreed to pay out $4.85 billion to resolve claims from thousands of plaintiffs who said Vioxx caused heart attacks.
Read news report at reuters.com

November 14, 2011

Without consent: how drugs companies exploit Indian 'guinea pigs'
Illiterate patients say they never agreed to take part in trials run by industry worth £189m
Western pharmaceutical companies have seized on India over the past five years as a testing ground for drugs – making the most of a huge population and loose regulations which help dramatically cut research costs for lucrative products to be sold in the West. The relationship is so exploitative that some believe it represents a new colonialism.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

November 9, 2011

Will James Murdoch Stay On The Glaxo Board?
Is the clock ticking for James Murdoch and his influential seat on the GlaxoSmithKline board? His tenure has been under a cloud ever since a scandal erupted over charges that various employees in the Murdoch media empire in the UK hacked into phones belonging to families of murder victims, terror victims, police and politicians.
Read article at pharmalot.com

November 9, 2011

Chinese drug exec given suspended death sentence
A Shanghai court handed the former chief executive of a large state-owned pharmaceutical company a suspended death sentence for corruption that enabled him to amass more than 50 million yuan ($8 million), an official said Wednesday. Wu Jianwen, the former head of Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group Ltd., was convicted of accepting bribes, embezzling public funds and other graft charges by the Shanghai Intermediate People's Court, according to a court official surnamed Wang.
Read Associated Press news report at yahoo.com

November 8, 2011

AstraZeneca Is Indicted By Serbia Over Bribes
Last August, AstraZeneca received a criminal indictment in Belgrade, Serbia, over allegations that local employees offered alleged bribes to physicians at the Institute of Oncology and Radiology, according to a filing made yesterday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (see this).
Read article at pharmalot.com

November 7, 2011

EMA Is Investigated Over Conflicts Of Interest
Concerns over conflicts of interest at the European Medicines Agency have sparked an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office, which is known as OLAF. The probe, which we have confirmed, is linked to the scandal involving Servier Laboratories and its Mediator diabetes drug, which has been blamed for at least 500 deaths in France, according to The Independent.
Read article at pharmalot.com

November 4, 2011

Study finds increased cancer risk with bone growth product
Spine surgery patients who got a bone growth stimulating agent as part of a clinical trial were three to five times more likely to develop cancer two to three years after being implanted with the product, according to a new analysis.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

November 3, 2011

What's happened to Thalidomide babies?
Fifty years ago, the sedative Thalidomide was withdrawn after thousands of mothers gave birth to disabled babies. That ageing Thalidomide generation now faces rising care bills - but some hope a possible Nazi link to the drug could bring more compensation.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)

November 3, 2011

The Revolving Door & A Former FDA Chief Counsel
Three months ago, Ralph Tyler left his job as chief counsel at the FDA, reportedly for personal health reasons, among other things. This week, he has apparently recovered - or at least he feels well enough to undergo the stress of returning to work and slaving over documents. How so? He has taken a job with the Venable law firm which, it so happens, has a large practice devoted to helping drug and device makers.
Read article at pharmalot.com

November 2, 2011

Boehringer says about 50 deaths related to Pradaxa
Boehringer Ingelheim's new stroke prevention pill Pradaxa has been linked to about 50 deaths from bleeding across the world since its market launch, the company said on Wednesday, heightening health regulators' attention.
Read news report at reuters.com

November 1, 2011

U.S. deaths from painkiller overdose surge to record
Nearly 15,000 Americans died from an overdose of prescription painkillers in 2008, a record rate that has outstripped fatalities from illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin combined, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.
Read article in the Montreal Gazette (Canada)
Comment: With its total annual global sales now approaching 1 trillion dollars, the pharmaceutical industry has a vested financial interest in users becoming addicted to its drugs. As such, by operating as middle-men between drug companies and addicts, the doctors and pharmacists responsible for people becoming hooked on painkillers are nothing less than narcotic dealers in white lab coats.

October 27, 2011

Drugmaker Grunenthal Is Sued Over Thalidomide Birth Defects
German drugmaker Grunenthal GmbH and companies now part of GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi hid results of studies that would have revealed birth defects caused by Thalidomide sooner, 13 Americans claimed in a lawsuit. Born with birth defects in from 1957 to 1962, seven men and six women sued the drugmakers and distributors Oct. 25 in state court in Philadelphia, claiming the businesses conspired to withhold information to boost sales and protect themselves from liability. The drug was then prescribed for morning sickness early in pregnancies.
Read article at businessweek.com

October 23, 2011

Still No Compensation for Trovan Victims as Pfizer Cuts Corners
Fifteen years after the disastrous Pfizer Trovan test trail and after an out-of-court settlement reached last year, in which the US pharmaceutical firm agreed to pay $35 million as compensation, families of the 200 victims in Kano still have no respite. With only eight of the victims’ families compensated so far, controversy is currently trailing the disbursement of the fund set up for that purpose.
Read article at thisdaylive.com (Nigeria)

October 22, 2011

Doctors didn't disclose spine product cancer risk in journal
Doctors paid millions of dollars by Medtronic failed to identify a significant cancer risk with the company's spine surgery product in a 2009 paper about results of a large clinical trial. The surgeons left out important data and claimed there was no significant link between the product and cancer.
Read article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (USA)

October 19, 2011

More than one in 10 Americans aged 12 and older take antidepressants, survey shows
The use of antidepressants soared in the United States in recent decades with the development of Prozac and other similar drugs. But just how commonly are they used? Very commonly, it turns out, according to the latest federal data. More than one out of every 10 Americans over the age of 12 — 11 percent — takes an antidepressant, according to a new analysis from federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Read article in The Washington Post (USA)

October 15, 2011

Breast Cancer Unawareness Month: Rethinking Mammograms
In 1984, the American Cancer Society (ACS), the world's largest nonprofit organization, inaugurated the October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), with its flagship National Mammography Day. The NBCAM was conceived and funded by the Imperial Chemical Industries, a leading international manufacturer of petrochemicals, and its U.S. subsidiary Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. Zeneca is the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, which has been widely used for treating breast cancer.
Read article in the Huffington Post (USA)

October 14, 2011

Senators Want To Ease FDA Panel Conflict Rules
Three years after the FDA enacted tougher conflict of interest rules for its advisory committees, a legislative effort is under way to roll back the policy. A trio of US Senators has introduced a bill that would reverse agency regulations that bar experts with financial ties to drug or device makers from serving on the committees without a waiver. The move comes shortly after FDA commish Margaret Hamburg told Congress that the agency was finding it increasingly difficult to locate qualified experts who do not have financial ties to drug or device makers (read here and here). Current FDA regs include barring participation for any individual who has potentially conflicting financial interests totaling more than $50,000 (see this).
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: US FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s claim – that her agency is finding it increasingly difficult to locate qualified experts who do not have financial ties to drug companies – reflects the fact that a large number of so-called medical “experts” in the US are now, directly or indirectly, on the payroll of the Pharma Cartel. Promisingly, however, some patient and consumer groups in the US have correctly identified that the FDA is not looking hard enough to find independent advisors and that locating unconflicted members for FDA committees is not as difficult as agency officials would have the public believe. Given therefore that the FDA remains hell-bent upon eliminating the ability of American consumers to purchase non-patentable natural alternatives to the Cartel’s multi-billion dollar market in patented drugs, it needs to be understood by all that the agency has a vested interest in ensuring drug industry representatives gain access to its committees.

October 12, 2011

Medical Panels Are Rife With Financial Conflicts
In 1996, shortly after we began tracking the pharmaceutical industry, we spent time looking at obesity research and the latest diet pills. In doing so, we noticed that a panel that was assembled by the government to develop a guideline for the overweight known as the Body Mass Index. And it was populated by experts, nearly all of whom had a financial tie to a drugmaker selling or developing such pills. The finding, of course, was not all that new, but the practice continues, according to a new study in BMJ, which examined panels responsible for generating clinical practice guidelines on screening and/or treatment for high cholesterol or diabetes in the US and Canada between 2000 and 2010. A good many of the panelists - and panel chairs - had conflicts of interest. But not all were disclosed.
Read article at pharmalot.com

October 12, 2011

FDA warning for BMS’ leukaemia drug
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated the label of Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMS) leukaemia drug Sprycel (dasatinib) with a warning that the drug can increase the risk of abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. The condition, known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a potentially serious disorder that can weaken the heart and cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the body.
Read article at pmlive.com

October 6, 2011

Avastin Warnings Updated for Ovarian Failure, Jaw Necrosis, Blood Clots
Federal regulators are requiring new label warnings for Avastin, indicating that the cancer drug may increase the risk of ovarian failure, a rare form of jaw decay, blood clots and excessive bleeding.
Read article at aboutlawsuits.com (USA)

October 5, 2011

J&J To Pay $48M To Man Hurt By Motrin
A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit to pay $48.2 million to a man who developed a severe skin disorder and blood blisters in his mouth after taking the Motrin over-the-counter pain reliever. In reaching its decision, the jury found that the Motrin labeling was inadequate and should have been changed years before Christopher Trejo took the pills.
Read article at pharmalot.com

October 3, 2011

Regular aspirin users at higher risk of sight problems, research suggests
People who take a daily dose of aspirin are twice as likely to suffer blindness in later life, a study suggests.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Comment: Additional research suggests that regular use of aspirin also increases the risk of developing Crohn's disease; irregular heart rhythm; hearing loss; and internal bleeding, including bleeding in the brain.

September 29, 2011

Diclofenac Deaths May Dwarf Vioxx Disaster: Health Agencies Helped It Happen
The world was shocked by the number of deaths caused Vioxx, but that number may be dwarfed by another NSAID, diclofenac. Vioxx was sold only by prescription. Diclofenac is sold both by prescription and over the counter.
Read article at gaia-health.com

September 28, 2011

Merck Pays $1.5M Fine For Pollution Problems
For violating several federal environmental laws at two Pennsylvania plants, Merck has agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil fine and settle charges brought by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Justice.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: This is not the first time that Merck has been fined for breaking environmental laws at its Pennsylvania facilities. In late 2007, it paid a $20.5 million fine for violating the US Clean Water Act with three chemical discharges in 2006, one of which killed more than 1,000 fish and forced Philadelphia to temporarily shut off drinking water intakes.

September 27, 2011

Common painkillers can raise heart risk
Taking daily doses of over-the-counter painkillers can increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to 40 per cent, researchers have warned.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

September 26, 2011

The Cost Of Treating Cancer Is ‘Unsustainable’
Thanks to a rising number of new meds and technologies, the price tags for accessing these salves and a growing number of patients, the cost of treating cancer is increasingly becoming unaffordable in many developed countries, according to a report commissioned by The Lancet Oncology journal.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: The headline says it all. For almost a century, cancer has been the target of an investment business - the pharmaceutical industry - that has turned it into a multi-billion dollar business. The outcome was predictable: Today, at the beginning of the 21st Century, cancer is spreading globally; for most types of cancer the annual death rate still increases and the skyrocketing costs are financially ruining millions of cancer patients and strangulating the economies of entire nations. However, the publication of a new book, ‘Victory Over Cancer,’ by Dr. Rath and Dr. Niedzwiecki, marks the end of this tragedy. The natural health approaches presented in this book have been shown to block all key mechanisms that make cancer a deadly disease. Click here to learn more and read the book online.

September 26, 2011

Company stock prices before public announcements of oncology trial results
Prior knowledge of phase III clinical trials of new drugs and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory decisions may affect the price of a drug company's stock according to a study published September 26 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Regulatory decisions made by the FDA and phase III clinical trials are important for the financial success of new drugs. Investors with information on the trial results and FDA decisions before they are released to the public may profit regardless of the drug's success or failure. This information can also influence the market value of the companies that bring the drugs to market. Trial investigators, company employees, and outside consultants are aware of trials results before they are made public, and investment analysts may go to great lengths to obtain this "insider information" for their clients because the results are not necessarily reflected in the market price of a stock.
Read article at medicalxpress.com
Comment: For anybody who is still in any doubt, this study provides further evidence that the drug industry is driven by the profits of its investors. To the men who control the ‘Business with Disease,’ it isn’t important how these profits are generated, simply that they are. As a result, profit and the accumulation of wealth are the main driving forces behind every decision taken.

September 21, 2011

Those Active Pharma Ingredients May Be Fishy
In recent years, studies have shown that active pharmaceutical ingredients were found in effluent coming from waste-water treatment plants near manufacturing plants. Now, a new study indicates that APIs were linked to changes in sexual characteristics of a type of fish in a river in France and, therefore, may have further damaging consequences on the larger ecosystem.
Read article at pharmalot.com

September 19, 2011

Statins, a Drug Considered for Food Condiment Status, Increase Blood Sugar & Lead to Diabetes
People diagnosed with diabetes, or even considered likely to become diabetic, are often automatically placed on statins, under the presumption that diabetes naturally leads to heart disease. As it turns out, the prescription itself is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Statins appear to be causing diabetes and worsening the condition.
Read article at gaia-health.com

September 19, 2011

Chronic disease to cost $47 trillion by 2030, WEF says
Unless current health trends are reversed, five common, non-infectious diseases -- cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and mental health problems -- will cost the world $47 trillion in treatment costs and lost wages. That's the conclusion of a new report, "The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases," released by the World Economic Forum before the start Monday of a two-day United Nations summit on non-communicable diseases, CBS News reported.
Read article in the USA Today newspaper
Comment: The publication of this report provides a timely reminder that chronic deficiencies of vitamins, amino acids and other specific micronutrients – the primary cause of today’s most common chronic diseases – are being deliberately ignored. The key beneficiary from the skyrocketing costs of chronic disease is the Pharmaceutical Investment “Business with Disease”. However, with the publication of Dr. Rath and Dr. Niedzwiecki’s new book, ‘Victory Over Cancer', the people of the world have another vital tool with which to act. With Dr. Rath already having shown that the “cardiovascular epidemic” is preventable, the publication of this latest book now paves the way towards turning cancer into a manageable disease.

September 17, 2011

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes.
Read article in the Los Angeles Times (USA)

September 16, 2011

Zofran Side Effects Linked to Heart Rhythm Problems, FDA Warns
Federal health regulators are warning that side effects of Zofran, an anti-nausea drug sold by GlaxoSmithKline, could cause potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms. The FDA issued a drug safety communication on September 15, alerting doctors and patients to changes in the electrical activity of the heart that have been linked to Zofran.
Read article at aboutlawsuits.com (USA)

September 16, 2011

Study suggests possible link between two Type 2 diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer
Two newer drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes could be linked to a significantly increased risk of developing pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, and one could also be linked to an increased risk of thyroid cancer, according to a new UCLA study.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

September 13, 2011

Taking painkillers long-term 'triples risk of kidney cancer'
People who take anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen for more than a decade are tripling their risk of kidney cancer, say scientists. A study of over 125,000 participants found those who regularly took over the counter anti-inflammatories were 51 per cent more likely to develop the disease. But the researchers found those who used them for over a decade, such as arthritis sufferers, were almost three times more likely to suffer renal cell cancer (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)

September 12, 2011

Duke Sued for Cancer Trial
Cancer patients and families of deceased patients filed a lawsuit against Duke University for clinical trials based on flawed data.
Last year, Duke oncologist Anil Potti admitted to having posed as a Rhodes Scholar and fabricating statistical analyses on how breast cancer responds to chemotherapy. Now, participants of clinical trials based partly on his research and families of participants who have died are suing the university and some Duke employees for “fraudulent and negligent behavior” for enrolling cancer patients in the trials, ScienceInsider reports.
Read article in The Scientist magazine
Comment: The fraudulent business model of the pharmaceutical drug cartel needs to be terminated as soon as possible, in the interests of the health and lives of the seven billion people alive today and all future generations. Inevitably, the perpetrators of this genocidal fraud must be brought to justice and we consider that it is our responsibility to be active in the preparations for such trials. We are, therefore, building an international team of volunteers willing to work with us on these preparations. If you would like to help us, click here to learn more.

September 9, 2011

Sleep, anxiety meds may increase death risk
Taking sleeping pills or medication for anxiety is linked to an increased risk of death, according to a study by a University of Laval researcher in Quebec City.
Psychologist Geneviève Belleville found a rise of 36 per cent in the mortality rate among Canadians who reported having used anxiolytic and hypnotic medication to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the previous month.
Read article on the CBC News website (Canada)

September 8, 2011

Arthritis medication raises risk of developing skin cancer, scientists find
Medicine for rheumatoid arthritis could cause skin cancer, experts said. Sufferers treated with TNF inhibitors, drugs which act on the immune system, were 79% more likely to develop melanoma, a study in France found.
Read article in the Daily Mirror (UK)

September 8, 2011

Servier Faces Another Scandal Over Another Drug
The controversy over its Mediator appetite supressant for diabetics is not yet resolved and now Servier Laboratories faces yet another scandal over undisclosed side effects associated with a different drug. This time, the French drugmaker is accused of hiding problems that can be caused by its Protelos osteoporosis med, according to the Liberation newspaper, which cited French regulators.
Read article at pharmalot.com

September 7, 2011

Ibuprofen linked to double risk of miscarriage
Women who take painkillers such as ibuprofen are at more than double the risk of suffering a miscarriage, research suggests.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 31, 2011

Universal polypills for over-55s are a 'waste of money'
Giving ‘polypills’ containing statins, aspirin and blood-pressure-lowering drugs to everybody over 55 to help prevent heart attacks and strokes would harm a lot of people and be a “waste of money”, a health conference has heard.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 30, 2011

Ghostwriting remains a fundamental problem in the medical literature
An editorial this week in PLoS Medicine concludes that in the two years since extensive ghostwriting by pharmaceutical giant Wyeth to promote its hormone drug Prempro was exposed through litigation intervention by PLoS Medicine and The New York Times, medical ghostwriting remains a prevalent problem with few concrete solutions in sight.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

August 30, 2011

Shocking new details of US STD experiments in Guatemala
Fresh revelations about 1940s medical tests come to light, including deliberately exposing people to sexually transmitted diseases
Shocking new details of US medical experiments done in Guatemala in the 1940s, including a decision to re-infect a dying woman in a syphilis study, have been disclosed by a presidential panel.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)
Comment: For anybody who has innocently been assuming that criminal experiments conducted by or on behalf of the pharmaceutical, chemical and weapons industries had ceased after those carried out by the IG Farben cartel during WWII, the above story provides definitive proof that this is not in fact the case. Worse still, nor is this latest example even an isolated incident. Between 1932 and 1972, for example, in the notorious “Tuskegee Experiment”, U.S. Public Health Service doctors secretly enticed around 400 poor black men into a study whose aim, unknown to the participants, was to observe the natural progression of untreated syphilis. For 40 years, the men were deliberately never told they had syphilis and were never treated for it. Similarly, in South-West England, scientists from Porton Down sprayed toxic chemicals into the air around Bristol in the early 1960s to analyze how they dispersed, with passers-by and lunchtime shoppers knowingly being exposed and used as guinea pigs. In other tests, British soldiers recruited as volunteers to test "cold remedies" at Porton Down were instead given forms of the sarin nerve agent developed by the Nazis in World War II. To help put a stop to current examples of such deceptions, such as the Pharma Cartel's AIDS Genocide, please support the Call for a Second Nuremberg Tribunal.

August 25, 2011

The dark side of prescription drugs
Mention of drug addiction typically conjures up images of strung-out users of heroin or crack cocaine. But a growing number of Britons are dependent on legal drugs, prescribed by their doctors, with a grip as unforgiving as that of their illegal counterparts. It is a problem that cannot keep being ignored.
Read Leading Article in The Independent (UK)
Comment: With its total annual global sales approaching 1 trillion dollars, the pharmaceutical industry has a vested financial interest in users becoming addicted to its drugs. Significantly, therefore, between 2000 and 2007, overdose deaths from painkillers in the United States rose from less than 4,000 to more than 11,000. Similarly, between 2004 and 2009, US emergency room visits due to prescription drug overdoses doubled to a total of over 1.2 million.

August 24, 2011

Deaths from strong prescription painkillers are on the increase
Action is needed to tackle the increasing number of deaths in the United States and Canada from prescription painkillers known as opioids, say experts in the British Medical Journal today.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

August 12, 2011

Drug companies lose protections on Facebook, some decide to close pages
Facebook and the pharmaceutical industry have had an uneasy partnership in recent years. Many drug companies didn’t join the site until Facebook gave them a privilege that others do not have — blocking the public’s ability to openly comment on a page Wall. But that’s about to change. In a reversal by Facebook, most drug company pages will have to have open Walls starting Monday. Companies are worried that open Walls mean risks, and many are reconsidering their engagement on Facebook. On Friday, AstraZeneca, which sells the antidepressant Seroquel, shut down a page devoted to depression. Johnson & Johnson said it will close four of its pages Monday.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)
Comment: Unsurprisingly, as Facebook gradually opened the pharma industry’s pages to public commenting, still more drug companies responded by closing them.

August 12, 2011

Pfizer Confesses About ‘Potential’ Overseas Bribes
In another instance in which a drugmaker appears to have bribed overseas officials, Pfizer has “voluntarily” provided the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission with information concerning “potentially improper payments” made by Pfizer and Wyeth personnel in connection with certain unspecified sales activities outside the US. The move comes amid increased scrutiny by the feds into the pharmaceutical industry and its interactions with foreign health care systems.
Read article at pharmalot.com

August 11, 2011

Pfizer: Nigeria drug trial victims get compensation
US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has made the first compensation payment to Nigerian families affected by a controversial drug trial 15 years ago. It paid $175,000 (£108,000) each to four families in the first of a series of payments it is expected to make. The payouts are part of an out-of-court settlement reached in 2009. In 1996, 11 children died and dozens were left disabled after Pfizer gave them the experimental anti-meningitis drug, Trovan.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)

August 10, 2011

Authorship rules for medical journals flouted by pharma industry
Rather than ensure the proper attribution of authorship, rules set up by leading medical journals to define and credit authorship of published articles are exploited by the pharmaceutical industry in its attempt to conceal and misrepresent industry contributions to the literature.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

August 7, 2011

Indians sitting ducks as drug trials turn fatal
In last 4 yrs, 1,725 persons have died in clinical trials; weak law compounds risks
For the first time since 2010 when six tribal girls from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh involved in the clinical trials of anti-cervical cancer HPV vaccine died, the government has admitted that 1,725 persons have lost their lives to drug trials in the last four years. The number of deaths has risen from 132 in 2007 and 288 in 2008 to 637 in 2009 and 668 last year, indicating the complete ineffectiveness of regulatory controls over the $400 million sector. Last year, the government gave compensation in just 22 cases out of the 668 that resulted in deaths due to “serious adverse events” during drug trials, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told Parliament this week.
Read article in The Tribune (India)
Comment: A number of US pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas over the course of the past decade, with the result that tests of dangerous chemical drugs are increasingly being carried out on poor people who have little or no knowledge of the ‘Business with Disease’. Now employing CROs - or clinical research organisations - the industry is big business, worth as much as $30bn today. Click here to learn more and watch a revealing video report at aljazeera.net.

August 5, 2011

Wave of lawsuits follow warnings that top-selling diabetes drug may raise bladder cancer risk
The maker of the world’s best-selling diabetes drug is facing hundreds of lawsuits and likely a big sales drop as suspicion grows that taking the pill for more than a year raises the risk of bladder cancer. In June, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. halted sales of Actos, its top drug, in Germany and France after pressure from regulators. Since then, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have issued warnings about the cancer risk based on new research, but they have allowed sales to continue.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

August 5, 2011

Prescriptions for antidepressants increasing among individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis
Americans are no strangers to antidepressants. During the last 20 years the use of antidepressants has grown significantly making them one of the most costly and the third most commonly prescribed class of medications in the U. S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2005-2008 nearly 8.9 percent of the U.S. population had at least one prescription in this drug class during any given month. A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines national trends in antidepressant prescribing and finds much of this growth was driven by a substantial increase in antidepressant prescriptions by non-psychiatrist providers without any accompanying psychiatric diagnosis.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

July 30, 2011

Human genes can be patented, ruling says
Human gene ruling reversal
A federal court said Friday that human genes can be patented, reversing a lower court's ruling that involved a test for breast cancer but which could have had big implications for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Read article in the San Francisco Chronicle (USA)
Comment: Multinational corporations want to patent the genes of human beings as a means of enabling the genome, the inherited DNA that is common to all humanity, to become their private property. If these monstrous plans are not halted, in the near future, pharmaceutical companies will appropriate the organs of the human body as their ‘possessions’. As such, it can be seen that worldwide abolition of the patent principle as applied to health, life and food is an international task of the highest priority.

July 29, 2011

Big Pharma Spends $95 Thousand Per Doctor on Marketing Each Year
The amount of spending to market Big Pharma's products comes to about $95,000 per doctor per year in the US alone. Now, they're interacting with docs at the point of writing prescriptions.
Read article at gaia-health.com

July 28, 2011

Useless Studies, Real Harm
Last month, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a scathing reassessment of a 12-year-old research study of Neurontin, a seizure drug made by Pfizer. The study, which had included more than 2,700 subjects and was carried out by Parke-Davis (now part of Pfizer), was notable for how poorly it was conducted. The investigators were inexperienced and untrained, and the design of the study was so flawed it generated few if any useful conclusions. Even more alarming, 11 patients in the study died and 73 more experienced “serious adverse events.” Yet there have been few headlines, no demands for sanctions or apologies, no national bioethics commissions pledging to investigate.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)

July 27, 2011

Europe To Revise ‘Advertising In Disguise’ Proposal
Three years after making a proposal that would have allowed drugmakers to publish product information in consumer newspapers and magazines, the European Commission is going back to the proverbial drawing board and plans to issue a new proposal this fall, an EC spokesman writes us.
Read article at pharmalot.com

July 26, 2011

Pfizer's Zyvox and Antidepressants May Be Fatal Combination
Pfizer Inc.'s Zyvox antibiotic can cause potentially fatal central nervous system reactions in patients who also take antidepressants that increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin, U.S. regulators said.
Read article in the San Francisco Chronicle (USA)

July 21, 2011

F.D.A. Issues Alerts on the Heart Drug Multaq
American and European regulators issued safety alerts on Thursday about Multaq, a drug approved two years ago to treat abnormal heart rhythms. The Food and Drug Administration said a study of the drug in patients with a long-term form of the disease, known as atrial fibrillation, showed twice as many deaths as those who did not take the drug.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)

July 21, 2011

Antidepressants can cause relapse: Study
Patients who use antidepressants are more prone to relapsing than those who struggle through melancholy without drugs, a McMaster University study suggests. In fact, those patients who take drugs can be nearly twice as susceptible to future episodes of major depression after they go off the medication.
Read article at metronews.ca (Canada)

July 15, 2011

Study: Certain painkillers might raise odds of stroke, heart attack
Heart disease patients with high blood pressure who take a class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are at greater risk for heart attack, stroke or even death, new research shows. NSAIDS include popular medications such as such as aspirin, Celebrex, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
Read article on the USA Today website

July 14, 2011

Stay away from chemotherapy and radiation
For many years it has been known to well informed individuals within the medical community that chemotherapy and radiation were quite toxic and essentially worthless in the management of malignancies. This information is carefully covered up by our controlled media so that these two methods of therapy are regarded by lay persons as the proven therapy for malignancies. Like lemmings going over a cliff the general public lines up for these therapies and nearly all treated persons proceed to die.
Read article at newswithviews.com
Comment: Many people are simply not aware that the chemicals used in so-called chemotherapy are toxic and dangerous not just to the patients to whom they are administered, but also to the people they come in contact with. As these chemicals are excreted through the chemotherapy patient's skin, urine, stool, tears, semen and vaginal fluid, the people at risk of contamination include family members, caregivers and literally anyone touching him/her. To read shocking extracts from the "patient information leaflets" of these drugs, as published by the drug manufacturers themselves, click here.

July 14, 2011

Breathe Deeply: Spiriva Studies Show Troubling Pattern Of Serious Heart Risks, If You Know Where To Look
Last month, a widely publicized study raised concerns about the safety of the blockbuster Spiriva inhaler that is used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal found that, when administered in the mist form known as Respimat, there was a 52 percent increase in mortality risk compared with a placebo (see here).
Read article at pharmalot.com

July 12, 2011

Mass psychosis in the US
How Big Pharma got Americans hooked on anti-psychotic drugs.
Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux. Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.
Read article at aljazeera.net

July 12, 2011

The Professor, A Paxil Study & Misconduct Charges
A University of Pennsylvania psychiatry professor is alleging that several colleagues - including his department chair - allowed their names to be added to a medical journal manuscript but gave control of the contents to GlaxoSmithKline. The study, which was funded by the drugmaker and the National Institutes of Health, looked at the impact of the Paxil antidepressant on patients with bipolar disorder. Moreover, the professor, Jay Amsterdam, also claims the 2001 study, which was published by the American Journal of Psychiatry (see here), was ghostwritten by Scientific Therapeutics Information. The same firm has previously been cited for ghostwriting activities in connection with Paxil, including a book that was published in 1999 by the American Psychiatric Association (read this). The published study did not acknowledge that STI played any role.
Read article at pharmalot.com

July 11, 2011

Outsourced: Clinical trials overseas
As US pharmaceutical companies move their operations abroad, India has become a testing ground for trial medicines.
US pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas over the course of the past decade. Instead of testing trial medicines on Americans, more and more of these tests are being carried out on poor people in faraway places. Russia, China, Brazil, Poland, Uganda and Romania are all hot spots for what is called clinical research or clinical trials. Now employing CROs - or clinical research organisations - the industry is big business, worth as much as $30bn today.
Learn more and watch video report at aljazeera.net

July 11, 2011

Takeda Pulls Actos In France Over Bladder Cancer
One month after French regulators suspended the use of the Actos diabetes pill after a review of pharmacovigilance data showed an increased risk of bladder cancer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has withdrawn the drug. The Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire des Produits de Sante (AFSSAPS) also asked Takeda to withdraw a related brand called Competact. The decision by AFSSAPS was based on a study by a national French insurer and examined nearly 1.5 million people between 40 and 79 years old who were treated between 2006 and 2009 (back story).
Read article at pharmalot.com

July 7, 2011

Everyday medicines can destroy lives, conference warns
Experts have called for increased awareness about the issue of adverse drug reactions after hearing how everyday prescription medicines are destroying the lives of some patients.
Read article at medicalxpress.com
Comment: In the United States, the incidence of serious and fatal adverse drug reactions in hospitals has been found to be extremely high, with research published in 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggesting that they are between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death. Similarly, in 2000, JAMA published a study by Dr. Barbara Starfield of the John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health which suggested that doctors and hospitals are actually the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing 225,000 deaths every year. In 2008, the European Commission admitted that, each year, an estimated 197,000 EU citizens lose their lives as a result of adverse drug reactions.

July 5, 2011

Polypharmacy increases risk of death in over-65s
A UK-based study of over 13,000 people aged over 65 has found that patients taking multiple drugs in a certain unnamed class are at a significantly greater risk of death, but only scratches the surface of the problems with polypharmacy.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (Europe) website

July 5, 2011

Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of Autism
Children whose mothers use antidepressants during pregnancy may be more likely to develop autism than kids whose mothers do not, say researchers in California. In a study involving data on more than 1,800 children — fewer than 300 of whom had an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — and their mothers, the scientists found that women who were prescribed drugs to treat depression in the year before giving birth were twice as likely to have children with an ASD, compared with women who did not take antidepressants.
Read article on the Time Magazine website (USA)

July 4, 2011

Firms’ freebies for NHS staff under scrutiny
The world’s biggest drug companies could find themselves the target of investigation by Britain’s fraud watchdog over allegations that they have been influencing NHS staff with lavish travel junkets and hospitality.
Read article in the Gulf Times (Qatar)

July 4, 2011

Ibuprofen and aspirin linked to irregular heart rhythm
Commonly used painkillers including ibuprofen increase the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm by up to 40 per cent, according to a new study.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

July 4, 2011

Heart concerns raised about anti-smoking drug Champix
A popular smoking-cessation medication may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, a new study has found, adding to questions about the drug’s safety.
Read article in The Globe and Mail (Canada)

July 2, 2011

Harvard Docs Disciplined For Conflicts Of Interest
Three years after they were fingered in a US Senate probe into the interplay between academics who receive grant money from both pharma and the National Institutes of Health, three prominent psychiatrists from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have been sanctioned for violating conflict of interest rules and failing to report the extent of their payments.
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 30, 2011

Fetal Exposure to Common Epilepsy Drugs May Harm Kids' IQ: FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday advised doctors to warn women of childbearing age that fetal exposure to certain drugs used to control seizures or migraines appears to diminish intellectual abilities in offspring. The drugs include so-called "valproate products" -- medications such as valproate sodium (Depacon), divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote CP, Depakote ER), valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor), and their equivalent generic formulations, the FDA said in a statement.
Read article on the US News and World Report website

June 27, 2011

France Decides Sanofi’s Multaq Is ‘Insufficient’
Once again, Sanofi is facing trouble with Multaq. The latest difficulty comes from French regulators that have reevaluated the effectiveness of the drug, which is used to treat atrial fibrillation, after two patients developed severe liver damage. The move comes just nine months after Multaq, which was once seen as a salve for the drugmaker, was launched in France.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: Last year, a new analysis of adverse event reports indicated Multaq may cause or worsen heart failure, trigger potentially lethal irregular heartbeats and impair kidney function. Significantly, therefore, questions have been raised about the study that was used by the drugmaker in its submission for US FDA approval (see here and here).

June 27, 2011

A Neurontin Study Was Really A Seeding Trial
A 1995 study that was ostensibly designed to assess the safety, efficacy, tolerability and quality of life among Neurontin patients was actually a thinly disguised seeding trial, according to an article in The Archives of Internal Medicine. The finding is one of the rare instances in which evidence of a seeding trial - an industry term for a study designed for marketing purposes - has been uncovered. The last example involved a study for the Vioxx painkiller that was withdrawn by Merck (see this).
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 27, 2011

Nazi link to thalidomide disaster
A former Nazi doctor grew rich promoting the drug that caused the world's worst medical disaster, a British thalidomide expert says. Research by Dr Martin Johnson, chief executive of Britain's Thalidomide Trust, shows Heinrich Muckter was paid huge bonuses before thalidomide was exposed in 1961 as the cause of thousands of deaths and terrible birth defects. Dr Johnson's information, seen by the Herald Sun and shared by lawyers in several countries, is likely to generate compensation claims by hundreds of surviving victims, many with missing limbs and other catastrophic injuries.
Read article in the Herald Sun (Australia)

June 26, 2011

Diabetes Drug From Bristol Linked To Certain Cancer Types
An experimental diabetes drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb known as dapagliflozin has been found to be linked to certain types of cancers.
Read article at smartabouthealth.net

June 26, 2011

Thalidomide lawsuit spreads to Spain
The German pharmaceutical company facing a class action from Australian thalidomide victims is also facing legal action in Spain over its manufacture of the drug, which caused thousands of horrific birth defects worldwide in the 1950s and '60s.
Read article in the Herald Sun (Australia)

June 26, 2011

Premature aging caused by some HIV drugs, study shows
A class of anti-retroviral drugs commonly used to treat HIV, particularly in Africa and low income countries, can cause premature ageing, according to research published today in the journal Nature Genetics. The study shows that the drugs damage DNA in the patient's mitochondria – the 'batteries' which power their cells. The findings may explain why HIV-infected people treated with antiretroviral drugs sometimes show advanced signs of frailty and age-associated diseases such as cardiovascular disease and dementia at an early age.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

June 25, 2011

Australian to lead thalidomide suit
An Australian woman born without arms and legs will lead a mass lawsuit against the German and British firms behind thalidomide, a sedative blamed for birth defects, lawyers said Saturday.
Read article at physorg.com

June 24, 2011

Takeda's Actos, Glaxo's Avandia Raise Risk of Eye Disease
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s Actos, the world's best-selling diabetes treatment, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc.'s Avandia raise the risk of an eye disease that can lead to blindness, a study shows. People taking the drugs have a 3 to 6 times increased risk of developing diabetic macular edema, a condition in which the retina thickens and swells, according to a study of more than 100,000 people to be presented Sunday at the American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in San Diego.
Read article in the San Francisco Chronicle (USA)

June 24, 2011

Fatal cocktail of common drugs putting elderly at risk
Hundreds of thousands of older people are being put at increased risk of death or developing dementia by taking combinations of common medicines to treat routine illnesses, according to a new study. Well-known brands of hay fever tablets, painkillers and sleeping pills pose a previously unknown threat to people’s health when taken together, British scientists claim.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

June 23, 2011

AMA Votes To Discourage Commercial CME
The ongoing controversy over industry sponsorship of continuing medical education took a new turn this week when delegates to the American Medical Association annual meeting voted to restrict support from entities or individuals that have financial interests in the subject matter. In other words, the delegates decided there should be little or no commercial support and those who are tapped to teach the material should not have any financial relationship with a drug or device maker. Danny Carlat, a psychiatrist who was once an industry speaker but now derides industry-sponsored CME, calls this vote “huge” (see here). However, an AMA spokeswoman says not so fast, or words to that effect. In a phone conversation, she says the language adopted by the delegates is open to interpretation. Why? Well, there is something of a loophole.
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 23, 2011

Too many patients prescribed high-risk drugs, research finds
Findings of a new study suggest that too many patients in the UK are being prescribed high-risk drugs that could potentially cause them harm, and reveals that GP prescribing between practices remains significantly varied. According to the research paper, published in the British Medical Journal online, thousands of patients in Scotland particularly vulnerable to side effects from medicines were dished out 'high-risk' drugs by their GPs.
Read article at pharmatimes.com (UK)

June 20, 2011

Risk Info In Print Ads Is Not Very Comprehensible
And now, a study confirms what many people probably already knew - those brief summaries about drug side effects, contraindications and effectiveness that appear in print advertisements can be hard to fathom. Or to put it another way, “the traditional method of conveying information in the brief summary is neither the most comprehensible nor the most preferred by consumers.”
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: In plain English: Pharma drug ads are deliberately misleading.

June 20, 2011

New Zealand Chafes Over Pharma And Trade Talks
Once again, US trade talks and the behind-the-scenes role being played by the pharmaceutical industry are making headlines. This time, the ruckus is taking place in New Zealand, where there are mounting concerns about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, which is a trade agreement that aims to integrate eight economies of the Asia-Pacific region. Among the issues is the extent to which the TTP would move beyond intellectual property standards in the World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property, or TRIPS agreement (back story). The US Trade Representative, with backing from 28 US Senators and pharma, is also reportedly taking a hard line on Pharmac, the government entity that manages access to medicines in New Zealand, and reimbursement practices. An important TTP meeting will be held in November. And last month, the senators wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama wrote that “put bluntly, intellectual property equals jobs.” Although as Radio New Zealand notes, these same senators have received $6.5 million in donations from the pharmaceutical industry over the past five years.
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 20, 2011

US Supreme Court Rejects Pfizer Prempro Appeal
In a blow to the drugmaker, the US Supreme Court rejected a bid by Pfizer to appeal a $58 million damages award made four years ago to three Nevada women, who claimed they suffered breast cancer after taking the Prempro hormone replacement therapy made by its Wyeth unit (see this). The decision comes after the Nevada Supreme Court last November upheld the earlier decision. As a result, the award stands as the largest to be upheld on appeal in thousands of hormone-replacement lawsuits.
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 16, 2011

Pfizer’s Chantix May Be Tied to Heart Risk With Cardiovascular Disease
Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s smoking cessation aid Chantix, already carrying a warning it raises risks of suicide, may be tied to higher heart danger in patients with cardiovascular disease, U.S. regulators said. The Food and Drug Administration found infrequent chest pain, heart attacks and other adverse reactions in a study of 700 people with cardiovascular disease, the agency said today in a statement.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

June 16, 2011

US court lets class action against Bayer proceed
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will let two West Virginia residents revive a lawsuit against Bayer AG over its anti-cholesterol drug Baycol, which was withdrawn from the market in 2001 after reports of a severe and sometimes fatal muscle disorder.
Read article at mysanantonio.com (USA)

June 15, 2011

Pfizer, BI Inhaler May Raise Risk Of Early Death
The blockbuster inhaled lung medication Spiriva, which is sold by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim, may raise the risk of an early death, according to a new review of clinical studies. When administered in mist form, the drug was associated with a 52 percent increase in mortality risk, compared with patients given a placebo, according to the review of clinical trials involving more than 6,500 patients published in the British Medical Journal.
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 13, 2011

Child victims of the chemical cosh: Boy who killed himself after taking Ritalin
Captured in a family video, Harry Hucknall gives a cheeky grin before whizzing off down the street on his new bike. His father, Darren, will never forget the moment — when Harry was seven — and often watches the scene again and again. It is a precious memory of Harry who, one Sunday evening in September last year, kissed his mother Jane and older brother, David, goodnight before going upstairs to his bedroom and locking the door. He then hanged himself with a belt from his bunk bed. He was ten years old. His father blames Harry’s death on two ‘mind-altering’ drugs that his son had been prescribed by a psychiatrist to cure his boisterous behaviour and low spirits.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)

June 10, 2011

FDA links some prostate drugs to cancer risk
FDA adds warning of serious prostate cancer risk to label of prostate drugs like Avodart
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration expanded the warning label on a group of prostate drugs Thursday, saying they may increase the risk of a more serious form of prostate cancer.
Read Associated Press news report at yahoo.com

June 10, 2011

Germany joins France in suspending top Takeda drug
Germany has joined France in suspending the use of Takeda Pharmaceutical's Actos diabetes drug, due to worries about a possible link to cancer.
Read news report at reuters.com

June 9, 2011

FDA announces new limits on high-dose simvastatin (Zocor)
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced new limitations to the use of high-dose simvastatin, due to the increased risk of muscle pain and weakness (myopathy) and in rare cases, kidney damage and failure.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

June 9, 2011

MEP calls for export ban on 'execution' drugs
A campaign has been launched to ban the export from the EU of drugs used for executions.
Read article at theparliament.com
Comment: With global awareness growing that the pharmaceutical industry supplied the chemicals that killed tens of thousands of prisoners at the Auschwitz WWII concentration camp, and that to this day it continues to sell toxic chemicals in full knowledge they will be used for executions, the launch of this campaign, by UK MEP Sarah Ludford, is long overdue.

June 8, 2011

The Lethal-Drug Maker That's Helping End Lethal Injections
Denmark's Lundbeck is the sole remaining supplier of pentobarbital used on death row in the U.S.
In a major victory for opponents of capital punishment, the only company still supplying a drug used in executions in the United States has said that it will take steps to stop states from using it for that purpose. And the Danish Government has issued a similar call in a letter to governors of death penalty states.
Read article in The Atlantic (USA)

June 7, 2011

What Glaxo Gave To Doctors Down Under
Amid growing scandal over freebies lavished on Australian health department workers, GlaxoSmithKline has become the first drugmaker to reveal the amount of money spent on doctors and health organizations in the land Down Under. Slightly more than $2 million was doled out last year, and the amount was about evenly split between the public and private sectors.
Read article at pharmalot.com

June 4, 2011

'UK pharmaceutical industry in crisis'
British scientists have raised worries over the growing cases of ineffective medicines and adverse drug reactions, saying the UK pharmaceutical industry is in “crisis.” The clinicians expressed their worries in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, urging a rethink of the methods new medicines are tested. The signatories of the letter, published in medical journal The Lancet, said that currently “epidemic proportions” of drugs are causing adverse reactions while patients have to pay increasing sums of money for their prescriptions. The move comes as figures show some 197,000 citizens in the European Union's member states die of adverse reaction to drugs on a yearly basis.
Read article on the Press TV website (Iran)

May 31, 2011

South Carolina attorney general suing GlaxoSmithKline over cardiac risks of diabetes drug
British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC improperly marketed the diabetes drug Avandia to South Carolina consumers, hiding the medication's harmful side effects, according to a lawsuit filed by the state's top prosecutor.
Read article in The Republic (Columbus, Indiana, USA)

May 31, 2011

In France, Chantix Subsidies Go Up In Smoke
France has decided to remove Chantix, the Pfizer smoking-cessation drug, from its register of medicines for which patients can be reimbursed from government funds. “Questions have been raised about Champix, so I’ve decided it will no longer be covered by (state) health insurance,” Health Minister Xavier Bertrand told France 2 television, according to Reuters. The move comes amid growing problems for Pfizer and its controversial pill, which has been named in connection with suicides and violent behaviors.
Read article at pharmalot.com

May 26, 2011

UK doctors forced to prescribe water
Doctors are prescribing water to older hospital patients in the UK because "appalling" levels of care are leaving them dehydrated. The Care Quality Commission's (CQC) report gave examples of patients not being given enough to drink, with water left out of reach or no fluids given for long periods of time. It also noted that senior citizens were in some cases not being helped to eat and drink, with their care needs not assessed and their dignity not respected.
Read article in the Herald Sun (Australia)
Comment: With most Western healthcare systems effectively almost completely controlled by the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry, it would appear that even basic and essential practices such as providing adequate food and water to patients are increasingly being seen as secondary to the provision of synthetic patented drugs.

May 25, 2011

Champagne, Anyone? Pharma Freebies Down Under
Health Department workers in West Australia have received $745,000 worth of gifts, business class flights and hotel accommodations from drug and device makers, many of which sell meds and equipment to area hospitals, The West Australian reports. According to documents revealed in Parliament, between last July and April 6, there 259 instances in which perks - including champagne, iPads, flights and hotel packages to Paris, Vienna, Montreal and Los Angeles - were accepted.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: Further evidence of the way in which the 875 billion-dollar-a-year Pharma Cartel controls the practice of medicine through the provision of gifts, perks and other inducements for government healthcare departments to purchase its products.

May 24, 2011

Modern Medicine's Insanity: Belief that Food Is the Enemy
Foods are redefined as drugs. This simple act of redefinition makes food the domain of Big Pharma—to our everlasting loss of rights and health.
In the endless quest to separate people from nature, modern medicine now treats food itself as the enemy. Grapefruit. Ginger. Garlic. Green tea. Aloe vera. The Mayo Clinic, long considered one of the premier medical and research facilities in the United States, warns that all of these are dangerous! The risk? That they'll interfere with drugs.
Read article at gaia-health.com

May 21, 2011

Huge doses of potent antipsychotics flow into state jails for troubled kids
Drugging juveniles: Doctors hired to evaluate kids in state custody have taken huge payments from drug companies
Florida has plied children in state juvenile jails with heavy doses of powerful antipsychotic medications.
Read article in The Palm Beach Post News (Florida, USA)

May 20, 2011

Reports Detail More Drug Industry Ties to Medical Societies
As we reported earlier this month, there are often deep financial ties between professional medical societies and the drug and medical device industries. This week, other news outlets chimed in, detailing how recommendations made by two medical societies raise at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Read article at propublica.org

May 20, 2011

How drug companies' PR tactics skew the presentation of medical research
Elliot Ross reveals the secret 'army of hidden scribes' paid by the drug companies to influence doctors
When doctors are deciding which drug to prescribe a patient, the idea behind evidence-based medicine is that they inform their thinking by consulting scientific literature. To a great extent, this means relying on medical journals. The trouble is that pharmaceutical companies, who stand to win or lose large amounts of money depending on the content of journal articles, have taken a firm grip on what gets written about their drugs. That grip was strong way back in 2004, when The Lancet's chief editor Richard Horton lamented that "journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry." It may be even tighter now.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

May 19, 2011

Medical Schools Plug Holes in Conflict-of-Interest Policies
Stanford University has taken disciplinary action against five faculty members at its medical school after determining they violated school policy by giving paid promotional speeches for drug companies, a spokesman said. The move followed a ProPublica investigation in December that found Stanford and other teaching hospitals weren't enforcing their own conflict-of-interest rules.
Read article at propublica.org (USA)

May 19, 2011

Viagra 'could make you deaf'
Viagra could make you deaf, doctors have warned.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 18, 2011

IMS Institute Forecasts Global Spending on Medicines to Reach Nearly $1.1 Trillion by 2015
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics today reported that global spending for medicines will reach nearly $1.1 trillion by 2015, reflecting a slowing compound annual growth rate of 3-6 percent over the next five years. This compares with 6.2 percent annual growth over the past five years.
Read press release at imshealth.com
Comment: This is NOT a misprint: Total annual global drug sales for the Pharma Cartel are forecast to reach nearly 1.1 TRILLION dollars by 2015. It is therefore worth remembering this the next time someone asks you to donate money to a charity for research into new drug treatments for cancer and other chronic diseases. After all, with astronomical sales figures like these, the fraudulent pharmaceutical "business with disease" is clearly not short of funds for research. For an analysis of the Cartel's global sales figures between 2003 and 2010, click here.

May 18, 2011

Pfizer Did Not Report Chantix Side Effects Correctly?
Adverse event data from the third quarter of 2010 show the risks of serious psychiatric side effects of Chantix, the smoking-cessation drug, were previously underestimated because Pfizer apparently failed to correctly submit hundreds of these episodes to the FDA, according to an analysis by the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices, a non-profit that regulary reviews the FDA adverse event database. Notably, the ISMP found 150 cases of completed suicides, some of which dated back to 2007, that were not reported promptly as suicides within 15 days as required. Instead, the drugmaker apparently coded the suicides as "expected adverse events" among 26,000 such events, and added these to a quarterly periodic report, which is how less important, non-serious side effects are sent to the FDA.
Read article at pharmalot.com

May 13, 2011

More signs diabetes drug linked to bladder cancer
A review of official reports of bad drug reactions is revealing more signs that people taking the diabetes drug Actos are at higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
Read news report at reuters.com

May 11, 2011

Drug regulators are protecting profits over patients, warn researchers
Medicines regulators are protecting drug company profits rather than the lives and welfare of patients by withholding unpublished trial data, argue researchers in the British Medical Journal today.
Read article at medicalxpress.com
Comment: The official records of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal against IG Farben prove definitively that “profit over life” has been the key operating principle of the Pharma Cartel since at least the 1930s. However, the roots of the Cartel were formed even earlier than this, in the very early part of the 20th century, when a number of powerful and wealthy individuals recognized that the ‘industrialization’ of health care would offer them further opportunities to control even more wealth and power. By ‘rationalizing’ (as they described it) the provision of public health care and incorporating into this process the technological developments taking place in chemistry in the early 20th century, these men developed health care as a business – a business that would eventually lead to the patent based pharmaceutical industry of today. To learn more about the history of the pharmaceutical investment ‘business with disease’, and who controls it, click here.

May 11, 2011

EU drugs regulator accused of being too cozy with Big Pharma
The European Parliament has refused to sign off on the accounts of the EU agency responsible for making sure all medicines in Europe are safe and effective for its citizens to use, accusing the body of being too close to Big Pharma. The European Medicines Agency's reputation was further bludgeoned on Tuesday when the parliament ordered a special investigation of the regulator over its funding sources, which overwhelmingly come from the pharmaceutical industry and its hiring practices. Completing the bad news for the agency whose claims of objectivity now lie in tatters were accusations from doctors from the Nordic Cochrane Centre, an independent Denmark-based network that publishes systematic reviews of drug efficacy, that the EMA withholds drug trial evidence due for fear of hurting the profits of drug companies.
Read article at euobserver.com

May 11, 2011

JAMA Study Omitted Data On Alzheimer’s Drug?
In a blistering missive, the Public Citizen consumer group has charged that researchers with ties to Eli Lilly withheld important data from the Journal of the American Medical Association concerning their recent study of an imaging agent for Alzheimer’s disease.
Read article at pharmalot.com

May 11, 2011

Babies given anti-obesity drugs in the womb
Babies to be given diet drug in the womb to stop them being born overweight in trial described as ‘disturbing’ by weight loss groups.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Comment: A particularly disturbing development, this trial proves that the multi-trillion dollar pharmaceutical “business with disease” now sees even unborn children as a marketplace for its patented synthetic chemical drugs.

May 10, 2011

Amgen’s Anemia Medicine Linked to Higher Risk in Heart-Attack Patients
A drug sold by Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson for people with anemia didn’t reduce heart damage in patients who’d experienced heart attacks and may increase the chances of recurrence or death, a study found. Epogen, approved in 1989 as the first drug for Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen, is used by patients undergoing kidney dialysis to boost their depleted red blood cells. J&J sells the drug as Procrit, mostly for cancer patients getting chemotherapy.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

May 10, 2011

Conflicts Cloud The European Medicine Agency
In the wake of a recent scandal in which former European Medicines Agency director Thomas Lonngren accepted a pharma consulting gig just days after resigning last winter, a pair of activist groups are urging the European Parliament to review the case, audit all similar cases in which EMA managers left for other jobs and, finally, apply a conflicts of interest policy to EMA experts and representatives.
Read article at pharmalot.com

May 10, 2011

Paracetamol 'link' to blood cancer
Taking paracetamol regularly could almost double the chance of getting a relatively rare form of cancer, research suggests.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 9, 2011

Antipsychotic Drugs Called Hazardous for the Elderly
Nearly one in seven elderly nursing home residents, nearly all of them with dementia, are given powerful atypical antipsychotic drugs even though the medicines increase the risks of death and are not approved for such treatments, a government audit found.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)

May 9, 2011

Faking medical reality
"It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine." Marcia Angell, MD.
Read article by Jon Rappoport at wordpress.com
Comment: After stepping down as editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, Marcia Angell published a revealing book about the drug industry in which she openly described it as a "global fraud." To learn more, click here.

May 9, 2011

Short term use of painkillers could be dangerous to heart patients
Even short-term use of some painkillers could be dangerous for people who've had a heart attack, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers analyzed the duration of prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treatment and cardiovascular risk in a nationwide Danish cohort of patients with prior heart attack. They found the use of NSAIDs was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of death or recurrent heart attack within as little as one week of treatment, and a 55 percent increased risk if treatment extended to three months.
Read article at medicalxpress.com

May 6, 2011

The murky world of academic ghostwriting
Lawsuits are shedding light on the dubious relationship between medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies
When Barbara Sherwin, a McGill University psychology professor, became embroiled in a ghostwriting case in 2009, many wondered how an esteemed academic—one who dedicated her life to researching the relationship between hormones and cognition—could be accused of attaching her name to an article she didn't write. Her alleged transgression came to light in a class-action suit involving 8,400 women against the drug company Wyeth (now part of Pfizer). Lawyers representing the women, who claim they were harmed by their hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs, discovered that scientific research papers extolling the virtues of the treatment while downplaying potential harm appeared to have been written, not by the academics who signed their name to the papers, but by writers hired by the pharmaceutical company.
Read article at macleans.ca (Canada)

May 6, 2011

Ties That Bind: Pharma Money & Medical Societies
How closely tied are professional medical societies to drug and device makers? Just how much money do some receive? And how obvious is the spending at annual meetings? The answers - some have very close ties, get lots of money and the outlay can be enough to burst a blood vessel.
Read article at pharmalot.com

May 6, 2011

Special report: Big Pharma's global guinea pigs
Today, the clinical trials business has gone global as drugmakers seek cheaper venues for studies and cast their net further afield for big pools of "treatment-naive" patients who are not already taking other drugs that could make them unsuitable subjects for testing new ones.
Read report at reuters.com

May 5, 2011

Clinical Trial Deaths And Compensation In India
An investigation by India’s health ministry has found that drugmakers running clinical trials in the country have not compensated survivors of most volunteers who died during their studies. Of 671 deaths that were reported last year, there is evidence that compensation was given in just three cases, The Business Standard writes. And so, the health ministry has asked 44 drugmakers to explain why they have not provided compensation, which is mandatory under the current law. Among those queried were Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Bayer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi-Aventis. For instance, data compiled by the ministry show there were 152 deaths reported during Sanofi trials and 138 took place in Bayer trials.
Read article at pharmalot.com

May 5, 2011

Glaxo May Settle 1,000 More Avandia Lawsuits, Attorney Says
GlaxoSmithKline Plc, after setting aside more than $6 billion to help settle lawsuits over medicines including its Avandia diabetes drug, is poised to resolve 1,000 more cases, a lawyer for patients said. Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, is in settlement talks with lawyers for an estimated 1,000 former Avandia users who sued the company in state courts in Pennsylvania, California and Illinois, Dianne Nast, a plaintiffs’ attorney who serves on a group helping to oversee cases consolidated in federal court in Philadelphia, said in an interview yesterday.
Read article at businessweek.com

May 4, 2011

Chemo Brain May Last 5 Years or More
“Chemo brain,” the foggy thinking and forgetfulness that cancer patients often complain about after treatment, may last for five years or more for a sizable percentage of patients, new research shows. The findings, based on a study of 92 cancer patients at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, suggest that the cognitive losses that seem to follow many cancer treatments are far more pronounced and longer-lasting than commonly believed. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, is a vindication of sorts for many cancer patients, whose complaints about thinking and memory problems are often dismissed by doctors who lay blame for the symptoms on normal aging or the fatigue of illness.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)
Comment: So toxic are some chemotherapy drugs that they are actually listed in the “11th Report on Carcinogens” of the US National Toxicology Program as known carcinogens. In other words, the drugs prescribed to millions of cancer patients as a cure are, in fact, known to cause cancer. To learn more about the dangers of these toxic drugs, and read shocking extracts from their "patient information leaflets", as published by the drug manufacturers themselves, click here.

May 3, 2011

Medical Journal Withdraws Article About Januvia And Byetta After It Gets Letters From Two Drug Companies
According to a news item published April 11, 2011 by The British Medical Journal (BMJ), letters written by Merck and Novo Nordisk to Anil Rustgi, the editor-in-chief of Gastroenterology, resulted in that journal withdrawing an article which it had posted on its website about how Januvia (sitagliptin) and Byetta (exenatide) have been associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis as well as several cancers.
Read article at drug-injury.com
Comment: Yet another example of the abuse of power by pharma in suppressing scientific facts.

April 26, 2011

Abbott Labs Sued on Claim Humira Caused Lasting Nerve Damage
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) was sued on claims that its top-selling drug Humira caused permanent nerve damage in the feet of a Montana woman who took it for Crohn’s disease. Two doctors who treated Kara Mae Pletan at the Mayo Clinic in 2008 said the nerve damage in her feet “was most likely due to Humira,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed today in state court in Chicago, near the company’s headquarters in Abbott Park, Illinois. The complaint also alleges Abbott knew that Humira, which had 2010 worldwide sales of $6.5 billion, could cause peripheral neuropathy before it began marketing the drug to Crohn’s patients in 2007.
Read article at bloomberg.com

April 19, 2011

US Aims at Its Deadliest Drug Problem: Painkillers
The White House drug czar wants doctors, states and law enforcement working harder to stop America's deadliest drug-abuse problem: highly addictive prescription painkillers. They are killing more people than heroin and cocaine combined as they foster a slew of illegal "pill mill" clinics centered in Florida.
Read article on the ABC News website (USA)
Comment: The term "pill mill" is used to describe a doctor, pharmacist, pharmacy or clinic whose primary function is the distribution of narcotics for profit. Operating as middle-men between the pharmaceutical industry and addicts, "pill mill" owners and operators are essentially drug dealers in white lab coats. Significantly, therefore, according to the U.S. Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from painkillers have risen from less than 4,000 in 2000 to more than 11,000 in 2007, the most recent statistics available.

April 19, 2011

Bowel Drugs Side Effects May Cause Fatal Blood Cancer: FDA Warns
Federal drug regulators are receiving an increasing amount of blood cancer reports from users of some drugs designed to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The FDA issued a drug safety alert on April 14 for tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, including Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and Simponi, as well as other types of drugs like azathioprine and mercaptopurine. The agency says a number of reports have linked the drugs to a rare cancer of white blood cells in children and young adults known as Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma (HSTCL).
Read article at aboutlawsuits.com (USA)

April 14, 2011

FDA Urged To Ban Diet Pill Over Liver Damage
For the second time in five years, Public Citizen is petitioning the FDA to ban the Xenical prescription diet pill sold by Roche, which is also marketed in a lower-dose, over-the-counter version as Alli by GlaxoSmithKline. The latest move comes after a report earlier this week that linked the drug to kidney stones and pancreatic damage. The watchdog group identified 47 cases of acute pancreatitis and 73 kidney stones among patients taking either the prescription version or the over-the-counter form.
Read article at pharmalot.com

April 13, 2011

Foundations, Conflicts Of Interest And Drugmakers
Major philanthropic foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, regularly make the news with their donations and initiatives aimed at improving global health. But there is an aspect to their efforts that may be overlooked - such organizations can have links with drugmakers that could constitute a conflict of interest, according to an analysis published in PLoS Medicine.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Comment: The PLoS analysis adds significantly to the information about the Gates Foundation that was published by the Los Angeles Times in January 2007. In particular, the researchers found that several members of the Gates Foundation’s management committee, leadership teams, affiliates, and major funders are currently or were previously members of the boards or executive branches of major drugmakers, including Merck and Novartis. To examine the commercial network of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, click here and here. For further information about Bill Gates, click here.

April 9, 2011

Mother worried about treatment side effects
Charged in death of son, she says chemo was making boy far sicker than the cancer
First he had a bloated face from the steroids, then dark circles under his eyes. Young Jeremy Fraser would soon become lethargic once his chemotherapy treatment began, his mother said yesterday, and he looked like “he wanted to get out of his own body.’’ “Jeremy went from pretty much being OK, to being hammered on medications that were really making him sick,’’ Kristen LaBrie told a Superior Court jury yesterday, offering her own account of her decision in the treatment of her son. In tones that bounced between conversational and combative, the Beverly mother, charged with the attempted murder of Jeremy, told jurors that she withheld cancer treatment for the boy because side effects from the medication wore on him far worse than his sickness.
Read article in The Boston Globe (USA)
Comment: Cancer is a multi-billion dollar business. The drugs used in chemotherapy do kill cancer cells – but they also kill healthy cells too. This fact alone is bad enough, but it doesn’t stop there. The drugs used in chemotherapy also have side-effects and many cause new cancers and new diseases, thus leading to the use of yet more drugs which in turn have new side effects. It’s a vicious circle and a license to print money for the pharmaceutical industry. As such, when authorities resort to charging a mother with attempted murder – and eventually succeed in securing a conviction – because she objected to the ongoing poisoning of her child with chemotherapy, it’s a clear sign that the pharmaceutical “business with disease” is under threat. To learn the facts about chemotherapy drugs, click here. To learn how cancer can be eradicated naturally, click here.

April 8, 2011

Johnson & Johnson Will Pay $70 Million Over Bribery Claims
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), the world’s second-biggest seller of medical products, will pay $70 million after admitting that the company bribed doctors in Europe and paid kickbacks in Iraq to win contracts and sell drugs and artificial joints. Subsidiaries of J&J paid bribes to doctors and hospital administrators in Greece, Poland and Romania, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice said today in filings at U.S. District Court in Washington. The company also made illegal payments to Iraqi officials to win contracts under the U.N. oil-for-food program, the filings said. J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, used slush funds, sham contracts and off-shore companies in the Isle of Man to carry out the bribery, the SEC said.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

April 7, 2011

Antidepressants, Breast Cancer & Industry Studies
Is there a link between antidepressants and breast and ovarian cancer? A new meta-analysis of 61 trials identified a connection in nearly 33 percent of the epidemiological and pre-clinical studies conducted between 1965 and 2010 found an association between cancer and antidepressants. And the link was stronger among women using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Moreover, the study found researchers with industry ties were significantly less likely than researchers without those affiliations to conclude antidepressants increase the risk of breast or ovarian cancer. The authors of the meta-analysis, which was published this week in PLoS Medicines, suggest the findings raise public health and policy issues, “because there is increasing evidence that financial ties among industry, investigators, and academic institutions can affect the research process.”
Read article at pharmalot.com

April 4, 2011

Cancer charity 'tidies' Wikipedia
Cancer Research UK is turning its specialists loose on the internet to get them to tidy up the online encyclopedia - Wikipedia. The charity said many people researching the subject are turning to the website. But it said there were problems with accuracy and clarity on some of the pages.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)
Comment: Regular visitors to our website will already be aware that the facts aren’t welcome on Wikipedia when you challenge the interests of the multi-billion dollar drug industry. Notably, therefore, close analysis of Cancer Research UK’s latest annual report reveals that it has a drug development and commercialisation company, Cancer Research Technology Ltd, that has recently formed partnerships with multinational pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and Cephalon. As such, some may argue that the nature of Cancer Research UK’s relationships with drug companies raises the question as to whether the charity’s “specialists” have perhaps been tasked with ensuring that cancer-related content on Wikipedia downplays the facts about the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs and, in the process, obscures the main principles governing the pharmaceutical “business with disease”.

April 2, 2011

Pfizer, Lilly Antidepressants Linked to Narrowed Arteries in Older Men
Antidepressants may narrow the arteries of middle-aged men, potentially putting them at risk for heart attacks and stroke, researchers said.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

April 1, 2011

Execution drug still available after Lundbeck shuns ‘end user’ agreements
Death-row inmates in the US are to be executed using an anti-epilepsy drug produced by Lundbeck, after the Copenhagen-based company last week decided against forcing its distributors to sign contracts preventing them from supplying prisons.
Read article in the Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
Comment: As global awareness grows that the pharmaceutical industry supplied the chemicals that killed tens of thousands of prisoners at the Auschwitz WWII concentration camp, and that to this day it continues to sell toxic chemicals in full knowledge they will be used for executions, it speaks volumes about the industry that some companies, even after being publicly exposed, are trying to resist the growing calls for such sales to be prohibited.

March 31, 2011

GSK paid $85 million to U.S. doctors last year
GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it paid $85.3 million to U.S. doctors and researchers in 2010 for a variety of services, including speaking fees, expert advice and work on clinical trials of its medicines. The disclosure is the latest example of Big Pharma bowing to pressure for greater transparency, following concerns in the United States about commercial links between industry and healthcare professionals.
Read news report at reuters.com

March 30, 2011

Merck Paid $20.4 Million in Speaking Fees to U.S. Doctors
Drug maker Merck & Co. paid $20.4 million last year to more than 2,000 U.S. doctors and health-care professionals to discuss the company's products and certain health-care topics with other professionals. The Whitehouse Station, N.J., company posted the new data on payments to individual physicians on its website this week. The company previously disclosed data for the second half of 2009, when it paid $9.4 million to nearly 1,700 professionals. The figures, however, don't include speaker programs tied to Schering-Plough, which Merck acquired in November 2009.
Read article at marketwatch.com

March 29, 2011

Lawyers say plant leaked toxic chemical for years
Company officials failed to alert residents and collect data about groundwater, air and soil contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals from a Central California manufacturing plant owned by a former subsidiary of drug maker Merck & Co., lawyers for nearby residents told jurors Tuesday in closing arguments of a lawsuit.
Read article in the San Francisco Chronicle (USA)

March 29, 2011

Conflicts Of Interest & Treatment Guideline Panels
Yet another study has found a conflict of interest among doctors. This time, conflicts were reported by 56 percent of 498 docs who helped write 17 guidelines for the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology between 2003 through 2008, according to the study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine (see the abstract). And this finding matters because these panels typically wield considerable influence.
Read article at pharmalot.com

March 29, 2011

Lipitor Linked To Increased Diabetes Risk
More evidence has linked the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in patients who have multiple diabetes risk factors, according to a study published on Monday.
Read article at redorbit.com (USA)

March 27, 2011

Drugging America: The drug industry exposed
Pharmaceuticals are a $650 plus billion dollar a year industry. For years the most profitable business in the U.S. has been the pharmaceutical corporations, which routinely top the annual fortune 500 list. Doctor prescribed drugs support an industry which out-earns the GNP of many nations. A core attribute to big Pharma’s overwhelming ‘success’ lays in the liaison between the corporations and the ‘symptoms management’ health care industry: The pharmaceutical representative. The men and women we see meeting with physicians, walking into offices with gifts of lunch for the staff, meeting with the doctor while you wait for our appointment.
Read interview with former pharmaceutical rep. Gwen Olsen in the Washington Times (USA)
Comment: Total global sales for the drug industry were worth 837 billion dollars in 2009 and are expected to reach 880 billion during 2011. Statistics aside, Olsen’s interview confirms many of the things we ourselves have been saying for years.

March 18, 2011

Michigan Is Preempted From Suing Merck
File this under irony. Since Michigan is the only state that bars most product liability lawsuits, state residents who believe they have a case against a drugmaker are unlikely to succeed in pressing a claim unless their lawsuit is heard elsewhere, if possible. Some citizens have railed against this restriction and now the state, itself, is learning the hard way the limits of its own law. The Michigan appeals court yesterday ruled that the state cannot sue Merck in an effort to recover millions of dollars spent on the Vioxx painkiller, which was pulled from the market in 2004 over heart attack risks. Why? Merck is protected by Michigan law that grants immunity to drugmakers if their med has been approved by the FDA.
Read article at pharmalot.com

March 13, 2011

U.S. courts confront China's involvement in price fixing
In a closely watched case that could test the reach of U.S. antitrust law, four Chinese companies face powerful evidence that they colluded to limit production and fix prices of vitamin C in the United States. The evidence is so convincing, in fact, that the defendants have not contested the allegations. But they still have a potentially solid legal defense: the Chinese government made them do it. It's a position that has been bolstered by the Chinese government itself, which made an official appearance in the case -- believed to be its first ever in a U.S. court -- to file briefs in support of the defendants. After more than six years of litigation, a Brooklyn federal judge is expected to decide soon whether the case can be decided without a trial.
Read article on the International Business Times website
Comment: Pharmaceutical companies have a long history of colluding to form cartels to fix the prices of vitamins. In 1999, for example, following Dr. Rath’s scientific breakthrough in relation to vitamin C and the prevention of cardiovascular disease, a group of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies at that time – including Roche, BASF, Rhone-Poulenc of France, Takeda, Eisai and Daiichi of Japan, and others – were fined more than one billion dollars in the U.S. for conspiring to conduct criminal price-fixing for vitamin raw materials. Two years later, the resulting legal domino effect eventually forced even the Brussels EU to impose record fines against the cartel – although it subsequently halved the penalties claiming the drug companies had “cooperated” with its investigation. In all, hundreds of millions of people worldwide were defrauded for almost a decade and had to pay artificially high prices for vitamins and certain other essential nutrients. To learn more about the history of the so-called “vitamin cartel”, read pages 256-258 of Dr. Rath’s groundbreaking book, “Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks ... But People Do!

March 11, 2011

Study: Pharmaceutical chemicals widespread in Minn. Streams
Potentially harmful chemicals and pharmaceuticals are widespread in Minnesota streams, state scientists found in a new study. The study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency also shows fish have genetic changes when exposed to the mix of chemicals. In the most the most comprehensive study of chemicals in Minnesota, the agency's scientists collected water samples from 25 sewage treatment plants across Minnesota. They also sampled water upstream and downstream from the treatment plants for 78 chemicals. Among the substances scientists most often found are the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole and carbamazepine, a drug used to treat atentionl deficit hyperactivity disorder, agency scientist Mark Ferrey said. They also found the antibiotic trimethoprim and anti-depressant compounds.
Read article on the Minnesota Public Radio website (USA)
Comment: Evidence is growing worldwide that the pharmaceutical industry is polluting the environment and that drinking water supplies are now contaminated with measurable amounts of dangerous synthetic chemical drugs. In California, for example, the drug company Merck & Co. stands accused of not only polluting the water supply with cancer-causing chemicals, but also covering up the contamination and downplaying its severity. Disturbingly, therefore, a study published in 2009 found that fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them. Thus far, testing has revealed that at least 46 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, scientists in the UK have found cancer drugs in tap water and rising levels of antidepressant drugs in coastal waters which they fear could seriously upset the natural balance of the ecosystem and potentially damage the food-chain. The world’s highest drug levels in water are believed to occur in India, where 21 different active pharmaceutical ingredients – at 150 times the highest levels detected in the U.S. – have been found.

March 8, 2011

Conflicts-of-interest in drug studies sneaking back into medical journals, say investigators
Hidden financial conflicts-of-interest are sneaking into published drug research through the back door, warns an international team of investigators, led by researchers from the Jewish General Hospital's Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill University in Montreal. More and more, policy decisions and what medications doctors prescribe for their patients are being driven by large "studies of studies," called meta-analyses, which statistically combine results from many individual drug trials. Led by Dr. Brett Thombs and McGill graduate student Michelle Roseman, the team found that important declarations of financial conflicts-of-interest in individual drug trials disappeared when those studies were combined in meta-analyses.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: The investigators in this study found that only 2 of the 29 meta-analyses they looked at made any mention of who funded the original drug trials. In a similar way, the 2008 Cochrane Collaboration meta-analysis of studies on antioxidant supplements, which resulted in worldwide media propaganda claiming that taking vitamin supplements could lead to a premature death, came to conclusions not consistent with either the studies analyzed or real-world evidence. To discover what the world’s media didn’t tell you about this Cochrane meta-analysis, including its significant conflicts of interest and potential historical parallels with crimes committed by the managers of the I.G. Farben cartel, click here.

March 4, 2011

FDA: migraine drug ups risk for oral birth defects
An epilepsy drug also used to help prevent migraines can increase the risk for oral birth defects in babies born to women taking the medication, U.S. health officials said on Friday. The Food and Drug Administration said new data shows expecting mothers taking the drug, sold generically and as Johnson & Johnson's Topamax, are about 20 times more likely to have their infants develop cleft lips or cleft palate deformities than those who are not treated.
Read news report at reuters.com

March 1, 2011

New study links pain relievers to erectile dysfunction
Men who regularly take pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin may be at increased risk for erectile dysfunction, new research suggests.
Read article on the USA Today website

March 1, 2011

Free Med Journals Are More Likely To Hype Drugs
Those free medical journals - which are sent at no cost to doctors and are financed by pharma ads - are much more likely to recommend drugs that are mentioned in its pages than journals that are funded by subscription fees, according to a new study.
Read article at pharmalot.com

February 27, 2011

Past medical testing on humans revealed
Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital. Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission. The meeting was triggered by the government's apology last fall for federal doctors infecting prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis 65 years ago. U.S. officials also acknowledged there had been dozens of similar experiments in the United States - studies that often involved making healthy people sick.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Following last year’s revelation that scientists deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis in experiments conducted between 1946 and 1948, the above story provides still further proof that criminal experiments conducted by or on behalf of the pharmaceutical and chemical industries did not cease after those carried out by the IG Farben cartel during WWII. Particularly appalling violations of medical ethics took place during the notorious “Tuskegee Experiment”, where, between 1932 and 1972, U.S. Public Health Service doctors secretly enticed around 400 poor black men into a study whose aim, unknown to the participants, was to observe the natural progression of untreated syphilis. For 40 years, the men were deliberately never told they had syphilis and were never treated for it. In South-West England, meanwhile, scientists from Porton Down sprayed toxic chemicals into the air around Bristol in the early 1960s to analyze how they dispersed, with passers-by and lunchtime shoppers knowingly being exposed and used as guinea pigs. In other tests, British soldiers recruited as volunteers to test "cold remedies" at Porton Down were instead given forms of the sarin nerve agent developed by the Nazis in World War II. To help put a stop to current examples of such deceptions, such as the Pharma Cartel's AIDS Genocide, please support the Call for a Second Nuremberg Tribunal.

February 22, 2011

Pfizer Reaches Deal To Resolve All Trovan Litigation
Nearly 15 years after a clinical trial of its Trovan antibiotic caused a scandal in Nigeria, Pfizer has reached a global settlement that resolves all lawsuits filed both there and in the United States. Terms, however, were not disclosed. The agreement follows another reached in July 2009 with the Kano state government in Nigeria in which Pfizer agreed to pay $75 million to settle civil and criminal charges.
Read article at pharmalot.com

February 22, 2011

FDA Warns Sanofi For Failing To Report Side Effects
In a harsh warning letter, the FDA has reprimanded Sanofi-Aventis for failing to meet regulatory deadlines for reporting serious side effects with many of its drugs, including the Lovenox blood thinner, the Multaq heart drug and the Allegra D allergy pill, and also did not report post-marketing studies or completed, unpublished clinical trials in NDA annual reports. The seven-page missive, which was dated January 28, comes after the agency reviewed Sanofi paperwork last May. And a separate letter dated February 9 notes that a Sanofi plant in Germany has problems with contamination. When it came to reporting adverse events, however, some reporting delays stretched back as far as 2007 - there was a delay of 896 days in reporting side effects associated with the Glyburide diabetes med.
Read article at pharmalot.com

February 17, 2011

AstraZeneca Said to Settle More Seroquel Lawsuits
AstraZeneca Plc agreed to pay $150 million to settle more lawsuits claiming its antipsychotic drug Seroquel causes diabetes, pushing the amount the drugmaker has paid to resolve cases over the medicine to almost $350 million, people familiar with the accords said.
Read article at businessweek.com

February 15, 2011

UK sells US enough drugs to execute 100 death row inmates, inquiry told
Enough pharmaceutical drugs have been sold to the US by licensed British wholesalers since last summer to execute 100 death row inmates, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)
Comment: As we have pointed out previously on these pages, pharmaceutical companies have a long history of supplying chemicals for killing prisoners. With the industry already having been proven to have supplied the chemicals that killed tens of thousands of prisoners at the Auschwitz WWII concentration camp, it is high time that all modern-day drug companies selling drugs for use in executions are publicly exposed.

February 9, 2011

Pfizer Said to Pay $330 Million to Settle Prempro Lawsuits Claiming Cancer
Pfizer Inc. agreed to pay about $330 million to resolve claims that its Prempro menopause drug caused breast cancer, in the first large-scale settlements in eight years of litigation, two people familiar with the accords said. Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, will settle more than 2,200 lawsuits alleging the company’s Wyeth unit hid Prempro’s cancer risks, the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the accords. The cases settled for an average of about $150,000, the people said.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

February 7, 2011

Drugs for Schizophrenia May Exacerbate Loss of Brain Tissue, Study Finds
Anti-psychotic drugs from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson may lead to loss of brain tissue or exacerbate declines in brain volume caused by schizophrenia, a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found. Researchers tracked 211 patients with newly diagnosed schizophrenia to determine if the progressive loss of brain tissue widely attributed to the disease may be affected by drugs to treat it, severity of the illness or substance abuse. More antipsychotic drug treatment, including duration and intensity, was linked to greater declines in brain volume. Severity of disease, alcohol and illegal drug use had no effect.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

February 7, 2011

Glaxo Said to Pay $250 Million to Resolve Avandia Suits
GlaxoSmithKline Plc agreed to pay more than $250 million to resolve about 5,500 claims related to its Avandia diabetes drug and avoid the first trial over claims it can kill users, two people familiar with the accords said. Glaxo, the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, agreed to settle the lawsuits claiming the drug causes heart attacks and strokes for an average of at least $46,000 each, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Read article at businessweek.com
Comment: According to a U.S. Senate committee report released in February 2010, Glaxo’s diabetes drug Avandia is linked with tens of thousands of heart attacks and the company knew of the risks for years but worked to keep them from the public. The 334-page report also criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, saying that it overlooked or overrode safety concerns found by its staff. To learn how diabetes can be eradicated naturally, without the use of dangerous synthetic drugs, click here.

February 3, 2011

Medical journal bans drug company ads
An Australian medical journal has "stopped all drug advertising forthwith" over concerns it could unduly influence doctors, and has called on similar publications to do the same. The journal of Emergency Medicine Australasia, which publishes the latest research and unique patient cases in the field of emergency medicine, has announced it will no longer carry advertisements paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Such advertising could "change the prescribing practices of doctors", said professors George Jelinek and Anthony Brown in a joint statement on Thursday. "It is time to show leadership and make a stand, and medical journals have a critical role to play in this," they said.
Read article in the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

February 3, 2011

Pharma giant Merck faces trial over Merced plant
Residents say water, air were contaminated.
A company once owned by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. exposed residents near its now-shuttered Merced plant to cancer-causing chemicals, then covered up the contamination for years and downplayed its severity, a lawyer said Thursday.
Read article in the Fresno Bee (California, USA)

February 2, 2011

Roche Med Linked To Fatal Side Effects
File this under ‘going from bad to worse.’ Just a few weeks after the FDA decided to rescind the breast cancer indication for Avastin, the med sold by Roche’s Genentech unit is now linked to an increased risk of causing a fatal reaction when combined with chemotherapy, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (here is the abstract).
Read article at pharmalot.com

February 1, 2011

10 Celebrities on Big Pharma’s Payroll
The drug business has a long history of getting into bed with celebrities. Here are 10 stars who have been on Big Pharma’s payroll:
Read article on the CBS Interactive Business Network website

January 31, 2011

Mainstream Media And Public Health Turn On Big Pharma
Wonders never cease. The blatant poisoning of individuals under the false pretense of health could soon be coming to an end. A series of studies published this month by mainstream researchers, issued in mainstream journals, and even carried in mainstream media is signaling the beginning of the end of the Big Pharma PR drug-sales juggernaut.
Read article by Byron J. Richards at newswithviews.com

January 31, 2011

Delayed FDA Removal of Painkiller Propoxyphene From U.S. Market Has Cost More Than 1,000 U.S. Lives
The November 2010 announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that propoxyphene-containing products are finally going to be taken off the market is a serious indictment of the FDA’s long-lasting unwillingness to protect people in this country from a deadly but barely effective painkiller. The FDA banned propoxyphene-containing products (DARVON, DARVOCET) because of dangers that have been known for years.
Read blog entry at pharmagossip.blogspot.com

January 27, 2011

Bayer Settles Multi-Million With Hemophiliacs Over HIV Tainted Blood
The Coalition Against Bayer pharmaceuticals (CBG) announces that Bayer and Baxter settled a mulit-million dollar compensation suit with hemophiliacs in 22 countries who were victims, infected with HIV or hepatitis C having been infused with tainted blood plasma products in the 1980s. In 2003, The New York Times reported that a division of Bayer pharmaceutical knowingly continued to sell its AIDS infected blood product to countries in Asia and Latin America to get rid of inventory: "the company hoped to preserve the profit margin from 'several large fixed-price contracts." The Bayer-Baxter settlement prohibits the victims and their lawyers from speaking about the arrangement. Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition (CBG) welcomes the settlement, but asks: “why is BAYER concealing the payments? Why are the media not able to report on this precedent? It is outrageous that the companies who knowingly infected thousands of haemophiliacs are blackmailing the victims not to talk about this important development!”
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Human Research Protection (USA)
Comment: We suspect some might argue this issue is one of many aspects of its history that Bayer would perhaps prefer not to be publicized. During the German Nazi regime, Bayer was a member of the IG Farben Cartel that, in conducting forced medical experiments upon concentration camp inmates, showed total disregard for human life and human values. In 1948, at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, directors of IG Farben were sentenced for plunder, slavery, mass murder and other crimes against humanity. One of the convicted war criminals at Nuremberg was Fritz ter Meer. A member of the IG Farben executive committee between 1925 and 1945 who had responsibility for the construction and operation of the IG Farben factory at the Auschwitz concentration camp, ter Meer was condemned by the Nuremberg court to seven years imprisonment. Unbelievably, however, despite his appalling crimes, he was released after serving only two years. In 1956, despite knowing that he was a convicted war criminal, Bayer appointed ter Meer as chairman of its supervisory board, a post he went on to hold for 8 years.

January 25, 2011

Hormones Still Pushed, Still Dangerous
The medical press trumpeted again this month the shopworn pharmaceutical marketing message that menopausal hormones may be good for women, after all. This is at least the eighth time researchers have tried to resuscitate the lucrative therapy, which sank in 2002 when a government study found it caused the cancer and heart disease it was marketed to prevent. Wyeth, now Pfizer, had to close a plant and phase out 1,200 employees when the highly advertised hormone therapy nosedived.
Read article in the Huffington Post (USA)

January 24, 2011

Heart Disease Treatment Cost to Triple to $818 Billion by 2030, Study Says
The medical bill for Americans with heart disease is expected to triple in the next two decades, increasing to $818 billion in 2030 as the population ages, according to the American Heart Association. The rising expense includes only the price of treatment, not the cost of lost time and productivity as patients and their partners miss work or other tasks, a policy paper published today in the association’s medical journal Circulation concluded. Heart disease now costs $273 billion a year in the U.S., or about 17 percent of the nation’s medical spending.
Read article at Bloomberg.com
Comment: Good health is the fundamental right of all human beings. However, and as the above article clearly illustrates, the current American healthcare system is increasingly at risk of being bankrupted by the multi-trillion dollar “business with disease.” With the costs of treating heart disease alone in the United States now expected to reach $818 billion within the next 20 years, the need to establish a new healthcare system, based upon safe and affordable scientific breakthroughs in the areas of vitamin research and cellular health, has never been more urgent. To learn how cardiovascular disease can be eradicated naturally through the use of vitamins and other nutrients, click here.

January 24, 2011

Cancer sufferers 'to be given chemotherapy at branches of Boots' in extraordinary shake-up of NHS
Cancer patients will receive chemotherapy at their local branch of Boots as part of a revolutionary shake-up of the NHS.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)
Comment: The UK government’s plan for toxic chemotherapy drugs to be administered to British cancer patients through the country’s National Health Service (NHS) in branches of Boots, a High Street pharmacy and retailer, is the latest in a long line of historical examples of drug industry profits taking precedence over human life. In the 1930s and 40s, the placing of profit over life by the IG Farben Oil and Drug Cartel resulted in the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal sentencing the conglomerate’s disgraced managers to prison. For the health and lives of almost seven billion people living on our planet today, as well as those of all future generations, the fraudulent business model of the modern-day “business with disease” needs to be terminated as soon as possible. To learn how you can help bring this about, click here. To learn how cancer can be eradicated naturally, without toxic chemotherapy drugs, click here.

January 21, 2011

Doctors criticise leukaemia drug study
Three Australian oncologists say cancer treatment research published in one of the world's most prestigious medical journals may have been compromised by a drug company that funded the study. They said publication of the research in The Lancet might have boosted the drug's perceived value to doctors and patients around the world, helping its manufacturer, Roche, make billions of dollars from the product. In a letter to The Lancet last year, Associate Professor Ian Haines, of Cabrini Hospital, Melbourne, and two colleagues said they were concerned that 27 of the 32 authors of the research, published last October, had potential conflicts of interest, given they had declared financial links to drug companies, including Roche, which funded the study. One of these 27 authors was a paid employee of the company.
Read article in the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

January 19, 2011

'Statins for all' – and billions for drug firms
Prescribing them to the healthy may not have saved lives, but it certainly made money
Back in 1975, Henry Gadsden, the chief executive of the drug company Merck, expressed his frustration that the market for his company's products was limited to those with some treatable illness. Ideally, he said, he would like to "sell to everyone". Three decades later, his dream would seem to have come true – epitomised by the most profitable class of drugs ever discovered, the cholesterol-lowering statins that are taken by an estimated seven million people in Britain, and tens of millions worldwide. Statins are frequently portrayed as the wonder drugs of our age, whose role in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes prevents tens of thousands of deaths per year. But not according to the most recent review of the many trials investigating their effectiveness, published yesterday. It suggests that for three quarters of those taking them, they offer little or no value, while exposing millions to the hazard of undesirable side-effects.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 19, 2011

US warns of liver damage with heart drug
A heart drug by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis has been linked to liver damage in some patients, two of whom had to receive transplants, the US Food and Drug Administration said Friday.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

January 18, 2011

Children prescribed antibiotics are twice as likely to develop digestive problems, scientists claim
Young children who are treated with antibiotics are twice as likely to develop digestive problems later on, according to new scientific research. The study, published in the health journal Gut, looked at the medical and prescription records of 580,000 children over an eight-year period. It found that youngsters who had been given one course of medication such as penicillin or other antibiotic treatments by the age of three or four were 1.84 times more likely to be diagnosed later on with bowel disease than those who had never received the drugs. The risk of developing the illness increased by 12 per cent every time the medicines were prescribed, the study found.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 17, 2011

Head of 'deadly' diet drug company to face court
The head of France's second largest drugs company whose Mediator diet pills have been linked to up to 2000 deaths has received a court summons next month. Lawyers representing victims of the drug, originally for overweight diabetic patients but long a popular appetite suppressant, have issued a legal complaint against Jacques Servier, 88 and the laboratory he founded and runs. They accuse him of "deliberately misleading patients who were consumers of Mediator on the (drug's) nature, type, substantial qualities, the composition".
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

January 13, 2011

Health Advocacy Groups Take Drug Company Cash—Often Without Full Disclosures, Report Says
We’ve reported extensively on the ties between pharmaceutical companies and the physicians they fund to speak, consult and do research. But doctors aren’t the only ones taking money from drug companies—and they’re not the only stakeholders in the field of health whose public disclosures aren’t complete.
According to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health, not-for-profit health advocacy groups like the American Diabetes Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness also get money from drug companies in the form of grants that—more often than not—aren’t disclosed by those groups.
Read article at propublica.org (USA)

January 13, 2011

Popular sleep medicine puts older adults at risk for falls, cognitive impairment
Adults who take one of the world's most commonly prescribed sleep medications are significantly more at risk for nighttime falls and potential injury, according to a new study by the University of Colorado at Boulder. The study, which involved 25 healthy adults, showed 58 percent of the older adults and 27 percent of the young adults who took a hypnotic, sleep-inducing drug called zolpidem showed a significant loss of balance when awakened two hours after sleep. The findings are important because falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, and 30 percent of adults 65 and older who fall require hospitalization each year, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Kenneth Wright, lead study author.
Read article at physorg.com

January 13, 2011

Minister is linked to diet drug scandal
France’s health minister is embroiled in collusion claims after it was alleged that two former advisers were in the pay of the maker of a drug that killed up to 2,000 people.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
Comment: Despite repeated warnings from scientists around the world, a deadly pharmaceutical drug, Mediator, was prescribed to 5 million French people. Successive French health ministers ignored scientific advice that the drug – produced by the French pharmaceutical giant, Servier, a company well known for its cult of secrecy and close relations with French politicians – was at best useless, and at worst highly dangerous. Notably, therefore, it has emerged that French President Nicolas Sarkozy – who, in 2004, coerced the marriage between French pharmaceutical dwarf Sanofi and Swiss/German drug giant Aventis/Hoechst – previously worked for Servier as a lawyer.

January 12, 2011

Lawsuits Follow Servier Admission Of Drug Risks
Dozens of French citizens filed lawsuits against Servier yesterday in Paris following an admission by the drugmaker that its Mediator diabetes drug, which was used for decades but banned in 2009 - was linked to an “excess” risk of developing heart-valve damage.
Read article at pharmalot.com

January 11, 2011

Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems
Commonly used painkillers for treating inflammation can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to an analysis of the evidence published in the British Medical Journal today. The drugs include traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) as well as new generation anti-inflammatory drugs, known as COX-2 inhibitors.
Read article at physorg.com

January 8, 2011

Roche Sued by Patient Claiming Cancer From Pulled Psoriasis Drug Raptiva
Roche Holding AG’s Genentech Inc. was sued by a Texas psoriasis sufferer who alleges he developed lymphoma while taking Raptiva, a drug the company stopped selling in 2009 when studies linked it to a fatal brain infection. Genentech, a unit of Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker Roche, began a phased withdrawal of Raptiva in April 2009 after three patients taking it were diagnosed in the preceding six-month period with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, a rare, incurable brain disease. Houston-area psoriasis patient Cary Massa, 51, was diagnosed with classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March 2009, after taking Raptiva from February 2006 to January 2008, according to a complaint filed today in Houston federal court.
Read article at Bloomberg.com

January 7, 2011

Capital punishment and Big Pharma's ethics
Is it acceptable for companies that manufacture drugs used in US executions to know that fact yet deny moral responsibility?
On Thursday, the BBC's Today programme ran a story on Reprieve's investigation into the British execution drug export bonanza. While, originally, it seemed that only sodium thiopental was being sourced in the UK, we recently learned that all three chemicals used in lethal injection have been exported by this country – adding pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride to the deadly mix.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)
Comment: Pharmaceutical companies have a long history of supplying chemicals for killing prisoners. With the industry already having been proven to have supplied the chemicals that killed tens of thousands of prisoners at the Auschwitz WWII concentration camp, it is high time that all modern-day drug companies selling drugs for use in executions are publicly exposed.

January 7, 2011

Autism researcher a 'victim of smear campaign'
The researcher who linked childhood autism to a vaccine and who has been branded a fraud by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said he was the victim of a smear campaign by drug manufacturers. Andrew Wakefield was barred from medical practice last year after the General Medical Council in London found him guilty of "unethical" research that sparked unfounded fears about the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. But in an interview with CNN, Mr Wakefield denied inventing data and blasted a reporter who apparently uncovered the falsifications as a "hit man" doing the bidding of a powerful pharmaceutical industry.
Read article on the ABC News website (Australia)

January 5, 2011

Antibiotic use in infancy may increase risk of childhood asthma
Children who receive antibiotics within the first six months of life are at a significantly increased risk of developing asthma and allergies by 6 years of age, even without a genetic predisposition, new research by the Yale School of Public Health suggests. The findings are reported online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Read article at physorg.com

January 4, 2011

Birmingham court to oversee Pfizer lawsuits
Nearly 1,200 lawsuits nationwide against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. over its anti-smoking drug Chantix are being handled in U.S. District Court in Birmingham. U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson is overseeing pre-trial activity in the cases in which smokers and their families claim that Chantix left them with a variety of psychological problems. More suits are being filed daily from across the country. In some cases, families say their loved ones committed suicide after taking the drug.
Read blog entry by Kent Faulk on the Alabama Live website (USA)

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