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Health Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Health Media Articles from Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important health articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here. These health articles are listed by article date. For the same list by order of importance, click here. For the list by date posted, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.



Note: For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Health care outrage goes uncovered
2009-06-19, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/19/begala.health.care/index.html

You probably have never heard of Robin Beaton, and that's what's wrong with the debate over health care reform. Beaton, a retired nurse from Waxahachie, Texas, had health insurance -- or so she thought. She paid her premiums faithfully every month, but when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her health insurance company, Blue Cross, dumped her. The insurance company said the fact that she had seen a dermatologist for acne, who mistakenly entered a notation on her chart that suggested her simple acne was a precancerous condition, allowed Blue Cross to leave her in the lurch. Beaton testified before a House subcommittee this week. So did other Americans who thought they had insurance but got the shaft. The subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan, called the hearing to highlight the obnoxious and unethical practice called rescission. His researchers produced performance reviews of insurance company bureaucrats who were praised and rewarded for kicking people off their coverage. Then Stupak asked three health insurance executives the big question: Will your company pledge to end the practice of rescission except in cases of intentional fraud? All three health insurance executives said no. It was as dramatic as congressional testimony gets. Yet it got no airtime on the networks, nor, as far as I can tell, on cable news, although CNN.com did run a story. The story did not make The New York Times. Nor The Washington Post, which found space on the front page the morning after the hearing for a story on the cancellation of Fourth of July fireworks in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, but not a story on the cancellation of health insurance for deathly ill Americans who've paid their premiums.

Note: For lots more on corruption in the health industry, click here.




Inventory Uncovers 9,200 More Pathogens
2009-06-18, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/17/AR20090617032...

An inventory of potentially deadly pathogens at Fort Detrick's infectious disease laboratory found more than 9,000 vials that had not been accounted for, Army officials said yesterday, raising concerns that officials wouldn't know whether dangerous toxins were missing. After four months of searching about 335 freezers and refrigerators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, investigators found 9,220 samples that hadn't been included in a database of about 66,000 items listed as of February, said Col. Mark Kortepeter, the institute's deputy commander. The vials contained some dangerous pathogens, among them the Ebola virus, anthrax bacteria and botulinum toxin, and less lethal agents such as Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and the bacterium that causes tularemia. Most of them, forgotten inside freezer drawers, hadn't been used in years or even decades. Officials said some serum samples from hemorrhagic fever patients dated to the Korean War. The overstock and the previous inaccuracy of the database raised the possibility that someone could have taken a sample outside the lab with no way for officials to know something was missing. The institute has been under pressure to tighten security in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people and sickened 17. FBI investigators say they think the anthrax strain used in the attacks originated at the Army lab, and its prime suspect, Bruce E. Ivins, researched anthrax there. Ivins committed suicide last year during an investigation into his activities.

Note: Fort Detrick is the home of the government lab which is suspected to be involved with the creation of many previously unknown lethal viruses and germs. For lots more, see the excellent work of Dr. Leonard Horowitz at this link and this one.




Swine flu shots may go to kids first, Sebelius says
2009-06-16, USA Today/Associated Press
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-06-16-swine-flu-vaccine_N.htm

Schoolchildren could be first in line for swine flu vaccine this fall — and schools are being put on notice that they might even be turned into shot clinics. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday she is urging school superintendents around the country to spend the summer preparing for that possibility, if the government goes ahead with mass vaccinations. "If you think about vaccinating kids, schools are the logical place," Sebelius told The Associated Press. No decision has been made yet on whether and how to vaccinate millions of Americans against the new flu strain that the World Health Organization last week formally dubbed a pandemic, meaning it now is circulating the globe unchecked. But the U.S. is pouring money into development of a vaccine in anticipation of giving at least some people the shots. While swine flu doesn't yet seem any more lethal than the regular flu that each winter kills 36,000 people in the U.S. alone, scientists fear it may morph into a more dangerous type. Even in its current form, the WHO says about half of the more than 160 people worldwide killed by swine flu so far were previously young and healthy. If that trend continues, "the target may be school-age children as a first priority" for vaccination, Sebelius said Tuesday. "That's being watched carefully." The last mass vaccination against a different swine flu, in the U.S. in 1976, was marred by reports of a paralyzing side effect — for a feared outbreak that never happened. The secretary said: "The worst of all worlds is to have the vaccine cause more damage than the flu potential."

Note: This article admits "swine flu doesn't yet seem any more lethal than the regular flu that each winter kills 36,000 people in the U.S. alone." Be very cautious around any vaccination campaign. Vaccines are extremely poorly regulated and known to fill the wallets of rich politicians invested in them. For lots more reliable, verifiable information on this, click here.




Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments
2009-06-13, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR20090612040...

Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer's debate. The list of members who have personal investments in the corporations that will be affected by the legislation -- which President Obama has called this year's highest domestic priority -- includes Congress's most powerful leaders and a bipartisan collection of lawmakers in key committee posts. Their total health-care holdings could be worth $27 million, because congressional financial disclosure forms released yesterday require reporting of only broad ranges of holdings rather than precise values of assets. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), for instance, has at least $50,000 invested in a health-care index, and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a senior member of the health committee, has between $254,000 and $560,000 worth of stock holdings in major health-care companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck. The family of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee drafting that chamber's legislation, held at least $3.2 million in more than 20 health-care companies at the end of last year. "If someone is going to be substantially enriched by the consequences of the vote, particularly if it represents a meaningful amount of their net worth, then there is a problem," said Harlan Krumholz, a professor of medicine at Yale University.

Note: For more powerful information on major corruption in health care reform, click here. For lots more on government corruption from reliable, verfiiable sources, click here.




Meet Your New Farmer: Hungry Corporate Giant
2009-06-12, New York Times
http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/movies/12food.html

Forget buckets of blood. Nothing says horror like one of those tubs of artificially buttered, nonorganic popcorn at the concession stand. That, at least, is one of the unappetizing lessons to draw from one of the scariest movies of the year, “Food, Inc.,” an informative ... documentary about the big business of feeding or, more to the political point, force-feeding, Americans all the junk that multinational corporate money can buy. You’ll shudder, shake and just possibly lose your genetically modified lunch. The director Robert Kenner jumps all over the food map, from industrial feedlots where millions of cruelly crammed cattle mill about in their own waste until slaughter, to the chains where millions of consumers gobble down industrially produced meat and an occasional serving of E. coli bacteria. The voice in the opening belongs to the ethical epicurean and locavore champion Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Mr. Pollan ... is a great strength of “Food, Inc.,” as is one of its co-producers, Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation. [They], together with Mr. Kenner, chart how and why the villains not only outnumber the heroes in contemporary food production, but also how and why they outbluff, outmuscle and outspend their opponents by billions of often government-subsidized dollars. The movie takes a look at the animal abuse in industrial food production — including clandestine images of sick and crippled cows being prodded to join the rest of the ill-fated herd — but its main focus is on the human cost. It’s a cost visible in the rounded bodies of a poor family that eats cheap if filling fast-food burgers for breakfast and in the obscured faces of farmers too frightened to go on record about Monsanto, the agricultural biotech giant.

Note: For another excellent review of this important film, click here.




MIA may be a quarantine site in pandemic
2009-06-10, Miami Herald (Miami's leading newspaper)
http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/1089929.html

Miami International Airport [MIA] and 18 other major American airports have been lined up to handle a future pandemic that could require them to quarantine international flights. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up stand-by quarantine/screening facilities at the 19 airports to which all flights from affected countries would be diverted. Nationally, airline and airport lobbyists predict chaos, saying there is no way the air-traffic system can handle such extensive rerouting. Now, new proposals are emerging in Washington, including one that would designate Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Orlando International and four other major airports as potential second-tier quarantine sites. Local officials say they understand the CDC will approve the new designations only if the airports pay for the quarantine facilities themselves. The CDC would pay for the quarantine stations at the 19 primary airports. The facilities are not cheap. A 2008 study by the Federal Aviation Administration concluded that setting aside space for health screenings and a quarantine of up to 200 people could cost $15,000 a month, with costs of an actual quarantine running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood officials began developing a plan to handle quarantined passengers and flights several years ago during the bird flu scare. It calls for erecting air-conditioned tents on the runway ramps to screen or quarantine passengers before they enter the terminal. Quarantined passengers might have to remain for days to show they are not infectious.




Drug Agency May Reveal More Data on Actions
2009-06-02, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/health/policy/02fda.html

For years, the Food and Drug Administration has withheld information about drugs and medical devices from the public when their makers cite trade secrecy — even in cases where the agency suspects that the products are causing serious illness or death. Now the new leadership at the F.D.A. may change that. The Obama administration ... is setting up a task force within the agency to recommend ways to reveal more information about F.D.A. decisions, possibly including the disclosure of now secret data about drugs and devices under study. The goal is to open up a system in which the agency failed to inform the public that a widely prescribed heartburn drug was especially toxic to babies; that a diabetes medicine and a painkiller increased heart attack risks; and that antidepressants increased suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and teenagers. “Many people have been harmed over the last decade because the F.D.A. has treated clinical trial results of drugs and devices as trade secrets,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who has campaigned for the release of such information. In 2007, Dr. Nissen published a study showing that Avandia, a popular diabetes medicine made by GlaxoSmithKline, increased the risk of heart attack by 42 percent. The data Dr. Nissen used was made public because of a lawsuit, but the agency had known of the possible risk for nearly two years. Repeated scandals led the Bush administration in 2005 to promise to make public its product safety investigations more quickly, but it did not recommend changing the laws and regulations that govern the release of trade secrets and agency records.

Note: For a powerful summary of corrupt practices by government and corporations in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.




Can Positive Thoughts Help Heal Another Person?
2009-05-21, NPR
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104351710

Ninety percent of Americans say they pray — for their health, or their love life or their final exams. But does prayer do any good? For decades, scientists have tried to test the power of prayer and positive thinking, with mixed results. Now some scientists are fording new — and controversial — territory. When I first meet Sheri Kaplan, she is perched on a plastic chair at a Miami clinic, holding out her arm as a researcher draws several vials of blood. "I'm quite excited about my blood work this time," she says. "I've got no stress and I'm proud of it." Kaplan is tanned and freckled, with wavy red hair and a cocky laugh. She is defiantly healthy for a person who has lived with HIV for the past 15 years. "God didn't want me to die or even get sick," she asserts. "I've never had any opportunistic infections, because I had no time to be down." Kaplan's faith is unorthodox, but it's central to her life. She was raised Jewish, and although she claims no formal religion now, she prays and meditates every day. She believes God is keeping the virus at bay and that her faith is the reason she's alive today. "Everything starts from a thought, and then the thought creates a reaction," she says. "And I have the power to control my mind, before it gets to a physical level or an emotional level." Kaplan has never taken medicine, yet the disease has not progressed to AIDS (and she is not part of the population that has a mutation in the CCR5 gene that prevents progression of HIV to AIDS).




Hospitalization Rates Higher in Kids Who Get Flu Shots
2009-05-19, Forbes magazine
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/hscout/2009/05/19/hscout627168.html

Children who get the annual flu vaccine, especially those who have asthma, may be more likely to be hospitalized than children who don't get the shot, a new study shows. But the researcher noted ... "This may not be a reflection of the vaccine but that these patients are the sickest, and their doctors insist they get a vaccination," said study author Dr. Avni Y. Joshi, a fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "I would be very cautious about interpreting this," said Dr. Gurjit Khurana Hershey, director of asthma research and professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "The bottom line is that kids with asthma who get the flu vaccine are probably a different population anyway. They may be the more severely ill children, so it may have very little to do with the vaccine." The study has too many unknowns and covers too wide an age range over too many flu seasons to indicate any change in recommendations, said Dr. Hank Bernstein, a member of the committee on infectious diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The authors looked back at 263 children aged 6 months to 18 years who had visited the Mayo Clinic between 1999 and 2006 with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Children -- including children who had asthma -- who received the annual inactivated flu vaccine were almost three times more likely to be hospitalized than those who were not inoculated.

Note: With hospitalization rates nearly three times that of children who did not get vaccinated, why are these doctors downplaying this study so much? Why the focus on asthma, when the study covered a wide range of children? Why isn't anyone calling fo rmore research on these striking results? For lots of articles raising serious questions about the safety of vaccines, click here.




Health care's enigma in chief
2009-05-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/14/EDMF17KIVP.DTL

The most stunning and least reported news about President Obama's press conference with health industry executives this week wasn't those executives' willingness to negotiate with a Democrat. It was that Democrat's eagerness to involve those executives in a discussion about health care reform even as they revealed their previous plans to pilfer $2 trillion from Americans. That was the little-noticed message from the made-for-TV spectacle administration officials called a health care "game changer": In saying they can voluntarily slash $200 billion a year from the country's medical bills over the next decade and still preserve their profits, health care companies implicitly acknowledged they were plotting to fleece consumers, and have been fleecing them for years. With that acknowledgment came the tacit admission that the industry's business is based not on respectable returns but on grotesque profiteering and waste - the kind that can give up $2 trillion and still guarantee huge margins. Chief among the profiteers at the White House event were insurance companies, which have raised premiums by 119 percent since 1999, and one obvious question is why - why would Obama engage those particular thieves? It's a difficult query to answer, because Obama is a health care mystery, struggling to muster consistent positions on the issue. Listening to a 2003 Obama speech, it's hard to believe he has become such an enigma. Back then, he declared himself "a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program" - i.e., one eliminating private insurers and their overhead costs by having government finance health care.

Note: For lots more on health issues from reliable sources, click here.




Tamiflu Developer: Swine Flu Could Have Come From Bio-Experiment Lab
2009-05-14, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/SwineFlu/story?id=7584420

An Australian researcher claims the swine flu, which has killed at least 64 people so far, might not be a mutation that occurred naturally but a man-made product of genetic experiments accidently leaked from a laboratory -- a theory the World Health Organization is taking very seriously. Adrian Gibbs, a scientist on the team that was behind the development of Tamiflu, says in a report he is submitting today that swine flu might have been created using eggs to grow viruses and make new vaccines, and could have been accidently leaked to the general public. "It might be some sort of simple error that's not being recognized," Gibbs said on ABC's "Good Morning America." In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Gibbs admitted there are other ways to explain swine flu's origin. "One of the simplest explanations if that it's a laboratory escape, but there are lots of others," he said. Regardless of the validity of Gibb's claims, he and several experts say that just bringing the idea of laboratory security to the public's attention is important. "There are lives at risk," Gibbs said. "The sooner this idea gets out, the better."

Note: What would cause one of the developers of Tamiflu to make such a statement? If you read between the lines, there is much more here than meets the eye. For lots more on this intriguing development, click here.




The danger of drugs … and data
2009-05-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/09/bad-science-medical-journ...

A fascinating court case in Australia has been playing out around some people who had heart attacks after taking the Merck drug, Vioxx. This medication turned out to increase the risk of heart attacks in people taking it, although that finding was arguably buried in their research, and Merck has paid out more than £2bn to 44,000 people in America. The first ... thing to emerge in the Australian case is email documentation showing staff at Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who were critical of the company, or of the drug. This list contained words such as "neutralise", "neutralised" and "discredit" next to the names of various doctors. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," said one email, from a Merck employee. Staff are also alleged to have used other tactics, such as trying to interfere with academic appointments, and dropping hints about how funding to institutions might dry up. Worse still, is the revelation that Merck paid the publisher Elsevier to produce a publication. This time Elsevier Australia went the whole hog, giving Merck an entire publication which resembled an academic journal, although in fact it only contained reprinted articles, or summaries, of other articles.

Note: For a superb overview of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry by a leading MD and former medical journal editor, click here.




American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls for Moratorium on Genetically Modified Foods
2009-05-08, American Academy of Environmental Medicine
http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

There is more than a casual association between GM [Genetically Modified] foods and adverse health effects. There is causation [as] confirmed in several animal studies. Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. In spite of this risk, the biotechnology industry claims that GM foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: "The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years ... indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield ... with the exception of Bt corn." Therefore, because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit, ... because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks: [1] Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks. [2] Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease process. [3] Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects. [4] For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.

Note: Why was this not reported in the mainstream media? A top academy of physicians states our health is being endangered by GM foods, yet no one is reporting this. For how our media is bought off in matters like this, click here. For a powerful essay showing blatant corruption of the science around GMOs and FDA complicity, click here. For key media articles on this vital topic, click here.




Some see media flu coverage as overblown
2009-05-03, San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/05/03/MN3B17CKP7.DTL

After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.

Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.




Life-threatening disease is the price we pay for cheap meat
2009-05-01, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-lif...

A swelling number of scientists believe swine flu has not happened by accident. No: they argue that [it] is the direct result of our demand for cheap meat. So is the way we produce our food really making us sick as a pig? The scientific evidence increasingly suggests that we have unwittingly invented an artificial way to accelerate the evolution of these deadly viruses – and pump them out across the world. They are called factory farms. They manufacture low-cost flesh, with a side-dish of viruses to go. In most swine farms today, 6,000 pigs are crammed snout-to-snout in tiny cages where they can barely move, and are fed for life on an artificial pulp, while living on top of cess-pools of their own stale faeces. The virus ... has a pool of thousands [of pigs], constantly infecting and reinfecting each other. The virus can combine and recombine again and again. The ammonium from the waste they live above burns the pigs' respiratory tracts, making it easier yet for viruses to enter them. Better still, the pigs' immune systems are in free-fall. They are stressed, depressed, and permanently in panic, making them far easier to infect. There is no fresh air or sunlight to bolster their natural powers of resistance. They live in air thick with viral loads, and they are exposed every time they breathe in. As Dr Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, explains: "Put all this together, and you have a perfect storm environment for these super-strains. If you wanted to create global pandemics, you'd build as many of these factory farms as possible."

Note: For many important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.




Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild
2009-04-30, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-sci-swine-reality30-2009apr30,0,360...

As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics. In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare. "Let's not lose track of the fact that the normal seasonal influenza is a huge public health problem that kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone and hundreds of thousands around the world," said Dr. Christopher Olsen, a molecular virologist who studies swine flu at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison. Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point -- becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak. "This virus doesn't have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus," which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Note: For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, click here.




Companies look to Swine Flu to drive profits
2009-04-29, ABC News
http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/national_world&id=6786340

Pharmaceutical stocks are skyrocketing on fears that a swine flu outbreak could go global. Manufacturers of antiviral drugs [and] companies gearing up to produce a vaccine ... are turning profits in an otherwise skittish and down market. Companies gearing up for swine flu, including Roche, Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of the leading antiviral flu medications, are best positioned to see a boost in profits if the disease escalates to epidemic proportions, analysts said. Tamiflu ... was developed by Gilead and manufactured by Roche. Both companies' share prices spiked soon after the U.S. government allowed for its stockpiles of the drug to be made publicly available. Gilead stock surged to $47.53 at the end of the day Monday, up 3.78 percent. Roche rose to $31.72, up 4.34 percent. The other major flu drug currently on the market is Relenza, also stockpiled and released by the government, and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Shares of Glaxo closed surged Monday to $31.56, up 7.57 percent. Both Tamiflu and Relenza are stockpiled by governments and in the case of an outbreak the companies are often required to sell the drugs directly to the government at a discount. "Government stockpiling is viewed as boon for profits. Though the government gets a discount and the margins sold to the government are lower than those if they sold to Walgreens, from a stock perspective it's an unexpected positive surprise," he said.

Note: Pharmaceutical companies make big bucks from scares like the avian flu and swine flu. Yet are the recommended drugs really effective? Many studies say they are not. For analysis of profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry during a previous flu scare, click here. See this link for lots more.




Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat
2009-04-28, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/health/28brod.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&page...

There was a time when red meat was a luxury for ordinary Americans, or was at least something special: cooking a roast for Sunday dinner, ordering a steak at a restaurant. Not anymore. Meat consumption has more than doubled in the United States in the last 50 years. Now a new study of more than 500,000 Americans has provided the best evidence yet that our affinity for red meat has exacted a hefty price on our health and limited our longevity. The study found that, other things being equal, the men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods. The number of excess deaths that could be attributed to high meat consumption is quite large given the size of the American population. Extrapolated to all Americans in the age group studied, the new findings suggest that over the course of a decade, the deaths of one million men and perhaps half a million women could be prevented just by eating less red and processed meats, according to estimates prepared by Dr. Barry Popkin, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report. In place of red meat, nonvegetarians might consider poultry and fish. In the study, the largest consumers of “white” meat from poultry and fish had a slight survival advantage. Likewise, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables also tended to live longer.

Note: For many excellent reports on health issues, click here.




How to Deal with Swine Flu: Heeding the Mistakes of 1976
2009-04-27, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1894129,00.html

In February 1976, an outbreak of swine flu struck Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey, killing a 19-year-old private and infecting hundreds of soldiers. Concerned that the U.S. was on the verge of a devastating epidemic, President Gerald Ford ordered a nationwide vaccination program at a cost of $135 million (some $500 million in today's money). Within weeks, reports surfaced of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease that can be caused by the vaccine. By April, more than 30 people had died of the condition. Facing protests, federal officials abruptly canceled the program on Dec. 16. The epidemic failed to materialize. Medical historians and epidemiologists say ... the decisions made in the wake of the '76 outbreak — and the public's response to them — provide a cautionary tale for public health officials, who may soon have to consider whether to institute draconian measures to combat the disease. "I think 1976 provides an example of how not to handle a flu outbreak," says Hugh Pennington, an emeritus professor of virology at Britain's University of Aberdeen. Despite modern advances in microbiology, today's health officials still make decisions in a "cloud of uncertainty," Pennington says. "At the moment, our understanding of the current outbreak is similarly limited. For example, we don't yet understand why people are dying in Mexico but not elsewhere." Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and a historical consultant to the CDC on flu pandemics, says the most vexing decision facing health officials is when to institute mass vaccination programs.

Note: To watch two short commercials made in 1976 showing clear scare tactics, click here. Only one person died from the actual flu in this 1976 "epidemic," yet more than 30 died of the flu vaccine. To explore the serious risks of vaccines reported in the media, click here. For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, click here.




Vioxx maker Merck and Co drew up doctor hit list
2009-04-01, The Australian (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25272600-2702,00.html

An international drug company made a hit list of doctors who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced. Staff at US company Merck &Co emailed each other about the list of doctors - mainly researchers and academics - who had been negative about the drug Vioxx or Merck and a recommended course of action. The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words "neutralise", "neutralised" or "discredit" against some of the doctors' names. It is also alleged the company used intimidation tactics against critical researchers, including dropping hints it would stop funding to institutions and claims it interfered with academic appointments. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," a Merck employee wrote, according to an email excerpt read to the court by Julian Burnside QC, acting for the plaintiff. Merck & Co and its Australian subsidiary, Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, are being sued for compensation by more than 1000 Australians, who claim they suffered heart attacks or strokes as a result of Vioxx. The drug was launched in 1999 and at its height of popularity was used by 80 million people worldwide because it did not cause stomach problems as did traditional anti-inflammatory drugs. It was voluntarily withdrawn from sale in 2004 after concerns were raised that it caused heart attacks and strokes and a clinical trial testing these potential side affects was aborted for safety reasons. Merck last year settled thousands of lawsuits in the US over the effects of Vioxx for $US 4.85 billion, but made no admission of guilt.

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