Health News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Health News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of health news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
For the most part, we’re avoiding [the subject of cost effectiveness] when we talk about health care. When the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the body specifically set up to do comparative effectiveness research, was founded, the law explicitly prohibited it from funding any cost-effectiveness research at all. As it says on its website, “We don’t consider cost effectiveness to be an outcome of direct importance to patients.” As a physician, a health services researcher and a patient ... I think understanding how much bang for the buck I, my patients and the public are getting from our health care spending is of great importance. The United States Preventive Services Task Force ... was set up by the federal government to rate the effectiveness of preventive health services on a scale of A to D. When it issues a rating, it almost always explicitly states that it does not consider the costs of providing a service in its assessment. And because the Affordable Care Act mandates that all insurance must cover, without any cost sharing, all services that the task force has rated A or B, that means that we are all paying for these therapies, even if they are incredibly inefficient. If we are going to mandate that recommendations and interventions must be covered by health insurance ... it seems logical that we at least consider their economic value.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
War was the leading cause of death in the military nearly every year between 2004 and 2011 until suicides became the top means of dying for troops in 2012 and 2013, according to a bar chart published this week in a monthly Pentagon medical statistical analysis journal. For those last two years, suicide outranked war, cancer, heart disease, homicide, transportation accidents and other causes as the leading killer, accounting for about three in 10 military deaths each of those two years. Transportation accidents, by a small margin, was the leading cause of military deaths in 2008, slightly more than combat. The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for anywhere from one out of three deaths in the military — in 2005 and 2010 — to more than 46 percent of deaths in 2007, during the height of the Iraq surge, according to the chart. More than 6,800 troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 and more than 3,000 additional service members have taken their lives in that same time, according to Pentagon data.
A system Congress established to speed help to Americans harmed by vaccines has instead heaped additional suffering on thousands of families. The system is not working as intended. The AP read hundreds of decisions, conducted more than 100 interviews, and analyzed a database of more than 14,500 cases filed in a special vaccine court. Among the findings: Private attorneys have been paid tens of millions of taxpayer dollars even as they clog the court. The court offers a financial incentive to over-file — unlike typical civil court cases. Prominent attorneys have enlisted expert witnesses whose own work has been widely discredited, including one who treated autism with a potent drug used to chemically castrate serial rapists. Many doctors hired by the government to defend vaccine safety in court have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Cases are supposed to be resolved within 240 days, with options for another 150 days of extensions. Less than 7 percent of 7,876 claims not involving autism met the 240-day target. Add in autism claims, which were postponed so the court could hear all of them at once, and just 4.5 percent took fewer than 240 days. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.
Note: The secret court that shields big pharma from legal liability for selling harmful vaccines is described in this 2009 Wall Street Journal news article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources showing huge corruption and deception.
New York state health officials have stopped a nonprofit group from providing free medical care to thousands of patients lacking health insurance during a four-day dental conference that starts Friday. The nonprofit, Remote Area Medical, had raised $3 million and enlisted hundreds of volunteer doctors and other medical workers to offer a range of health services, including dental care, new eyeglasses and other services. The group had planned to treat about 7,000 patients at the New York Sate event. In September, the New York State Department of Health told the volunteer group, founded in 1985, that it could not treat patients at the conference unless it partnered with an established, state-licensed medical organization. Despite last-minute efforts, the partnership could not be arranged in time, and the nonprofit group said it found out this week that the state would not waive the requirement. “This was incredibly disappointing and will mean that thousands of patients won’t get the care they desperately need,” said Stan Brock, the founder of Remote Area Medical. Brock said state health officials told him during negotiations that the free health services his organization provides were not needed. But Brock said there are tens of thousands of New Yorkers, including homeless people, who are in need of free healthcare.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Breast cancer giant Susan G. Komen has found its strangest bedfellow yet in one of the world’s largest oilfield services corporations, Baker Hughes. The two have teamed up for a second year to distribute 1,000 pink drill bits to oil fields worldwide. This is just the latest example of “pinkwashing” – when a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribbon product but at the same time manufactures or sells products that are linked to the disease. Pinkwashing has become a central component of the breast cancer industry: a web of relationships and financial arrangements between corporations that cause cancer, companies making billions off diagnosis and treatment, nonprofits seeking to support patients or even to cure cancer, and public relations agencies that divert attention from the root causes of disease. The partnership with fracking company Baker Hughes is among the worst examples of Komen’s pinkwashing so far. More than 700 chemicals are used in the process of drilling and fracking for oil and gas. In a study of about 350 of those chemicals, researchers found that up to half can cause health problems, including nervous, immune and cardiovascular symptoms. More than one-third can disrupt the hormone system. And a quarter of the chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde, increase the risk of cancer. Baker Hughes is doing more to cause breast cancer than to cure it. And Komen, with its poisonous partnerships, is giving Baker Hughes — and many other companies — the perfect pink disguise.
Note: For more along these lines, read this Los Angeles Times article about how fracking introduces carcinogens into drinking water, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A special "vaccines court" hears cases brought by parents who claim their children have been harmed by routine vaccinations. The court buffers Wyeth and other makers of childhood-disease vaccines from ... litigation risk. The legal shield, known as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, was put into place in 1986. Vaccines ... are poised to generate $21.5 billion in annual sales for their makers by 2012, according to France's Sanofi-Aventis SA, a leading producer of inoculations. Vaccines' transformation into a lucrative business has some observers questioning whether the shield law is still appropriate. Critics ... underscored the limited recourse families have in claiming injury from vaccines. "When you've got a monopoly and can dictate price in a way that you couldn't before, I'm not sure you need the liability protection," said Lars Noah, a specialist in medical technology. Kevin Conway, an attorney at Boston law firm Conway, Homer & Chin-Caplan PC, which specializes in vaccine cases and brought one of the recent autism suits, says the lack of liability for the pharmaceutical industry compromises safety. Even if they had won their cases, the families of autistic children wouldn't have been paid by the companies that make the vaccines. Instead, the government would have footed the bill, using the funds from a tax levied on inoculations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources showing huge corruption and deception.
Drugmakers including Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Emergent Biosolutions Inc. (EBS) are among companies standing to gain from what may be $2 billion in U.S. contracts related to Ebola. President Barack Obama asked Congress last week for $6.2 billion in emergency funding to stop the spread of the virus that has killed more than 4,800 people in West Africa. The request is heavily focused on health needs as opposed to prior funding that was largely centered on defense contracts, Brian Friel, a Bloomberg Intelligence contracts analyst, said. Friel said he expects multiple drugmakers involved in Ebola will share in what will likely be no-bid contract awards to “make everyone happy.” His $2 billion estimate is based on the percentage of its budget the Department of Health and Human Services spent on contracts last year. Little information is available yet about which companies are getting Ebola-related public funding. Congress has approved $838 million in Ebola money this year, resulting in $77 million in contracts so far. Not all awards have been made public. The U.S. has spent more than $400 million as of Oct. 24.
Note: Read this webpage which lays bare the gross profiteering by pharmaceuticals on pandemics like ebola as reported in the mainstream media.
Scientists have created a mind-control system that allows a person to alter the genes in a mouse through the power of thought. A person wearing the device could alter how much protein was made from a gene in the mouse. Volunteers found that they could turn the gene on or off in the mouse at will. The experiment could lead to the development of a radical new approach to the treatment of diseases. Martin Fussenegger, a bioengineer who leads the project at ETH Zurich said he hoped to see clinical trials in people with chronic pain or epilepsy in the next five years. Fussenegger’s team describes a system that demonstrates the idea. The mouse was fitted with a small implant containing copper coils, a light-emitting diode (LED) and a tiny container of genetically modified cells. When the electromagnetic field switches on beneath the mouse, an electric current is induced in the implant’s coils which makes the LED shine. This light illuminates the cells which are designed to respond by switching on a particular gene, causing the cells to make a new protein which seeps out of the implant’s membrane. In the tests, the new protein ... allowed scientists to measure its levels ... while people wearing the headset changed their state of mind. In a series of follow-up experiments, volunteers wearing the headset could see when the LED came on, because the red light shone through the mouse’s skin. In time, they learned to control the light – and so the gene – simply by thinking.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing microchip news articles from reliable major media sources.
With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in U.S. sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management program they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state’s discretion. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s pest-management plan says compulsory state pesticide spraying of organic crops would do no economic harm to organic producers, on the grounds that the growers could sell sprayed crops as non-organic instead. “I would rather stop farming than have to be a conventional farmer. I think I am not alone in that,” said Zea Sonnabend, a Watsonville organic apple-grower with California Certified Organic Farmers. The fate of the pest-management plan outlined by the state isn’t a theoretical concern. It’s an immediate issue ... due, in part, to a disease-carrying pest. The disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid kills citrus trees. California’s $2.4 billion citrus industry has found incursions by the bug. The standard treatment for the citrus pest is conventional pesticides, including neocotinoids linked to the decline of crop-pollinating bees. Organic farmers are asking the state to give more consideration to non-toxic controls, including long-term methods to strengthen crops and habitats in advance against marauding tropical species, said Kelly Damewood, policy director for California Certified Organic Farmers.
Note: Read concise summaries of deeply revealing articles that show bee colony deaths and autism are linked to pesticide exposure. Is compulsory state spraying of these pesticides really in the public's best interest?
The CDC pledges “To base all public health decisions on the highest quality scientific data.” In the case of influenza vaccinations and their marketing, this is not so. Promotion of influenza vaccines is one of the most visible and aggressive public health policies today. Although proponents employ the rhetoric of science, the studies underlying the policy are often of low quality, and do not substantiate officials’ claims. The vaccine might be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza appears overstated. Twenty years ago, in 1990, 32 million doses of influenza vaccine were available in the United States. Today [the number is] around 135 million doses. This enormous growth has not been fueled by popular demand but instead by a public health campaign. Drug companies have long known that to sell some products, you would have to first sell people on the disease. In the 1950s and 1960s, Merck launched an extensive campaign to lower the diagnostic threshold for hypertension, and in doing so enlarging the market for its diuretic drug, Diuril. Could influenza ... be yet one more case of disease mongering? Marketing influenza vaccines ... involves marketing influenza as a threat of great proportions. The CDC’s website explains that “Flu seasons ... can be severe,” citing a death toll of “3000 to a high of about 49000 people.” However, a far less volatile and more reassuring picture of influenza seems likely if one considers that recorded deaths from influenza declined sharply over the middle of the 20th century ... all before the great expansion of vaccination campaigns in the 2000s. Yet across the country, mandatory influenza vaccination policies have cropped up ... precisely because not everyone wants the vaccination, and compulsion appears the only way to achieve high vaccination rates.
Note: Read the entire revealing article at this link. The author clearly shows how fear and profit are the driving force behind flu vaccines and not good science and health. And this US government webpage states, "Since the first National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) claims were filed in 1989, 3,981 compensation awards have been made. More than $2.8 billion in compensation awards has been paid to petitioners." For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
In August 2009, CBS News made a simple request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public documents, e-mails and other materials CDC used to communicate to states the decision to stop testing individual cases of Novel H1N1, or "swine flu." When the public affairs folks at CDC refused to produce the documents and quit responding to my queries altogether, I filed a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the materials. Two months after my FOI request, the CDC has yet to produce any of these easily retrievable materials. This has become standard operating procedure in Washington. Today, I received a letter from the CDC Freedom of Information office ... to inform me that my request for "expedited" treatment of my FOI request has been denied because CDC has determined the request is "not a matter of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." The CDC may be the only agency on the planet to argue that testing and counting of swine flu cases is "not of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." CBS News reporting on the topic has been quoted and reproduced internationally by news organizations such as California NPR, radio talk shows and others. The Freedom of Information Act ... was supposed to stop federal agencies from using their power and control to withhold public information from the people who own it. Many federal agencies use it to obstruct the delay or release of obviously public information.
Note: See powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Last week, President Obama announced an ambitious — and expensive — plan. In an effort that could cost as much as $750 million in the next six months, he assigned up to 3,000 military personnel to West Africa to “combat and contain” what officials call “an extraordinarily serious epidemic.” As those military doctors and officials begin ... among the challenges they face are rumors that spread fear — fear of Ebola, fear of quarantine measures and fear of doctors. Already, several medical workers have been murdered in Guinea. Six Red Cross volunteers were attacked earlier this week. And now ... a major Liberian newspaper, the Daily Observer, has published an article by a Liberian-born faculty member of a U.S. university implying the epidemic is the result of bioterrorism experiments conducted by the United States Department of Defense, among others. “Reports narrate stories of the US Department of Defense (DoD) funding Ebola trials on humans, trials which started just weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone,” wrote Delaware State University associate professor Cyril Broderick. Broderick declined to answer whether he is concerned his article ... would convince locals that Western doctors are trying to harm them. “I refer you to the articles and reports published,” he said. Across Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the CDC fears Ebola could eventually infect 1.4 million people, there is such distrust of the medical community that some don’t even think Ebola exists.
Note: Read a Veterans Today article and an article by father of Reaganomics Paul Craig Roberts revealing that there may be a hidden agenda in the ebola epidemic. For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Researchers who have fought for years to get full data on Roche's flu medicine Tamiflu said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt. In a review of trial data on Tamiflu, and on GlaxoSmithKline's flu drug Relenza, scientists from the respected research network the Cochrane Review said that the medicines had few if any beneficial effects, but did have adverse side effects. "Remember, the idea of a drug is that the benefits should exceed the harms," Heneghan said. "So if you can't find any benefits, that accentuates the harm." Tamiflu sales hit almost $3 billion in 2009 - mostly due to its use in the H1N1 flu pandemic. The drug, one of a class of medicines known as neuraminidase inhibitors, is approved by regulators worldwide and is stockpiled in preparation for a potential global flu outbreak. It is also on the World Health Organization's "essential medicines" list. The United States has spent more than $1.3 billion buying a strategic reserve of antivirals including Tamiflu, while the British government has spent almost 424 million pounds ($703 million) on a stockpile of some 40 million Tamiflu doses. There was no evidence of a reduction in hospitalizations or in flu complications ... and Tamiflu also increased the risk of nausea and vomiting in adults by around 4 percent and in children by 5 percent.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Dr Sanjay Gupta: There's a group of outlawed drugs out there that are generating new interest among a growing number of doctors. Some of these drugs include things like MDMA also known as ecstasy, also LSD. Psychiatrists have (long) been fascinated by the properties of psychedelics. The U.S. military's efforts in the 1950s ... tested LSD as a potential weapon. But the interests in these drugs didn't stay in the lab. They trickled on to the black market and were soon outlawed. The pattern repeated itself with MDMA. Therapists tried it with patients. Millions tried it on their own. And in 1985, it was banned under federal law. Over the last decade, a small band of researchers wrangled permission to try again. This time giving MDMA during therapy sessions with patients who were suffering post-traumatic stress. DR. MICHAEL MITHOEFER, TESTING MDMA AS TREATMENT FOR PTSD PATIENTS: It was revisiting the trauma that was painful. The MDMA seemed to make it possible for them to do it effectively. GUPTA: Dr. Mithoefer has treated nearly 50 patients. He's currently working with veterans. RICK DOBLIN, MULTIDISCIPLINARY ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHEDELIC STUDIES: People are able to look at traumatic memories, the fear is reduced, and then they're able to separate out it was happening then and not now. GUPTA: So, if they're going through counselling, for example, it could make that counselling more effective, they're not as paralyzed if you will by the memories that are being brought up? DOBLIN: We're saying that MDMA itself is not the medicine, it's MDMA assisted psychotherapy.
Note: Watch this CNN news clip and decide for yourself. For more about how the CIA secretly experimented on people with LSD and other drugs, read this deeply revealing information about a project called MK ULTRA. For more about the legitimate therapeutic uses of these drugs, and how investigation into these is suppressed, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable sources.
WHEN IS EBOLA CONTAGIOUS? Only when someone is showing symptoms, which can start with vague symptoms including a fever, flu-like body aches and abdominal pain, and then vomiting and diarrhea. HOW DOES EBOLA SPREAD? Through close contact with a symptomatic person's bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed. That's why health care workers wear protective gloves and other equipment. The World Health Organization says blood, feces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat ... WHAT ABOUT MORE CASUAL CONTACT? Ebola isn't airborne. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said people don't get exposed by sitting next to someone on the bus. "This is not like flu. It's not like measles, not like the common cold. It's not as spreadable, it's not as infectious as those conditions," he added. HOW IS IT CLEANED UP? The CDC says bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill Ebola. Dried virus on surfaces survives only for several hours.
Note: Read an article by father of Reaganomics Paul Craig Roberts revealing that there may be a hidden agenda in the ebola epidemic. For more accurate information about health, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
The outbreak is certainly a grave issue for west Africa, a public health priority, and has been exacerbated by a slow response from international bodies and rich nations. It has already claimed more than 3,800 lives, and could claim far more without an appropriate international response. But it is also not the species-ending disaster some fear it could be. Compared with most common diseases, Ebola is not particularly infectious. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days between infection and showing symptoms (though it’s generally shorter). This is part of the fuel behind fears people could travel from west Africa then spread the disease. However, in general, people who display no Ebola symptoms are not yet infectious – and in any case, casual social contact (being nearby, or even shaking hands) generally doesn’t spread the virus. There are many things epidemiologists (and others) think we should worry about far more. Top of the list is a repeat of a deadly pandemic flu. Despite a few near misses, we’ve yet to see a repeat of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, which devastated nations already barely recovered from war, killing the youngest and healthiest. If you must fear a pandemic, it’s a much better candidate than Ebola. There are extensive measures in place for such a situation, but officials agree they all leave much to be desired. Ebola is a serious problem, which anyone with a degree of compassion should be concerned about. But if you’re in the west, it is astonishingly unlikely it will affect you, or anyone you know, personally. Perhaps, though, it’s only that fear that’s making us pay the virus any attention at all.
Note: Read an article by father of Reaganomics Paul Craig Roberts revealing that there may be a hidden agenda in the ebola epidemic. For more examples of medical fear mongering, see powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For more accurate information about health, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
America spends a fortune on drugs, more per person than any other nation on earth, even though Americans are no healthier than the citizens of other advanced nations. Of the estimated $2.7 trillion America spends annually on health care, drugs account for 10 percent of the total. Government pays some of this tab through Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But we pick up the tab indirectly through our taxes. We pay the rest of it directly, through higher co-payments, deductibles and premiums. Drug company payments to doctors are a small part of a much larger strategy by Big Pharma to clean our pockets ... The drug companies say they need the additional profits to pay for researching and developing new drugs. But the government supplies much of the research Big Pharma relies on, through the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, Big Pharma is spending more on advertising and marketing than on research and development -- often tens of millions to promote a single drug. And it's spending hundreds of millions more every year on lobbying. Last year alone, the lobbying tab came to $225 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's more than the formidable lobbying expenditures of America's military contractors. In addition, Big Pharma is spending heavily on political campaigns. In 2012, it shelled out over $36 million, making it the biggest political contributor of all American industries.
Note: Read how cancer research is crippled by the greed of drug companies in the New York Times article Profits Over Patients. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Did Merck use false pretenses to monopolize the market for mumps vaccines? A pair of lawsuits – one of which is filed by former employees and the other by doctors – make this allegation and a federal judge is allowing both claims to proceed. The former employees – virologists who filed a whistleblower lawsuit four years ago – charge Merck knew its vaccine was less effective than the purported 95% efficacy level. And they alleged that senior management was aware, complicit and in charge of testing that concealed the actual effectiveness. They claim to have witnessed fIrsthand what they describe as “improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged in order to conceal what the drug maker knew about the vaccine’s diminished efficacy. In fact, their Merck superiors and senior management pressured them to participate in the fraud and subsequent cover up when they objected to and tried to stop it,” according to their lawsuit. The feds declined to join the lawsuit, which was unsealed two years ago. Shortly afterwards, the physicians subsequently filed the other lawsuit charge the vaccine was mislabeled and was not the product for which the government or other purchasers paid, which meant that Merck violated the False Claims Act. Both lawsuits note that Merck held an exclusive license to sell a mumps vaccine and its actions discouraged competition. “The ultimate victims here are the millions of children who, every year, are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection,” the lawsuit filed by the virologists states. Meanwhile, the mumps vaccine was ringing the register at Merck, which reported that sales reached $621 million last year.
Note: Read a CBS News article which shows how Merck literally created a hit list for doctors who opposed use of the deadly drug Vioxx, which was responsible for thousands of deaths. A second CBS article shows how Merck created a fake medical journal to support Vioxx and harassed reporters revealing the truth. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A cure for diabetes could be imminent after scientists discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as significant as antibiotics. Harvard University has, for the first time, managed to manufacture the millions of beta cells required for transplantation. It could mean the end of daily insulin injections for the 400,000 people in Britain living with Type 1 diabetes. And it marks the culmination of 23-years of research for Harvard professor Doug Melton who has been trying to find a cure for the disease since his son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby. “We are now just one pre-clinical step away from the finish line,” said Prof Melton. The stem cell-derived beta cells are presently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates, where they are still producing insulin after several months, Prof Melton said. The team at Harvard used embryonic stem cells to produce human insulin-producing cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning cells in vast quantities. A report on the work is published in the journal Cell.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. will be reading with amusement the Australian press's coverage of a class action trial down under for patients who took Merck's now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. Details emerging in Oz make some of the antics that Merck's American counterparts got up to look tame by comparison. For example, in Australia, Merck allegedly: Had a doctor sign his name to an entirely ghostwritten journal article even though a Merck staffer had complained that the data within it was based on "wishful thinking;" created a fake "peer-reviewed" journal, the "Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine," in which to publicize pro-Vioxx articles; created a Ricky Martin-style pop song to get Merck sales reps all jazzed up about Vioxx; [and] hatched a Blackadder-style "cunning plan" to seed seminars with speakers who were sympathetic to Vioxx. Here's The Australian's description of the Merck PR team's over-the-top "handling" of reporters at ... a class action trial down under for patients who took Merck's now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx: A hired crisis management team sits in court every day, under the guidance of Merck & Co's media spokeswoman flown out from the US, watching what journalists write, who they talk to and where they go in the court breaks. The team ... follow journalists out of court, ask them what they are writing, hand out daily press releases and send "background" emails they say should not be attributed to the company but which detail what they think are the "salient points" from the evidence presented in court. The team rings reporters first thing in the morning, accuses them of "cherry-picking" the evidence and bombards newspapers with letters to the editor arguing their case in detail based on the day's evidence - five were sent to The Australian in just seven days.
Note: FDA analysts estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, 30 to 40 percent of which were probably fatal, in the five years the drug was on the market. Read another CBS News article which shows how Merck literally created a hit list for doctors who opposed use of Vioxx. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.