Health Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Health Media Articles in Major Media
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Government researchers in Brazil are set to explore the country's peculiar distribution of Zika-linked microcephaly - babies born with abnormally small heads. Zika virus has spread throughout Brazil, but extremely high rates of microcephaly have been reported only in the country's northeast. Although evidence suggests that Zika can cause microcephaly, the clustering pattern hints that other environmental, socio-economic or biological factors could be at play. “We suspect that something more than Zika virus is causing the high intensity and severity of cases,” says Fatima Marinho, director of information and health analysis at Brazil’s ministry of health. If that turns out to be true, it could change researchers' assessment of the risk that Zika poses. Zika was discovered in 1947 and hadn’t been implicated in birth defects until now. The northeast was where the first reported surge in microcephaly cases in Brazil began a year ago. Health officials had expected that they would later see the same high rates in other parts of the country. But as of 20 July, almost 90% of the 1,709 confirmed cases of congenital microcephaly or birth defects of the central nervous system reported in Brazil since last November were in a relatively small area ... about the size of the United Kingdom, whereas Brazil is almost as large as the United States. There are many hypotheses about what might be going on. Marinho says that her team's data, submitted for publication, hint that socio-economic factors might be involved.
Note: The cluster of microcephaly cases in Brazil was reported in February to predate the latest Zika outbreak. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Zika virus news articles from reliable major media sources.
A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense. The cost of Medicare’s “catastrophic” prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015. Out of some 2,750 drugs covered by Medicare’s Part D benefit, two pills for hepatitis C infection - Harvoni and Sovaldi - accounted for nearly $7.5 billion in catastrophic drug costs in 2015. Medicare’s catastrophic coverage was originally designed to protect seniors with multiple chronic conditions from the cumulatively high costs of taking many different pills. Beneficiaries pay 5 percent after they have spent $4,850 of their own money. With some drugs now costing more than $1,000 per pill, that threshold can be crossed quickly. Lawmakers who created Part D in 2003 also hoped added protection would entice insurers to participate in the program. Medicare pays 80 percent of the cost of drugs above a catastrophic threshold that combines spending by the beneficiary and the insurer. That means taxpayers, not insurers, bear the exposure for the most expensive patients. Catastrophic spending accounts for a fast-growing share of Medicare’s drug costs, which totaled nearly $137 billion in 2015. The catastrophic share was 37 percent, yet only about 9 percent of beneficiaries reached the threshold for such costs. Catastrophic coverage will soon cost as much as the entire prescription program did when it launched. Experts say the rapid rise in spending for pricey drugs threatens to make the popular prescription benefit financially unsustainable.
Note: Read an excellent essay by former New England Journal of Medicine editor Dr. Marcia Angell exposing The Truth About the Drug Companies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dozens of people who were child patients at a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s and 70s claim they were experimented on with a so-called truth serum. "I was your typical 60s teenager," says Marianne. At the age of 14, she [was] sent to Aston Hall, a "mental deficiency hospital". Many claim they were experimented on by the hospital's medical superintendent Dr Kenneth Milner using a drug called sodium amytal. It is known as a "truth serum" for its supposed ability to retrieve ... memories. Former patients ... remember being locked in a small treatment room with a mattress on the floor. Some say their hands were tied with bandages before they were injected. Marianne says she had an internal examination in the room, which was embarrassing and unnecessary, and other patients have alleged sexual abuse by Dr Milner. [She] recalls a session with the doctor where she was stripped, made to wear a stiff white gown and told she would be asked some questions. Then he injected her with a drug that heavily sedated her. "I can remember equating it to being drunk." Her account is similar to those of other former patients at the time, who remember being locked in a small treatment room with a mattress on the floor. Some say their hands were tied with bandages before they were injected. Nearly all the patients we spoke to agreed Dr Milner asked very personal sexual questions during treatment. While former patients search for answers about what really happened to them, they may have to live with the harmful effects of the treatment for the rest of their lives.
Note: For lots more on this, listen to this BBC report. Many people have been used as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments over the last century. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind control news articles from reliable major media sources.
Naloxone works by blocking the effect that painkillers and heroin have in the brain and reversing the slowed breathing and unconsciousness that come with an overdose. But as the demand for naloxone has risen - overdose deaths now total 130 every day, or roughly the capacity of a Boeing 737 - the drug’s price has soared. Not long ago, a dose of the decades-old generic drug cost little more than a dollar. Now the lowest available price is nearly 20 times that. In 2014, more than 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. That was 50% more deaths than from highway accidents ... and more overdose deaths than any year on record. The overdose crisis has its roots in the 1990s, when doctors began prescribing more and higher doses of painkillers [in response] to campaigns, often funded behind the scenes by drug makers, that urged doctors to prescribe the strongest painkillers not just to cancer patients and others in severe pain, but also to those with milder pain. The narcotic manufacturers’ funding of those campaigns ... came to light through evidence unearthed in lawsuits and investigative journalism reports. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids such as oxycodone, morphine and hydrocodone sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled. During that same time, deaths from those drugs quadrupled. The lethal side effects of that booming prescription painkiller market has now sparked a moneymaking opportunity with naloxone.
Painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. When medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. Now a new study [provides] clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Researchers at the University of Georgia scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. In the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. They found that, in medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. Estimating the cost savings to Medicare from the decreased prescribing, [the study] found that about $165 million was saved in the 17 medical marijuana states in 2013. The estimated annual Medicare prescription savings would be nearly half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to implement similar programs.
Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and an increasing number of deaths are caused by prescription opioid overdose in the US each year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
On May 18, a team working at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research here had its first look at a sample of the bacterium Escherichia coli, taken from a 49-year-old woman in Pennsylvania. Her sample was one of six from across the country delivered to the lab of microbiologist Patrick McGann. Within hours, a preliminary analysis deepened concern at the lab. Over the next several days, more sophisticated genetic sleuthing confirmed McGann’s worst fears. There, in the bacterium’s DNA, was a gene [that] made the pathogen impervious to the venerable antibiotic colistin. More ominously, the gene’s presence ... suggested that it could readily jump to other E. coli bacteria, or to entirely different forms of disease-causing organisms. That would make them impervious to colistin as well. It was a milestone public health officials have been anticipating for years. In a steady march, disease-causing microbes have evolved ways to evade the bulwark of medications used to treat bacterial infections. For a variety of those illnesses, only colistin continued to work every time. Now this last line of defense had been breached as well. Almost as soon as they were given to patients, scientists began finding evidence that disease-causing bacteria were developing resistance to these new wonder drugs. Humans have accelerated this natural process by indiscriminately prescribing antibiotics and by routinely feeding the drugs to livestock.
Note: Millions of unnecessary drug prescriptions and rampant overuse of antibiotics in livestock also produces autoimmune diseases that were virtually unknown to our ancestors. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
It's the time of year when experts crunch the numbers to see how well the flu shot worked. The result? Better than last year, but still not good enough. "Just shy of 45 to 50 per cent," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control, who presented the data to the Global Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness meeting at the World Health Organization last week. In 2014-15, the flu shot offered essentially zero protection against the circulating influenza virus of that season. Back then, the prevailing strain was H3N2. This year's main circulating virus was H1N1. Skowronski said the vaccine was ... disappointing. Experts used to believe the annual flu shot protection was much higher, around 70 to 90 per cent. But not anymore. Those early estimates were based on industry-funded clinical trials that were extrapolated to apply across all ages and flu seasons. "It was a blanket assumption that is simply not true," Skowronski said. That assumption changed dramatically, after Skowronski and colleagues developed a protocol that revealed the true picture of vaccine efficacy. It's called the test negative design (TND) first piloted in Canada in 2004. "The test negative design has opened our eyes to all kinds of variables that we were blind to for years," said Skowronski. Scientists also once again observed [that] people who get the shot with no prior vaccine exposure seem to have better protection than people who get the shot year after year.
Note: A National Institute of Health study found in 2007 that flu shots do not protect the elderly. More recent studies have shown that some flu shots actually increase the risk of infection. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Something strange is going on in medicine. Major diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, are waning in wealthy countries, and improved diagnosis and treatment cannot fully explain it. Scientists marvel at this good news, a medical mystery of the best sort. The leading killers are still the leading killers - cancer, heart disease, stroke - but they are occurring later in life, and people in general are living longer in good health. Colon cancer is the latest conundrum. While the overall cancer death rate has been declining since the early 1990s, the plunge in colon cancer deaths is especially perplexing: The rate has fallen by nearly 50 percent since its peak in the 1980s. [Dr. Steven R. Cummings of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute], intrigued by the waning of disease, has a provocative idea for further investigation. He starts with two observations: Rates of disease after disease are dropping. Even the rate of “all-cause mortality,” which lumps together chronic diseases, is falling. And every one of those diseases at issue is linked to aging. Perhaps, he said, all these degenerative diseases share something in common, something inside aging cells themselves. The cellular process of aging may be changing, in humans’ favor. For too long, he said, researchers have looked under the lamppost at things they can measure. “I want to look inside cells,” Dr. Cummings said. Inside, there could be more clues to this happy mystery.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
As a physician, I have encountered many people who believe that heart disease, which is the single biggest cause of death among Americans, is largely controllable. After all, if people ate better, were physically active and stopped smoking, then lots of them would get better. This ignores the fact that people can’t change many risk factors of heart disease like age, race and family genetics. People don’t often seem to feel the same way about cancer. They think it’s out of their control. A ... recent study published in Nature argues that there is a lot we can do. Many studies have shown that environmental risk factors and exposures contribute greatly to many cancers. Diet is related to colorectal cancer. Alcohol and tobacco are related to esophageal cancer. HPV is related to cervical cancer, and hepatitis C is related to liver cancer. And you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that smoking causes lung cancer and that too much sun can lead to skin cancer. Using sophisticated modeling techniques, the researchers argued that less than 30 percent of the lifetime risk of getting many common cancers was because of intrinsic risk factors, or the “bad luck.” The rest were things you can change. [More] recently, in JAMA Oncology, researchers sought to quantify how a healthful lifestyle might actually alter the risk of cancer. They [found that] about 25 percent of cancer in women and 33 percent in men was potentially preventable.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Thousands of dogs across Britain are dying or suffering severe allergic reactions after being treated with a vaccine meant to protect them against mild bacterial infections. Fears over the safety of the vaccine against leptospirosis - a bacterial infection spread to dogs through rats and wild animals – have now led veterinary organisations to issue warnings about its side effects. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is urging owners not to use Nobivac L4 vaccine on puppies under 12 weeks old. However, [it] is still being administered in veterinary practices across Britain to dogs from seven weeks old, with little warning of the potential side effects. According to reports made to the Government's Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) by pet owners, more than 120 dogs are feared to have died after receiving a dosage in the three years the product has been on the market. In the last two years, regulators have received 2,000 reports of dogs having suspected adverse or fatal reactions. Owners that have opted for the L4 vaccine ... have reported adverse effects including epileptic fits, swollen glands and blindness. The vaccine, which is manufactured by MSD Animal Health, a subsidiary of American conglomerate Merck Sharp & Dohme, is currently being monitored by the VMD. The regulator has however refused to reveal the total number of animals that had been affected since the product came onto the market, prompting concern among dog owners that the scale of problem is being kept hidden from the public.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Nearly all food labels in Vermont are now required to disclose when products include genetically engineered ingredients. The requirement, passed two years ago, became effective on Friday. The rule is the first of its kind in the United States, and although it applies only within the tiny state, it is having national impact. Most major food and beverage companies have already added language to their labels to meet the new rule, rather than deal with the logistical hassle of having separate labels for different states. But not all the same products will definitely be on shelves. Vermont’s law requires the labeling of most packaged grocery products as well as any whole fruits or vegetables produced with genetic engineering. That means virtually all products containing derivatives of crops like corn, soy, canola and sugar from sugar beets will need labels, as most of those crops in the United States are grown from genetically modified seeds. Vermont’s law is careful, however, to exclude cheese, a big business in the state. The law also exempts meat from animals that have eaten feed made from genetically engineered grains. The labeling issue has generated heavy and frantic lobbying by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the trade groups representing major commodity producers of crops like soy and corn, who have wanted a federal law that would prevent mandatory labels.
Note: On July 8, the US Senate passed a bill which allows food companies to continue to avoid clear GMO ingredient labeling. Let's hope it does not pass the full Congress and become a law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food industry corruption and GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Lisa Alamia had the jaw surgery in December. She underwent the procedure to correct a serious overbite, and it was a success, according to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. The 33-year-old woke up and had minimal swelling. But then she began to talk. The voice coming out of Alamia’s mouth didn’t sound like it belonged to a Houston-area native. It sounded British. “My daughter laughs at the way I say ‘tamales.’ I used to be able to say it like a real Hispanic girl,” Alamia told KHOU. “Now, I cannot.” Months later, she still speaks as if she’s from across the pond. Eventually, she saw neurologist Toby Yaltho at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates, who diagnosed her with a very rare condition: Foreign Accent Syndrome, or FAS. The rare speech disorder was first described in 1907 by French neurologist Pierre Marie, and since then, there have been only about 100 documented cases. A person with FAS has an accent considered by the patient, others and doctors to sound “foreign” and unlike the patient’s previous dialect. Previous exposure to such an accent isn’t necessary. FAS usually follows stroke, while it’s also been diagnosed following traumatic brain injury, cerebral hemorrhage and multiple sclerosis. Only a few cases seem to have psychological origins. The cause of Alamia’s FAS remains a mystery. “Everything came back normal,” Yaltho said in a release. “There was no evidence of stroke or other abnormalities.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has just adopted an official policy statement about street lighting: cool it and dim it. The statement, adopted unanimously at the AMA's annual meeting ... comes in response to the rise of new LED street lighting sweeping the country. Municipalities are replacing existing streetlights with efficient and long-lasting LEDs to save money on energy and maintenance. Although the streetlights are delivering these benefits, the AMA's stance reflects ... the close connection between light and human health. The new "white" LED street lighting ... has two problems. The first is discomfort and glare. Because LED light is so concentrated and has high blue content, it can cause severe glare ... and sufficient levels can damage the retina. This can cause problems seeing clearly for safe driving or walking at night. The other issue addressed by the AMA statement is the impact on human circadian rhythmicity. Lighting affects our normal circadian physiology. This could lead to some serious health consequences. White LED light ... is estimated to be five times more effective at suppressing melatonin at night than the high pressure sodium lamps (given the same light output) which have been the mainstay of street lighting for decades. Melatonin suppression is a marker of circadian disruption, which includes disrupted sleep. The AMA "encourage[s] minimizing and controlling blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible to reduce glare." All LED lighting should be properly shielded.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Physician influence can be bought for as little as a $20 meal, UCSF researchers have found. A study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine ... found that doctors who received just one meal averaging $20 were up to twice as likely to prescribe brand-name drugs being promoted than doctors who did not receive any free food. Gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors ... have come under scrutiny in recent years for concerns that the money spent by drugmakers directly influences what physicians write on their prescriptions pads. Some doctors deny they’re influenced by money, but a growing number of studies show that financial ties can affect their professional behavior. The UCSF researchers looked at ... the routine briefings many doctors and their staff receive from drug reps during lunches in their offices. The study found that the effect increased as doctors got more meals. Those who received multiple meals were up to three times as likely to prescribe the promoted brand-name drug. Higher-cost meals were associated with greater influence. Doctors who received four or more meals to promote Allergan’s Bystolic to treat hypertension prescribed the drug at 5.4 times the rate of physicians who received no meals. For Pfizer’s depression drug Pristiq, that rate was 3.4 times higher. UCSF researchers said that their studies show the buying power of drug makers decreases the use of cheaper, generic drugs and raises costs for patients as well as the health care system.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time, an international group of experts has claimed. A review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease. Published in the BMJ Open journal, the new study found that 92 percent of people with a high cholesterol level lived longer. The authors have called for a re-evaluation of the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries, because “the benefits from statin treatment have been exaggerated”. Co-author of the study Dr Malcolm Kendrick, an intermediate care GP, acknowledged the findings would cause controversy but defended them as “robust” and “thoroughly reviewed”. Vascular and endovascular surgery expert Professor Sherif Sultan from the University of Ireland, who also worked on the study, said cholesterol is one of the “most vital” molecules in the body and prevents infection, cancer, muscle pain and other conditions in elderly people. “Lowering cholesterol with medications for primary cardiovascular prevention in those aged over 60 is a total waste of time and resources, whereas altering your lifestyle is the single most important way to achieve a good quality of life,” he said.
Note: Big Pharma was heavily involved in clinical trials of statins. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
A delegation of independent scientists urged the EPA to ban RoundUp, Monsanto’s flagship herbicide. Providing testimony that it poses an unreasonable risk to humans, animals, and the environment, scientists spoke at a closed meeting with EPA [officials]. The scientists explained the physiological reasons why exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, is linked to autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, birth defects, obesity, gluten intolerance, among other health issues. 300 million pounds of RoundUp are sprayed each year on corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and weeds in the United States alone. $5 billion, or half Monsanto’s annual sales, comes from glyphosate-containing products. Dr. Stephen Frantz, Pathobiologist Research Scientist led the team. “When a cell is trying to form proteins, it may grab glyphosate instead of glycine to form a damaged, mis-folded protein. After that it’s medical chaos ... with many diseases and disorders as a result.” Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt was a participant at the meeting. Her son had been a casualty of processed foods, diagnosed with autism until his mother switched to an all-organic diet. “Mothers and caretakers are seeing their loved ones get sick on GMOs and glyphosate/herbicide sprayed foods and get better when they avoid them. Because glyphosate is contaminating our urine, water, breast milk and nearly all our foods, we are systematically causing sickness throughout America.”
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Atrazine [is] the second most commonly used herbicide in the United States. [It] is mainly used to control weeds in the corn blanketing much of the Midwest. The chemical also routinely turns up in streams and drinking water. And according to a new Environmental Protection Agency preliminary risk assessment, it may be doing serious harm to fish, animals, and amphibians, even at extremely low exposure levels. In the areas where it is most commonly used, mainly the Midwestern corn belt, atrazine turns up in the environment at rates that exceed established levels of concern "by as much as 22, 198, and 62 times for birds, mammals, and fish, respectively," the report concluded. The European Union banned atrazine in 2004, citing its potential to contaminate water and harm ecosystems. And this latest EPA report suggests the US government might also consider reining in use of the chemical. But probably not anytime soon. Back in 2011, the EPA released the final deliberations by a panel of independent scientists it had convened to address the topic. The panel found that atrazine had "suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential" for ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia, and thyroid cancer. A recent paper by Texas A&M and Iowa State University researchers looked at research published since 2000 and concluded that "higher concentrations of atrazine in drinking water" have been associated with a variety of birth defects in people.
Note: With US regulators in its pocket, agrichemical giant Syngenta did everything in its power to discredit atrazine researcher Tyrone Hayes after Hayes published science proving that Syngenta's products were poisonous. The New Yorker published a detailed article on Syngenta's smear campaign. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.
A technique that allows particular genes to spread rapidly through populations is not ready to be set loose in the wild, warns a committee convened by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In a [new] report ... the committee argued that such ‘gene drives’ pose complex ecological risks that are not yet fully understood. “We are not ready for any kind of release,” says Elizabeth Heitman, co-chair of the committee. Gene drives ... have long been postulated as a way to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria. But the field was hampered by technical challenges until the recent advent of sophisticated - and easy-to-use - tools for engineering genomes. In the past two years, researchers have used a popular gene-editing technique called CRISPR–Cas9 to develop gene drives that spread a given gene through a population almost exponentially faster than normal. But as molecular biology research on gene drives has surged forward, it has outpaced our understanding of their ecological consequences, says Heitman. Even a small, accidental release from a laboratory holds the potential to spread around the globe: “After release into the environment, a gene drive knows no political boundaries,” the committee wrote. Given this risk, the report also stressed the importance of layering multiple methods of containment to prevent accidental release of engineered species, and of consulting with the public even before gene drive experiments are undertaken in the laboratory.
Note: According to the Washington Post, the USDA recently stated that it will not regulate a food product product engineered with this risky CRISPR technique. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Genentech and another drugmaker will pay $67 million to settle claims that they misled doctors into prescribing a treatment to lung cancer patients for whom the companies knew it would not work. As a result, some patients may have died earlier than they would have if they had taken more effective drugs, a lawsuit brought by a former Genentech employee and joined by federal prosecutors alleges. From 2006 to 2011 Genentech and its marketing partner OSI Pharmaceuticals promoted Tarceva to treat all patients with non-small-cell lung cancer even though studies had shown that it worked for just those who had never smoked or had a certain gene mutation known as EGFR. Epidermal growth factor receptor is a type of protein found on the surface of cells in the body. The whistle-blower lawsuit was filed in 2011 by Brian Shields, who worked as a Tarceva sales representative and then a product manager. The lawsuit said the companies ... discouraged doctors from testing patients for EGFR. The companies also promoted Tarceva ... by giving doctors illegal kickbacks disguised as fees for making speeches or serving on Genentech’s advisory boards. Sales representatives across the country were “instructed to spend lavishly” on physicians, the case said, and given “an unlimited budget to wine and dine.” Genentech also organized lunches or dinners for lung cancer patients where “patient ambassadors” were paid fees to speak about how Tarceva could be used in ways never approved by regulators, the lawsuit said.
Note: While Genentech was inaccurately describing its new drugs to doctors and patients, this company was also fiercely lobbying to prevent others from selling affordable alternatives to its costly drugs. Practices like this, along with the suppression of promising cancer research, show how Big Pharma puts profit before people.
More than a decade ago, researchers at Gilead Sciences thought they had a breakthrough: a new version of the company’s key HIV medicine that was less toxic to kidneys and bones. Clinical trials ... seemed to support their optimism. Patients needed just a fraction of the dose, creating the chance of far fewer dangerous side effects. But in 2004 ... Gilead executives stopped the research. The results of the early patient studies would go unpublished for years as the original medication - tenofovir - became one of the world’s most-prescribed drugs for HIV, with $11 billion in annual sales. In 2010, Gilead restarted those trials. A year of treatment with Gilead’s HIV medicines costs about $30,000. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which operates clinics and pharmacies for AIDS patients, sued Gilead, contending that it delayed the less toxic form of tenofovir to manipulate the patent system and keep prices artificially high. Animal studies showed that [tenofovir] could cause damage to the kidneys and bones. When the drug was approved in 2001, the FDA required Gilead to study whether the medicine would harm humans in the same way. [By] 2003, the company had received so many reports of patients experiencing kidney failure and other ... problems that it placed a warning on the drug’s label. Several times, U.S. regulators formally warned Gilead that it was downplaying the drug’s risks.
Note: After the FDA warned Gilead that its sales reps were illegally lying to doctors about tenofovir's safety, Gilead continued misrepresenting this drug, prompting the FDC to send the company a rare second warning letter. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.