Pharmaceutical Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on pharmaceutical corruption
Money talks -- and very loudly -- when a drug company is funding a clinical trial involving one of its products. UCSF researchers looked at nearly 200 head-to-head studies of widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications, or statins, and found that results were 20 times more likely to favor the drug made by the company that sponsored the trial. "We have to be really, really skeptical of these drug-company-sponsored studies," said Lisa Bero, the study's author and professor of clinical pharmacy and health policy studies. The trials typically involved comparing the effectiveness of a drug to one or two other statins. UCSF researchers also found that a study's conclusions -- not the actual research results but the trial investigators' impressions -- are more than 35 times more likely to favor the test drug when that trial is sponsored by the drug's maker. Bero said drug companies fund up to 90 percent of drug-to-drug clinical trials for certain classes of medication. The researchers found other factors that could affect trial results. For example, pharmaceutical companies could choose not to publish results of studies that fail to favor their drugs, or they could be designed in ways to skew results. The study found the most important weakness of trials was lack of true clinical outcome measures. In the case of statins, some trials focused on less-direct results such as lipid levels but failed to connect the results with key outcomes such as heart attacks or mortality. "None of us really care what our cholesterol level is. We care about having a heart attack," Gibson said. "For the drug to be worthwhile taking, it has to be directly related to prevent a heart attack."
Note: For lots more reliable information about corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
Two of the world’s largest drug companies are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to doctors every year in return for giving their patients anemia medicines, which regulators now say may be unsafe at commonly used doses. The payments are legal, but very few people outside of the doctors who receive them are aware of their size. The payments give physicians an incentive to prescribe the medicines at levels that might increase patients’ risks of heart attacks or strokes. At just one practice in the Pacific Northwest, a group of six cancer doctors received $2.7 million from Amgen for prescribing $9 million worth of its drugs last year. [A] report prepared by F.D.A. staff scientists said no evidence indicated that the medicines either improved quality of life in patients or extended their survival. Several studies suggested that the drugs can shorten patients’ lives when used at high doses. The medicines ... are among the world’s top-selling drugs. They represent the single biggest drug expense for Medicare. Since 1991 ... the average dose given to dialysis patients in this country has nearly tripled. About 50 percent of dialysis patients now receive enough of the drugs to raise their red blood cell counts above the level considered risky by the F.D.A. Unlike most drugs, the anemia medicines do not come in fixed doses. Therefore, doctors have great flexibility to increase dosing — and profits. The companies have [failed] to test whether lower doses of the medicines might work better than higher doses. There is little evidence that the drugs make much difference for patients with moderate anemia, and federal statistics show that the increased use of the drugs has not improved survival in dialysis patients.
Note: For lots more on major corruption in health care, click here.
By Dr. Michael Wilkes. I recently wrote a column about cholesterol-lowering medications. I stated that if 67 healthy men with elevated cholesterol took a cholesterol-lowering drug ... for five years, only one would benefit. The other 66 would not benefit, and it would cost about $5,500 over the five-year period. I received a ton of e-mail from readers. Many readers wrote that after knowing this number, they did not feel taking the drug was worth the effort or expense. Others took the opposite view. Both interpretations are valid, depending on the person's values. This number -- the 1 in 67 -- is a term doctors call "the number needed to treat," or NNT. It is a relatively new concept [that] is grossly underused in sharing information with the public. Doctors and pharmacists do a poor job talking with patients about their medications. Many people will derive little or no benefit from their medicines, but they are never told this. The key is for doctors and patients to understand the NNT. Here are some estimates of NNT: 1 in 2,550: The number of breast cancer deaths prevented in women between the ages of 50 and 59 screened annually for five years with mammograms. 1 in 2,000: The number of women ages 60-64 without risk factors who would prevent a hip fracture by taking medicine for osteoporosis for five years. 1 in 700: The number of people with mild high blood pressure who would prevent a stroke or heart attack by taking blood pressure medicine for one year. 1 in 16: The number of infections prevented by treating a victim of a dog bite with a week of antibiotics. 1 in 7: The number of children (otherwise healthy children) who benefit from treatment with an antibiotic for an ordinary ear infection.
Note: Many doctors and scientists have made valid claims that drug companies are hyping disease in order to make profits on their drugs. For a top MD's discussion of this vital topic, click here.
Fraudulent research regularly appears in the 30,000 scientific journals published worldwide, a former editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said today. Even when journals discover that published research is fabricated or falsified they rarely retract the findings, according to Richard Smith, who was also chief executive of the BMJ publishing group. Writing in the latest edition of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr Smith called on editors to blow the whistle on bad research and to use their clout to pressure universities into taking action against dodgy researchers. The former BMJ editor said it was likely that research fraud was "equally common" in the 30,000 plus scientific journals across the globe but was "invariably covered up". His call for action comes in the wake of several high profile cases of fraudulent research, including the Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk who fabricated stem cell research that it was claimed would open up new ways to treat diseases like Parkinson's. Dr Smith criticised the failure of scientific institutions, including universities, to discipline dodgy researchers even when alerted to problems by journals. "Few countries have measures in place to ensure research is carried out ethically," he said. "Most cases are not publicised. They are simply not recognised, covered up altogether or the guilty researcher is urged to retrain, move to another institution or retire from research."
Note: For reliable information on the collusion of industry, government, and research facilities who place profits above advances in public health: http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup
No one foresaw ... the shocking extent to which the internet would change the terms of trade between corporations and society. One of the world's largest drug companies [was] the first victim. Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, the world's second-largest pharma, denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $2.5m ... for concealing evidence of its antidepressant Seroxat's potential for harming children, while doing them no measurable good. Infinitely more frightening ... this pharma had the backing of institutions that we, the public, rely on to protect us from poisoning by prescription. The Royal College of Psychiatrists had insisted only a year earlier that 'there is no evidence that antidepressant drugs can cause dependence syndromes'. It was really the internet that allowed public health activists to do an end run around GSK's and the medical authorities' denials of the drug's risks. An explosion of websites dedicated to vivid accounts of antidepressant reactions told these campaigners about hundreds of thousands affected by a problem that officially did not exist. Health activists in Britain and America have uncovered the core of pharma might. In both countries, clinical drug tests are paid for by the pharmas, who tweak the trials' design for the best possible results. Until recently, only the most favourable findings got published in the 20,000-odd biomedical journals, many of them dependent on pharmas for funding. The drugs are approved for marketing by regulators, whose salaries are mostly financed by the subjects of their evaluations. The medicines are then prescribed by doctors routinely courted with pharma gifts ... meant to persuade them to change their prescribing habits.
Note: For a two-page summary with lots more reliable information on major health cover-ups by a doctor who was editor-in-chief of one of the most pretigious medical journals in the world, click here.
Generic drugs are just as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts but they cost only a fraction as much. That is because companies that produce the generic versions simply copy the formula developed by the drug’s inventor years before. While your drugstore charges you less for a generic drug than a brand name version, that price difference is nothing compared to the markup most druggists place on the generics. Your pharmacy most likely paid a wholesale price of only pennies for that generic medicine. They then charge you a markup of 3,000%, 4,000%, even 5,000% or more, pocketing most of your savings. Who’s paying sky-high prices? People who can least afford to get ripped off—the elderly, the unemployed, and everybody who has to pay for their prescription medicine out of their own pocket. At CVS the cost of generic Prozac is marked up at least 56 times what the drug cost wholesale. It is a 5,594% markup. And in our survey of more than a dozen popular generic drugs, CVS leads the pack with average markups of 1,436% Walgreen’s is not far behind at 1,341% and Rite Aid markups on generics average 1,183%. [WXYZ reporter] Steve Wilson took the issue to Kurt Proctor, Vice President of the Association of Chain Drug Stores. "Explain to me why it’s necessary to take an 82 cent product and mark it up to $46.69? You have to mark it up 5,500% to meet your costs to make a profit? This is really about greed, isn’t it?" asked Wilson. "It’s not about greed," responded Proctor. "That’s not accurate at all. That’s a misleading statement. What I hope you will focus on is making sure people use their medications correctly."
Note: This important exposure of price-gouging by pharmacies is still available at Web Archive (click on the link above for the complete article, which is well worth reading in its entirety), but for some reason has been taken down at WXYZ's website. Could it be someone doesn't want us to know about this?
It's been a mystery in Washington for weeks. Just before President Bush signed the homeland security bill into law an unknown member of Congress inserted a provision into the legislation that blocks lawsuits against the maker of a controversial vaccine preservative called "thimerosal," used in vaccines that are given to children. Drug giant Eli Lilly and Company makes thimerosal. It's the mercury in the preservative that many parents say causes autism in thousands of children. But nobody in Congress would admit to adding the provision, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta – until now. House Majority Leader Dick Armey tells CBS News he did it to keep vaccine-makers from going out of business under the weight of mounting lawsuits. "I did it and I'm proud of it," says Armey, R-Texas. "It's a matter of national security," Armey says. Because Armey is retiring at the end of the year, some say the outgoing majority leader is the perfect fall guy to take the heat and shield the White House from embarrassment.
Note: A Reuters article reports that the former head of the US's CDC was later named president of Merck's vaccine division with accompanying high salary. Could this be payoff for her support in suppressing studies that cast doubt on vaccines?
Do drugs really stop working after the date stamped on the bottle? Fifteen years ago, the U.S. military decided to find out. Sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every two to three years, the military began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory. The testing, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results ... show that about 90% of them were safe and effective far past their original expiration date, at least one for 15 years past it. The program's returns have been huge. The military from 1993 through 1998 spent about $3.9 million on testing and saved $263.4 million on drug expense. In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, says he has concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. "Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons," says Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement last year. "They want turnover." Joel Davis, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, says that with a handful of exceptions - notably nitroglycerin, insulin and some liquid antibiotics - most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. "Most drugs degrade very slowly," he says. "In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years." Drug-industry officials ... acknowledge that expiration dates have a commercial dimension.
Note: As the Wall Street Journal charges to view this article at the above link, you can view it free here. For lots more on how the pharmaceutical industry cares more about profits than your health, click here.
British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has finally admitted that thousands of babies in this country were inoculated with a batch of toxic whooping cough vaccines in the 1970s. Some experts believe that these Trivax vaccines - which had not passed critical company safety tests - may have caused permanent brain damage and even fatalities in young children. In 1992, the family of an Irish boy, Kenneth Best, who suffered brain damage from one of these toxic vaccines, was awarded Ł2.7 million in compensation by the Irish Supreme Court. The boy's family finally won this historic case after his mother Margaret made a startling find when sifting through tens of thousands of company documents. She discovered that the Trivax vaccine used on her son, from a batch numbered 3,741, had been released by the company despite it having failed to pass a critical safety test. Documents revealed that the 60,000 individual doses within this batch were known to be 14 times more potent than normal. Last year an investigation by The Observer found evidence to suggest that vaccines from this faulty batch ... had also been used in Britain. Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker raised questions in the House of Commons, asking whether vaccines from this batch had been given to British babies. Then Health Minister Yvette Cooper wrote to the company asking for information. Now, almost a year later, GlaxoSmithKline has replied that it is 'highly probable' the toxic batches had been used in Britain.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccine risks from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
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.
The global insulin market is dominated by three companies: Eli Lilly, the French company Sanofi and the Danish firm Novo Nordisk. All three have raised list prices to similar levels. According to IBM Watson Health data, Sanofi’s popular insulin brand Lantus was $35 a vial when it was introduced in 2001; it’s now $270. Novo Nordisk’s Novolog was priced at $40 in 2001, and as of July 2018, it’s $289. The companies appear to have increased [prices] in lockstep over a number of years, prompting allegations of price fixing. All three companies denied these charges. (In 2010, Mexico fined Eli Lilly and three Mexican companies for price collusion on insulin, an allegation Eli Lilly also denied.) In the United States, a federal prosecutor and at least five state attorneys general are currently investigating the companies’ pricing practices. There is also another, less known corporate entity in the mix: pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which include Express Scripts, OptumRx and CVS Health; all are now named in lawsuits on high insulin prices. These corporate entities are powerful special interests. In 2017, the pharmaceutical and health product industry ... spent nearly $280 million on lobbying, the biggest spender by far of 20 top industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The industry also has a revolving door to government. Alex Azar, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, was the president of Eli Lilly’s U.S. division until 2017.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
Regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken. The digital pill combines two existing products: the former blockbuster psychiatric medication Abilify - long used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - with a sensor tracking system first approved in 2012. Experts say the technology could be a useful tool, but it will also change how doctors relate to their patients as they’re able to see whether they are following instructions. The pill has not yet been shown to actually improve patients’ medication compliance, a feature insurers are likely to insist on before paying for the pill. Additionally, patients must be willing to allow their doctors and caregivers to access the digital information. The technology carries risks for patient privacy, too, if there are breaches of medical data or unauthorized use as a surveillance tool, said James Giordano, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Could this type of device be used for real-time surveillance? The answer is of course it could,” said Giordano. The new pill, Abilify MyCite, is embedded with a digital sensor that is activated by stomach fluids, sending a signal to a patch worn by the patient and notifying a digital smartphone app that the medication has been taken.
Note: In 2010, it was quietly reported that Novartis AG would be seeking regulatory approval for such "chip-in-a-pill technology". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on microchip implants and the disappearance of privacy.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is often accused of serving industry at the expense of consumers. This week, [there are reports] of an institutionalized FDA spying program on its own scientists, lawmakers, reporters and academics that included an enemies list of "actors" and collaborators. "Devicegate" dates back at least to January 2009 when scientists ... wrote President Obama that top FDA managers "committed the most outrageous misconduct by ordering, coercing and intimidating FDA physicians and scientists to recommend approval, and then retaliating when the physicians and scientists refused to go along." Unsafe [medical] devices - including those that emit excessive radiation - were approved. For reporting the safety risks, the scientists became targets. Some lost their jobs. The ... reprisals against FDA device reviewers [did not surprise former FDA drug reviewer Ronald Kavanagh]. "After FDA management learned I had gone to Congress about certain issues, I found my office had been entered and my computer physically tampered with," [said Kavanagh]. "Then, after I openly reported irregularities in an antipsychotic drug review and FDA financial collusion with outsiders to ... the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I was threatened with prison. The threats, however, can be much worse than prison. One manager threatened my children - who had just turned 4 and 7 years old - and ... I was afraid that I could be killed for talking to Congress and criminal investigators."
Note: Read more on how the FDA spied on whistle-blowing scientists to suppress safety concerns. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.
FBI agents arrested former Insys Therapeutics CEO Michael Babich and five other former company executives on Thursday for allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe an extremely addictive opioid painkiller to patients who didn’t need it. The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that the executives took part in a “nationwide conspiracy” to give healthcare providers kickbacks in exchange for the improper prescribing of Subsys - an opioid medication containing the highly addictive substance fentanyl, which is considered even more dangerous than painkillers like Vicodin. Subsys is meant to provide pain relief to cancer patients who are going through particularly excruciating pain episodes. It’s reserved for these neediest of patients due to its potency and addictive qualities. But federal prosecutors allege that Babich and his co-conspirators doled out kickbacks to doctors who prescribed the drug even to non-cancer patients, and even set up a special “reimbursement unit” to sway insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers to provide coverage for these non-authorized uses. The charges range from racketeering to conspiracy to mail and wire fraud. The FBI’s actions come in the wake of a newly invigorated federal effort to tackle the prescription painkiller epidemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 165,000 Americans since 1999.
Note: These charges come on the heels of an ex-DEA official's public accusation that Congress has been helping drug makers avoid responsibility for their role in the US opioid epidemic. How many deaths and ruined lives are being caused by greedy executives and the politicians in their pockets? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Sugar pills worked as well at preventing kids' migraines as two commonly used headache medicines, but had fewer side effects, in a study that may lead doctors to rethink how they treat a common ailment in children and teens. It's the first rigorous head-to-head test in kids of two generic prescription drugs also used for adults' migraines: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and amitriptyline, an anti-depressant. The idea was to see if either drug could reduce by half the number of days kids had migraines over a month's time. Both drugs worked that well - but so did placebo sugar pills. The results "really challenge what is typical practice today by headache specialists," said study author Scott Powers, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement," said Dr. Leon Epstein, neurology chief at Ann & Robert Lurie H. Children's Hospital of Chicago. The only government-approved migraine medication for kids is topiramate. Side effects from the drugs [included] fatigue, dry mouth and forgetfulness. Kids on topiramate also had tingling sensations in their hands, arms, legs or feet. There was one suicide attempt in the topiramate group, another known side-effect of that drug. The side effects were not unexpected, but given the risks, the results suggest the drugs shouldn't be "first-line prevention treatments" for kids' migraines, Powers said.
Note: This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. For more, see this mercola.com article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Using the playbook of Mylan, Turing and, well, their own company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals has hiked the price of yet another life-saving treatment to astronomical values. This time, it’s calcium EDTA, a lead poisoning treatment that cost US hospitals and poison control centers about $500 for a packet of six ampules (6 grams) before 2012, when Valeant acquired the drug. Poison control experts now say that US centers pay about $5000 per gram for the drug, compared to $15 per gram for Canadians. In a 6-year period ... Valeant increased the US price of the drug by as much as 7200%. Two physicians - Michael Kosnett from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Timur Durrani at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - expressed their concerns about these price hikes in a letter to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. According to Kosnett and Durrani, the average price per milliliter for the drug went from $18.57 in 2008 to $1346.37 in 2014. U.S. hospitals have no other source for calcium EDTA. Most of those who develop acute lead poisoning are children. The effects of lead poisoning are lasting and profound. Calcium EDTA is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines, which lists medications that are most critical for a healthcare system to have on hand.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
EpiPen prices aren't the only thing to jump at Mylan. Executive salaries have also seen a stratospheric uptick. Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase. In 2007 the company bought the rights to EpiPen, a device used to provide emergency epinephrine to stop a potentially fatal allergic reaction and began raising its price. In 2008 and 2009, Mylan raised the price by 5 percent. At the end of 2009 it tried out a 19 percent hike. The years 2010-2013 saw a succession of 10 percent price hikes. And from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2016, Mylan steadily raised EpiPen prices 15 percent every other quarter. After Mylan acquired EpiPen the company also amped up its lobbying efforts. In 2008, its reported spending on lobbying went from $270,000 to $1.2 million, according to opensecrets.org. Legislation that enhanced its bottom line followed, with the FDA changing its recommendations in 2010 that two EpiPens be sold in a package instead of one. And in 2013 the government passed a law to give block grants to states that required they be stocked in public schools.
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.
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.
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.
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