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Pharmaceutical Corruption News Stories
Excerpts of Key Pharmaceutical Corruption News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important pharmaceutical corruption news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These pharmaceutical corruption news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Note: This comprehensive list of pharmaceutical corruption 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.


FDA expected to authorize new Covid boosters without data from tests in people
2022-08-30, NBC News
Posted: 2022-09-19 22:43:16
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-authorize-new-covid-boosters-d...

The updated Covid vaccine boosters, a reformulated version targeting the BA.5 omicron subvariant [will] be the first Covid shots distributed without results from human trials. Because the Biden administration has pushed for a fall booster campaign to begin in September, the mRNA vaccine-makers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have only had time to test the reformulated shots in mice, not people. That means the Food and Drug Administration is relying on the mice trial data – plus human trial results from a similar vaccine that targets the original omicron strain, called BA.1 – to evaluate the new shots. Federal health officials hope that the new vaccines will provide stronger protection over the existing booster shots, which still target the original coronavirus strain. But the lack of data in humans means officials likely won't know how much better the new shots are – if at all – until the fall booster campaign is well underway. The FDA's decision to move forward without data from human trials is a gamble, experts say, threatening to further lower public trust in the vaccines should the new boosters not work as intended. The U.S. is still on its first iteration of the Covid vaccines, and the mRNA technology has only been in widespread use since late 2020. The agency is making "huge assumptions" in its consideration of the new Covid boosters, [Dr. Paul] Offit said, adding that it's possible the new shots may not be any more effective than the existing vaccines.

Note: Read a revealing article with critical information about the new mRNA boosters. To further inquire into this complex topic, explore concise summaries of news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


EPA Whistleblowers Provide New Evidence of Ongoing Failure To Assess Dangerous Chemicals
2022-08-01, The Intercept
Posted: 2022-09-06 14:10:35
https://theintercept.com/2022/08/01/epa-chemical-assessments-health-risks-can...

A group of whistleblowers has provided evidence that the Environmental Protection Agency has not adequately assessed the health risks posed by several new chemicals on the grounds that they are corrosive. Those harms include cancer, miscarriage, and neurotoxicity, according to the whistleblowers, who work as health assessors in the division. In some cases â₏¦ the risks were calculated, found to be significant, and later deleted from official documents. In March 2020, Gallagher, the human health assessor, found that another chemical presented risks to workers. Information [about the hazards] was included in a version of the assessment. But a month later, a manager in the New Chemicals Division created a new assessment [that] explained: "Risks were not evaluated for workers via repeated dermal exposures because dermal exposures are not considered likely due to the corrosivity of the new chemical substance." According to the whistleblowers, this statement is false. "It is intentionally misleading for EPA to put into a report that we did not calculate risk when we did," said Martin Phillips, a chemist and human health assessor who works in the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. "It's lying about what we did. It's not just that we did the calculations. We did the calculations and found risks, and then they got rid of them and said that we didn't calculate them. It's fundamentally inaccurate."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles on pharmaceutical corruption and science corruption from reliable major media sources.


This group's wiped out $6.7 billion in medical debt, and it's just getting started
2022-08-15, NPR
Posted: 2022-09-06 13:49:59
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/08/15/1093769295/this-groups-w...

Soon after giving birth to a daughter two months premature, Terri Logan received a bill from the hospital. She recoiled from the string of numbers separated by commas. Then a few months ago â₏¦ Logan received some bright yellow envelopes in the mail. They were from a nonprofit group [RIP Medical Debt] telling her it had bought and then forgiven all those past medical bills. The nonprofit has boomed during the pandemic, freeing patients of medical debt, thousands of people at a time. Its novel approach involves buying bundles of delinquent hospital bills – debts incurred by low-income patients like Logan – and then simply erasing the obligation to repay them. It's a model developed by two former debt collectors, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton, who built their careers chasing down patients who couldn't afford their bills. RIP buys the debts just like any other collection company would – except instead of trying to profit, they send out notices to consumers saying that their debt has been cleared. A surge in recent donations – from college students to philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who gave $50 million in late 2020 – is fueling RIP's expansion. To date, RIP has purchased $6.7 billion in unpaid debt and relieved 3.6 million people of debt. RIP is one of the only ways patients can get immediate relief from such debt, says Jim Branscome, a major donor. "As a bill collector collecting millions of dollars in medical-associated bills in my career, now all of a sudden I'm reformed: I'm a predatory giver," Ashton said.

Note: To understand the corruption in healthcare that results in expensive medical bills, read this revealing 10-page summary of medical doctor Marcia Angell's book The Truth About Drug Companies. To further explore stories that help create the world we want to live in, check out our inspiring news articles collection and our Inspiration Center.


Big pharma sick as the US moves to negotiate drug prices
2022-08-12, MSN News
Posted: 2022-08-29 14:38:14
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/big-pharma-sick-as-the-us-moves-to-ne...

Big Pharma spent more than any other industry to lobby Congress and federal agencies this year, a Reuters analysis shows, but is still on course for a major defeat by failing to stop a bill that allows the government to negotiate prices on select drugs. The $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act to change climate, health, and tax policies cleared its largest hurdle last week when Democratic lawmakers passed it in the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is also expected to pass it on Friday, allowing President Joe Biden to sign it into law. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October found that 83% of Americans, including 95% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans, want the federal Medicare health plan for seniors to negotiate prices. The industry's powerful trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), urged senators in a public letter to reject the bill. A Reuters analysis ... shows that the pharmaceutical industry has spent at least $142.6 million on lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first half of 2022, more than any industry, and at least $16.1 million on campaign contributions during the current mid-term election cycle. Almost two thirds of the money spent on lobbying ... came from PhRMA and its member companies. The bill's provision for drug price negotiations was scaled back in November, allowing Medicare to focus on an annual maximum of 20 of the costliest medicines by 2029, instead of an initial proposal to help reduce prices for 250 treatments.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.


"American Cartel" A Conversation with Alex Gibney, Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham
2022-07-12, Washington Post
Posted: 2022-08-21 18:19:00
https://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live/2022/07/12/transcript-ame...

Today it's my great pleasure to introduce two Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists, Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham, who are going to discuss their new book, "American Cartel." We're talking about companies that create and fuel the opioid crisis. We've heard this story about the Sacklers and indeed the Sacklers have been identified, and if criminal charges haven't been brought at least they've been vilified in the press. But ... this goes way beyond the Sacklers. This is not just the story of one bad apple. "It's so much bigger than that," [said Horwitz]. "We found, in our two-year investigation ... a constellation of companies that fuel the deadliest epidemic, drug epidemic, in American history. Some of these companies are some of the largest in this country. Some we've heard of. They are household names - Walgreens, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson. We found internal emails from these companies where the people in the companies were laughing at the addicts. They were mocking them. Meanwhile, the drug companies, they are smart. They decide to lure away the best and the brightest if they can from the DEA and the Justice Department to help them as they are selling opioids, and they are very successful. They hired dozens of people from DEA and the Justice Department to work for these companies. So again, these are the people who are trying to protect us, working for the DEA and the Justice Department. They are lured away to the companies who are selling addictive painkillers that are killing people."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


For Big Pharma, the revolving door keeps spinning
2019-07-11, The Hill
Posted: 2022-08-21 18:14:46
https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/452654-for-big-pharma-the-re...

What happens when government leaders leave Washington for cushy jobs on corporate boards? Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is just the latest administration official to go through the revolving door after his second tour at the FDA. Gottlieb recently resigned from his spot as the top federal drug regulator to take on a role at Pfizer–the top drug producer in the United States. But Gottlieb's hiring is just the latest in a long line of moves to fortify the industry's influence in Washington. Big Pharma spending on lobbying eclipses every other industry according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Current Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar - Gottlieb's former boss - used to be president of Lilly USA, the U.S. branch of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. Trump lauded his appointment by calling Azar a "star for better healthcare and lower drug prices," but during his time there the company raised the brand's insulin prices threefold creating a crisis and drawing public outrage. A study last year found more than 160 former lobbyists serving in the Trump administration - and those industry ties point to an administration that puts the priorities of large corporations over those of the American people. Corporate executives and industry lobbyists cannot be effective regulators of the industries that have made them millions. The revolving door is an age-old problem in Washington but the scope and volume of the conflicts in the current administration ... is unprecedented.

Note: For lots more on the revolving door between government and big Pharma, see the "Revolving Door Project" and read this revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


New book chronicles how America's opioid industry operated like a drug cartel
2022-08-02, NPR
Posted: 2022-08-15 21:34:43
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/08/02/1115003825/american-cart...

It's estimated that more than 107,000 people in the United States died due to opioid overdoses in 2021. Washington Post journalist Scott Higham notes it's "the equivalent of a 737 Boeing crashing and burning and killing everybody on board every single day." In the new book, American Cartel, Higham and co-author Sari Horwitz make the case that the pharmaceutical industry operated like a drug cartel, with manufacturers at the top; wholesalers in the middle; and pharmacies at the level of "street dealers." The companies collaborated with each other – and with lawyers and lobbyists – to create legislation that protected their industry, even as they competed for market share. "It really is the companies that run the show," Higham says. "People were dying by the thousands while these companies were lobbying members of Congress ... to pass legislation and to lobby members of the Department of Justice and try to slow down the DEA enforcement efforts." Big pharma fought to create legislation that would limit the DEA's ability to go after drug wholesalers. The efforts were effective; more than 100 billion pills were manufactured, distributed and dispensed between 2006 and 2014. Meanwhile, both federal and state DEA agents are frustrated by the ways in which their enforcement efforts have been curtailed. Right now there are 40,000 Americans who are in jail on marijuana charges. And not one executive of a Fortune 500 company involved in the opioid trade has been charged with a crime.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.


"They have really endless resources": Big Pharma spending $263M to keep drug prices high
2021-11-03, CBS News
Posted: 2022-08-15 21:31:07
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/big-pharma-lower-prescription-drug-prices/

Lowering prescription drug prices is among the Biden administration's most urgent priorities. But the drug industry is spending big to keep that from happening. A new compromise on Capitol Hill would offer some relief from high prices by gradually allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices similar to private insurers for the first time, while capping out of pocket costs at $2,000 and setting limits on the cost of insulin. The pharmaceutical industry has spent nearly $263 million on lobbying so far this year, employing three lobbyists for every member of Congress, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics. Millions of those dollars are in the form of campaign donations. "They have really endless resources to throw at shaping the outcomes of legislation," said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of OpenSecrets. Congressman Scott Peters, a Democrat, sparked protests outside his San Diego district office when he came out against a plan to cut drug costs for seniors earlier this year. He's received nearly $130,000 from the industry this year. About $100,000 has been donated to Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema this year. Senator Robert Menendez, also a Democrat, has taken nearly $80,000 in 2021. "Bottom line is I'm supporting a price negotiation bill that has been worked out," ... Menendez said when asked what message he's sending by taking money from the pharmaceutical industry.

Note: This article fails to mention that big Pharma spends more than any other sector on lobbying and also is the largest sponsor of advertising in the major media. Do you think the media and Congress are biased by this? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.


McKinsey Opened a Door in Its Firewall Between Pharma Clients and Regulators
2022-04-13, New York Times
Posted: 2022-08-15 21:28:51
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/13/business/mckinsey-purdue-fda-records.html

Jeff Smith, a partner with the influential consulting firm McKinsey & Company, accepted a highly sensitive assignment in December 2017. The opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma ... sought out Dr. Smith. His team reviewed business plans and evaluated new drugs that Purdue hoped would help move the company beyond the turmoil associated with OxyContin, its addictive painkiller that medical experts say helped to spark the opioid epidemic. But the corporate reorganization was not Dr. Smith's only assignment. He was also helping the Food and Drug Administration overhaul its office that approves new drugs – the same office that would determine the regulatory fate of Purdue's new line of proposed products. A review ... of internal McKinsey documents found that the firm repeatedly allowed employees who served pharmaceutical companies, including opioid makers, to also consult for the F.D.A., the drug industry's primary government regulator. And, the documents show, McKinsey touted that inside access in pitches to private clients. In an email in 2014 to Purdue's chief executive, a McKinsey consultant highlighted the firm's work for the F.D.A. and stressed "who we know and what we know." McKinsey also allowed employees advising Purdue to help shape materials that were intended for government officials and agencies, including a memo in 2018 prepared for Alex M. Azar II. References to the severity of the opioid crisis in a draft version of the memo ... were cut before it was sent to Mr. Azar.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.


A Look At How The Revolving Door Spins From FDA To Industry
2016-09-28, NPR
Posted: 2022-08-15 21:22:39
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/28/495694559/a-look-at-how-...

More than a quarter of the Food and Drug Administration employees who approved cancer and hematology drugs from 2001 through 2010 left the agency and now work or consult for pharmaceutical companies, according to research published by a prominent medical journal. [Dr. Vinay] Prasad and his colleague Dr. Jeffrey Bien ... tracked 55 FDA reviewers in the hematology-oncology field from 2001 through 2010, using LinkedIn, PubMed and other publicly available job data. The researchers found that of the 26 reviewers who left the FDA during this period, 15 of them, or 57 percent, later worked or consulted for the biopharmaceutical industry. Put another way, about 27 percent of the total number of reviewers left their federal oversight posts to work for the industry they previously regulated. Prasad and Bien published their findings as a research letter in The BMJ, formerly The British Medical Journal. "If you know in the back of your mind that your career goal may be to someday work on the other side of the table, I wonder whether that changes the way you regulate," Prasad said. "There's a lot of room for interpretation in deciding whether or not a cancer drug should be approved," he said, because so many studies of cancer drugs rely on what's called a "surrogate endpoint." But ... there isn't always evidence that surrogate endpoints are linked to better health outcomes for patients, suggesting that some approved drugs aren't as beneficial as they appear.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer accused of pandemic profiteering as profits double
2022-02-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2022-08-01 15:10:54
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/feb/08/pfizer-covid-vaccine-pill-pr...

Pfizer made nearly $37bn (Ł27bn) in sales from its Covid-19 vaccine last year – making it one of the most lucrative products in history – and has forecast another bumper year in 2022, with a big boost coming from its Covid-19 pill Paxlovid. The US drugmaker's overall revenues in 2021 doubled to $81.3bn. The bumper sales prompted accusations from campaigners of "pandemic profiteering". The group Global Justice Now said the annual revenue of $81bn was more than the GDP of most countries. Pharmaceutical companies have been accused of not sharing the recipe for their vaccines, which would enable drugmakers in poorer countries to produce cheaper versions of them. Global Justice Now pointed out that Pfizer's Covid-19 jab was invented by BioNTech, supported by â‚Ź100m (Ł84m) in debt financing from the publicly owned European Investment Bank and a â‚Ź375m grant from the German government. Tim Bierley, a pharma campaigner at the group, said: "The development of mRNA vaccines should have revolutionised the global Covid response. "But we've let Pfizer withhold this essential medical innovation from much of the world, all while ripping off public health systems." According to Reuters, Pfizer has sold the vaccine to African countries at $3 to $10 a shot. It has indicated that a non-profit dose costs just $6.75, or Ł4.98, to produce, but it has reportedly charged the NHS Ł18 a dose for the first 100m jabs bought and Ł22 a dose for the next 89m, totalling Ł3.76bn ... amounting to an eye-watering 299% mark-up.

Note: If big Pharma really cared about public healthy, don't you think they'd be willing to sacrifice some of their huge profits and charge much less for their injections? Unfortunately, it's the old story of the rich get richer and the rest are left behind. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Medicare could've saved $3.6 billion by buying drugs at same prices as Mark Cuban's online pharmacy, according to a new study
2022-06-21, Fortune
Posted: 2022-08-01 15:09:16
https://fortune.com/2022/06/21/medicare-costs-compared-mark-cubans-pharmacy/

Medicare's drug program could have saved up to $3.6 billion in 2020 by mirroring the pricing strategy of entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge Mark Cuban's online pharmacy, according to a new study. Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Co. offers a selection of generic drugs at the cost of manufacturing them plus a flat 15% markup. The direct-to-consumer pharmacy does not accept insurance. The study's authors suggest that Medicare is overpaying for many generic drugs and could save billions a year if it purchased them directly from Cuban's online pharmacy. "The lower prices from a direct-to-consumer model highlight inefficiencies in the existing generic pharmaceutical distribution and reimbursement system, which includes wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, and insurers," wrote researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in a brief published ... in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Cuban and his pharmacy did not fund or have any involvement in the study. Cost Plus Drug Co. says it engages in price negotiations with drugmakers. Medicare's drug program, Part D, however, prohibits the government from directly negotiating pharmaceutical prices. Researchers compared 2020 Medicare spending for a total of 89 drugs ... to their prices at Cost Plus Drug Co. in February. They estimate that Medicare overpaid for 77 generic drugs, spending $8.1 billion compared with $4.5 billion if the federal agency had purchased at the same prices as Cost Plus Drug Co. charges.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


This Is How Big Pharma Wins
2022-02-21, New York Magazine
Posted: 2022-08-01 15:07:01
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/02/this-is-how-big-pharma-wins.html

On September 19, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The bill ... would allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare, a right assumed by the governments of every other major economy. Polls showed support ranging from 80 to an eye-popping 90-plus percent. H.R. 3 was delivered stillborn into Mitch McConnell's Senate in November of 2019. Two years later, when Joe Biden released the massive social-spending and climate-change bill dubbed Build Back Better, H.R. 3's reforms were nowhere to be found. And at every level of government, Pharma's endless river of money continues to flow, the widest, steadiest current of lobbying largesse the capitol has ever known. In 2021, the industry reported spending $124 million on a fleet of 846 lobbyists, roughly two for every member of Congress. Sixty-five percent were former government employees. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are part of a larger coalition that includes the insurance, medical-device, and hospital industries. Its combined resources flow downstream through dozens of lobbying firms, communications shops, and front groups. "If a freshman Democrat so much as signs a letter related to drug prices, the lobby hammers them with phone calls and meeting requests, completely locking up the calendar," says Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works. "The calls come in from ex-Democratic officials and staffers, so they have to take the meetings."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma Is Hijacking the Information Doctors Need Most
2022-04-28, Time Magazine
Posted: 2022-08-01 15:05:05
https://time.com/6171999/big-pharma-clinical-data-doctors/

Why have so many smart, well-trained doctors stood by as American healthcare descended into a state of profound dysfunction? The answer lies in the gradual, nearly invisible commercial takeover of the medical "knowledge" that doctors are trained to trust. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan slashed government support of university-based medical research. Following the 1980 passage of the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act, nonprofit institutions and their researchers were allowed to benefit financially from the discoveries made while conducting federally funded research. Over the past few decades, the drug companies have taken over most of our clinical research. In 1991, academic medical centers (AMCs)–hospitals that train doctors and conduct medical research–received 80 percent of the money that industry was spending to fund clinical trials. But by 2004, the percentage of commercially funded clinical trials conducted by AMCs had fallen from 80 to just 26 percent. That ... allowed the commercial funder to own, and thus control, the data from jointly conducted research. Unbeknownst to almost all doctors, peer reviewers are not granted access to the underlying data that serves as the basis for the reported findings. The drug companies own that data and keep it confidential. Reviewers must rely on brief data summaries. Peer reviewers at even the most prestigious medical journals cannot possibly attest to the accuracy and completeness of the articles they review.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


From FDA to MHRA: are drug regulators for hire?
2022-06-29, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2022-07-24 20:33:56
https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj.o1538

Over the past decades, regulatory agencies have seen large proportions of their budgets funded by the industry they are sworn to regulate. In 1992, the US Congress passed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), allowing industry to fund the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly through "user fees." The FDA moved from a fully taxpayer funded entity to one supplemented by industry money. Net PDUFA fees collected have increased 30 fold–from around $29m in 1993 to $884m in 2016. In Europe, industry fees funded 20% of ... the European Medicines Agency (EMA), in 1995. By 2010 that had risen to 75%; today it is 89%. Australia had the highest proportion of budget from industry fees (96%) and in 2020-2021 approved more than nine of every 10 drug company applications. But for decades academics have raised questions about the influence funding has on regulatory decisions, especially in the wake of a string of drug and device scandals–including opioids, Alzheimer's drugs, influenza antivirals, pelvic mesh, joint prostheses, breast and contraceptive implants, cardiac stents, and pacemakers. An analysis of three decades of PDUFA in the US has shown how a reliance on industry fees is contributing to a decline in evidentiary standards, ultimately harming patients. A BMJ investigation last year found several expert advisers for covid-19 vaccine advisory committees in the UK and US had financial ties with vaccine manufacturers–ties the regulators judged as acceptable.

Note: For more on this massive legal corruption, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


California's new $100 million plan to make insulin cheaper: What you need to know
2022-07-08, CNBC News
Posted: 2022-07-24 20:24:42
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/08/california-will-lower-insulin-prices-by-makin...

California will begin making its own low-cost insulin in an effort to make the essential diabetes treatment more affordable, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday. "Nothing epitomizes market failures more than the cost of insulin," the governor said in a video posted on Twitter, "Many Americans experience out-of-pocket costs anywhere from three hundred to five hundred dollars per month for this life-saving drug." With a budget of $100 million, California plans to "contract and make our own insulin at a cheaper price, close to at cost, and to make it available to all," Newsom said. It's unclear exactly how inexpensive California's insulin will be or when the low-cost drugs will be available. Insulin in the U.S. costs almost $100 per unit, on average. That's nearly four times the price in Chile, which has the second-highest prices among the 34 countries analyzed by the nonprofit Rand Corporation, at less than $25 per unit. Currently, four in five Americans in need of insulin have incurred thousands of dollars in credit card debt to pay for the medication, according to a recent survey commissioned by health care organization CharityRx. The average debt among all survey participants was $9,000. California's program will allot $50 million toward the development of cheaper insulin products and $50 million on an in-state insulin manufacturing facility, Newsom said, adding that the facility "will provide new, high-paying jobs and a stronger supply chain for the drugs."

Note: The unethical corruption of big Pharma is so clearly seen in the ridiculously inflated prices of drugs in the US compared to other countries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States
2016-05-03, Washington Post
Posted: 2022-07-24 20:21:12
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/05/03/researchers-...

Nightmare stories of nurses giving potent drugs meant for one patient to another and surgeons removing the wrong body parts have dominated recent headlines about medical care. Lest you assume those cases are the exceptions, a new study by patient-safety researchers provides some context. Their analysis, published in the BMJ ... shows that "medical errors" in hospitals and other health-care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third-leading cause of death in the United States – claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer's. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine ... led the research. Makary's research involves a ... comprehensive analysis of four large studies, including ones by the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that took place between 2000 to 2008. His calculation of 251,000 deaths equates to nearly 700 deaths a day – about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States. Although all providers extol patient safety and highlight the various safety committees and protocols they have in place, few provide the public with specifics on actual cases of harm due to mistakes. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't require reporting of errors in the data it collects about deaths through billing codes, making it hard to see what's going on at the national level.

Note: Read lots more about this disturbing fact. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.


'Paramount importance': Judge orders FDA to hasten release of Pfizer vaccine docs
2022-01-07, Reuters
Posted: 2022-06-26 13:40:07
https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/paramount-importance-judge-orders-fd...

A federal judge in Texas on Thursday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make public the data it relied on to license Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, imposing a dramatically accelerated schedule that should result in the release of all information within about eight months. That's roughly 75 years and four months faster than the FDA said it could take to complete a Freedom of Information Act request by a group of doctors and scientists seeking an estimated 450,000 pages of material about the vaccine. The court "concludes that this FOIA request is of paramount public importance," wrote U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman. The FDA didn't dispute it had an obligation to make the information public but argued that its short-staffed FOIA office only had the bandwidth to review and release 500 pages a month. While Pittman recognized "the 'unduly burdensome' challenges that this FOIA request may present to the FDA," in his four-page order, he resoundingly rejected the agency's suggested schedule. Rather than producing 500 pages a month – the FDA's proposed timeline – he ordered the agency to turn over 55,000 a month. That means all the Pfizer vaccine data should be public by the end of the summer rather than, say, the year 2097. Aaron Siri of Siri & Glimstad, who represents the plaintiffs, in an email said the decision "came down on the side of transparency and accountability." His clients ... have pledged to publish all the information they receive from the FDA on their website.

Note: Why did almost no major media pick up this important article? And read this revealing article on 800 individuals who Pfizer reported withdrew from their vaccine studies, some because of health problems which could have been caused by the vaccine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Break Government Officials' Monopoly on Public Health
2022-06-10, Newsweek
Posted: 2022-06-20 12:33:56
https://www.newsweek.com/break-government-officials-monopoly-public-health-op...

Public health initiatives in the United States are suffering from a crisis of trust. Recent polls show that only a third of the public trusts insurance and pharmaceutical companies, while just 56 percent trust the government health agencies that are meant to regulate these industries. Another survey during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that only around half of Americans have a "great deal" of trust in the CDC, while a mere third have such trust in the Department of Health and Human Services. When the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 were made available to the public free of charge, a national conversation began about "vaccine hesitancy"–the phenomenon of Americans choosing not to be vaccinated even when incentivized and, in some cases, coerced. Americans had watched public health experts lie, misdirect, ignore evidence and yield to professional pressure. Few wanted to be their guinea pigs. Not all the COVID-19 gaslighting was the fault of the media or politicians - much was implemented by experts abusing their apolitical position of trust. The experts ... including Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, insisted on the most asinine and evidence-free preventative measures, including facial coverings, lockdowns and social distancing. Their insulated role as health advisers enabled them to manipulate health policy in ways that benefited only themselves. The most stark example was the corruption of data collection at the Center for Disease Control–a scandal that crashed public trust to a new low.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Prices of new drugs have soared. Will legislation be able to stop it?
2022-06-07, NBC News
Posted: 2022-06-20 12:31:46
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/prices-new-drugs-soared-will-legis...

The prices of new drugs in the U.S. have climbed for more than a decade, a study published Tuesday finds. According to a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the launch prices of new brand-name drugs increased by nearly 11 percent every year from 2008 through 2021. "These prices are increasing far out of proportion to other health care services," said the lead author, Dr. Benjamin Rome. Rome, and his colleagues observed price increases for all types of drugs, including cancer drugs, non-cancer drugs, pills and injections, he said. "Ultimately," he said, "all health care costs are borne by consumers – either direct out-of-pocket costs, higher premiums or taxes in the case of public health insurance." He added, "Insurance companies can also require prior authorization for expensive new drugs or not cover the drugs at all." The researchers calculated the negotiable sticker prices for new drugs on the market, or the net price. Such prices, which were adjusted for inflation, were calculated in light of rebates many drugmakers offer for the drugs. The researchers limited their scope to drugs sold by public companies; the net price averages included nearly 400 new drugs in total. Median drug prices for a year's supply increased from $2,115 in 2008 to more than $180,000 in 2021. The greatest increases were for cancer drugs and therapies used to treat rare diseases. In 2008, 9 percent of drugs cost $150,000 or more a year, compared to 47 percent in 2021.

Note: For a more detailed and eye-opening analysis, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


New Mark Cuban Company Slashes High Drug Prices: 'Life Changing'
2022-06-07, Newsweek
Posted: 2022-06-12 13:17:41
https://www.newsweek.com/mark-cuban-company-slashes-high-drug-prices-praise-s...

Celebrity investor Mark Cuban is receiving praise on social media after he launched a new company that provides patients access to affordable medications. Cuban launched the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC), a direct-to-consumer online company that offers more than 100 generic medications at discounted prices. The investor said ​​he aims to "be the low-cost provider of medications to patients." He continued: "If you don't have insurance or have a high deductible plan, you know that even the most basic medications can cost a fortune. Many people are spending crazy amounts of money each month just to stay healthy. No American should have to suffer or worse–because they can't afford basic prescription medications." The company's low costs are achieved by working directly with partners, which "allows us to only markup our costs by 15 percent," Cuban explained. Explaining the business model, Cuban cited the drug prescribed for hookworm, Albendazole, which can cost as much as $500 per course. "Our cost for Albendazole is $26.08 per course. We mark that price up by 15 percent so we can continue to run the company and invest in disrupting the pricing of as many drugs as we possibly can," he explained. "That makes the base price of the drug $30. Then we add on the actual cost, $3.00, that our pharmacy partners charge us to prepare and provide your prescription to you. "That makes the sales price on this website $33. Far, far lower than the pricing available in the marketplace."

Note: As big Pharma rakes in the huge profits, Marc Cuban has created a new company called CostPlus which brings many expensive drugs to you at a fraction of the price. Sadly, very few of the major media are reporting on this. Cuban says, "Everyone should have safe, affordable medicines with transparent prices."


Broken system making it harder for hospitals and patients to get some life-saving drugs
2022-05-22, CBS News
Posted: 2022-06-06 18:13:31
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/generic-drugs-pharmaceutical-companies-60-minute...

American hospitals have been living with serious drug shortages for more than a decade. Most days, nearly 300 essential drugs can be in short supply. It's not a matter of supply and demand. The drugs are needed and the ingredients are easy to make. Pharmaceutical companies have stopped producing many life-saving generic drugs because they make too little profit. Yet, year after year, the government stays on the sidelines as companies take drug production offline - and doctors worry the shortages are compromising patient care. Neonatologist Dr. Mitch Goldstein treats the most vulnerable patients. Many ... premature and sick babies have undeveloped digestive systems, so Dr. Goldstein keeps them alive with intravenous nutrients, many of which are in short supply. Antony Gobin heads the pharmacy at Loma Linda Hospital. He told us shortages of basic drugs are a constant worry. "We were dealing with shortages long before COVID," [he said]. "They're all very old, fundamental drugs that every hospital in the country needs and uses." Drug shortages can kill. In 2011, when norepinephrine, an old, low profit drug used to treat septic shock, was in short supply, hundreds of people around the country died. Middlemen, the group purchasing organizations and drug distributors take their cut. The drug manufacturers end up with just a small fraction of what the patient pays. Many have simply stopped making the least profitable drugs.

Note: For more, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and health from reliable major media sources.


How drug companies' PR tactics skew the presentation of medical research
2011-05-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2022-05-31 01:06:00
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/may/20/drug-companies-ghost-writing-...

When doctors are deciding which drug to prescribe a patient, the idea behind evidence-based medicine is that they inform their thinking by consulting scientific literature. To a great extent, this means relying on medical journals. The trouble is that pharmaceutical companies, who stand to win or lose large amounts of money depending on the content of journal articles, have taken a firm grip on what gets written about their drugs. That grip was strong way back in 2004, when The Lancet's chief editor Richard Horton lamented that "journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry." It may be even tighter now. Drug companies exert this hold on knowledge through publication planning agencies, an obscure subsection of the pharmaceutical industry. The planning companies are paid to implement high-impact publication strategies for specific drugs. They target the most influential academics to act as authors, draft the articles, and ensure that these include clearly-defined branding messages and appear in the most prestigious journals. There are now at least 250 different companies engaged in the business of planning clinical publications for the pharmaceutical industry. Many firms are based in the UK and the east coast of the United States. Having talked to over a dozen publication planners I found that the standard approach to article preparation is for planners to work hand-in-glove with drug companies to create a first draft.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer pushes to intervene in lawsuit seeking COVID vaccine information from FDA
2022-01-26, Reuters
Posted: 2022-04-04 15:17:27
https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/pfizer-pushes-intervene-lawsuit-seek...

Pfizer Inc wants to intervene in a Texas federal lawsuit seeking information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration used in licensing the company's COVID-19 vaccine, a litigation move that plaintiffs who are suing for the data say is premature. Pfizer's lawyers at DLA Piper told U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman on Jan. 21 it wanted a role in the proceedings to help the FDA avoid "inappropriately" disclosing trade secret and confidential commercial information. On Tuesday night, the group of doctors and scientists who sued last year over public access to the FDA's Pfizer licensing records said in a court filing that the company's bid to jump into the lawsuit was untimely because the plaintiffs have not challenged any redactions to requested records. Earlier this month, the judge ordered a fast-track release of hundreds of thousands of documents, calling the case "of paramount public importance." U.S. government agencies control the release of information under federal public-records laws, but companies can challenge and even sue to block the disclosure of certain details. The FDA earlier drew criticism over its plan to release 500 pages a month in response to the lawsuit from Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency, a production schedule that would take more than 50 years to complete. In its filing, Pfizer said the company supports public disclosure of FDA records "to promote transparency and the public's confidence in the vaccine."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


'Wall of secrecy' in Pfizer contracts as company accused of profiteering
2021-12-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2022-03-27 18:49:29
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/dec/05/wall-of-secrecy-in-pfizer-con...

Ministers have agreed [to] a secrecy clause in any dispute with the drugs manufacturer Pfizer over Britain's Covid vaccine supply. Large portions of the government's contracts with the company over the supply of 189m vaccine doses have been redacted and any arbitration proceedings will be kept secret. The revelation comes as Pfizer is accused by a former senior US health official of "war profiteering'' during the pandemic. Tom Frieden, who was director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Barack Obama, said: "If you're just focusing on maximising your profits and you're a vaccine manufacturer ... you are war profiteering." Zain Rizvi, research director at Public Citizen, a US consumer advocacy organisation which has examined Pfizer's global vaccine contracts, said: "There is a wall of secrecy surrounding these contracts and it's unacceptable, particularly in a public health crisis." Rizvi said the UK needed to explain why it had agreed to secret arbitration proceedings. He said: "It's the only high-income country we have seen that has agreed to this provision. It allows pharmaceutical companies to bypass domestic legal processes." While AstraZeneca agreed to sell its vaccine at cost during the pandemic, Pfizer wanted to secure its profits. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ... will be one of the most lucrative drugs in pharmaceutical history. One biological engineering expert [claims] the Pfizer vaccine costs just 76p to manufacture for each shot. It is reportedly being sold for Ł22 a dose to the UK government.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Influenza: marketing vaccine by marketing disease
2013-05-16, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2022-03-20 23:31:15
https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3037

Promotion of influenza vaccines is one of the most visible and aggressive public health policies today. Twenty years ago, in 1990, 32 million doses of influenza vaccine were available in the United States. Today around 135 million doses of influenza vaccine annually enter the US market, with vaccinations administered in drug stores, supermarkets–even some drive-throughs. This enormous growth has not been fueled by popular demand but instead by a public health campaign that delivers a straightforward ... message: influenza is a serious disease, we are all at risk of complications from influenza, the flu shot is virtually risk free, and vaccination saves lives. Yet across the country, mandatory influenza vaccination policies have cropped up, particularly in healthcare facilities, precisely because not everyone wants the vaccination, and compulsion appears the only way to achieve high vaccination rates. Closer examination of influenza vaccine policies shows that 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. Since 2000, the concept of who is "at risk" has rapidly expanded, incrementally encompassing greater swathes of the general population. Today, national guidelines call for everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated. Now we are all "at risk."

Note: Full text available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Covid-19: WHO efforts to bring vaccine manufacturing to Africa are undermined by the drug industry
2022-02-09, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2022-03-06 22:55:34
https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o304

A foundation representing the vaccine maker BioNTech has been accused of seeking to undermine the World Health Organization's initiative to bring covid vaccine manufacturing to the African continent. The kENUP Foundation, a consultancy hired by BioNTech, has claimed that WHO's hub, which is creating a covid-19 mRNA vaccine that African companies can make, is unlikely to be successful and will infringe on patents, documents obtained by The BMJ have shown. Instead, they show kENUP promoting BioNTech's proposal to ship mRNA factories housed in sea containers from Europe to Africa, initially staffed with BioNTech workers, and a proposed new regulatory pathway to approve the vaccines made in these factories. The novel pathway has been described as paternalistic and unworkable. The move threatens the pan-African venture backed by WHO that seeks to scale up African production of lifesaving vaccines from 1% to 60% by 2040. WHO's technology transfer hub, launched in June 2021 and based in South Africa, uses publicly available information to recreate Moderna's vaccine, to teach companies and scientists across the continent how to use mRNA technology. It will then develop a comparable vaccine, which, if successful in clinical trials and approved by regulators, it will manufacture industrially. In a document sent to South African government officials after a visit to the country on 11-14 August last year, the kENUP Foundation said that the hub's activity should be stopped.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources


How The Covid-19 Vaccine Injected Billions Into Big Pharma–And Made Its Executives Very Rich
2021-05-14, Forbes
Posted: 2022-02-27 19:38:30
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesdigitalcovers/2021/05/14/virus-book-excerp...

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Big Pharma had been easing out of the vaccine business for decades. Ultimately, Operation Warp Speed (OWS)–the U.S. government's Covid-19 relief program–would dole out $22 billion to Big Pharma. The amounts of money were the kinds of sums normally seen in the smaller defense budget line items, but were massive for a public health project–$2.5 billion to Moderna, $1.2 billion to AstraZeneca, half a billion dollars to Johnson & Johnson, and $1.6 billion to a small company called Novavax. Only Pfizer opted out of ponying up to the trough at first–it didn't want to devote resources to coordinating with the US government on its work. In July, Pfizer signed a $1.95 billion deal to sell one hundred million doses of its two-shot vaccine to the United States, enough for fifty million people. By February, the government had ordered three hundred million doses from Moderna, with its first shipment of one hundred million priced at thirty dollars per double-shot dose–cheaper than Pfizer partly because the United States had forked over nearly a billion dollars to Moderna research. Even more money was raining down on company insiders trading on good-news releases. Executives at Moderna and Pfizer cashed in on the vaccine, selling shares timed precisely to clinical trial press releases. Pfizer executives ... earned $14 million from stock sales in 2020. Moderna executives made $287 million from timed stock sales in 2020–and kept going.

Note: Explore hundreds of personal stories of severe vaccine injury and death that are being strongly suppressed by government and the major media. An MD's excellent research reveals that the government knew about and actively suppressed safe, effective, low-price treatments for COVID and targeted physicians who prescribed them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer revenue and profits soar on its Covid vaccine business
2021-11-02, CNN News
Posted: 2022-02-27 19:36:58
https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/02/business/pfizer-earnings/index.html

Pfizer reported that earnings and sales more than doubled in the past quarter, and it raised its outlook for results the full year, thanks greatly to its Covid-19 vaccine. The company reported adjusted earnings of $7.7 billion, up 133% from a year earlier. Revenue soared to $24.1 billion, up 134%. Both easily cleared results forecast by analysts. The vaccine business alone was responsible for more than 60% of the company's sales, as vaccine revenue rose to $14.6 billion from only $1.7 billion a year earlier. The company said its Covid vaccine sales accounted for $13 billion of that revenue. Revenue outside of its Covid vaccine business was up a far more modest 7%. This year, the Covid vaccine has brought in revenue of $24.3 billion. And Pfizer said it expects a total of $36 billion from the vaccine for all of 2021 – nearly $12 billion more in revenue the final quarter of the year. And it said based on contracts it now has signed it expects revenue $29 billion from the Covid vaccine in 2022. The company said it now expects full-year 2021 revenue of between $81 billion to $82 billion, up $2 billion from its earlier guidance. It also raised its earnings per share outlook by about 3% to 5% above what it had been expected to earn. About 67% of the total US population has had a least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 58% are fully vaccinated, according to data tracked by the Mayo Clinic.

Note: Explore hundreds of personal stories of severe vaccine injury and death that are being strongly suppressed by government and the major media. An MD's excellent research reveals that the government knew about and actively suppressed safe, effective, low-price treatments for COVID and targeted physicians who prescribed them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Vaccine monopolies make cost of vaccinating the world against COVID at least 5 times more expensive than it could be
2021-07-09, Oxfam
Posted: 2022-02-21 19:09:34
https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/vaccine-monopolies-make-cost-vaccinat...

The cost of vaccinating the world against COVID-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren't profiteering from their monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines, campaigners from the People's Vaccine Alliance said today. New analysis by the Alliance shows that the firms Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated cost of production. Colombia, for example, has potentially overpaid by as much as $375 million for its doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, in comparison to the estimated cost price. Despite a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths across the developing world, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have sold over 90 percent of their vaccines so far to rich countries, charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production. Last week Pfizer/BioNTech announced it would licence a South African company to fill and package 100 million doses for use in Africa, but this is a drop in the ocean of need. Neither company have agreed to fully transfer vaccine technology and know-how with any capable producers in developing countries, a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives. Analysis of production techniques for the leading mRNA type vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna â₏•which were only developed thanks to public funding to the tune of $8.3 billionâ₏• suggest these vaccines could be made for as little as $1.20 a dose.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer Reaps Hundreds of Millions in Profits From Covid Vaccine
2021-05-04, New York Times
Posted: 2022-02-21 19:07:48
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/04/business/pfizer-covid-vaccine-profits.html

Last year, racing to develop a vaccine in record time, Pfizer made a big decision: Unlike several rival manufacturers, which vowed to forgo profits on their shots during the Covid-19 pandemic, Pfizer planned to profit on its vaccine. On Tuesday, the company announced just how much money the shot is generating. The vaccine brought in $3.5 billion in revenue in the first three months of this year, nearly a quarter of its total revenue, Pfizer reported. The vaccine was, far and away, Pfizer's biggest source of revenue. The company did not disclose the profits it derived from the vaccine, but it reiterated its previous prediction that its profit margins on the vaccine would be in the high 20 percent range. That would translate into roughly $900 million in pretax vaccine profits in the first quarter. The company's vaccine is disproportionately reaching the world's rich – an outcome, so far at least, at odds with its chief executive's pledge to ensure that poorer countries "have the same access as the rest of the world" to a vaccine that is highly effective at preventing Covid-19. As of mid-April, wealthy countries had secured more than 87 percent of the more than 700 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines dispensed worldwide, while poor countries had received only 0.2 percent. Pfizer has kept the profitability of its vaccine sales opaque. The United States, for example, is paying $19.50 for each Pfizer dose. Israel agreed to pay Pfizer about $30 per dose.

Note: If Pfizer is truly concerned about global health, why are they reaping such huge profits when other companies were willing to forgo profits. And why are they not helping the economically disadvantaged countries? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Covid vaccine profits mint 9 new pharma billionaires
2021-05-21, CNN News
Posted: 2022-02-21 19:05:36
https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/21/business/covid-vaccine-billionaires/index.html

Covid-19 vaccines have created at least nine new billionaires after shares in companies producing the shots soared. Topping the list of new billionaires are Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer (PFE). Both CEOs are now worth around $4 billion, according to an analysis by the People's Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International. Senior executives from China's CanSino Biologics and early investors in Moderna have also become billionaires on paper as shares skyrocketed, partly in expectation of profits earned from Covid vaccines, which also bode well for the companies' future prospects. Moderna's share price has gained more than 700% since February 2020, while BioNTech has surged 600%. CanSino Biologics' stock is up about 440% over the same period. The company's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in China in February. Activists said the wealth generation highlighted the stark inequality that has resulted from the pandemic. The nine new billionaires are worth a combined $19.3 billion. According to the World Health Organization, 87% of vaccine doses have gone to high- or upper middle-income countries, while low income countries have received just 0.2%. In a paper published Friday, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said that vaccinating 60% of the global population by mid-2022 would cost just $50 billion.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


COVID vaccines are set to be among the most lucrative pharmaceutical products ever
2021-11-24, NPR
Posted: 2022-02-21 19:04:19
https://www.npr.org/2021/11/24/1059041725/covid-vaccines-are-set-to-be-among-...

This year, Pfizer expects to bring in $36 billion from worldwide sales of its COVID-19 vaccine. That would shatter the previous record in annual sales for a single pharmaceutical product - about $20 billion for the anti-inflammatory drug Humira - and make the Pfizer vaccine the bestselling pharmaceutical product ever. Moderna will deliver fewer doses but is still expecting up to $18 billion in sales for the year for its COVID-19 vaccine. Humira, has been ... churning out tens of billions of dollars a year for multiple years on end. And it's not entirely clear that the mRNA vaccines will do that. Just because Pfizer and Moderna are selling billions of doses now doesn't mean that will last forever. The vaccines could work so well they eliminate the need for further boosters, though it's also possible COVID shots could become routine, like flu shots. The uncertainty puts a premium on maximizing sales now. Any vaccine manufacturer is going to realize that there's a risk that they're going to have a very short lifecycle. Moderna got a lot of government funding, offsetting costs and minimizing risks. But the COVID-19 vaccine is its only product on the market. Pfizer, on the other hand, didn't accept early government investment and took on a lot of those upfront costs itself. But it has dozens of other products in its portfolio that it makes and will continue to make once the pandemic ends.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Billionaire Mark Cuban's Discounted Pharmacy Has Launched: 'Bypass Middlemen and Outrageous Markups
2022-01-25, People
Posted: 2022-02-21 18:59:33
https://people.com/human-interest/mark-cuban-discounted-pharmacy-has-launched/

Mark Cuban has opened up a new online pharmacy to help make generic drugs more affordable. The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC) officially launched last week, claiming to offer the "lowest prices on 100 lifesaving prescriptions, according to a press release. The company is able to offer lower prices because it's a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, meaning MCCPDC can "bypass middlemen and outrageous markups," per the press release. "The pharmacy's prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a flat 15% margin and pharmacist fee," the press release states. The company also "refuses to pay spread prices" to pharmacy benefits managers, which manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers. One of the medications available is Imatinib, a leukemia treatment that has a retail price of $9,657 a month and costs around $120 a month with a common voucher, per the press release. However, the MCCPDC offers a steep discount, making the drug available for $47 per month. Two other notable prescriptions available at a significantly reduced price are Mesalamine, used for ulcerative colitis treatment, as well as gout treatment drug Colchicine. "Not everyone sets the goal of being the lowest cost producer and provider," the billionaire [said]. "My goal is to make a profit while maximizing impact." "We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients," CEO Alex Oshmyansky said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Covid-19 vaccines and treatments: we must have raw data, now [By BMJ's top editors]
2022-01-19, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2022-02-07 12:33:46
https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o102

In the pages of The BMJ a decade ago, in the middle of a different pandemic, it came to light that governments around the world had spent billions stockpiling antivirals for influenza that had not been shown to reduce the risk of complications, hospital admissions, or death. The errors of the last pandemic are being repeated. Memories are short. Today, despite the global rollout of covid-19 vaccines and treatments, [the] data underlying the trials for these new products remain inaccessible to doctors, researchers, and the public–and are likely to remain that way for years to come. This is morally indefensible for all trials, but especially for those involving major public health interventions. Pfizer's pivotal covid vaccine trial was funded by the company and designed, run, analysed, and authored by Pfizer employees. The company and the contract research organisations that carried out the trial hold all the data. And Pfizer has indicated that it will not begin entertaining requests for trial data until May 2025, 24 months after the primary study completion date. The lack of access to data is consistent across vaccine manufacturers. Regulators and public health bodies could release details such as why vaccine trials were not designed to test efficacy against infection and spread of SARS-CoV-2. Had regulators insisted on this outcome, countries would have learnt sooner about the effect of vaccines on transmission and been able to plan accordingly.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Acetaminophen [Tylenol] in pregnancy linked to ADHD in kids, study finds
2014-02-24, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2022-01-31 13:35:44
https://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-tylenol-pregnancy-20140225-story.html

Pregnant women have long been assured that acetaminophen can treat their aches, pains and fevers without bringing harm to the babies they carry. Now researchers say they have found a strong link between prenatal use of the medication and cases of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. The results, published ... in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, add to growing evidence that the active ingredient in Tylenol may influence brain development in utero. But they do not provide clear answers for mothers-to-be or their doctors about whether acetaminophen is safe during pregnancy. In analyzing data on more than 64,000 Danish women and their children, researchers found that kids whose mothers took the painkiller at any point during pregnancy were 29% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than were kids whose mothers took none. The risk increased the most – by 63% – when acetaminophen was taken during the second and third trimesters, and by 28% when used in the third trimester alone. But when taken only in the first trimester, the added risk was 9%. Members of the research team had long suspected that acetaminophen may behave as an endocrine-disrupting chemical capable of influencing fetal brain development. The drug is known to cross the placental barrier between mother and fetus, and some studies have found higher rates of male babies with undescended testicles born to women who took it during pregnancy.

Note: Another study on Tylenol found a two-fold increase in risk of children being born with both ADHD and autism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


After Year of Vaccine Profiteering, Pfizer Hikes Prices on 125 Drugs
2022-01-13, Common Dreams
Posted: 2022-01-25 14:15:44
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/01/13/after-year-vaccine-profiteering-...

After raking in enormous profits from its coronavirus vaccine in 2021, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has kicked off the new year by hiking the prices of more than 120 of its drugs, resulting in significantly higher costs for patients amid a deadly pandemic. That's according to a new report released Thursday by Patients for Affordable Drugs (P4AD), which found that pharmaceutical companies have raised the prices of 554 medicines this month alone. Pfizer led the way with 125 price hikes to start 2022, leading P4AD to label the company the industry's "poster child for greed." "Due to sales of its Covid-19 vaccine, which is set to be the best-selling drug of all time, Pfizer shattered profit records in 2021. Projected sales for 2022 are $54.5 billion–more than double the previous record for one-year sales for a prescription drug," the report notes. "To put this into perspective, AbbVie's Humira previously held the spot with $19.8 billion in sales, and Pfizer's best-selling product just prior to the pandemic achieved worldwide revenues of $5.8 billion." "Despite this record revenue in 2021," the report continues, "Pfizer began 2022 with price hikes on seven of its 10 best-selling drugs," including its pneumonia vaccine (up 6.9%), a breast cancer medication (up 6.9%), and a treatment for people with cardiovascular disease (up 6%). "These hikes of 5% or 6% can translate into thousands of dollars in higher costs for patients," P4AD notes.

Note: See also a Forbes article asking why physicians aren't challenging outrageous pricing for medical costs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


A fed-up judge condemns the inequities in America's legal system
2021-02-19, Washington Post
Posted: 2022-01-18 11:50:39
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/a-fed-up-judge-condemns-the-inequities...

In "Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free: And Other Paradoxes of Our Broken Legal System," [Judge Jed S.] Rakoff reaches far beyond corporate boardrooms to highlight an array of shortcomings within the criminal justice system. His proposed fixes are worthy of consideration but also lay bare a harsh reality: The entrenched interests tolerating the system's inequities and, in some cases, profiting from the status quo pose significant obstacles to reform. Rakoff realized that America's "system of justice is failing its mission" after becoming a federal district court judge a quarter-century ago. What's the nature of this failure? The country imprisons millions of indigent Americans yet routinely allows white-collar criminals to avoid punishment. "To a federal judge," he declares, the government's reluctance to hold executives accountable and instead enter into "cosmetic prosecution agreements" with corporations that are repeatedly violated and unenforced "is disturbing ... in what it says about the DOJ's apparent disregard for equality under the law." Rakoff fittingly cites Pfizer to exemplify his point. The four deferred-prosecution agreements between the pharmaceutical giant and federal authorities from 2002 to 2009 – all devised to prevent future misconduct – failed to stop the company from flouting the law. Through it all, Pfizer's executives went unpunished, and the fines the company paid represented a fraction of its ill-gotten gains.

Note: For a much deeper analysis and discussion of Judge Rakoff's highly revealing book by courageous journalist Matt Taibbi, see this excellent essay. Consider subscribing to Taibbi's excellent work. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the court system and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


Companies spent nearly $30 billion in one year marketing medical products to Americans
2019-01-09, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2022-01-03 10:03:10
https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-medical-marketing-money-...

Drug makers and other healthcare companies spent almost $30 billion in a single year to influence the medical choices made by Americans and steer them toward treatments that were newer, vastly more expensive and sometimes riskier than their tried-and-true alternatives, new research shows. The 2016 expenditures paid for TV commercials, sponsorships of patients' groups, promotional meetings for doctors, free drug samples and perks for prescribers. The amount represents a 70% increase since 1997, when drug companies began making direct appeals to American consumers. The study ... offers the most comprehensive accounting of healthcare marketing efforts to date. It traces broad shifts in the media and regulatory environment in which health companies operate, as well as the drugs and services – including erectile dysfunction pills, DNA testing kits and robotic surgery services – they are keen to sell. While lawmakers and regulators have tried to counter the impact of healthcare marketing in recent years, the reforms have had little effect on an industry that accounts for nearly 18% of the country's gross domestic product. The drug industry has increasingly turned to a more indirect approach in its marketing: sponsoring disease-awareness campaigns. Such campaigns, in which a company sponsors ads that do not name a particular medication, rose from 44 in 1997 to 401 in 2016, with an attendant spending increase from $177 million to $430 million.

Note: The pharmaceutical industry provides 75% of television advertising revenue when many countries do not allow drug advertising. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


This Is Your Brain On Drug Ads
2021-09-08, NPR
Posted: 2021-12-27 01:24:10
https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1035147636

British people are [asking]: What is the deal with all of these medicine ads in the U.S.? England doesn't allow commercials for prescription drugs. While there are ads for over-the-counter drugs in most of the world, the U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow drug companies to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers. Commercials for prescription drugs do not exist in Europe or South America or Asia or Africa or Mexico or Australia, just in the U.S. and New Zealand, which is a much smaller market. It wasn't too long ago that TV in the U.S. was like the rest of the world, completely free of prescription drug ads. The '60s, the '70s, most of the '80s, there are no ads like this. By the '80s, though, ... drug companies started saying, we don't want to advertise our drugs just to doctors and pharmacists anymore. We want to market our drugs directly to consumers. The FDA was worried about how commercials would impact demand for drugs - misuse, overuse, all kinds of things. But there were compelling reasons to go directly to consumers. So in 1981, the first direct-to-consumer ad runs in print in Reader's Digest. The FDA [decided television] commercials need to say, out loud, the major risks of a drug. You just had to include the major risks of a drug, along with places where consumers could get more information about the drug, like a phone number or a website or a recommendation just to talk to your doctor. And this is what really opens the TV ad floodgates.

Note: The pharmaceutical industry provides 75% of television advertising revenue in the US. So how likely are TV stations to carry stories that reveal problems with drugs or corruption in the industry? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Investigative journalist wins British Journalism Award for "expertly researched" BMJ series
2021-12-09, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2021-12-27 01:22:33
https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n3052

A journalist writing for The BMJ has won a British Journalism Award for his series on the financial interests of medical experts advising US and UK governments during the covid-19 pandemic. As a result of the articles written by Paul Thacker, an investigative journalist, the financial disclosures of members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) were published for the first time. Thacker's first story looked at two groups critical to the UK government's pandemic response–SAGE and the Vaccine Taskforce. He examined both and found that they did not disclose their members' financial conflicts. Some members were tied to companies with a monetary interest in the government's purchases. Thacker ... filed freedom of information (FoI) requests with multiple government departments and Oxford University. In a second story he wrote about the government's repeated refusal to turn over these data. However, the FoI ... revealed that Thacker's original request was apparently sent to a special government department to handle any reporter considered a "campaigner" or to have "extreme views." Eventually, the government relented and published the financial conflicts for the members of SAGE. In the final story of the series Thacker looked at the panels that the US and UK governments used to authorize vaccines and revealed that ... disclosure policies were inadequate. Some experts evaluating the vaccines had significant industry ties that were not disclosed.

Note: Read the full text of Thacker's article titled, "Covid-19: How independent were the US and British vaccine advisory committees?" and another titled "How the case of the Oxford professor exposes a transparency crisis in government." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Covid Treatments Are Coming
2021-12-03, New York Times
Posted: 2021-12-12 15:59:05
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/03/briefing/covid-treatments-pfizer-merck.html

A new generation of Covid-19 treatments will soon be available, and they matter more than many people realize. They have the potential to substantially reduce hospitalization and death. In the simplest terms, they can help turn Covid into a more ordinary respiratory disease, similar to the common cold or flu, rather than one that's killing about 1,000 Americans a day and dominating daily life for millions. Two treatments are on the way – one from Pfizer and one from Merck – and they will have both medical and psychological benefits. Not only can they reduce serious Covid illness, but they can also reduce Covid fears and help society move back to normalcy. Both Pfizer's and Merck's treatments are pill regimens that people take for five days after a positive Covid test. The pills prevent the virus from replicating inside the body and are broadly similar to treatments that revolutionized H.I.V. care in the 1990s. In truth, the virus has already been largely defanged. The death rate for vaccinated adults under 50 is virtually zero. Pfizer has projected that it will produce enough doses to treat 20 million people in the first half of next year. The Biden administration has agreed to buy 10 million of the treatments, known as Paxlovid, at a cost of about $530 each. Merck projects that it will produce more than 10 million courses of its drug, called molnupiravir, by the end of this year. The federal government has agreed to buy 3.1 million of those courses for around $700 each.

Note: And thus big Pharma is set to receive another huge windfall. Why are they setting prices so how and raking in huge profits when so many are suffering financially? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Guinea Pig Kids
2004-11-19, BBC News
Posted: 2021-12-05 21:50:53
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/4035345.stm

During a nine month investigation, the BBC has uncovered the disturbing truth about the way authorities in New York City are conducting the fight against Aids. HIV positive children - some only a few months old - are enrolled in toxic experiments without the consent of guardians or relatives. In some cases where parents have refused to give children their medication, they have been placed in care. The city's Administration of Children's Services (ACS) does not even require a court order to place HIV kids with foster parents or in children's homes, where they can continue to give them experimental drugs. In 2002, the Incarnation Children's Center - a children's home in Harlem - was at the hub of controversy over secretive drugs trials. [Reporter Jamie Doran] speaks to a boy who spent most of his life at Incaranation. Medical records, obtained by the This World team, prove the boy had been enrolled in these trials. "I did not want to take my medication," said the boy, "but if you want to get out of there, you have to do what they say." He also conveys a horrifying account of what happened to the children at Incarnation who refused to obey the rules. "My friend Daniel didn't like to take his medicine and he got a tube in his stomach," he said. For months, the BBC tried to get information from the people responsible for the trials, but none would comment. The companies that supply drugs for the trials are among the world's largest, including Britain's own Glaxo SmithKline (GSK).

Note: Read a long list of examples of humans being treated as guinea pigs by corporate and governmental programs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


Demoralized F.D.A. Struggles to Cope
1977-03-14, New York Times
Posted: 2021-11-14 16:21:28
https://www.nytimes.com/1977/03/14/archives/demoralized-fda-struggles-to-cope...

In just a decade the Food and Drug Administration has evolved from amorphous obscurity deep within the capital bureaucracy into both the world's paramount regulator of consumer goods and the Federal Government's most criticized, demoralized and fractionalized agency. With the agency's ban on saccharin, it is again at a storm center of complaints from consumer groups that the action was too long delayed and from diet food interests that the step was capricious and without scientific justification. But the agency, a bureaucratic waif that is responsible for overseeing a staggering $200 billion worth of products yearly, is not only whipsawed by the public controversy, it is so demoralized that a number of its top positions long go unfilled, so burdened that it cannot keep up with the explosion of consumer goods and so battered by lawsuits and outside pressures that its power to make its decisions stick is sometimes undermined. In just the last three years the agency has been the target of more than 100 Congressional investigations, 50 highly critical reports by the General Accounting Office and a series of internal inquiries despairing of ever setting the place right. After his departure as Commissioner of the agency in 1969, Dr. Herbert E. Ley said that "what the F.D.A. is doing and what the public thinks it's doing are as different as night and day." He complained further that during his 18 month tenure he had been under "constant, tremendous, sometimes unmerciful pressure" from drug industry officials.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


Covid-19: Researcher blows the whistle on data integrity issues in Pfizer's vaccine trial
2021-11-02, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2021-11-07 15:35:34
https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2635

In autumn 2020 Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla, released an open letter to the billions of people around the world who were investing their hopes in a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine to end the pandemic. "As I've said before, we are operating at the speed of science," Bourla wrote, explaining to the public when they could expect a Pfizer vaccine to be authorised in the United States. But, for researchers who were testing Pfizer's vaccine at several sites in Texas during that autumn, speed may have come at the cost of data integrity and patient safety. A regional director who was employed at the research organisation Ventavia Research Group has told The BMJ that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer's pivotal phase III trial. Staff who conducted quality control checks were overwhelmed by the volume of problems they were finding. After repeatedly notifying Ventavia of these problems, the regional director, Brook Jackson, emailed a complaint to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ventavia fired her later the same day. Jackson has provided The BMJ with dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails. Jackson has told The BMJ that, during the two weeks she was employed at Ventavia in September 2020, she repeatedly informed her superiors of poor laboratory management, patient safety concerns, and data integrity issues.

Note: Yet every major media proudly announces "brought to you by Pfizer." Learn about Brianne Dressen, Ph.D., a volunteer for early COVID vaccines clinical trials who ended up with serious adverse effects the evening of the shot and was later hospitalized, yet then the study sponsors did not follow up with her. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Merck Will Share Formula for Its Covid Pill With Poor Countries
2021-10-27, New York Times
Posted: 2021-11-07 15:17:14
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/27/health/covid-pill-access-molnupiravir.html

Merck has granted a royalty-free license for its promising Covid-19 pill to a United Nations-backed nonprofit in a deal that would allow the drug to be manufactured and sold cheaply in the poorest nations, where vaccines for the coronavirus are in devastatingly short supply. The agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, an organization that works to make medical treatment and technologies globally accessible, will allow companies in 105 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, to sublicense the formulation for the antiviral pill, called molnupiravir, and begin making it. Merck reported this month that the drug halved the rate of hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk Covid patients who took it soon after infection in a large clinical trial. Affluent nations, including the United States, have rushed to negotiate deals to buy the drug, tying up large portions of the supply even before it has been approved by regulators and raising concerns that poor countries could be shut out of access to the medicine, much as they have been for vaccines. Generic drug makers in developing countries are expected to market the drug for as little as $20 per treatment (a 5-day course), compared to the $712 per course that the U.S. government has agreed to pay for its initial purchase. "The Merck license is a very good and meaningful protection for people living in countries where more than half of the world's population lives," said James Love, who leads Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit research organization.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The medications that change who we are
2020-01-08, BBC News
Posted: 2021-10-31 18:26:50
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200108-the-medications-that-change-who-w...

Many ordinary medications don't just affect our bodies – they affect our brains. Over the years, [researcher Beatrice] Golomb has collected reports from patients across the United States – tales of broken marriages, destroyed careers, and a surprising number of men who have come unnervingly close to murdering their wives. In almost every case, the symptoms began when they started taking statins, then promptly returned to normal when they stopped; one man repeated this cycle five times. From paracetamol (known as acetaminophen in the US) to antihistamines, statins, asthma medications and antidepressants, there's emerging evidence that they can make us impulsive, angry, or restless, diminish our empathy for strangers, and even manipulate fundamental aspects of our personalities, such as how neurotic we are. But Golomb's most unsettling discovery isn't so much the impact that ordinary drugs can have on who we are – it's the lack of interest in uncovering it. "There's much more of an emphasis on things that doctors can easily measure," she says, explaining that, for a long time, research into the side-effects of statins was all focused on the muscles and liver, because any problems in these organs can be detected using standard blood tests. This is something that Dominik Mischkowski, a pain researcher from Ohio University, has also noticed. "There is a remarkable gap in the research actually, when it comes to the effects of medication on personality and behaviour," he says.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering and health from reliable major media sources.


Merck wants Americans to pay $712 for a Covid drug that taxpayers helped develop
2021-10-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2021-10-24 18:19:50
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/14/merck-drug-prices-us-he...

Merck is planning to charge Americans 40 times its cost for a Covid drug whose development was subsidized by the American government. Americans are facing not merely expensive drugs but prices that are examples of outright profiteering. In many cases, the medicines we are being gouged on are those that we the public already paid for. These facts show us that pharma-bankrolled Democrats trying to kill drug pricing measures aren't just bought and paid for in this particular skirmish – they are foot soldiers in the pharmaceutical industry's larger multi-decade campaign to seal off and rig America's alleged "free market". A new Public Citizen analysis shows that the 20 top-selling medicines generated almost twice as much pharmaceutical industry revenue in the United States as in every other country combined. For all the pharmaceutical industry's self-congratulatory rhetoric about its own innovations, the federal government uses your tax dollars to fund a lot of that innovation, research and development. A study from the National Academy of Sciences tells that story: the federal government spent $100bn to subsidize the research on every single one of the 200-plus drugs approved for sale in the United States between 2010 and 2016. We now routinely face immoral situations like last week's news that pharmaceutical giant Merck is planning to charge Americans $712 for a Covid drug that cost only $17.74 to produce and whose development was subsidized by the American government.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Drug Industry Hires its Former Critics as Lobbyists Against Medicare Price Negotiations
2021-10-13, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-10-24 18:18:23
https://theintercept.com/2021/10/13/medicare-drug-lobbying-former-democratic-...

The popular, once bipartisan idea to hold down Medicare costs is now at the center of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda. Legislation backed by the administration calls for Medicare to mirror other government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, in being able to negotiate for cheaper medicine through the Part D program. The idea could potentially save the government nearly $500 billion over a decade. The drug pricing proposal could also translate to lower prescription costs across the board. The drug industry, according to its top lobbyist, Stephen Ubl, has made defeating the provision its top priority. Inside the Beltway, the opposition is coming from familiar faces. Many leading Democratic lawmakers and staff have been hired by the drug industry to convince their former colleagues to abandon the drug pricing proposal. Pfizer alone has assembled a lobbying team that includes Dean Aguillen, a former adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Remy Brim, a former health policy adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and over half a dozen aides to senior Senate Democrats. Ann Jablon, former chief of staff to Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. ... currently represents several drug companies as a lobbyist, including Amgen Inc., Astellas Pharma, and Bayer. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade group that represents the largest drug companies in the world, has also gone on a hiring spree of Democratic lobbyists.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Merck Sells Federally Financed COVID Pill to U.S. for 40 Times What it Costs to Make
2021-10-05, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-10-11 15:50:10
https://theintercept.com/2021/10/05/covid-pill-drug-pricing-merck-ridgeback/

A five-day course of molnupiravir, the new medicine being hailed as a "huge advance" in the treatment of Covid-19, costs $17.74 to produce, according to a report issued last week by drug pricing experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and King's College Hospital in London. Merck is charging the U.S. government $712 for the same amount of medicine, or 40 times the price. Like the vast majority of medicines on the market, molnupiravir – which was originally investigated as a possible treatment for Venezuelan equine encephalitis – was developed using government funds. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the Department of Defense, provided more than $10 million of funding in 2013 and 2015 to Emory University, as research done by the nonprofit Knowledge Ecology International has revealed. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, also provided Emory with more than $19 million in additional grants. Yet only Merck and Ridgeback will reap the profits from the new antiviral, which ... could bring in as much as $7 billion by the end of this year. After the announcement of the encouraging clinical trial results on Friday, Merck's stock price climbed. Good government advocates are pointing out that because federal agencies spent at least $29 million on the drug's development, the government has the obligation to ensure that the medicine is affordable.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


The Sacklers, Who Made Billions From OxyContin, Win Immunity From Opioid Lawsuits
2021-09-01, NPR
Posted: 2021-09-06 02:34:53
https://www.npr.org/2021/09/01/1031053251/sackler-family-immunity-purdue-phar...

Members of the Sackler family who are at the center of the nation's deadly opioid crisis have won sweeping immunity from opioid lawsuits linked to their privately owned company Purdue Pharma and its OxyContin medication. Federal Judge Robert Drain approved a bankruptcy settlement on Wednesday that grants the Sacklers "global peace" from any liability for the opioid epidemic. "This is a bitter result," Drain said. "I believe that at least some of the Sackler parties have liability for those [opioid OxyContin] claims. ... I would have expected a higher settlement." The complex bankruptcy plan ... grants "releases" from liability for harm caused by OxyContin and other opioids to the Sacklers, hundreds of their associates, as well as their remaining empire of companies and trusts. In return, they have agreed to pay roughly $4.3 billion, while also forfeiting ownership of Purdue Pharma. The Sacklers, who admit no wrongdoing and who by their own reckoning earned more than $10 billion from opioid sales, will remain one of the wealthiest families in the world. Critics of this bankruptcy settlement, meanwhile, said they would challenge Drain's confirmation because of the liability releases for the Sacklers. "This order is insulting to victims of the opioid epidemic who had no voice in these proceedings," said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The Department of Justice urged Drain to reject the settlement. Attorneys general for nine states and the District of Columbia also opposed the plan.

Note: Purdue Pharma spent $1.2 million on lobbying just before making this deal. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


As Purdue Pharma Sought Controversial Bankruptcy Settlement, It Spent Over $1.2 Million on Lobbying
2021-08-13, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-08-22 22:06:18
https://theintercept.com/2021/08/13/purdue-pharma-sackler-bankruptcy-lobbying/

As Purdue Pharma seeks approval for a controversial bankruptcy settlement, it has retained the services of highly compensated lobbying firms Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and Capitol Hill Consulting Group. At the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy trial that began Thursday, Judge Robert Drain is widely expected to approve a proposed settlement of the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy that would release members of the billionaire Sackler family, the company's owners, from all current and future opioid-related civil claims. In the year and a half leading up to the trial, Purdue spent at least $1.2 million on federal lobbying expenses as it worked toward the settlement, an Intercept review of lobbying records shows. If the settlement is approved, the Sacklers will be making a contribution of $4.28 billion, which will leave them with over $6 billion at minimum in total assets – money that will be effectively untouchable by opioid crisis victims, even though it is Purdue going bankrupt, not the Sacklers. "This whole bankruptcy was the Sacklers trying to buy immunity," said activist Ed Bisch, who lost his son to an OxyContin overdose in 2001 and is a claimant and active opponent of the settlement. "The only question was what would be the price." Among the lobbyists paid by Purdue Pharma – maker of the opioid painkiller OxyContin – since it filed for bankruptcy reorganization in September 2019 are politically connected Brownstein Hyatt, which received $480,000, and Capitol Hill Consulting Group, which got $300,000.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


The Untold Story of Purdue Pharma's Cozy Relationship With the American Medical Association
2021-08-05, Mother Jones
Posted: 2021-08-16 00:06:38
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/08/purdue-pharma-american-medical-a...

The American Medical Association's new training on pain management arrived in the midst of a burgeoning crisis. It was September 2007, and doctors were prescribing enough opioid painkillers each year for every American adult to have a bottle of the addictive pills. Overdoses were at a historic high and showed no signs of slowing down. Just four months earlier, executives at Purdue Pharma had pleaded guilty to felony charges for misleading regulators and physicians about the dangers of OxyContin. In light of this news, one might have expected the AMA ... to bring attention to the crisis in its newly updated continuing education course on how to treat pain. Instead, the 12-module training suggested that doctors were still too tentative about prescribing narcotics. "The effectiveness of opioid therapy may be undermined by misconceptions about their risks, particularly risks associated with abuse and addiction," read materials from one session. Down in the fine print, the AMA-branded course materials reveal that the training's development and distribution was made possible by an educational grant from Purdue Pharma. By now, the story of how Purdue Pharma sowed the seeds for the overdose crisis is the stuff of history books. But the years of Purdue's involvement with the AMA have been strangely absent from that narrative. Between 2002 and 2018, the AMA and the organization's philanthropic arm, the AMA Foundation, received more than $3 million from Purdue Pharma.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and health from reliable major media sources.


Vaccine monopolies make cost of vaccinating the world against COVID at least 5 times more expensive than it could be
2021-07-29, Oxfam
Posted: 2021-08-08 17:50:32
https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/vaccine-monopolies-make-cost-vaccinat...

The cost of vaccinating the world against COVID-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren't profiteering from their monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines, campaigners from The People's Vaccine Alliance said today. New analysis by the Alliance shows that the firms Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated cost of production. Colombia, for example, has potentially overpaid by as much as $375 million for its doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, in comparison to the estimated cost price. Despite a rapid rise in COVID cases and deaths across the developing world, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have sold over 90 percent of their vaccines so far to rich countries, charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production. Neither company have agreed to fully transfer vaccine technology and know-how with any capable producers in developing countries, a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives. Analysis of production techniques for the leading mRNA type vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna ―which were only developed thanks to public funding to the tune of $8.3 billion― suggest these vaccines could be made for as little as $1.20 a dose. Yet COVAX, the scheme set up to help countries get access to COVID vaccines, has been paying, on average, nearly five times more.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


J&J exploring putting talc liabilities into new business that would file for bankruptcy
2021-07-18, CNBC News
Posted: 2021-08-01 18:02:33
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/18/jj-exploring-putting-talc-liabilities-into-ba...

Johnson & Johnson is exploring a plan to offload liabilities from widespread Baby Powder litigation into a newly created business that would then seek bankruptcy protection. During settlement discussions, one of the health-care conglomerate's attorneys has told plaintiffs' lawyers that J&J could pursue the bankruptcy plan, which could result in lower payouts for cases that do not settle beforehand. Plaintiffs' lawyers would initially be unable to stop J&J from taking such a step. J&J faces legal actions from tens of thousands of plaintiffs alleging its Baby Powder and other talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. The plaintiffs include women suffering from ovarian cancer and others battling mesothelioma. Should J&J proceed, plaintiffs who have not settled could find themselves in protracted bankruptcy proceedings with a likely much smaller company. Future payouts to plaintiffs would be dependent on how J&J decides to fund the entity housing its talc liabilities. J&J is now considering using Texas's "divisive merger" law, which allows a company to split into at least two entities. For J&J, that could create a new entity housing talc liabilities that would then file for bankruptcy to halt litigation. The maneuver is known among legal experts as a Texas two-step bankruptcy. A 2018 Reuters investigation found J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a known carcinogen, lurked in its Baby Powder and other cosmetic talc products.

Note: Can we trust this company with vaccines? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer Hikes 2021 Outlook After Vaccine Boosts Sales, Profit
2021-07-28, U.S. News & World Report
Posted: 2021-08-01 17:56:26
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2021-07-28/pfizer-r...

Strong sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and other medicines helped Pfizer nearly double its second-quarter revenue and boost its profit an impressive 59%, beating Wall Street expectations and leading the drug giant to sharply hike its 2021 sales and profit forecasts. Amid the surging coronavirus pandemic, the COVID-19 vaccine became Pfizer's top seller, bringing in nearly half its revenue – $7.84 billion from direct sales and revenue split with its partner, Germany's BioNTech. Pfizer now anticipates revenue from the two-dose vaccine this year to reach $33.5 billion for the 2.1 billion doses it's contracted to provide by year end. That doesn't include a contract struck last week to provide an additional 200 million doses to the U.S. The New York company on Wednesday disclosed that ongoing testing of a booster shot, given six months after the second vaccine dose, showed it raised antibody levels against the more-transmissible Delta variant to 11 times higher in older people and five times higher in younger people, compared to levels after two doses. Pfizer has delivered more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine globally and expects to make 3 billion doses this year, with many more going to low- and middle-income countries from now through year's end. Most doses of all the COVID-19 vaccines produced in Europe and the U.S. so far have gone to wealthy countries.

Note: When public health is at stake, should private companies be making huge profits like this? Read more in this information article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Johnson & Johnson must pay $2.1 billion talc baby powder award as Supreme Court rejects appeal
2021-06-01, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2021-06-14 20:15:07
https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-johnson-talc-supreme-court-202...

Johnson & Johnson must pay a $2.1 billion award to women who claimed its baby powder was contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos, after the U.S. Supreme Court left intact the largest verdict in the almost decadelong litigation over the iconic product. The top U.S. court without comment on Tuesday refused to consider J&J's objections to a St. Louis jury's 2018 finding that its talc-based powder helped cause ovarian cancer in 20 women. J&J prepared for the appeal's denial by announcing in February it was setting aside almost $4 billion to cover the St. Louis verdict. The company still faces more than 25,000 lawsuits blaming baby powder for causing cancers. J&J pulled the product off U.S. and Canadian shelves last year. Jurors in the St. Louis case awarded each woman $25 million in compensatory damages. The panel then added more than $4 billion in punitive damages, making the award the sixth-largest in U.S. legal history. The original verdict sparked a significant drop in J&J's shares. J&J has lost other cases at trial, with juries across the U.S. ordering it to pay hundreds of millions of dollars. Judges slashed some of those awards while others have been thrown out or are on appeal. J&J has won cases as well. Asbestos, which is often found where talc is mined, is a recognized carcinogen. The women also contended that J&J showed years of deceit about its product and disregard for the health of its customers and argued that warranted the punitive damage award.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.


Covid vaccine profits mint 9 new pharma billionaires
2021-05-21, MSN News
Posted: 2021-06-01 00:00:04
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/covid-vaccine-profits-mint-9-new-pharma-...

Covid-19 vaccines have created at least nine new billionaires after shares in companies producing the shots soared. Topping the list of new billionaires are Moderna CEO StÄ‚©phane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer. Both CEOs are now worth around $4 billion, according to an analysis by the People's Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International. Senior executives from China's CanSino Biologics and early investors in Moderna have also become billionaires on paper as shares skyrocketed. Moderna's share price has gained more than 700% since February 2020, while BioNTech has surged 600%. CanSino Biologics' stock is up about 440% over the same period. The company's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in China in February. Activists said the wealth generation highlighted the stark inequality that has resulted from the pandemic. The nine new billionaires are worth a combined $19.3 billion, enough to fully vaccinate some 780 million people in low-income countries. "These billionaires are the human face of the huge profits many pharmaceutical corporations are making from the monopoly they hold on these vaccines," Anne Marriott, Oxfam's health policy manager, said. "These vaccines were funded by public money and should be first and foremost a global public good, not a private profit opportunity," she added.

Note: You would hope that with all the suffering going on in our world, big Pharma wouldn't gouge and make huge profits on their vaccines. Sadly, this is far from the truth. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.


Why Billionaires Like Bill Gates Can't Fix the Problems They Helped Create
2021-05-25, New York Times
Posted: 2021-05-31 23:58:07
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/25/opinion/bill-melinda-gates-foundation.html

For years, the Gates Foundation has been steered by an unusually small board of trustees, made up of Bill, his estranged wife, Melinda, and the billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The larger the foundation became, the less anyone seemed willing to ask tough questions about its secretive management structure or its penchant for giving money to lucrative pharmaceutical and credit card companies such as Mastercard, despite the fact that giving away billions to wealthy corporations set an unusual and troubling precedent in the philanthropic sector. Billionaires who make their fortunes through corporate practices that undercut workers and deepen inequality – like corporate tax avoidance, insufficient sick pay and the immoral gap in pay between executives and low-paid workers – are not the solution to problems they generate. Asking Bill Gates to fix inequality is like asking an arsonist to hose down your house after he just set it on fire. In April last year, the University of Oxford was reportedly considering offering a Covid-19 vaccine developed by its scientists on a nonexclusive basis. But then, Kaiser Health News reported, "Oxford – urged on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – reversed course. It signed an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices." This dealmaking .. seemed to conflict with the Gates Foundation's stated mission to improve global access to medicines, but it's not surprising.

Note: Read more about the Gates Foundation's startling degree of media influence during the pandemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma's Deadly COVID-19 Vaccine Monopoly
2021-05-12, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-05-23 15:51:50
https://theintercept.com/2021/05/12/intercepted-covid-vaccine-intellectual-pr...

A week ago, the Biden administration announced support for waiving intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines. In response, Bio, a trade association representing biotechnology companies, issued a statement saying, "The United States has unfortunately chosen to set a dangerous precedent with these actions." Efforts to maintain intellectual property rights from life-saving drugs to vaccines have hindered the global response. The Biden administration surprised a lot of observers by coming out in favor of this ... temporary suspension of IP and patent enforcement on certain medications related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Right now, the way that wealthier countries – the U.S. and others – are confronting this crisis for the developing world is through voluntary agreements. There are really two ways to combat this crisis. There's a way to do it in a sense that maximizes profit for the healthcare companies, the pharmaceutical companies. And then there's the more collaborative, nonprofit approach. And early on, pharmaceutical companies were fighting this more collaborative approach. The pharmaceutical companies, in addition, have said they plan to increase prices once the pandemic quote-unquote ends. These companies are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to increase prices.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.


Documents Reveal Pharma Plot to Stop Generic COVID-19 Vaccine Waiver
2021-05-14, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-05-23 15:50:01
https://theintercept.com/2021/05/14/covid-vaccine-waiver-generic-phrma-lobby/

The pharmaceutical industry is distributing talking points, organizing opposition, and even collecting congressional signatures in an attempt to reverse President Joe Biden's support for worldwide access to generic Covid-19 vaccines. The behind-the-scenes moves ... come as the U.S. last week announced that it would support the World Trade Organization proposal, led by India and South Africa, to temporarily waive enforcement of intellectual property and patent rights on coronavirus vaccines. Without a radical expansion in vaccine manufacturing capacity, many developing countries will not achieve mass vaccination rates until 2023 or 2024. The waiver request, which was unexpectedly endorsed by Biden's administration on May 5, is designed to provide legal immunity for drug firms to copy the formulas of existing vaccines to supply low-cost vaccines to low-income countries. On Wednesday, Jared Michaud, a lobbyist with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group that represents Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and other major drug firms, sent an email laying out the industry's role in coaxing lawmakers to push back against a waiver. One of the documents laid out potential national security concerns and suggested that lawmakers should argue the waiver could empower Russia and China. PhRMA ... spent over $24 million on federal lobbying last year and is one of the biggest corporate players in election spending.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.


The drug industry keeps ramping up its spending on lobbying
2021-05-07, Washington Post
Posted: 2021-05-16 21:57:07
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/07/health-202-drug-industry-k...

The pharmaceutical industry keeps turning up the dial on lobbying, setting massive new spending records in its intensive effort to influence Congress and the Biden administration. Yet this week, President Biden angered drugmakers when he said he supports the waiving of intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines. Drug and health product manufacturers, along with their national association, spent a combined $92 million to lobby the federal government from January through March. That puts the industry on track to break its spending record for the second year in a row. Not only that, but its first-quarter spending was more than double what was spent by the second-highest-spending industry, electronics companies. There are currently 1,270 registered lobbyists for pharmaceuticals and health products – more than two lobbyists for every member of Congress. Pfizer, maker of one of the three coronavirus vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States, was the biggest spender of any individual drug company. And last year, as it was developing its vaccine, the federal government agreed to pay the company $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses it produced. The company reported it had $3.5 billion in revenue from sales of the vaccine so far this year. Pfizer was outflanked on lobbying spending only by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – the national association that represents the interests of drugmakers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.


Medicating Kids - Dr. Peter Breggin
2000-05-03, PBS
Posted: 2021-05-16 21:49:05
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/interviews/breggin....

We're giving more and more psychiatric drugs to children. What medicine and psychiatry have done is to take essentially behavioral problems - problems of conflict between adults and children - and redefine them as medical problems. I believe that there is no scientific reason or justification for giving psychoactive agents to children. Take a healthy animal, like a chimpanzee, who wants to groom its neighbor, wants to play, socialize, wants to explore, and particularly would like to escape - that's a normal animal. If you give the animal a stimulant drug, it loses all its spontaneous behavior. And instead, obsessive narrow behavior is enforced. These drugs make good caged animals. Now, if you get all that same behavior in a child, if you crush a child's desire to socialize, to play, to escape, to be full of stuff like kids are, and instead you enforce a narrow obsessive focus, teachers will see this universally as improved behavior. Parents have also been lied to: flat-out lied to. They've been told that children have a neurobiological disorder. On what basis? Physicians and the public grabbed on to what is essentially a PR campaign ... that if you have a mental disturbance, it's biochemical. Now they run into problems. Because the next drug that comes along affects a different neurotransmitter, and then the next one affects a different neurotransmitter. And they're all working, because they all cause certain disabilities of the brain that some people experience as an improvement.

Note: Learn about Dr. Breggin's key role in stopping lobotomies and much more in this informative interview. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pharmaceutical Industry Dispatches Army of Lobbyists to Block Generic COVID-19 Vaccines
2021-04-23, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-05-02 15:55:43
https://theintercept.com/2021/04/23/covid-vaccine-ip-waiver-lobbying/

The pharmaceutical industry is pouring resources into the growing political fight over generic coronavirus vaccines. Over 100 lobbyists have been mobilized to contact lawmakers and members of the Biden administration, urging them to oppose a proposed temporary waiver on intellectual property rights by the World Trade Organization that would allow generic vaccines to be produced globally. Pharmaceutical lobbyists working against the proposal include Mike McKay, a key fundraiser for House Democrats, now working on retainer for Pfizer, as well as several former staff members to the U.S. Office of Trade Representative, which oversees negotiations with the WTO. Several trade groups funded by pharmaceutical firms have also focused closely on defeating the generic proposal, new disclosures show. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance, which all receive drug company money, have dispatched dozens of lobbyists to oppose the initiative. The push has been followed by a number of influential voices taking the side of the drug lobby. Last week, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., released a letter demanding that the administration "oppose any and all efforts aimed at waiving intellectual property rights." Currently, only 1 percent of coronavirus vaccines are going to low-income countries, and projections show much of the world's population may not be vaccinated until 2023 or 2024.

Note: Has it ever been more clear that big Pharma places profits above health, even when it might cause huge numbers of people to die? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Study reveals Americans pay four times more for medicine compared to wealthy countries
2021-04-28, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2021-05-02 15:49:25
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/bernie-sanders-...

A government study commissioned by Senator Bernie Sanders has revealed that Americans pay two to four times more on prescription medicine compared to other wealthy countries. Analysis released by the Government Acountability Office (GAO) found that US consumers and insurers paid 2.82 times more than in Canada, 4.25 times more than in Australia, and 4.36 times more than in France for 20 brand-named prescription drugs in 2020. France and Australia both operate on a universal, publicly funded healthcare system, which can explain some of the discrepancy in prescription drug prices. Canada, similar to the United States, does not provide prescription drug coverage to all of its residents. But the analysis found that US residents typically paid two to eight times more than Canadians when paying for the same prescription drug. For example, 30 tablets of Xarelto, which treats blood clots, costs $558.33 in the US but just $85.44 in Canada. When purchasing 28 tablets of Epclusa to treat Hepatitis C, an infection that attacks the liver, it costs $36,743 in the US compared to $17,023.63 in Canada, according to the analysis. But Mr Biden's $1.8tn infrastructure plan ultimately left out popular progressive initiatives that would alter the healthcare system in America, including lowering the Medicare eligibility age and allowing the federal government to directly negotiate prescription drug prices. These policy ideas were both left out despite receiving overwhelming approval from the US public.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Biden's Inner Circle Maintains Close Ties to Vaccine Makers, Disclosures Reveal
2021-03-24, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-04-06 02:14:34
https://theintercept.com/2021/03/24/covid-vaccine-stocks-biden-conflict/

In the coming months, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's ambassador to the United Nations, will hear from a growing chorus of developing nations about the foundering efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine globally. The nations, many of which have not even begun vaccinating their populations, are demanding that the U.S. support proposals to temporarily waive certain patent and intellectual property rights so that generic coronavirus vaccines can be produced. The proposals have been fiercely opposed by American drugmakers, including Pfizer. ASG ... represents Pfizer. Many leading figures in Biden's administration, including key White House advisers, State Department leaders, and health care officials have financial stake in or professional ties to vaccine manufacturers, which are now lobbying to prevent policies that would cut into future profits over the vaccine. ASG in particular has unusual amounts of sway in the Biden administration. State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Wendy Sherman, Uzra Zeya, and Molly Montgomery previously worked at ASG, as did Philip Gordon, Vice President Kamala Harris's national security adviser. The pharmaceutical industry, in a bid to shield an expected financial windfall, has pressed the Biden administration not only to oppose the waiver, but also to impose trade-related sanctions on countries that back [a] proposal or move to manufacture coronavirus vaccines without permission from patent holders.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is set to be one of the most lucrative drugs in the world
2021-02-02, Yahoo! News
Posted: 2021-04-06 02:11:21
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-set-203223913.html

Pfizer expects to sell $15 billion worth of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021. That would make it the second-highest revenue-generating drug anytime, anywhere, according to industry reports. The maker of the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved for use in advanced markets has released its earning forecasts for 2021 today. Pfizer expects to earn between $59 billion and $61 billion - up from $42 billion it made in 2020. Sales of the vaccine are set to bring in about a fourth of Pfizer's total revenue this year. That would be nearly as much as its three best-selling products combined. The company is expecting profit margins for the vaccine to be between 25% and 30% which means profits from the vaccine could be around $4 billion. All of Pfizer's costs and profits from the vaccine are split evenly with BioNTech, the biotech company that helped develop the treatment. There are is only one drug in the world that sells more - Humira, a prescription medication for arthritis. Pfizer plans on selling 2 billion doses of the vaccine this year, but that demand should subside in coming years so the revenue of Covid-19 vaccine won't be stable, Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla said on an call with analysts and investors. The company expects to continue profiting from it by selling booster doses, including ones required to shield against new variants of the virus, Bourla said. Further, Pfizer is pursuing more avenues to employ the mRNA technology underlying the vaccine, including a flu vaccine and other therapeutic applications.

Note: Read more in this revealing Reuters article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


AstraZeneca accused of cherry-picking vaccine study data
2021-03-23, ABC News
Posted: 2021-04-06 02:09:07
https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/us-astrazeneca-outdated-info-vaccin...

AstraZeneca may have included "outdated information" in touting the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in a U.S. study, federal health officials said Tuesday in an unusual public rift that could further erode confidence in the shot. In an extraordinary rebuke, just hours after AstraZeneca on Monday announced its vaccine worked well in the U.S. study, an independent panel that oversees the study scolded the company for cherry-picking data, according to a senior administration official. The panel wrote to AstraZeneca and U.S. health leaders that it was concerned the company chose to use data that was outdated and potentially misleading instead of the most recent and complete findings. The NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the incident "really is what you call an unforced error" and that he expects the discrepancy to be straightened out. But that nitty-gritty seldom is seen by the public, something now exposed by the extraordinary microscope being applied to development of the world's COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine is used widely in Britain, across the European continent and in other countries, but its rollout was troubled by inconsistent study reports about its effectiveness, and then last week a scare about blood clots that had some countries temporarily pausing inoculations. Company executives refused repeated requests from reporters to provide a breakdown of the 141 COVID-19 cases it was using to make the case for the shot's effectiveness.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.


When half a million Americans died and nobody noticed
2012-04-27, The Week
Posted: 2021-03-29 00:37:34
https://www.theweek.co.uk/us/46535/when-half-million-americans-died-and-nobod...

In September 2004, Merck, one of America's largest pharmaceutical companies, issued a sudden recall of Vioxx, its anti-pain medication widely used to treat arthritis-related ailments. The recall came just days after Merck discovered that a top medical journal was about to publish a study by an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) investigator indicating that the drug in question greatly increased the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes and had probably been responsible for at least 55,000 American deaths during the five years it had been on the market. It soon turned out Merck had known of potential lethal side effects even before launching Vioxx in 1999, but had brushed all such disturbing tests under the rug. A class-action lawsuit dragged its way through the courts for years, eventually being settled for $4.85 billion in 2007. [Researcher Ron] Unz makes the point that the users of Vioxx were almost all elderly, and it was not possible to determine whether a particular victim's heart attack had been caused by Vioxx or other factors. But he concludes: "Perhaps 500,000 or more premature American deaths may have resulted from Vioxx, a figure substantially larger than the 3,468 deaths of named individuals acknowledged by Merck during the settlement of its lawsuit. I'm just as astonished. From 2004 onwards, huge numbers of America's toughest trial lawyers were suing Merck for billions based on Vioxx casualties - didn't they notice the dramatic drop in the national death rate [after Vioxx was discontinued]?"

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


David Graham On The Vioxx Verdict
2005-08-19, Forbes
Posted: 2021-03-29 00:34:44
https://www.forbes.com/2005/08/19/merck-vioxx-graham_cx_mh_0819graham.html?sh...

No single person has come to more represent the big questions about drug safety that emerged following the withdrawal of Merck's painkiller Vioxx than the Food and Drug Administration's David Graham. And now that a Texas jury has awarded the widow of one Vioxx patient $253 million, Graham, who works in the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, is more critical than ever. Of the drug, and his employer, for whom he doesn't speak. "If the judgment is that there's blood on Merck's hands," Graham says, "there's blood on the FDA's hands as well." Graham has estimated that Vioxx killed some 60,000 patients - as many people, he points out, as died in the Vietnam War. He says that fundamental problems at the FDA led to those deaths. "People should turn to Congress and demand a drug safety system that is free from corporate influence - and a distinct center for drug safety." In Graham's eyes, the problem at the FDA is that the same scientists who approve drugs are the ones charged with deciding whether or not they are safe enough to remain on the market when problems crop up. Graham says that he thinks there should be formal, periodic reviews of the safety of new medicines - and that the FDA should release documents that explain its reasoning. "The FDA does not think anything it did is a mistake," he says. "[Yet] none of its decisions are evidence-based." "Today Merck was on trial, and a judgment was rendered," he says. "But when will the public hold the FDA accountable for its role, its complicity, in this catastrophe?"

Note: Learn how Merck blatantly altered the death numbers in their drug trials in this Seattle Times article. This article persuasively argues the actual death numbers were around 500,000. WTK founder Fred Burks had a shocking encounter where he learned about intense corruption at the FDA. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Police Probe Sudden Death of Anti-Vaccine Activist
2020-12-15, Newsweek
Posted: 2021-03-23 01:57:38
https://www.newsweek.com/police-probe-sudden-death-anti-vaccine-activist-1554784

The sudden death of a prominent anti-vaccination activist has led to a police probe. Brandy Vaughan, 45, was found dead on December 7. On Monday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. "The decedent has been positively identified and the death is believe [sic] to be a result of natural causes based on an autopsy exam conducted last week," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Raquel Zick said. "The final cause and manner of death determination are pending toxicology screening which normally takes 4-6 weeks." Vaughan, a former Merck pharmaceutical representative, was an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccinations and pharmaceutical companies. She founded non-profit organization Learn The Risk in a bid to educate people "on the dangers of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines and unnecessary medical treatments." [Vaughan] once worked for Merck pharmaceutical as a sales representative for Vioxx, a painkiller eventually taken off the market."I realized that just because something is on the market doesn't mean it's safe," Vaughan writes. "Much of what we are told by the healthcare industry just simply isn't the truth." In a Facebook post dated December 4 of 2019, Vaughan asks: "Ever wonder why I speak out against Big Pharma and suffer the major consequences? Because I will fight for my son and humanity and I will educate people on pharmaceutical product dangers until my last breath!"

Note: This article fails to mention that the number of deaths due to Vioxx are estimated to be between 40,000 and 500,000. Read also an article titled "Mystery surrounds death of Tanzanian president who defied COVID lockdown." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer plant boosting vaccines has repeat quality offenses
2021-03-05, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2021-03-14 16:26:41
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Pfizer-plant-boosting-vaccines-has-repeat...

The factory that Pfizer Inc. plans to use to boost production of its covid-19 vaccine for the massive U.S. inoculation effort was cited by federal inspectors last year for repeated quality-control violations. Food and Drug Administration inspectors visited the McPherson, Kansas, plant at the end of 2019 into January 2020, according to an inspection report. They found the drug giant released medications for sale after failing to thoroughly review quality issues that arose in routine testing, the report shows. Additionally, the report says inspectors found bacteria and mold in supposedly sterile areas, an issue seen in previous visits to the facility. And the plant failed to properly sample drug products to ensure they didn't have excessive levels of certain toxins, the inspectors wrote. The FDA sent Pfizer a warning letter, the agency's strongest rebuke, concerning the factory in 2017 after the agency detected issues similar to those it found in 2020. The FDA concluded that Pfizer had addressed the violations in June 2018, a month before it returned to the facility and found more problems. The company plans to supply the U.S. with 200 million doses of its two-shot vaccine regimen by the end of May. The FDA halted all inspections of drugmaking facilities at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, though it has since resumed some domestic visits. Pfizer's plant in Kansas is also authorized to make the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Drug Lobby Asks Biden to Punish Foreign Countries Pushing for Low Cost Vaccines
2021-03-03, The Intercept
Posted: 2021-03-14 16:24:37
https://theintercept.com/2021/03/03/vaccine-coronavirus-big-pharma-biden/

President Joe Biden's administration is being asked to punish Hungary, Colombia, Chile, and other countries for seeking to ramp up the production of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics without express permission from pharmaceutical companies. The sanctions are being urged by the drug industry, which has filed hundreds of pages of documents to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the alleged threat posed by any effort to challenge "basic intellectual property protections" in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The drug industry has sharply criticized any attempt to share vaccine patents or the technological knowledge needed to manufacture them, despite global need. The strident corporate opposition to any intellectual property flexibility has rankled public health advocates, many of whom note that much of the vaccine technology has been financed by the public sector. The Pfizer vaccine, noted Prabhala, was developed in partnership with the European firm BioNTech, which received $445 million from the German government to help accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing. The U.S. government provided about $1 billion for the research and testing by Moderna to create its coronavirus vaccine. Johnson & Johnson received over $1.45 billion in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for its recently approved Covid-19 vaccine.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Revealed: how Mexico's Sinaloa cartel has created a global network to rule the fentanyl trade
2020-12-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2021-03-07 21:44:46
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/08/mexico-cartel-project-synthetic...

Carlos is a Mexican businessman. Two associates accompanied him as he travelled [to] India. There, [he] met Manu Gupta, a businessman active in a variety of sectors. On 25 September 2018 he was arrested in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, along with a Mexican associate and an Indian chemist. The three men were wearing masks and gloves – and were in possession of more than 10kg of fentanyl – an ultra-potent synthetic opioid. The case sheds light on the international networks which Mexican cartels have built up – and the business methods they employ to dominate the lucrative fentanyl market. Fentanyl increasingly displaced heroin on the underground market, causing record numbers of overdoses around the world. In 2018, fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs accounted for nearly half of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the US. This year, overdoses have rocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 40 US states reporting an increase in drug mortality rates – particularly from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In theory, sales of precursors are highly regulated. In reality, the extent of the problem is revealed with a simple Google search. Entering keywords for fentanyl precursors quickly leads you to the social network Pinterest, where – nestled between wedding moodboards and home decor inspiration – are posts from Chinese companies offering fentanyl precursors for export – many directed towards Mexico.

Note: Pharmaceutical executives have been caught bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl-containing painkillers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Is Drug-Company Money Tainting Medical Education?
2009-03-06, Time Magazine
Posted: 2021-03-01 16:20:41
http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883449,00.html

It's not often that a place like Harvard Medical School gets an F – particularly when rivals Stanford, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania are pulling A's and B's. But that's what happened recently when the members of the increasingly influential – and increasingly noisy – American Medical Student Association (AMSA) decided to grade 150 med schools on just how much money and gifts they're collecting from drug companies. The more goodies a school is vacuuming up from the industry, the worse its grade. It turns out that many professors and instructors are, legally, on the dole as well, and students are beginning to worry that what they're being taught is just as one-sided as what patients are being prescribed. Harvard, at the moment, is at the center of it. Of Harvard's 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies – sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – that could bias their teaching or research. Additionally, pharma contributed more than $11.5 million to the school last year for research and continuing-education classes. And while Harvard might be the highest-profile name that was posted on AMSA's grade list, it was hardly the only one that flunked: 40 out of the 150 schools surveyed received F's; only 22 got an A or B. Harvard has convened a 19-member committee ... to review its pharma policy, though the university is hedging on whether it actually plans to change the way it operates.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


New Report From Rep. Katie Porter Reveals How Big Pharma Pursues 'Killer Profits' at the Expense of Americans' Health
2021-01-29, Common Dreams
Posted: 2021-02-14 16:53:54
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/01/29/new-report-rep-katie-porter-reve...

Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact "comprehensive, urgent reform" of an integral part of a broken healthcare system. The report, entitled Killer Profits: How Big Pharma Takeovers Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients, begins by noting that "in just 10 years, the number of large, international pharmaceutical companies decreased six-fold, from 60 to only 10." While pharmaceutical executives often attempt to portray such consolidation as a means to increase operational efficiency, the report states that "digging a level deeper 'exposes a troubling industry-wide trend of billions of dollars of corporate resources going toward acquiring other pharmaceutical corporations with patent-protected blockbuster drugs instead of putting those resources toward' discovery of new drugs." Big pharmaceutical companies are not responsible for most major breakthroughs. Rather, innovation is driven in small firms, which are often spun off of taxpayer-funded academic research. These small labs are then purchased by giant firms. Instead of producing lifesaving drugs for diseases with few or no cures, large pharmaceutical companies often focus on small, incremental changes to existing drugs in order to kill off generic threats to their government-granted monopoly patents. Mergers in the pharmaceutical industry have had an overall negative effect on innovation.

Note: The major media, sponsored largely by Big Pharma, completely failed to report on this important study. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System
2010-09-30, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Posted: 2021-02-08 23:45:52
https://digital.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/publication/r18hs017045-laz...

The goal of this project is to improve the quality of vaccination programs by improving the quality of physician adverse vaccine event detection and reporting to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Restructuring at CDC and consequent delays in terms of decision making have made it challenging despite best efforts to move forward. Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of "problem" drugs and vaccines that endanger public health. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed. Barriers to reporting include a lack of clinician awareness, uncertainty about when and what to report, as well as the burdens of reporting: reporting is not part of clinicians' usual workflow, takes time, and is duplicative. Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation.

Note: The U.S. government here is admitting that less than 1% of vaccine injuries are reported. What does this say about the safety of vaccines in general? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Death By Prescription
2016-09-27, US News & World Report
Posted: 2021-01-25 22:01:57
https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-...

Americans are taking more medications than ever before. Nearly 60 to 70 percent of us take at least one prescribed drug. Meanwhile, new drug approvals have reached a 19-year high. There's no formal process for quantifying injuries, hospitalizations or even deaths caused by therapeutic drug use – which excludes overdose or misuse. "Risk management begins with measuring things accurately, so you know what the threats are and the ones where you should be paying attention," says Thomas J. Moore ... at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. But he notes that there's no system in place or accepted methodology for developing these tallies for prescription drugs, unlike with overdoses. Health providers and consumers are encouraged to report adverse drug reactions to the Food and Drug Administration. But the FDA says it's unable to use the incomplete adverse event reporting data to quantify overall deaths that result from therapeutic drug use. A ... recent analysis estimates 128,000 Americans die each year as a result of taking medications as prescribed. "By far the greatest number of [prescription drug-related] hospitalizations and deaths occur from drugs that are prescribed properly by physicians and taken as directed," says Donald Light ... lead author of a 2013 paper that detailed the estimate, entitled "Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs." "About 2,460 people per week are estimated to die from drugs that were properly prescribed," says Light.

Note: According to some studies, medical errors including adverse drug reactions may be the third leading cause of death in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Peter Breggin on the Psycho-Pharmaceutical Complex
2016-04-18, Psychology Today
Posted: 2021-01-25 22:00:18
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethinking-mental-health/201604/peter...

Throughout my career as a psychiatrist, I have found, on a clinical and scientific basis, psychiatric drugs do much more harm than good. My professional website (www.breggin.com) began as an attempt to present my scientific research. At the time that I started my reform efforts in the early 1970s, I was nearly alone among psychiatrists or any other professionals in standing up to the pharmaceutical industry, the electroshock industry, the American Psychiatric Association, the AMA, and other members of what I defined as the "psychopharmaceutical complex." When taken for months or years, all psychiatric drugs can seriously damage the brain, prevent recovery, and ruin the individual's quality of life. The psychiatric model of human suffering has caused untold damage to hundreds of millions of victims of involuntary treatment, psychiatric hospitals, drugs and electroshock. It has also set back civilization by undermining Western traditions of individuality, personal responsibility, and love. It has convinced modern society that emotional suffering is based in so-called biochemical imbalances when in reality it is rooted in a complex combination of human nature, individual experience and choice-making, and societal influences. This flawed biological model ignores all the important realities in human life from the dreadful effects of childhood trauma and adult disappointment and loss to the importance of living by worthwhile principles and ideals.

Note: Learn about Dr. Breggin's key role in stopping lobotomies and much more in this informative interview. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


We're not sure if someone can transmit virus after vaccination: Pfizer chairman
2020-12-04, Toronto Sun
Posted: 2021-01-18 16:37:50
https://torontosun.com/news/world/were-not-sure-if-someone-can-transmit-virus...

Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla told NBC's Dateline host Lester Holt that the pharmaceutical company was "not certain" if the vaccine prevented the coronavirus from being transmitted, saying: "This is something that needs to be examined." In a prime-time special titled "Race for a Vaccine" ... Holt questioned Bourla and other individuals involved in the development and distribution of the vaccine. In November, Pfizer announced that its vaccine candidate had been shown to be more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and has applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.K. became the first country to approve Pfizer's vaccine this week with the first round of immunizations expected to roll out next week. In August, Canada signed a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of the vaccine. In a list of interview highlights released before the special, Holt asked Bourla: "Even though I've had the protection, am I still able to transmit it to other people?" "I think this is something that needs to be examined. We are not certain about that right now with what we know," Bourla responded.

Note: An MSN article reported that a 41-year-old Portuguese health worker died two days after getting the Pfizer vaccine, but then removed the article. Learn more about this death in this article. A Florida doctor also died after receiving the vaccine. This CDC report states "December 14–23, 2020, monitoring … detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine." For more, explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.


New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and Nanocontamination
2017-01-23, International Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination
Posted: 2021-01-18 16:26:19
http://medcraveonline.com/IJVV/IJVV-04-00072.pdf

Vaccines are ... under investigation for the possible side effects they can cause. In order to supply new information, an electron-microscopy investigation method was applied to the study of vaccines, aimed at verifying the presence of solid contaminants by means of an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with an X-ray microprobe. The results of this new investigation show the presence of micro- and nanosized particulate matter composed of inorganic elements in vaccines' samples which is not declared among the components and whose ... presence is, for the time being, inexplicable. A considerable part of those particulate contaminants have already been verified in other matrices and reported in literature as non biodegradable and non biocompatible. The evidence collected is suggestive of some hypotheses correlated to diseases that are mentioned and briefly discussed. Recently, with the worldwide-adopted vaccines against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the debate was reawaken[ed] due to some adverse effects reported by some young subjects. Specific studies communicated the existence of symptoms related to never-described-before syndromes developed after the vaccine was administered. For instance, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) ... side-effects that can arise within a relatively short time can be local or systemic.

Note: For lots more, see this highly revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer: Nigeria drug trial victims get compensation
2011-08-11, BBC News
Posted: 2021-01-11 16:29:36
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14493277

US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has made the first compensation payment to Nigerian families affected by a controversial drug trial 15 years ago. It paid $175,000 (Ł108,000) each to four families in the first of a series of payments it is expected to make. The payouts are part of an out-of-court settlement reached in 2009. In 1996, 11 children died and dozens were left disabled after Pfizer gave them the experimental anti-meningitis drug, Trovan. The payouts were made to the parents of four of the children who died. Their parents told the BBC they welcomed the payment, but it would not replace the loss of their loved ones. The children were part of a group of 200 given the drug during a meningitis epidemic in the northern city of Kano as part of a medical trial comparing Trovan's effectiveness with the established treatment. For years Pfizer maintained that meningitis - not the drug - caused the deaths and disabilities. But after a lengthy and expensive litigation process, it reached a settlement with the Kano government in northern Nigeria. The trials were carried out in Kano and the state government fought Pfizer on behalf of victims and their families. It has taken two years and DNA tests to establish who is entitled to payments, the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Lagos says. It could take another year for payments to be concluded, he says. Pfizer also agreed to sponsor health projects in Kano as well as creating a fund of $35m to compensate those affected.

Note: A BMJ article about this case states, "The families allege that the company failed to tell them that their children were being enrolled in an experimental drug trial and that free, effective treatment was available ... at the same hospital. Five children in the trovafloxacin arm and six in the ceftriaxone arm died, according to Pfizer." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


These NHS Staff Were Told The Swine Flu Vaccine Was Safe, And Now They're Suffering The Consequences
2018-02-23, BuzzFeed
Posted: 2020-12-21 15:18:13
https://www.buzzfeed.com/shaunlintern/these-nhs-staff-were-told-the-swine-flu...

When nurse Meleney Gallagher was told to line up with her colleagues on the renal ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital, for her swine flu vaccination, she had no idea the injection she was about to have had not gone through the usual testing process. It had been rushed into circulation after the swine flu virus had swept across the globe in 2009. Gallagher was one of thousands of NHS staff vaccinated with Pandemrix, a vaccine made by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Eight years later, her career in the NHS is a memory and she's living with incurable, debilitating narcolepsy and suffers from cataplexy, a sudden, uncontrollable loss of muscle tone that can cause her to collapse without warning. Because of her condition, she can no longer work or drive. People with narcolepsy experience chronic fatigue and difficulty sleeping at night. They can have night terrors, hallucinations, and a range of mental health problems. Gallagher is not alone. More than a dozen frontline NHS staff are among around 1,000 adults and children across Europe who are believed to have developed narcolepsy after being given Pandemrix. Gallagher and four other NHS professionals – two nurses, a community midwife, and a junior doctor – have told how they felt pressured into receiving the vaccine, were given misleading information, and ultimately lost their careers. They are all suing GlaxoSmithKline seeking compensation for what they believe was a faulty drug that has left them with lifelong consequences.

Note: Yet the media and big Pharma continually tout the safety of their vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Vaccines are among big pharma's best-selling products
2016-04-24, Financial Times
Posted: 2020-12-13 20:37:54
https://www.ft.com/content/93374f4a-e538-11e5-a09b-1f8b0d268c39

Ask people to name Pfizer's best-selling product and many would opt for one of its most famous drugs: Viagra, for erectile dysfunction, or Lipitor, to reduce high cholesterol. But they would all be wrong. The top-seller is not a drug but a vaccine: Prevnar, which prevents pneumonia, meningitis and other infections caused by pneumococcus bacteria. Prevnar generated revenues of $6.25bn last year – almost three times as much as Viagra. This was up 40 per cent from the year before, after the expert panel that advises on US vaccine policy recommended its use in over-65s as well as in children. Pfizer is one of just four pharma groups with large vaccines operations. The others are GlaxoSmithKline of the UK, Sanofi of France and Merck of the US. All four reported stronger sales growth in vaccines than in pharmaceuticals last year and operating margins were comparable with pharma at around 25-30 per cent. Pricing remains a sensitive topic, however, especially in the developing world. MĂ©decins Sans Frontières, the health charity, last month launched a challenge against Pfizer's patent on Prevnar in a bid to allow Indian companies to produce the vaccine cheaper. Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the MSF Access Campaign, says it could be produced in India for $6 per child, compared with Pfizer's reduced $10 price. Critics argue that consolidation in the industry has left too few companies, developing too few vaccines – and that those that do exist tend to be aimed at rich countries.

Note: Read this eye-opening article showing how powerful financial interests control the public narrative about vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


After Admitting Mistake, AstraZeneca Faces Difficult Questions About Its Vaccine
2020-11-25, New York Times
Posted: 2020-12-07 02:13:37
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/25/business/coronavirus-vaccine-astrazeneca-o...

The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine's apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing. Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results. The regimen that appeared to be 90 percent effective was based on participants receiving a half dose of the vaccine followed a month later by a full dose; the less effective version involved a pair of full doses. AstraZeneca disclosed in its initial announcement that fewer than 2,800 participants received the smaller dosing regimen, compared with nearly 8,900 participants who received two full doses. Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. initiative to fast-track coronavirus vaccines, noted another limitation in AstraZeneca's data. On a call with reporters, he suggested that the participants who received the half-strength initial dose had been 55 years old or younger. The fact that the initial half-strength dose wasn't tested in older participants, who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19, could undermine AstraZeneca's case to regulators that the vaccine should be authorized for emergency use.

Note: Learn in this revealing article how vaccine trials are rigged. This article spells out how vaccine makers are above the law and face no consequences for damage from vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to federal criminal charges related to nation's opioid crisis
2020-11-30, CNN News
Posted: 2020-12-07 02:06:47
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/24/us/purdue-pharma-oxycontin-guilty-plea/index.html

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three federal criminal charges related to the company's role in creating the nation's opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma board chairman Steve Miller pleaded guilty on behalf of the company during a virtual federal court hearing in front of US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo. The counts include one of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The plea deal announced in October includes the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical manufacturer, including a criminal fine of $3.544 billion and an additional $2 billion in criminal forfeiture, according to a Department of Justice press release. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2018, just one year of the opioid crisis, and about 70% of those deaths were caused by prescription or illicit opioids like OxyContin. Several civil lawsuits against Purdue Pharma related to the opioid crisis are still ongoing as the company undergoes bankruptcy proceedings. The Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Multi-District Litigation called Purdue Pharma's guilty plea "long overdue." "Their illegal and profit-seeking actions were egregious. It is important to note, however, that they are just one company in one part of the larger opioid supply chain," [the plaintiffs'] attorneys ... said.

Note: The company pays huge fines for the deaths of countless thousands, yet the CEO and others responsible face no legal charges. Where is the deterrent for this egregious behavior? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Is the FDA Too Cozy With Drug Companies?
2016-09-28, Time
Posted: 2020-12-07 02:01:54
https://time.com/4510025/fda-drug-companies-pharmaceutical-industry-medical-r...

People who work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medical reviewers are responsible for parsing the risks and benefits of a particular drug before it gets the agency's approval. But a new report from two researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University, published in the journal The BMJ, suggests many of these medical reviewers go on to work for the drug companies they oversaw while working for the government. The study's authors ... looked at the FDA's list of haematology-oncology drug approvals from 2006 to 2010 and scanned all medical reviews from 2001 to 2010 in the agency's database, then looked up the subsequent jobs of the people who worked as medical reviewers for those drug approvals. The researchers found that among 55 people who worked as haematology-oncology medical reviewers from 2001 to 2010, 27 continued in their roles at the FDA, two people worked at the FDA but held other appointments, and 15 left the FDA to work with or consult for the biopharmaceutical industry. "If you know in the back of your mind that a major career opportunity after the FDA is going to work on the other side of the table, I worry it can make you less likely to put your foot down," says study author Dr. Vinay Prasad. "Regulators may be less willing to be very tough, and I worry that is happening." Prasad says he would like to see more transparency from the FDA on the number of people who go from the agency to the drug industry.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


Before the pandemic, top contractor received billions from government to help prepare the nation for biowarfare
2020-06-17, Washington Post
Posted: 2020-11-29 20:08:40
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/before-the-pandemic-top-contrac...

The Trump administration this month announced that one of its largest pandemic-related contracts would go to a little-known biodefense company named Emergent BioSolutions. The $628 million deal to help manufacture an eventual vaccine cemented Emergent's status as the highest-paid and most important contractor to the HHS office responsible for preparing for public health threats and maintaining the government's stockpile of emergency medical supplies. Emergent has long been the government's sole provider of BioThrax, a vaccine for anthrax poisoning. Emergent's advocacy for biodefense spending over more than a decade was aided by influential allies in Washington and tens of millions of dollars in lobbying campaigns. "It has strategically placed itself to be, let's just say, the company that can't fail," said a former senior government official who worked with Emergent on stockpile operations. The company that would become Emergent began as BioPort Corp., formed in 1998 to buy an aging, state-owned company in Lansing, Mich., that was the only licensed supplier of anthrax vaccine to the Pentagon. The Pentagon ... awarded a $29 million no-bid contract for the anthrax vaccine, BioThrax. Controversy swamped the operation. Hundreds of U.S. troops who received the BioThrax treatment complained of bad reactions, such as headaches and nerve problems. Some troops risked courts-martial by refusing vaccination. Emergent spent nearly $4 million on lobbying last year alone.

Note: To understand the huge influence of lobbying and profits on the development and stockpiling of vaccines, don't miss reading this entire, eye-opening article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and vaccines from reliable major media sources.


One-Third Of New Drugs Had Safety Problems After FDA Approval
2017-05-09, NPR
Posted: 2020-11-29 19:48:17
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/09/527575055/one-third-of-n...

The Food and Drug Administration is under pressure from the Trump administration to approve drugs faster, but researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that nearly a third of those approved from 2001 through 2010 had major safety issues years after the medications were made widely available to patients. Seventy-one of the 222 drugs approved in the first decade of the millennium were withdrawn, required a "black box" warning on side effects or warranted a safety announcement about new risks, Dr. Joseph Ross ... and colleagues reported in JAMA. The Yale researchers' previous studies concluded that the FDA approves drugs faster than its counterpart agency in Europe does and that the majority of pivotal trials in drug approvals involved fewer than 1,000 patients and lasted six months or less. It took a median of 4.2 years after the drugs were approved for these safety concerns to come to light, the study found, and issues were more common among psychiatric drugs, biologic drugs, drugs that were granted "accelerated approval" and drugs that were approved near the regulatory deadline for approval. "All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective," [Dr. Caleb Alexander] says. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it's on the market and only after use among a broad population."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and health from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer CEO Sold Millions In Stock After Coronavirus Vaccine News, Raising Questions
2020-11-11, NPR
Posted: 2020-11-22 23:45:18
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/11/933957580/pfizer-ceo-sold-millions-in-stock-af...

The chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, sold $5.6 million worth of stock in the pharmaceutical company on Monday. The sale took place on the same day Pfizer announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective. Bourla's sale of Pfizer stock was part of a trading plan set months in advance. Known as 10b5-1 plans, they essentially put stock trades on autopilot. Executives are supposed to adopt these plans only when they are not in possession of inside information that can affect a company's stock price. On Aug. 19, Bourla implemented his stock-trading plan. The next day, Aug. 20, Pfizer issued a press release ... confirming that Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, were "on track to seek regulatory review" for its vaccine candidate. Daniel Taylor, an expert in insider trading ... told NPR that the close timing between the adoption of Bourla's stock plan and the press release looked "very suspicious." "It's wholly inappropriate for executives at pharmaceutical companies to be implementing or modifying 10b5-1 plans the business day before they announce data or results from drug trials," Taylor said. The stock sales by Pfizer's CEO brought to mind similar concerns with another coronavirus vaccine-maker, Moderna. Multiple executives at Moderna adopted or modified their stock-trading plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. Those executives have sold tens of millions of dollars in Moderna stock.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Moderna executives hiked their stock sales after announcing positive vaccine trial
2020-07-21, CBS News
Posted: 2020-11-22 23:43:33
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/moderna-executives-increased-stock-sales-after-c...

Moderna CEO StÄ‚©phane Bancel more than tripled the number of his company shares to be sold through an executive stock plan that was changed just days after the biotech in May announced positive early results for its coronavirus vaccine. Moderna's shares spiked on the May news, rising 30% in just one day. After seeking the executive stock plan change in May, Bancel sold more than 72,000 Moderna shares in the first 16 days of July, generating nearly $4.8 million for the executive. That was more than triple the 22,000 shares he had previously scheduled to sell during the same period through the company's executive trading plan. Another top Moderna executive, President Stephen Hoge, also had his pre-programmed executive trading plan reset around the same time. The change allowed him to sell $1.9 million worth of Moderna stock in the first two weeks of July. The executives' ... sales were made through what are known as 10b5-1 stock plans. These arrangements must be set up or amended at least 30 days before any transactions are executed; they are commonly used at publicly traded companies to help shield executives from potential claims of insider trading. The fact that the plans were changed during the pandemic as news was emerging about the company's closely watched coronavirus vaccine raises new questions about how Moderna executives have pocketed millions of dollars in recent months.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Trump Sets Up Pharma Billionaires for Coronavirus Payday
2020-10-23, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-11-01 23:11:25
https://theintercept.com/2020/10/23/trump-covid-19-pharma-regeneron-coronavir...

The development of the antibody cocktail used to treat President Donald Trump for Covid-19 – which he heralded as a cure for the disease – was funded largely by the U.S. government, yet the Trump administration has apparently failed to set any guarantees that the treatment would be affordable. The biopharmaceutical company Regeneron, led by the two highest paid executives in the industry, received hundreds of millions in public funds during the research and development of the antibody therapy, and now stands to make a killing from its potentially lifesaving treatment. In January ... Regeneron struck an agreement with a division of Department of Health and Human Services known as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, to receive up to $81 million for work on antibodies that would prevent Covid-19 from infecting cells by attaching to the spikes on its surface. The two antibodies Regeneron chose were developed using cell lines that were derived from the kidney tissue of an aborted fetus. The January contract [lacks] a standard clause that ensures interventions developed with government funding are available to the public "on reasonable terms." While Trump promised that the government would provide the antibody cocktail to Americans for free, drug pricing efforts say that many people probably won't have access to the treatment at all, let alone at an affordable price. "You have massive public investment, but ... it doesn't benefit public health," [said drug pricing expert Zain Rizvi].

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


OxyContin Maker Purdue to Plead Guilty Over Opioid Practices, Deal Sparks Opposition
2020-10-21, US News & World Report/Reuters
Posted: 2020-10-27 19:37:30
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-10-21/oxycontin-maker-purd...

Purdue Pharma LP agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin, in a deal with U.S. prosecutors that effectively sidestepped paying billions of dollars in penalties and stopped short of criminally charging its executives or wealthy Sackler family owners. Prosecutors imposed significant penalties exceeding $8 billion against Purdue, though the lion's share will go largely unpaid. Purdue agreed to pay $225 million toward a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, with the Justice Department foregoing the rest if the company completes a bankruptcy reorganization dissolving itself and shifting assets to a "public benefit company," or similar entity, that steers the $1.775 billion unpaid portion to thousands of U.S. communities suing it over the opioid crisis. A $3.54 billion criminal fine and $2.8 billion civil penalty are likely to receive cents on the dollar as they compete with trillions of dollars of other claims from those communities and other creditors in Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings. Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue agreed to pay a separate $225 million civil penalty for allegedly causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare, according to court records. Neither the Sacklers nor any Purdue executives were criminally charged. Purdue reaped more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching Sackler family members while funneling illegal kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


‘Mighty whiteboard of truth’: The weapon Rep. Katie Porter used to school a pharma exec — and plenty others
2020-10-01, Washington Post
Posted: 2020-10-12 00:22:33
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/01/katie-porter-whiteboard-math...

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) got out her marker and scrawled a figure on the whiteboard beside her: $13 million. “Do you know what this number is?” she asked Mark Alles, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Celgene, as he testified remotely before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. “Does it ring any bells?” Alles could hardly get his answer out before Porter scribbled more math on the board. That multimillion figure — his total compensation in 2017 — was already 200 times the average income in the United States, the congresswoman pointed out. It got even larger, she said, after Celgene needlessly tripled the cost of a cancer medication, thus securing himself hefty bonuses in return. As of early Thursday, the rapid-fire interrogation had been viewed more than 15 million times on Twitter — the latest in a long list of her viral cross-examinations. These stunning exchanges at congressional hearings have themselves gained plenty of attention beyond Capitol Hill — especially when Porter pulls out what one person on Twitter dubbed “her mighty whiteboard of truth.” It is this kind of clear, insistent inquiry that has made Porter — a consumer protection lawyer ... who studied bankruptcy law under Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — so effective at grilling everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to little-known Trump appointees, all with a dry-erase marker and some simple math. “No one has ever wielded a weapon as terrifying as Katie Porter’s whiteboard,” wrote Molly Wood, a public radio journalist.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Moderna Executives' Stock Sales Raise Concerns
2020-09-04, NPR
Posted: 2020-09-28 03:24:21
https://www.npr.org/2020/09/04/908305074/bad-optics-or-something-more-moderna...

Whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna succeeds or not, executives at the small biotech company have already made tens of millions of dollars by cashing in their stock. An NPR examination of official company disclosures has revealed additional irregularities and potential warning signs. Since January, CEO Stéphane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million. The stock sales first came to widespread notice after Moderna announced positive early data from a vaccine trial in May. At that point, the company's share price jumped and official disclosures showed executives cashing in their shares for millions of dollars. Advocates have questioned whether it's appropriate for executives to privately profit before bringing the vaccine to market, especially when American taxpayers have committed roughly $2.5 billion to the company's vaccine development. Moderna says its executives pre-scheduled their stock sales long in advance. Those schedules - known as 10b5-1 plans - can act as a defense to charges of insider trading. But the plans have to be put in place when executives do not have confidential inside information. NPR has found multiple executives adopted or modified their plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. That has raised questions about whether they were aware of nonpublic information when they planned their stock trades.

Note: Explore a revealing NBC article titled "Secret, powerful panels will pick Covid-19 vaccine winners." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


AstraZeneca, Under Fire for Vaccine Safety, Releases Trial Blueprints
2020-09-19, New York Times
Posted: 2020-09-28 03:22:23
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/19/health/astrazeneca-vaccine-safety-blueprin...

AstraZeneca revealed details of its large coronavirus vaccine trials on Saturday, the third in a wave of rare disclosures by drug companies under pressure to be more transparent about how they are testing products that are the world's best hope for ending the pandemic. Polls are finding Americans increasingly wary of accepting a coronavirus vaccine. Experts have been particularly concerned about AstraZeneca's vaccine trials, which began in April in Britain, because of the company's refusal to provide details about serious neurological illnesses in two participants, both women, who received its experimental vaccine in Britain. Those cases spurred the company to halt its trials twice, the second time earlier this month. The studies have resumed in Britain, Brazil, India and South Africa, but are still on pause in the U.S. About 18,000 people worldwide have received AstraZeneca's vaccine so far. The company has released few details about the two cases of serious illness in its trial. The first participant received one dose of the vaccine before developing inflammation of the spinal cord, known as transverse myelitis. The condition can cause weakness in the arms and legs, paralysis, pain and bowel and bladder problems. The company said it had not confirmed a diagnosis in the second case, a participant who got sick after the second dose of the vaccine. A person familiar with the situation who spoke with The Times on the condition of anonymity said the participant's illness had been pinpointed as transverse myelitis.

Note: Why won't the company let the two who became seriously ill speak to the media? And why initially did they hide the fact that the illnesses were serious? And why are top vaccine executives now dumping their shares of stocks? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma's Covid-19 Profiteers
2020-08-13, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2020-08-24 16:20:39
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/big-pharma-covid-19-p...

What Americans need to understand about the race to find vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 is that in the U.S., even when companies appear to downshift from maximum greed levels – and it's not at all clear they've done this with coronavirus treatments – the production of pharmaceutical drugs is still a nearly riskless, subsidy-laden scam. Americans reacted in horror five years ago when a self-satisfied shark of an executive named Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. the "Pharma Bro," helped his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raise the price of lifesaving toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shkreli, who smirked throughout congressional testimony ... was held up as a uniquely smug exemplar of corporate evil. Really, the whole industry is one big Shkreli, and Covid-19 – a highly contagious virus with unique properties that may require generations of vaccinations and booster shots – looms now as the ultimate cash cow for lesser-known Pharma Bros. "The power of the industry combined with fear is driving extraordinary spending," says U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who has been ... warning about pandemic profiteering. "It all suggests rosy times ahead for the pharmaceutical industry." Recent House and Senate emergency-spending bills allocate as much as $20 billion or more for vaccine development, and another $6 billion for manufacturing and distribution. "The public will pay for much research and manufacturing," says Doggett. "Only the profits will be privatized."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources


Lawyers seek to halt Purdue Pharma political contributions
2020-07-11, Associated Press
Posted: 2020-08-24 16:08:33
https://apnews.com/0f5546a3fb25e50f029bdd1ec8a4424a

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma should not be able to make any more political contributions without a judge’s permission, lawyers for its creditors said in a court filing. The issue came up this week after it was reported that the company, which has a long history of influencing policymakers, made contributions to national associations representing state attorneys general and governors. The money was sent after Purdue entered bankruptcy protection last year in an effort to settle thousands of lawsuits accusing it of helping spark an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has contributed to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S.. State attorneys general are among those trying to negotiate a nationwide settlement. The committee of creditors that asked for recipients to return the money to Purdue said the contributions represent a conflict. “The Political Contributions — $185,000 in donations to associations whose members include the very public servants with whom the Debtors are attempting to negotiate a consensual resolution of these cases — are precisely the sort of transaction that demand close scrutiny,” they said in a filing. In 2016, an investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that Purdue and other companies in the opioid industry, along with the advocacy groups largely funded by the industry, spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 to influence state and local governments. Those efforts helped fight off restrictions on drug prescriptions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Inside the secret U.S. stockpile meant to save us all in a bioterror attack
2018-04-24, Washington Post
Posted: 2020-08-16 20:45:59
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/04/24/inside-the-s...

It looks like an ordinary commercial warehouse, only much bigger. When the lights come on, hundreds of thousands of shrink-wrapped boxes of medicines emerge from the gloom, stacked on shelves nearly five stories high. This [warehouse] and several others across the country are part of the $7 billion Strategic National Stockpile, a government repository of drugs and supplies ready for deployment in a bioterrorism or nuclear attack, or ... other major public health emergency. For nearly two decades, the repository has been almost exclusively managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That will change under a Trump administration plan to shift oversight of the $575 million program. Public health officials and members of Congress ... worry the move will disrupt a complex process that relies on long-standing relationships. Experts also question whether the administration’s plan will politicize decision-making about products bought for the stockpile. The office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR) oversees the process by which the government awards contracts to private biotechnology companies that develop and manufacture medicines. The CDC then is responsible for buying and replenishing the materials. Come October, however, the ASPR will be in charge of choosing the products and then purchasing them for the stockpile. Critics say it will allow biotech companies to lobby for more of their specialized, and often more expensive, drugs to be included.

Note: With a $7 billion price tag, big Pharma is making money hands over fist on this repository which is almost never used. Most of these drugs have a shelf life of well under 10 years, so major parts of this huge inventory go to waste every year and have to be disposed of. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


A plasma shot could prevent coronavirus. But feds and makers won't act, scientists say
2020-07-10, MSN News
Posted: 2020-08-10 18:21:06
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/a-plasma-shot-could-prevent-coronavi...

Scientists have devised a way to use the antibody-rich blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors for an upper-arm injection that they say could inoculate people against the virus for months. Using technology that's been proven effective in preventing other diseases such as hepatitis A, the injections would be administered to high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home patients, or even at public drive-through sites. But the idea exists only on paper. Federal officials have twice rejected requests to discuss the proposal, and pharmaceutical companies — even acknowledging the likely efficacy of the plan — have declined to design or manufacture the shots. The antibodies in plasma can be concentrated and delivered to patients through a type of drug called immune globulin, or Ig, which can be given through either an IV drip or a shot. Yet for the coronavirus, manufacturers are only developing an intravenous solution of Ig. Intravenous plasma products are traditionally the main economic driver for the industry. The money-making antibodies are also far more diluted in intravenous drugs than in injectable ones, which boosts profit margins. “They charge a fortune off of intravenous drugs in the hospital. They don't want to devote the manufacturing plant to something that won't make oodles of money,” said one infectious disease expert. Researchers also said industry executives have little incentive to produce the immunity shots for the coronavirus, given the possibility that a longer-lasting vaccine could replace it within a year.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


The race for a coronavirus vaccine is making some corporate insiders very rich.
2020-07-27, New York Times
Posted: 2020-08-10 18:19:18
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/business/the-race-for-a-coronavirus-vaccin...

Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies – most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug – have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March, according to figures compiled for The New York Times. The sudden windfalls highlight the powerful financial incentives for company officials to generate positive headlines in the race for coronavirus vaccines and treatments, even if the drugs might never pan out. Some officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have grown concerned about whether companies are trying to inflate their stock prices by exaggerating their roles in Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. In some cases, company insiders ... appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. "It is inappropriate for drug company executives to cash in on a crisis," said Ben Wakana, executive director of Patients for Affordable Drugs. "Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic. Drug companies see this as a payday."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine
2020-07-25, MSN News
Posted: 2020-08-02 16:56:19
https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/corporate-insiders-pocket-dollar1-b...

On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and some companies and investors are betting that the winners stand to earn vast profits from selling hundreds of millions – or even billions – of doses to a desperate public. Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members ... are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies – most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug – have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March. Senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. Some companies are attracting government scrutiny for ... using their associations with Operation Warp Speed as marketing ploys. Vaxart's news release declared: "Vaxart's Covid-19 Vaccine Selected for the U.S. Government's Operation Warp Speed." But Vaxart is not among the companies selected to receive significant financial support from Warp Speed.

Note: MSN strangely removed this article a few days after posting it. A similar article by the New York Times titled "The race for a coronavirus vaccine is making some corporate insiders very rich" is available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Taxpayers paid to develop remdesivir but will have no say when Gilead sets the price
2020-05-26, MSN News
Posted: 2020-07-26 22:03:18
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/taxpayers-paid-to-develop-remdesivir-but-wi...

The drug that buoyed expectations for a coronavirus treatment and drew international attention for Gilead Sciences, remdesivir, started as a reject. To make progress, Gilead needed help from U.S. taxpayers. Lots of help. Three federal health agencies were deeply involved in remdesivir’s development every step of the way, providing tens of millions of dollars of government research support. Federal agencies have not asserted patent rights to Gilead’s drug. That means Gilead will have few constraints other than political pressure when it sets a price. “Without direct public investment and tax subsidies, this drug would apparently have remained in the scrapheap of unsuccessful drugs,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) ... said earlier this month. Doggett and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) have asked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for a detailed financial accounting of federal support for remdesivir’s discovery and development. Watchdog groups ... have documented the large taxpayer-funded contributions toward the drug. Public Citizen estimates public investment at a minimum of $70 million. An independent organization that measures the cost-effectiveness of drugs said Gilead could be justified in charging up to $4,500 for a 10-day course of treatment for a single coronavirus patient. But advocates, citing a study by academic researchers on what it costs to make the drug, have said Gilead could break even by charging $1 per dose.

Note: According to this CNBC article Gilead is charging from $2,000 to $3,120 per patient despite huge subsidies. Gilead is the same company which developed Tamiflu and licensed it to Roche. Aggressive sales of Tamiflu to governments around the world brought profits of over $1 billion yet almost none of the doses sold were ever used, as described in this Reuters article. The study that is being used to tout Remdesivir was conducted by none other than Gilead. Could there be conflict of interest here? For more, see summaries of revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption.


It was his dream job. He never thought he'd be bribing doctors and wearing a wire for the feds.
2020-07-07, NBC News
Posted: 2020-07-20 01:37:20
https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/it-was-his-dream-job-he-never-though...

When Oswald Bilotta landed his dream job as a sales representative for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in 1999, he thought he'd be doing good. He had no idea that just over a decade later, he'd be part of a vast federal investigation into kickbacks at Novartis and that he'd be paying cash bribes to doctors while wearing a wire for prosecutors. On July 1, Ozzie Bilotta's years long effort to blow the whistle at Novartis paid off. The Justice Department announced a $678 million settlement with the company over improper inducements it made to doctors to prescribe 10 of the company's drugs, including the anti-hypertension drug Lotrel. The deal represents the biggest whistleblower settlement under the federal anti-kickback law, Bilotta's lawyer said. Bilotta ... could receive a pretax sum of $75 million through the settlement. In the settlement, Novartis admitted to "certain conduct" alleged by the government and will sharply curtail practices exposed by Bilotta that gave doctors incentives to prescribe its drugs. Novartis derived at least $40 million as a result of the conduct, money that was paid by federal health care programs, the government said. "For more than a decade, Novartis spent hundreds of millions of dollars on so-called speaker programs, including speaking fees, exorbitant meals, and top-shelf alcohol that were nothing more than bribes to get doctors across the country to prescribe Novartis's drugs," said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney for southern New York, whose office prosecuted the case.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Gilead's $2,340 price for coronavirus drug draws criticism
2020-06-29, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Posted: 2020-07-05 19:40:09
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Gilead-prices-coronavirus-drug-at-2-340-f...

The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries. Gilead Sciences announced the price Monday for remdesivir, and said the price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors. The price was swiftly criticized; a consumer group called it “an outrage” because of the amount taxpayers invested toward the drug's development. In 127 poor or middle-income countries, Gilead is allowing generic makers to supply the drug; two countries are doing that for around $600 per treatment course. The drug, given through an IV, interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to copy its genetic material. In a U.S. government-led study, remdesivir shortened recovery time by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those given just usual care. Peter Maybarduk, a lawyer at the consumer group Public Citizen, called the price “an outrage.” “Remdesivir should be in the public domain” because the drug received at least $70 million in public funding toward its development, he said. “The price puts to rest any notion that drug companies will ‘do the right thing’ because it is a pandemic,” Dr. Peter Bach, a health policy expert ... said. “The price might have been fine if the company had demonstrated that the treatment saved lives. It didn’t.”

Note: The March coronavirus package passed in the U.S. "not only omitted language that would have limited drug makers’ intellectual property rights, it specifically prohibited the federal government from taking any action if it has concerns that the treatments or vaccines developed with public funds are priced too high." While many suffer economically from the virus, big Pharma is raking in big bucks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.


Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals
2003-12-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2020-07-05 19:32:38
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/dec/07/health.businessofresearch

Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies, an Observer inquiry reveals. The journals, bibles of the profession, have huge influence on which drugs doctors prescribe and the treatment hospitals provide. But The Observer has uncovered evidence that many articles written by so-called independent academics may have been penned by writers working for agencies which receive huge sums from drug companies to plug their products. Estimates suggest that almost half of all articles published in journals are by ghostwriters. While doctors who have put their names to the papers can be paid handsomely for 'lending' their reputations, the ghostwriters remain hidden. In the United States a legal case brought against drug firm Pfizer turned up internal company documents showing that it employed a New York medical writing agency. One document analyses articles about the anti-depressant Zoloft. Some of the articles lacked only one thing: a doctor's name. In the margin the agency had put the initials TBD, which Healy assumes means 'to be determined'. Dr Richard Smith, editor of the British Journal of Medicine, admitted ghostwriting was a 'very big problem'. 'We are being hoodwinked by the drug companies. The articles come in with doctors' names on them and we often find some of them have little or no idea about what they have written,' he said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.


Court strikes down Trump rule that drugmakers disclose price
2020-06-17, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2020-06-29 19:06:10
https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/court-strikes-trump-rule-drugmakers...

In a major legal setback for President Donald Trump on a high-profile consumer issue, a federal appeals court has ruled that his administration lacks the legal authority to force drug companies to disclose prices in their TV ads. Where most plans to overhaul the cost of drugs are complex, mandating that companies disclose prices is something any consumer can relate to. Separate from the court case, legislation that would lower drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries with high bills is stuck in Congress. There's also a separate bill that would mandate drug companies to disclose their prices in consumer advertising. On TV ads, the unanimous decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not address a core argument of the pharmaceutical industry, that forcing companies to disclose their prices in advertising violates their free speech rights. Instead the three-judge panel ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services overstepped its legal authority by requiring disclosure under the umbrella of its stewardship of Medicare and Medicaid. When the disclosure rule was announced last year, administration officials were confident that it would be in effect by now. Drug pricing details were expected to appear in text toward the end of commercials.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Moderna's coronavirus vaccine announcement set off a frenzy on Wall Street. Now some are calling for an investigation
2020-06-01, CNN News
Posted: 2020-06-22 21:06:01
https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/01/business/moderna-vaccine-stock-sales-invs/inde...

Moderna set off a frenzy on Wall Street earlier this month when it announced positive, preliminary results from its coronavirus vaccine trial. As the hype grew, the young biotech company and its leading investor wasted no time capitalizing on the briefly surging stock price. Even as critics accused Moderna of overhyping the results released on May 18, a series of transactions were executed before its share price fizzled over the next week. The timing of those deals, former SEC officials said, appear to be "highly problematic" and should be investigated for potential illegal market manipulation. Just hours after revealing the promising vaccine results, Moderna (MRNA) sold 17.6 million shares to the public. That share sale, unveiled after the closing bell on May 18, was priced at $76; Moderna traded at just $48 as recently as May 6. The deal instantly raised $1.3 billion. Two of Moderna's top executives also cashed in on the boom at their company, which had suddenly amassed a $29 billion market value despite the fact it has no marketed products. By the time the selling was disclosed to the public via securities filings, Moderna's stock price had crashed back to Earth. The timing of the transactions - coupled with concerns from some medical experts that Moderna overstated the significance of its Phase 1 vaccine trial - should be investigated by authorities. Thomas Gorman, [a] former SEC official, said the agency should "absolutely" be investigating the situation at Moderna.

Note: Why didn't the media report that the Moderna vaccine trial had a 20% serious injury rate in the high dose group? Learn about this and much more in this revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Trump's Vaccine Chief Has Vast Ties to Drug Industry, Posing Possible Conflicts
2020-05-21, MSN News
Posted: 2020-05-31 18:31:21
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-s-vaccine-chief-has-vast-ties-t...

The chief scientist brought on to lead the Trump administration's vaccine efforts has spent the last several days trying to disentangle pieces of his stock portfolio and his intricate ties to big pharmaceutical interests. The scientist, Moncef Slaoui, is a venture capitalist and a former longtime executive at GlaxoSmithKline. Most recently, he sat on the board of Moderna, a Cambridge, Mass., biotechnology firm with a $30 billion valuation that is pursuing a coronavirus vaccine. He resigned when President Trump named him last Thursday to the new post as chief adviser for Operation Warp Speed, the federal drive for coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Just days into his job, the extent of Dr. Slaoui's financial interests in drug companies has begun to emerge: The value of his stock holdings in Moderna jumped nearly $2.4 million, to $12.4 million when the company released preliminary, partial data from an early phase of its candidate vaccine trial. Dr. Slaoui did not come on board as a government employee. Instead, he is on a contract ... that leaves him exempt from federal disclosure rules that would require him to list his outside positions, stock holdings and other potential conflicts. And the contract position is not subject to the same conflict-of-interest laws and regulations that executive branch employees must follow. Dr. Slaoui ... is not the first Trump administration official with close relationships to drug and health care companies. Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, is a former Eli Lilly executive.

Note: If the above link fails, this article is also available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


Banks Pressure Health Care Firms to Raise Prices on Critical Drugs, Medical Supplies for Coronavirus
2020-03-19, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-03-30 02:11:47
https://theintercept.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-vaccine-medical-supplies-pric...

Investment bankers have pressed health care companies on the front lines of fighting the novel coronavirus, including drug firms developing experimental treatments and medical supply firms, to consider ways that they can profit from the crisis. The largest voices in the health care industry stand to gain from billions of dollars in emergency spending on the pandemic, as do the bankers and investors who invest in health care companies. Over the past few weeks, investment bankers have been candid on investor calls and during health care conferences about the opportunity to raise drug prices. Executives joked about using the attention on Covid-19 to dodge public pressure on the opioid crisis. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar previously served as president of the U.S. division of drug giant Eli Lilly and on the board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug lobby group. During a congressional hearing ... Azar rejected the notion that any vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 should be set at an affordable price. "We can't control that price because we need the private sector to invest," said Azar. "The priority is to get vaccines and therapeutics. Price controls won't get us there." The initial $8.3 billion coronavirus spending bill passed in early March ... contained a provision that prevents the government from delaying the introduction of any new pharmaceutical to address the crisis over affordability concerns. The legislative text was shaped, according to reports, by industry lobbyists.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


FDA medical adviser: 'Congress is owned by pharma'
2019-03-13, Yahoo! News
Posted: 2020-03-23 19:23:36
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/congress-big-pharma-money-123757664.html

Pharmaceutical companies are under the spotlight with congressional hearings on the cost of drug prices and allegations of the industry’s role in the opioid crisis. Dr. Raeford Brown, a pediatric anesthesia specialist ... and chair of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Committee on Analgesics and Anesthetics, has been openly critical of big pharma and the lack of proper oversight from the FDA. Despite many politicians, particularly declared presidential candidates, beginning to speak out against big pharma, Brown does not think that anything will come out of it “because Congress is owned by pharma.” “The pharmaceutical industry pours millions of dollars into the legislative branch every single year,” he [said]. “In 2016, they put $100 million into the elections. That’s a ton of money.” OpenSecrets, a website operated by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, tracks money in U.S. politics. It ranked the top 20 members of the House and the Senate that have received the most campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical and health products industry. Kevin McCarthy, now the House minority leader after midterms, received ... a total of $380,350 in campaign contributions, with a large sum coming from pharma companies. “Congress is supposed to have oversight for the FDA,” Brown said. “If the FDA isn’t going to hold pharma accountable, and Congress is getting paid to not hold pharma accountable, then it really doesn’t matter who the president is because it’s really about Congress.”

Note: Learn more on how big Pharma controls politicians in this very well researched video. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Zika Virus – Fear is the Key.
2016-02-11, BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2020-03-23 19:09:47
https://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.i841/rr

I wonder how many of the readers remember the WHO’s pandemic alert on swine ‘flu some years ago? When the WHO was proactive to announce a pandemic then without any scientific justifications I was the one who wrote that that was a business stunt! People did not believe and the British Medical Journal rejected my paper. After one long year what I had predicted came true. Council of Europe Health Committee Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg said that the declaration of a swine flu pandemic was a false alarm. “There are many signs that there is close cooperation between the WHO and pharmaceutical companies. We have to find out whether there was pressure or whether there was money given as an incentive to the WHO to have this pandemic declared,” Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg adds. To give a simple example of the swine flu drug Tamiflu when given to a million people, 45,000 will experience vomiting, 31,000 will experience headache and 11,000 will have psychiatric side-effects. These figures might be insignificant if Tamiflu cures swine flu. That is not the case. Raising the fear levels in society is the surest way of depressing their immune system! This is good for business. With people’s immune system depressed they are prone to all kinds of infections. What follows next is the usual history. Greedy drug companies will now vie with each other to produce a vaccine. Vaccination is big business. This pattern goes on and on as long as money and medicine are related.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma Prepares to Profit From the Coronavirus
2020-03-13, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-03-16 18:43:32
https://theintercept.com/2020/03/13/big-pharma-drug-pricing-coronavirus-profits/

As the new Coronavirus spreads illness, death, and catastrophe around the world, virtually no economic sector has been spared from harm. Yet amid the mayhem ... one industry is not only surviving, it is profiting handsomely. "Pharmaceutical companies view Covid-19 as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity," said Gerald Posner, author of "Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America." The world needs ... treatments and vaccines and, in the U.S., tests. Dozens of companies are now vying to make them. The ability to make money off of pharmaceuticals is already uniquely large in the U.S., which lacks the basic price controls other countries have, giving drug companies more freedom over setting prices for their products than anywhere else in the world. During the current crisis, pharmaceutical makers may have even more leeway than usual because of language industry lobbyists inserted into an $8.3 billion coronavirus spending package, passed last week, to maximize their profits from the pandemic. Initially, some lawmakers had tried to ensure that the federal government would limit how much pharmaceutical companies could reap from vaccines and treatments for the new coronavirus that they developed with the use of public funding. But many Republicans opposed adding language to the bill that would restrict the industry's ability to profit, arguing that it would stifle research and innovation. The final aid package not only omitted language that would have limited drug makers' intellectual property rights, it specifically prohibited the federal government from taking any action if it has concerns that the treatments or vaccines developed with public funds are priced too high.

Note: For glaring examples of how big Pharma and select public officials made money hand over fist during previous virus scares, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the avian and swine flu from reliable major media sources.


How the Senate Paved the Way for Coronavirus Profiteering, and How Congress Could Undo It
2020-03-02, The Intercept
Posted: 2020-03-09 16:37:30
https://theintercept.com/2020/03/02/coronavirus-vaccine-price-gouging-senate/

Before a vaccine to combat the coronavirus pandemic is within view, the Trump administration has already walked back its initial refusal to promise that any remedy would be affordable to the general public. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary and a former drug industry executive, told Congress. After extraordinary blowback, the administration insisted that in the end, any treatment would indeed be affordable. The federal government, though, under the Clinton administration, traded away one of the key tools it could use to make good on the promise of affordability. Gilead Sciences, a drugmaker known for price gouging, has been working with Chinese health authorities to see if the experimental drug remdesivir can treat coronavirus symptoms. But remdesivir, which was previously tested to treat Ebola virus, was developed through research conducted at the University of Alabama ... with funding from the federal government. That’s how much of the pharmaceutical industry’s research and development is funded. The public puts in the money, and private companies keep whatever profits they can. It wasn’t always that way. Before 1995, drug companies were required to sell drugs funded with public money at a reasonable price. Under the Clinton administration, that changed. In April 1995, the Clinton administration capitulated to pharmaceutical industry pressure and rescinded the longstanding “reasonable pricing” rule.

Note: Read an excellent post by an infectious disease doctor saying he's much more concerned about the fear and panic around the Coronavirus than about the virus itself. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


WHO’s malaria vaccine study represents a “serious breach of international ethical standards”
2020-02-26, BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2020-03-09 16:35:38
https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m734

A large scale malaria vaccine study led by the World Health Organization has been criticised by a leading bioethicist for committing a “serious breach” of international ethical standards. The cluster randomised study in Africa is already under way in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya, where 720,000 children will receive the RTS,S vaccine, known as Mosquirix, over the next two years. Mosquirix, the world’s first licensed malaria vaccine, was positively reviewed by the European Medicines Agency, but its use is being limited to pilot implementation, in part to evaluate outstanding safety concerns that emerged from previous clinical trials. [Among these concerns] were a rate of meningitis in those receiving Mosquirix 10 times that of those who did not, increased cerebral malaria cases, and a doubling in the risk of death (from any cause) in girls. Charles Weijer, a bioethicist at Western University in Canada, told The BMJ that the failure to obtain informed consent from parents whose children are taking part in the study violates the Ottawa Statement, a consensus statement on the ethics of cluster randomised trials, of which Weijer is the lead author, and the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences’ International Ethical Guidelines. “The failure to require informed consent is a serious breach of international ethical standards,” he said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


How Healthcare Costs Hurt American Workers and Benefit the Wealthy
2020-02-20, Time
Posted: 2020-03-03 02:06:24
https://time.com/5785945/health-care-problems-america/

The percentage of national income that is absorbed by health care has grown over the past half-century, from 5% in 1960 to 18% in 2017, reducing what is available for anything else from 95% in 1960 to 82% today. The costs of health care contribute to the long-term stagnation in wages; to fewer good jobs, especially for less educated workers; and to rising income inequality. American health care is the most expensive in the world, and yet American health is among the worst among rich countries. The U.S. has lower life expectancy than the other wealthy countries but vastly higher expenditures per person. In 2017, the Swiss lived 5.1 years longer than Americans but spent 30% less per person; other countries achieved a similar length of life for still fewer health dollars. How is it possible that Americans pay so much and get so little? The money is certainly going somewhere. What is waste to a patient is income to a provider. The industry is not very good at promoting health, but it excels at promoting wealth among health care providers. Employer-based coverage is a huge barrier to reform. So is the way that the health care industry is protected in Washington by its lobbyists—five for every member of Congress. Our government is complicit in an extortion that is an important contributor to income inequality. Through pharma companies that get rich by addicting people, and through excessive costs that lower wages and eliminate good jobs, the industry that is supposed to improve our health is undermining it.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Merck accused of stonewalling in mumps vaccine antitrust lawsuit
2015-06-04, Reuters
Posted: 2020-02-18 01:21:44
https://www.reuters.com/article/health-vaccine/merck-accused-of-stonewalling-...

Two former Merck & Co Inc scientists accusing the drugmaker of falsifying tests of its exclusive mumps vaccine said in a court filing on Monday that Merck is refusing to respond to questions about the efficacy of the vaccine. Attorneys at Constantine Cannon, who represent the scientists, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to compel Merck to respond to their discovery request, which asks the company to give the efficacy of the vaccine as a percentage. Instead of answering the question ... Merck has been consistently evasive, using “cut-and-paste” answers saying it cannot run a new clinical trial to determine the current efficacy, and providing only data from 50 years ago. The two scientists, Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, filed their whistleblower lawsuit in 2010 claiming Merck, the only company licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to sell a mumps vaccine in the United States, skewed tests of the vaccine by adding animal antibodies to blood samples. As a result, they said, Merck was able to produce test results showing that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, even though more accurate tests would have shown a lower success rate. The plaintiffs said these false results kept competitors from trying to produce their own mumps vaccines, since they were unable to match the effectiveness Merck claimed. The case is United States ex rel Krahling et al v. Merck & Co Inc, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 10-4374.

Note: Why didn't this get reported widely? A search reveals no major media other than Reuters and WSJ covered this. This article in a local paper states the two whistleblowers were threatened by Merck with jail if they went public with this. It also says all students in a Syracuse University mumps outbreak had been properly vaccinated. This excellent article gives a 2019 update and reveals how the vaccines caused injury in a very high percentage of cases. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Tamiflu Fraud Bilked $1.5 Billion from Government, Alleges Whistleblower
2020-01-23, Yahoo! News
Posted: 2020-02-04 02:14:44
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tamiflu-fraud-bilked-1-5-163100939.html

Drug company Hoffmann-La Roche ... bilked U.S. federal and state governments out of $1.5 billion by misrepresenting clinical studies and falsely claiming that its well-known influenza medicine Tamiflu was effective at containing potential pandemics, according to a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit. The lawsuit claims the drugmaker's scheme involved publishing misleading articles falsely stating that Tamiflu reduces complications, severity, hospitalizations, mortality and transmission of influenza. The company then used those articles to aggressively market the drug to the government for pandemic use. Relying on the supposed truthfulness of Roche's claims, federal and state governments spent about $1.5 billion to stockpile Tamiflu to combat influenza pandemics, according to the complaint. The lawsuit brings claims under the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to bring claims on behalf of the government. Whistleblower Dr. Thomas Jefferson, a physician and public health researcher affiliated with the respected global Cochrane Collaboration research network, has researched neuraminidase inhibitors like Tamiflu for more than two decades. He began questioning Tamiflu's efficacy in 2009 and spearheaded efforts to have the company release the underlying clinical study data. When he finally received the data in 2013, Dr. Jefferson analyzed it and concluded that the clinical data does not support Roche's claims about Tamiflu's effectiveness for use in an influenza pandemic.

Note: Though the major media is ignoring this major allegation, it was reported on the website of the highly respected British Medical Journal. Note also that Former U.S. Sect. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made $5 million from the sales of Tamiflu. More details are available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


In the U.S., an Angioplasty Costs $32,000. Elsewhere? Maybe $6,400.
2019-12-27, New York Times
Posted: 2020-01-13 16:52:12
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/27/upshot/expensive-health-care-world-compari...

The International Federation of Health Plans, a group representing the C.E.O.s of health insurers worldwide, publishes a guide every few years on the international cost for common medical services. Its newest report, on 2017 prices, came out this month. Every time, the upshot is vivid and similar: For almost everything on the list, there is a large divergence between the United States and everyone else. Patients and insurance companies in the United States pay higher prices for medications, imaging tests, basic health visits and common operations. Those high prices make health care in the U.S. extremely expensive, and they also finance a robust and politically powerful health care industry, which means lowering prices will always be hard. For a typical angioplasty, a procedure that opens a blocked blood vessel to the heart, the average U.S. price is $32,200, compared with $6,400 in the Netherlands, or $7,400 in Switzerland, the survey finds. A typical M.R.I. scan costs $1,420 in the United States, but around $450 in Britain. An injection of Herceptin, an important breast cancer treatment, costs $211 in the United States, compared with $44 in South Africa. These examples aren't outliers. Researchers at Harvard conducted an exhaustive study last year of things that make health systems in developed countries different from one another. The clear finding of those researchers was that it's this huge gap in prices ... that helps explain why the United States is such an expensive place to be sick.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


More Drugmakers Hike U.S. Prices as New Year Begins
2020-01-01, US News & World Report/Reuters
Posted: 2020-01-13 16:50:21
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-01-01/more-drugmakers-hike...

Drugmakers including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Gilead Sciences Inc, and Biogen Inc hiked U.S. list prices on more than 50 drugs on Wednesday, bringing total New Year's Day drug price increases to more than 250, according to data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors. Reuters reported on Tuesday that drugmakers including Pfizer Inc, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Sanofi SA were planning to increase prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States on Jan. 1. More early year price increases could still be announced. Many branded drugmakers have pledged to keep their U.S. list price increases below 10% a year, under pressure from politicians and patients. The United States, which leaves drug pricing to market competition, has higher prices than in other countries where governments directly or indirectly control the costs, making it the world's most lucrative market for manufacturers. Soaring U.S. prescription drug prices are expected to again be a central issue in the presidential election.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.


Drug-Company Payments Mirror Doctors' Brand-Name Prescribing
2016-03-17, NPR
Posted: 2019-12-31 02:34:03
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/17/470679452/drug-company-p...

A ProPublica analysis has found that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed prescribe drugs differently on average than their colleagues who don't. And the more money they receive, the more brand-name medications they tend to prescribe. [They] matched records on payments from pharmaceutical and medical device makers in 2014 with corresponding data on doctors' medication choices in Medicare's prescription drug program. Doctors who got money from drug and device makers prescribed a higher percentage of brand-name drugs overall than doctors who didn't. Even those who simply got meals from companies prescribed more brand-name drugs, on average. Doctors who received more than $5,000 from companies in 2014 typically had the highest brand-name prescribing percentages. Among internists who received no payments, for example, the average brand-name prescribing rate was about 20 percent, compared to about 30 percent for those who received more than $5,000. ProPublica has been tracking drug company payments to doctors since 2010 through a project known as Dollars for Docs. The tool now covers every drug and device company, thanks to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Separately, ProPublica has tracked patterns in Medicare's prescription drug program ... which covers more than 39 million people. This new analysis ... looked at doctors who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Our dangerous fear of pain
2019-11-27, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-12-23 03:14:31
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/11/27/our-dangerous-fear-pain/?ar...

One of the first things I learned about pain was its value. I was a third-year medical student in 1976. We were ... encouraged to listen carefully to the patient’s experience of pain, the timing, the duration and any factors that made it better or worse. Forty years later, our concept of pain couldn’t be more different. Instead of learning from pain, we now regard it as an illness in and of itself. Insurance companies, health-care providers and drugmakers have all worked to increase the public’s fear of pain, leading us to see it as something to be treated, eliminated, banished — never lived with or accommodated or managed — lest it destroy us. They turned our natural fear into big business; our fee-for-service system has multiplied treatments based primarily on the financial rewards for pharmaceutical companies, doctors and hospitals. That attitude shift is perhaps the most overlooked explanation for an opioid crisis that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. A healthy fear of pain ... protects us from injury and reminds us to allow time for healing. But otherwise, the fear of pain, and the belief that a pain-free existence is optimal or even possible, has been a catastrophe for patients. Before the opioid revolution, doctors understood that pain was important to keeping us safe, to be lived with and managed. Even if this meant we bore frequent episodes of discomfort, that was better than the nationwide crisis America faces today. Life isn’t “pain free.” If we want to end the epidemic of addiction, we need to relearn that lesson.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


'Cannot be trusted ... causing harm': Top medical journal takes on big pharma
2019-12-04, Sydney Morning Herald
Posted: 2019-12-16 03:07:30
https://www.smh.com.au/national/cannot-be-trusted-causing-harm-top-medical-jo...

A leading medical journal is launching a global campaign to separate medicine from big pharma. The BMJ [British Medical Journal] says doctors are being unduly influenced by industry-sponsored education events and industry-funded trials for major drugs. Those trials cannot be trusted, the journal's editor and a team of global healthcare leaders write in a scathing editorial. The "endemic financial entanglement with industry is distorting the production and use of healthcare evidence, causing harm to individuals and waste for health systems", they write. They are calling for governments to start funding independent trials of new drugs and medical devices, rather than relying on industry-funded studies. Sponsored research is more likely to find a favourable result compared to independent research. And they want medical associations to discourage doctors from going to industry-funded education events. Assistant Professor Ray Moynihan [is a] researcher studying the link between money and medicine and is one of the leaders of The BMJ's campaign. “When we want to decide on a medicine or a surgery, a lot of the evidence we used to inform that decision is biased," he says. "It cannot be trusted. Because so much of that has been produced and funded by the manufacturers of those healthcare products." Dr Moynihan points to ... Johnson & Johnson, which sold pelvic mesh to thousands of Australian women. It knew the mesh could cause serious harm, but never properly warned women of the risks.

Note: Read the highly revealing comments of Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, on the massive corruption she found in the medical industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Reassessing Flu Shots as the Season Draws Near
2012-11-05, New York Times
Posted: 2019-12-16 02:57:16
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/reassessing-flu-shots-as-the-season...

It's flu-shot season, and public health officials are urging everyone over 6 months of age to get one. For vaccine manufacturers, it's a bonanza: Influenza shots ... are a multibillion-dollar global business. But how good are they? Last month, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public health world, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those 65 and older. Moreover, the report's authors concluded, federal vaccination recommendations ... are based on inadequate evidence and poorly executed studies. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy [stated,] "It does not protect as promoted. It's all a sales job: it's all public relations." While researching the report ... the authors discovered a recurring error in influenza vaccine studies that led to an exaggeration of the vaccine's effectiveness. They also discovered 30 inaccuracies in the statement on influenza vaccines put forth by the expert panel that develops vaccine recommendations, all of which favor the vaccine. The new report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is not the first to point out the shortcomings of influenza vaccines, however. The Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of experts that evaluates medical research, concluded in a 2010 review that the vaccines ... have minimal impact in seasons when vaccines and viruses are mismatched.

Note: A 2020 study on the annual flu vaccine in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that "no evidence indicated that vaccination reduced hospitalizations or mortality among elderly persons." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Global antibiotic overuse is like a ‘slow motion train wreck’
2018-03-28, PBS
Posted: 2019-10-28 22:33:00
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/global-antibiotic-overuse-is-like-a-slow-mo...

Antibiotic resistance contributes to the death of 700,000 people around the world each year. Experts have predicted it will eclipse the number of people affected by cancer by 2050. One of the biggest causes is the overuse of antibiotics. On Monday, a group led by researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policies released a new study looking at the global consumption of antibiotics. They found the use of antibiotics worldwide has increased 65 percent from 2000 to 2015. What happens is, antibiotics kill bacteria that make us sick. But the bacteria over time evolve and develop an ability to survive the onslaught of the antibiotics. They, in essence, get smart. So, over time, bacteria survive that have resistance built in. The biggest contributor to this problem is in low- to mid-income countries. Back in 2000, the usage of antibiotics in the lower- to mid-income countries vs. high-income countries was about equal. In 2015, the usage in those low- to mid-income countries doubled. The projections are, by 2030, our use of antibiotics, if nothing changes, will be triple what it is today. And what that means is, there are going to be many more antibiotics which become really just basically useless, more so-called superbugs out there. And we are facing the prospect of a post-antibiotic world. We could get back to a world ... where something as simple as a cut or a blister could kill you, which is what the world was like before we had antibiotics.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


'Medication or housing': why soaring insulin prices are killing Americans
2019-09-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-09-29 16:24:16
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/23/diabetes-americans-soaring-in...

Jada Renee Louis of Newport News, Virginia, died on 22 June 2019 about a week after requiring emergency hospital care for diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious complication caused by a lack of insulin, and a foot ulcer. She was 24. A type 1 diabetic, Louis, who did not have health insurance coverage, couldn’t afford the cost of her insulin doses and pay her rent. She chose to skip doses in order to pay her rent. Today a vial of insulin – which will last 28 days once opened – costs about $300 in the US. “People are literally dying over $300 like my sister did. People shouldn’t have to choose between medications or shelter. That’s the most outrageous decision for somebody to have to make, yet people are doing it daily,” Jazmine Baldwin, Louis’s sister, [said]. Price gouging of insulin and other barriers to accessing it are symptomatic of America’s broken healthcare system, diabetes advocates argue, and the resulting deaths and struggles of those with diabetes demonstrate the need for systemic reforms. Between 2012 to 2016, the average cost of insulin in the United States nearly doubled to $5,705 per year for individuals with type 1 diabetes. Production costs for a vial of insulin are estimated to cost around $5 while pharmaceutical companies charge as high as $540 per vial and Americans are dying as a result of being unable to afford it in addition to the expensive costs of medical care, and supplies such as syringes and glucose monitors. Some 1.25 million Americans are currently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


The New Cholesterol Guidelines And Conflicts Of Interest
2013-11-20, Forbes
Posted: 2019-09-29 16:14:08
https://www.forbes.com/sites/edsilverman/2013/11/20/the-new-cholesterol-guide...

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for prescribing cholesterol-lowering medicines. The big winners are expected to be the drug makers that sell statins, since other types of pills were not recommended. Of the 15 panelists that authored these new guidelines, six reported having recent or current ties to drugmakers that already sell or are developing cholesterol medications. And among the half dozen who disclosed these relationships was one of the two panel co-chairs, which contradicts an Institute of Medicine suggestion about managing conflicts and leadership roles on such panels. To be specific, the Institute of Medicine wrote that, “whenever possible, guideline development group members should not have conflicts of interest ... and the chair or co-chairs should not be a person(s) with conflicts of interest.” The Institute of Medicine also wrote that members with conflicts should not represent a majority (here is the IOM report). “One of the reasons the IOM recently recommended eliminating rather than ‘managing’ financial conflicts of interest in guideline development groups is because of concerns about implicit bias,” says Lisa Cosgrove ... at the University of Massachusetts. “When individuals have commercial ties they are vulnerable to developing subtle, but sometimes powerful, pro-industry ways of thinking. Transparency ... can actually worsen the problem, because some people think simply disclosing a tie relieves any moral concern.”

Note: For lots more on this, see an informative article titled "The Statin Mafia Censors Pharmaceutical Harm." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


Life, Death and Insulin
2019-01-07, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-09-23 15:53:05
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/magazine/wp/2019/01/07/feature/insulin-is...

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.


Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $572 million for its role in Oklahoma’s opioid crisis
2019-08-26, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-09-02 18:12:48
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/johnson-and-johnson-is-responsible-for-...

A judge Monday found Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling Oklahoma’s opioid crisis, ordering the health-care company to pay $572 million to remedy the devastation wrought by the epidemic on the state and its residents. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman’s landmark decision is the first to hold a drugmaker culpable for the fallout of years of liberal opioid dispensing that began in the late 1990s. More than 400,000 people have died of overdoses from painkillers, heroin and illegal fentanyl since 1999. With more than 40 states lined up to pursue similar claims against the pharmaceutical industry, the ruling ... could influence both sides’ strategies in the months and years to come. Plaintiffs’ attorneys around the country cheered the decision, saying they hoped it would be a model for an enormous federal lawsuit brought by nearly 2,000 cities, counties, Native American tribes and others scheduled to begin in Cleveland, Ohio, in October. Johnson & Johnson’s products ... were a small part of the painkillers consumed in Oklahoma. But Hunter painted the company as an industry “kingpin” because two other companies it owned had grown, processed and supplied 60 percent of the ingredients in painkillers sold by most drug companies. “At the root of this crisis was Johnson & Johnson, a company that literally created the poppy that became the source of the opioid crisis,” the state charged. The state also said the health-care giant actively took part in ... an aggressive misinformation campaign.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


3 companies pay California $70 million for delaying drugs
2019-07-29, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Posted: 2019-08-12 22:19:26
https://www.sfgate.com/news/medical/article/4-companies-pay-California-70-mil...

Three pharmaceutical companies collectively are agreeing to pay California nearly $70 million to settle allegations that they delayed drugs to keep prices high, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. The bulk of the money will come from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and its affiliates for paying to delay a generic narcolepsy drug, Provigil, from entering the market for nearly six years. Teva is paying $69 million, which Becerra says is the largest pay-for-delay settlement received by any state. Such agreements let the developer of brand name drugs keep their monopolies over the drugs after their patents expire, thereby letting them continue to charge consumers higher prices. The drug developer pays the generic manufacturer to keep the cheaper version of the drug from entering the marketplace for an agreed period of time. Such agreements can force consumers and the health care market to pay as much as 90% more than if there were generic alternatives. More than $25 million of the settlement will go to a consumer fund for California residents who purchased Provigil, Nuvigil or Modafinil between 2006 and 2012. The second, $760,000 settlement is with Teva, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teikoku Pharma USA over keeping a genetic alternative to the pain patch Lidoderm from entering the market for nearly two years. Both settlements bar the companies from pay-for-delay agreements for several years.

Note: They are only barred from pay-for-delay agreements for several years? Shouldn't this practice be illegal? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


Commonly prescribed drugs are tied to nearly 50% higher dementia risk in older adults, study says
2019-06-25, CNN News
Posted: 2019-08-04 18:26:48
https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/24/health/dementia-risk-drug-study

Scientists have long found a possible link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia. A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday suggests that the link is strongest for certain classes of anticholinergic drugs - particularly antidepressants such as paroxetine or amitriptyline, bladder antimuscarinics such as oxybutynin or tolterodine, antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine or olanzapine and antiepileptic drugs such as oxcarbazepine or carbamazepine. Researchers wrote in the study that "there was nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia" associated with a total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years, compared with no exposure. The researchers found only an association between anticholinergic drugs and dementia risk, not a causal relationship. "However, if this association is causal, the population-attributable fractions indicate that around 10% of dementia diagnoses are attributable to anticholinergic drug exposure, which would equate, for example, to around 20,000 of the 209,600 new cases of dementia per year in the United Kingdom," the researchers wrote in the study. It has been well known that anticholinergic agents and confusion or memory issues are linked, but the new study investigated this association over a long period of time, said Dr. Douglas Scharre ... at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Internal drug company emails show indifference to opioid epidemic
2019-07-19, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-08-04 18:24:49
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/internal-drug-company-emails-sh...

In May 2008, as the opioid epidemic was raging in America, a representative of the nation’s largest manufacturer of opioid pain pills sent an email to a client at a wholesale drug distributor in Ohio. Victor Borelli, a national account manager for Mallinckrodt, told Steve Cochrane, the vice president of sales for KeySource Medical, to check his inventories and “[i]f you are low, order more. If you are okay, order a little more, Capesce?” Then Borelli joked, “destroy this email ... Is that really possible? Oh Well...” Those email excerpts are quoted in a 144-page plaintiffs’ filing along with thousands of pages of documents unsealed by a judge’s order Friday in a landmark case in Cleveland against many of the largest companies in the drug industry. A Drug Enforcement Administration database released earlier in the week revealed that the companies had inundated the nation with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills from 2006 through 2012. Nearly 2,000 cities, counties and towns are alleging that the companies knowingly flooded their communities with opioids, fueling an epidemic that has killed more than 200,000. The filing by plaintiffs depict some drug company employees as driven by profits and undeterred by the knowledge that their products were wreaking havoc across the country. Plaintiffs in the case argue that the actions of some of America’s biggest and best-known companies - including Mallinckrodt, Cardinal Health, McKesson, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Purdue Pharma - amounted to a civil racketeering enterprise.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


An onslaught of pills, hundreds of thousands of deaths: Who is accountable?
2019-07-20, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-08-04 18:22:30
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/an-onslaught-of-pills-hundreds-...

The origin, evolution and astonishing scale of America’s catastrophic opioid epidemic just got a lot clearer. The drug industry - the pill manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers - found it profitable to flood some of the most vulnerable communities in America with billions of painkillers. They continued to move their product, and the medical community and government agencies failed to take effective action, even when it became apparent that these pills were fueling addiction and overdoses and were getting diverted to the streets. This has been broadly known for years, but this past week, the more precise details became public for the first time. The revelatory data comes from the Drug Enforcement Administration and its Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS). “This really shows a relationship between the manufacturers and the distributors: They were all in it together,” said Jim Geldhof, a retired DEA employee. “We’re seeing a lot of internal stuff that basically confirms ... that it was all about greed, and all about money.” The data shows a trend in pill distribution that, according to the lawsuit plaintiffs, can’t be passed off as reasonable therapeutic medical treatment. The industry shipped 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills across the country from 2006 through 2012, the period covered by the ARCOS data released this past week. These pills didn’t flow in a steady stream but were more like a flash flood, spiking from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world?
2019-06-04, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-06-17 19:16:33
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pfizer-had-clues-its-blockbus...

A team of researchers inside Pfizer made a startling find in 2015: The company’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis therapy Enbrel, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, appeared to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 64 percent. The results were from an analysis of hundreds of thousands of insurance claims. Verifying that the drug would actually have that effect in people would require a costly clinical trial - and after several years of internal discussion, Pfizer opted against further investigation and chose not to make the data public, the company confirmed. Researchers in the company’s division of inflammation and immunology urged Pfizer to conduct a clinical trial on thousands of patients, which they estimated would cost $80 million ... according to an internal company document obtained by The Washington Post. Pfizer’s deliberations, which previously have not been disclosed, offer a rare window into the frustrating search for Alzheimer’s treatments inside one of the world’s largest drug companies. Pfizer did share the data privately with at least one prominent scientist, but outside researchers contacted by The Post believe Pfizer also should at least have published its data, making the findings broadly available to researchers. “Of course they should. Why not?” said Rudolph E. Tanzi, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher and professor at Harvard Medical School. “It would benefit the scientific community to have that data out there,” said Keenan Walker, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Johnson & Johnson opioids helped create 'worst man-made public health crisis in history,' Oklahoma says in court
2019-05-28, NBC News
Posted: 2019-06-02 13:00:37
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/johnson-johnson-opioids-helped-create-wo...

The first trial against a pharmaceutical opioid manufacturer started Tuesday in Oklahoma in what could be a precedent-setting case for hundreds of other claims around the country. The state's attorney general, Mike Hunter, began the day by accusing Johnson & Johnson of putting profits over responsibility and argued that the company was responsible for the "worst man-made public health crisis in the history of our state and country." In the multibillion-dollar lawsuit against the drugmaker, lawyers for the state argued that Johnson & Johnson knew about the addictive nature of opioids, but misled doctors by downplaying the risks of the drugs while touting its benefits. Brad Beckworth, a lawyer for Oklahoma, argued that Johnson & Johnson was motivated to increase sales on multiple fronts as both the manufacturer of the drugs Duragesic and Nucynta and as a supplier of the raw materials for other opioid manufacturers. He argued that a marketing push by Johnson & Johnson lead doctors to overprescribe opioids in Oklahoma. “If you oversupply, people will die,” Beckworth repeatedly said in his opening statement while showing email communications from Johnson & Johnson sales representatives. Oklahoma settled with two other drug manufacturers before Tuesday’s opening statements. In March, Purdue Pharma settled for $270 million, and on Sunday, Teva Pharmaceuticals settled for $85 million, leaving Johnson & Johnson as the sole defendants in what could a monthslong bench trial.

Note: Many doctors also profited from excessive prescribing of dangerous opioids. And according to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


Purdue Pharma accused of 'corrupting' WHO to boost global opioid sales
2019-05-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-06-02 12:57:42
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/22/purdue-pharma-opioid-world-he...

Purdue Pharma, the drug manufacturer that kickstarted the US opioid epidemic, corruptly influenced the World Health Organization in order to boost painkiller sales across the globe, according to a report by members of Congress. An investigation by Katherine Clark and Hal Rogers, who represent districts in Massachusetts and Kentucky hard hit by the US opioid epidemic, accuses Purdue of replicating its false marketing claims about the safety and effectiveness of opioids to change WHO prescribing guidelines in an attempt to expand foreign markets for its drugs. “The web of influence we uncovered paints a picture of a public health organization that has been corrupted by the opioid industry,” said Clark. “The WHO appears to be lending the opioid industry its voice and credibility, and as a result, a trusted public health organization is trafficking dangerous misinformation that could lead to a global opioid epidemic.” The report ... accuses Purdue of using pharma-funded organizations and specialists to influence the writing of WHO policy to encourage much wider prescribing of addictive high-strength opioids across the globe. It said that, as a result, “WHO guidelines are serving as marketing materials for Purdue”. [The] report alleges two WHO guidelines ... “contain dangerously misleading and, in some instances, outright false claims about the safety and efficacy of prescription opioids”. “Alarmingly, these guidelines mirror Purdue’s marketing strategies to increase prescriptions and expand sales,” the report found.

Note: Many doctors also profited from excessive prescribing of dangerous opioids. And according to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


First major drug distribution company, former executives, criminally charged in opioid crisis
2019-04-23, NBC News
Posted: 2019-05-06 16:37:55
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/former-ceo-major-drug-distribution-compa...

In a national first in the fight against the opioid crisis, a major drug distribution company, its former chief executive and another top executive have been criminally charged in New York. Rochester Drug Co-Operative, one of the top 10 largest drug distributors in the United States, was charged Tuesday with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and willfully failing to file suspicious order reports. Laurence Doud III, the company's former chief executive, and William Pietruszewski, the company’s former chief compliance officer, are individually charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.. Pietruszewski is also charged with willfully failing to file suspicious order reports with the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. The U.S. attorney's office also filed a lawsuit against Rochester Drug Co-Operative on Tuesday seeking "penalties and injunctive relief." Between 2012 and 2016, Rochester Drug Co-Operative is accused of distributing tens of millions of doses of oxycodone, fentanyl and other opioids to pharmacies that its own compliance department found had no legitimate need for them. Prosecutors said Rochester Drug Co-Operative went against the DEA and its own policies and distributed drugs to pharmacies that were "filling controlled substances prescriptions issued by practitioners acting outside the scope of their medical practice, under investigation by law enforcement, or on RDC’s 'watch list.'"

Note: Many doctors also profited from excessive prescribing of dangerous opioids. And according to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


UK babies given toxic vaccines, admits Glaxo
2002-06-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-05-06 16:25:47
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/jun/30/tracymcveigh.antonybarnett

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.


Purdue Pharma to pay $270 million to settle historic Oklahoma opioid lawsuit
2019-03-26, CNN News
Posted: 2019-04-01 19:36:05
https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/26/health/purdue-pharma-oklahoma-opioid-lawsuit-s...

Purdue Pharma has agreed to pay $270 million to settle a historic lawsuit brought by the Oklahoma attorney general, who accused the OxyContin maker of aggressively marketing the opioid painkiller and fueling a drug epidemic that left thousands dead in the state. The settlement comes after Purdue [sought] to delay the start of the trial, which is scheduled for May 28. Attorney General Mike Hunter said ... that $102.5 million of the settlement would be used to help establish a national addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University. The company will also provide $20 million of addiction treatment and opioid rescue medications to the center. A remaining $12.5 million from the settlement will be used directly to help cities and counties with the opioid crisis. The Sackler family, who founded and own Purdue Pharma, will also contribute $75 million over the next five years to the treatment and research center. The lawsuit was brought by Hunter against some of the nation's leading makers of opioid pain medications, alleging that deceptive marketing over the past decade fueled the epidemic in the state. Hunter has said the defendants - Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Allergan and others - deceived the public into believing that opioids were safe for extended use. The settlement was only with Purdue Pharma, and the other defendants are still scheduled to go to trial. Thirty-six states have brought cases against Purdue and other opioid drugmakers.

Note: Many doctors also profited from excessive prescribing of dangerous opioids. And according to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Purdue Pharma sought secret plan to become 'end-to-end pain provider,' lawsuit alleges
2019-01-31, CNN News
Posted: 2019-02-17 17:39:05
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/31/health/purdue-pharma-unredacted-lawsuit/index....

Pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma LP secretly pursued a plan, dubbed "Project Tango," to become "an end-to-end pain provider" by selling both opioids and drugs to treat opioid addiction, all while owners on the board - members of one of America's richest families - reaped more than $4 billion in opioid profits, according to a lawsuit newly unredacted. The suit says the company and its owners, the Sackler family ... engaged in a decade of deception to push their pharmaceuticals, namely the painkiller OxyContin, on doctors and patients, publicly denying what internal documents show they privately knew to be true: that the highly addictive drugs were resulting in overdoses and deaths. Purdue examined selling overdose antidotes, including Narcan, as "complementary" products to the same doctors to whom it sold its opioids, the lawsuit claims, and although the company maintained a ledger of doctors it suspected of inappropriate opioid prescriptions and other forms of abuse, dubbed "Region Zero," it continued to collect revenue from those doctors. The Sacklers paid themselves more than $4 billion in opioid profits between April 2008 and 2018. In 2017, there were 47,600 opioid-linked drug fatalities in the United States. The unredacted complaint also says consulting firm McKinsey & Co. played a crucial role in advising the company on how to push its product on doctors and boost its profits.

Note: Many doctors also profited from excessive prescribing of dangerous opioids. And according to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Sen. Bernie Sanders will ask why a once-free drug now costs $375,000
2019-02-04, CNBC/Reuters
Posted: 2019-02-17 17:37:23
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/04/sen-bernie-sanders-will-ask-why-a-once-free-d...

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders plans to send a letter to Catalyst Pharmaceuticals on Monday asking it to justify its decision to charge $375,000 annually for a medication that for years has been available to patients for free. The drug, Firdapse, is used to treat Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS), a rare neuromuscular disorder. The disorder affects about one in 100,000 people in the United States. The government is intensifying its scrutiny of the pharmaceutical industry and rising prescription drug prices. Both the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, controlled by Republicans, have begun holding hearings this year on the rising costs of medicines. In the letter dated Feb. 4, Sanders asked Catalyst to lay out the financial and non-financial factors that led the company to set the list price at $375,000, and say how many patients would suffer or die as a result of the price and how much it was paying to purchase or produce the drug. For years, patients have been able to get Firdapse for free ... through a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program called "compassionate use." The program allows patients with rare diseases and conditions access to experimental drugs outside of a clinical trial when there is no viable alternative. Florida-based Catalyst received FDA approval of Firdapse in November, along with exclusive rights to market the medication for several years. In December, Catalyst announced it would price Firdapse at $375,000 a year.

Note: Read how a major drug price increase nearly bankrupted the city of Rockford, Illinois. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Family outraged over life-changing treatment going from free to $375,000 a year
2019-02-07, NBC News
Posted: 2019-02-17 17:35:44
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/family-outraged-over-life-changing...

When Will Schuller was an 18-year-old senior in high school in Overland Park, Kansas, something puzzling was happening. He was “big into running at the time” and seemingly in good health, but ...Will struggled to walk from the school parking lot to his classes, and he couldn’t exercise. Around Christmas 2014, Will was diagnosed with Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS), a rare neuromuscular disorder. LEMS is “a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects strength and muscle fatigue ability,” said Dr. Ted M. Burns, a professor of neurology. There is a drug to treat LEMS that up until recently was free for patients through an FDA program called “compassionate use.” When Schuller got the drug, called ... 3,4-DAP, he instantly felt better. Since 1992, 3,4-DAP, was made by Jacobus Pharmaceuticals, a small New Jersey company, until a different company, Catalyst, recently received the exclusive rights to the drug. Catalyst added a preservative, renamed it Firdapse, and is now charging north of $375,000 a year for the life-changing drug. Will's parents said doctors ... warned them about an impending price increase, but they never imagined it would start costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. “We're paying ... less than that,” said Bob Schuller, Will’s dad. “But everyone's premiums are going to go up as a result of this. So it's a cost to the entire system.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sent a letter to Catalyst on Monday demanding an explanation for the new price of Firdapse, calling it "a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers."

Note: Read how a major drug price increase nearly bankrupted the city of Rockford, Illinois. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma spends record millions on lobbying amid pressure to lower drug prices
2019-01-24, CNN News
Posted: 2019-02-03 22:48:17
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/health/phrma-lobbying-costs-bn/index.html

The lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry spent about $27.5 million on lobbying activities in 2018, federal filings show. This is a record annual total for the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, which represents most of the nation's largest drug and biopharmaceutical research companies. According to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan, independent research group tracking money in US politics, individual companies within the pharmaceuticals and health products sector spent $194.3 million on lobbying as of October 24, 2018 over and above the amount disclosed by PhRMA.The large outlays follow moves within the White House that could limit pharmaceutical companies' price increases and profits on medicines. Congress and the Trump administration continue to push for a drug pricing plan and were given more ammunition Tuesday in the form of a report documenting that insulin cost nearly doubled in the United States between 2012 and 2016. President 'Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to lower drug prices, posted his blueprint for doing so in May. US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar remarked last week that despite some "positive developments" in pharmaceutical pricing behavior, "drug companies have a lot further to go."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


How much do your prescription drugs cost? Transparency in TV ads is overdue
2018-10-16, USA Today
Posted: 2018-10-22 02:58:03
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/10/16/prescription-drugs-price-tr...

Drugmakers spend billions selling prescription drugs on TV to the public, sometimes turning a new drug into a blockbuster. What you don’t know from the commercials is how much these drugs cost — prices that can be staggering. But that could soon change. On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar proposed a huge change in drug advertising, requiring that drugmakers disclose the list price of drugs in their TV spots. The proposed transparency is as welcome as it is overdue. Health care is the only consumer commodity where sellers get to hide the price. Drugmakers have been pitching prescription drugs to consumers for decades, using pleasant music, happy faces, sexy scenes and visuals of people leading better, more fulfilling lives all because they’re taking a prescription drug. In 2016, drugmakers spent more than $6 billion on this effort. The 10 most commonly advertised drugs sport monthly prices ranging from $503 for Eliquis, which is used to prevent strokes and blood clots, to more than $11,000 for Cosentyx, to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Whether the proposed regulation is finalized ... depends on the pharmaceutical lobby’s power and the Trump administration’s resolve. Hours before Azar’s announcement, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America made its first countermove, announcing an alternate plan to ... disclose prices and co-payments of drugs advertised on TV on a new website starting in the spring.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Transparency Hasn’t Stopped Drug Companies From Corrupting Medical Research
2018-09-14, New York Times
Posted: 2018-10-08 04:24:33
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/opinion/jose-baselga-research-disclosure-b...

In order to get prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, companies must conduct clinical trials to show that the drugs are safe and effective. But drug companies don’t have direct access to human subjects, so they’ve always contracted with academic researchers to conduct the trials on patients in teaching hospitals and clinics. Traditionally, they gave grants to the institutions for interested researchers to test their drugs, then waited for the results and hoped that their products looked good. That began to change in the 1980s, partly as a result of a new law that permitted researchers and their institutions, even if funded by the National Institutes of Health ... to patent their discoveries and license them exclusively to drug companies in return for royalties. That made them business partners, and the sponsors became intimately involved in all aspects of the clinical trials. Drug company involvement biases research in ways that are not always obvious, often by suppressing negative results. A review of 74 clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that 37 of 38 positive studies — that is, studies that showed that a drug was effective — were published. But 33 of 36 negative studies were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome. Bias can also be introduced through the design of a clinical trial. It’s often possible to make clinical trials come out the way you and your sponsors want. Disclosure is better than no disclosure, but it does not eliminate the conflict of interest.

Note: The above was written by Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. For more, see this mercola.com article. Then see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Parma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


'They're drug dealers in Armani suits': executives draw focus amid US epidemic
2018-09-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-10-08 04:22:34
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/30/theyre-drug-dealers-in-armani...

The mayor of the West Virginia city that has come to symbolize America’s opioid epidemic has called for the jailing of pharmaceutical company executives he likens to street corner drug dealers. Steve Williams, mayor of ... a city ravaged by prescription pill and heroin addiction, said he wants to see executives face criminal prosecution, after it was revealed that a member of the family that made billions of dollars from the painkiller that unleashed the epidemic stands to profit further after he was granted a patent for an anti-addiction medicine. “They are drug dealers in Armani suits,” said Williams. “The decisions that have been made within the pharmaceutical industry have ravaged our nation.” In June, Massachusetts became the first state to sue individual executives and owners of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug, OxyContin, which kicked off the biggest drug epidemic in American history, estimated to be killing more than 115 people a day. The lawsuit seeks to recover the billions of dollars in profit banked by members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue. Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey, accused the company and its officials of knowingly profiting from overdoses and death. “Purdue Pharma and its executives built a multi-billion-dollar business based on deception and addiction. The more drugs they sold, the more money they made,” she said in announcing the lawsuit.

Note: According to a former DEA agent, Congress helped drug companies fuel the opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Antibiotic side effects in kids lead to nearly 70,000 emergency room visits each year
2018-08-23, ABC News
Posted: 2018-09-17 04:15:31
https://abcnews.go.com/Health/antibiotic-side-effects-kids-lead-70000-emergen...

Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medications for children in the United States, but new research shows that they sometimes cause more harm than good. A study supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... used nationwide estimates for outpatient antibiotic prescriptions and data from a nationally representative sample of emergency room visits [to look] at the use of antibiotics by those under the age of 19. From 2011-2015, reactions and other side effects from antibiotics led to an estimated 70,000 ER visits each year. Most visits, 86 percent, were for allergic reactions which ranged from mild, the most common (rash, itching) to moderate and severe (anaphylaxis, angioedema, severe swelling beneath the skin). The risk of an ER visit also varied by the child's age and the type of antibiotic. Children aged 2 or younger carried the highest risk of a side effect, with 41 percent of visits involving children in this age group. Amoxicillin, Amoxicillin and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, both commonly prescribed antibiotics, were the most implicated in side effects among children aged 9 or younger and 10-19, respectively. Nearly a third, if not more, of outpatient pediatric prescriptions for antibiotics, are unnecessary, according to the CDC. A recent study showed that 78 percent of parents did not recall any discussions of possible antibiotic harms during their child’s last doctor visit.

Note: Millions of unnecessary drug prescriptions and rampant overuse of antibiotics in livestock have also contributed to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption and health.


People Are Now Taking Placebo Pills to Deal With Their Health Problems – And It's Working
2018-08-23, Time
Posted: 2018-09-11 04:46:46
http://time.com/5375724/placebo-bill-health-problems/

The medical community has been aware of the placebo effect – the phenomenon in which a nontherapeutic treatment (like a sham pill) improves a patient’s physical condition – for centuries. But Ted Kaptchuk, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School ... was tired of letting the people in his studies think they were taking a real therapy and then watching what happened. Instead, he wondered, what if he was honest? In 2009 the university’s teaching hospital ... launched the first open-label placebo, or so-called honest placebo, trial to date, starting with people who had [irritable bowel syndrome, or] IBS. Nearly twice as many people in the trial who knowingly received placebo pills reported experiencing adequate symptom relief, compared with the people who received no treatment. [Patients] taking the placebo also doubled their rates of improvement to a point that was about equal to the effects of two [common] IBS medications. Researchers are learning that placebo has nuance too. For instance, the effect appears to be stronger if people are told a medication is hard to get or expensive, and color may also matter, with people responding better to blue pills as sedatives and white pills for pain. More important to Kaptchuk than understanding why honest placebos work is figuring out how the gain in scientific knowledge could translate into clinical practice. “Placebo has generally been denigrated in medicine, but I always wanted to figure out ways to ethically harness it,” he says.

Note: A 2009 Scientific American article describes how the placebo effect reduced the size of tumors. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


States Rush to Rein In Prescription Costs, and Drug Companies Fight Back
2018-08-18, New York Times
Posted: 2018-09-02 23:16:52
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/us/politics/states-drug-costs.html

States around the country are clamping down on pharmaceutical companies, forcing them to disclose and justify price increases, but the drug manufacturers are fighting back, challenging the state laws as a violation of their constitutional rights. Even more states are, for the first time, trying to regulate middlemen who play a crucial role by managing drug benefits for employers and insurers, while taking payments from drug companies in return for giving preferential treatment to their drugs. Twenty-four states have passed 37 bills this year to curb rising prescription drug costs. Maryland tried a particularly bold approach. After reports of huge increases in the prices of certain generic drugs, Maryland banned “price gouging,” defined as an unconscionable increase in the price of any “essential off-patent or generic drug.” A drug company that flouts the law could be fined $10,000 and be required to pay refunds to consumers. [A] lobby for generic drug companies ... filed suit to block the law, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., struck down the law, saying it interfered with interstate commerce in violation of the Constitution. In a lengthy dissent, Judge James A. Wynn Jr. said that Maryland should be able to protect the health and welfare of its citizens. The court, he said, was accepting the drug companies’ view that they were “constitutionally entitled to impose conscience-shocking price increases” on consumers.

Note: Read how a major drug price increase nearly bankrupted the city of Rockford, Illinois. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


FDA knew doctors were misusing powerful opioids
2018-08-03, NBC News
Posted: 2018-08-13 06:17:17
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/fda-knew-doctors-w...

The Food and Drug Administration knew that some doctors were wrongly prescribing powerful opioid painkillers. The drugs include mouth sprays and lozenges meant to provide immediate relief for breakthrough cancer pain ... in patients who have been taking opioids for long periods of time. The formulations, referred to as transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl products, or TIRF products, can kill patients who take them without having first developed tolerance. But they were prescribed to patients who had no tolerance, and for migraines or dental pain, the team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said. The U.S. is suffering through an epidemic of opioid abuse. Opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, killed 42,000 people in 2016. At the same time, the CDC reported last year, the number of prescriptions for the painkillers tripled from 1999 to 2015. The FDA set up a special plan to control [TIRF products], called a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy. The FDA asked one of its expert panels ... to help review how the strategy for the TIRF opioids has been working. It has not worked as designed, the Johns Hopkins team said in testimony given to the panel. The strategy has "generated red flags for years," the team said in written testimony. “FDA had evidence as early as April 2016 that TIRFs were being prescribed for many patients who were not opioid tolerant,” they wrote in their testimony. “Of more than 25,000 patients receiving TIRFs, as many as 51 percent were not opioid tolerant.”

Note: A recent CNN report titled, "The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make" shows how doctors have profited from over-prescribing these dangerous drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma.


WHO reviewing dengue vaccine amid concerns it could make infection worse
2017-12-04, CBC/Reuters
Posted: 2018-06-04 00:45:00
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/dengue-vaccine-investigated-who-philippines-1.4...

The World Health Organization said on Monday it hoped to conduct a full review by the end of the year of a dengue vaccine that was suspended last week in the Philippines. On Friday, the department of health halted its dengue immunization program after the manufacturer, French drug company Sanofi Pasteur, announced the vaccine, [commonly known as Dengvaxia], must be strictly limited due to evidence it can worsen dengue in people not previously exposed to the infection. The government of Brazil, where dengue is common, confirmed it already had recommended restricted use of the vaccine. Amid mounting public concern, Sanofi explained its "new findings" at a news conference in Manila on Monday but did not say why action was not taken after a WHO report in mid-2016 that identified the risk the company was now flagging. Nearly 734,000 children ... in the Philippines have received one dose of the vaccine as part of a programme that cost 3.5 billion pesos (more than $80 million Cdn). The Philippines Department of Justice on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into "the alleged danger to public health ... and if evidence so warrants, to file appropriate charges." There was no indication that Philippines health officials knew of any risks. However, the WHO said in a July 2016 research paper that "vaccination may be ineffective or may theoretically even increase the future risk" of severe dengue illness in people who hadn't been exposed to it prior to their first vaccination.

Note: Read more about this and about the way vaccines dangers are being covered up on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths
2018-05-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-06-04 00:38:55
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/22/rudy-giuliani-opioid-epidemic...

The US government missed the opportunity to curb sales of the drug that kickstarted the opioid epidemic when it secured the only criminal conviction against the maker of OxyContin a decade ago. Purdue Pharma hired Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now Donald Trump’s lawyer, to head off a federal investigation in the mid-2000s into the company’s marketing of the powerful prescription painkiller at the centre of an epidemic estimated to have claimed at least 300,000 lives. While Giuliani was not able to prevent the criminal conviction over Purdue’s fraudulent claims for OxyContin’s safety and effectiveness, he was able to reach a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business with the federal government which would have killed a large part of the multibillion-dollar market for the drug. The former New York mayor also secured an agreement that greatly restricted further prosecution of the pharmaceutical company and kept its senior executives out of prison. The US attorney who led the investigation, John Brownlee, has ... expressed surprise that Purdue did not face stronger action. Purdue is now facing ... civil lawsuits [in] New York, Texas and five other states. But Brownlee was the first, and so far only, prosecutor to secure a criminal conviction against the drug maker. Brownlee’s office discovered training videos in which reps acted out selling the drug using the false claims. “This was ... pushed from the highest levels of the company,” said Brownlee.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma.


This old drug was free. Now it’s $109,500 a year.
2017-12-18, Washington Post
Posted: 2018-05-21 19:46:36
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/18/this-old-drug-was-free...

For decades, Don Anderson of Seattle has been taking the same drug to help control the temporary bouts of immobility and muscle weakness caused by a rare and frightening genetic illness called periodic paralysis. The drug Anderson has been taking all these years was originally approved in 1958 and used primarily to treat the eye disease glaucoma under the brand name Daranide. The price has been on a roller coaster in recent years — zooming from a list price of $50 for a bottle of 100 pills in the early 2000s up to $13,650 in 2015, then plummeting back down to free, before skyrocketing back up to $15,001 after a new company, Strongbridge Biopharma, acquired the drug and relaunched it this spring. The zigzagging trajectory of the price of Daranide, now known as Keveyis, shows just how much freedom drug companies have in pricing therapies — and what a big business opportunity selling extremely-rare-disease drugs has become. In 2016, after The Washington Post asked questions about the high price of the drug, Sun Pharmaceutical said it would give the drug away free. Late last year, Sun agreed to sell Keveyis to a biotech company, Strongbridge Biopharma. In April, Strongbridge relaunched the drug. In August, it jacked the list price ... to $15,001 for a bottle of 100 pills. In a PowerPoint presentation for investors, Strongbridge Biopharma estimated that the annual price of treatment for the drug, Keveyis, would range from $109,500 to $219,000.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The problem with prescription drug prices
2018-05-06, CBS News
Posted: 2018-05-21 19:43:59
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-problem-with-prescription-drug-prices/

One very expensive prescription drug threatened to financially cripple an entire city. Rather than using a health insurance company, Rockford, [Illinois] has, for years, paid its own health care costs for its 1,000 employees and their dependents. When Rockford got hit with the drug bill it was so enormous the mayor at the time set out to understand why. In 2015, two small children of Rockford employees were treated with Acthar, a drug that's been on the market since 1952. In 2001, Acthar sold for about $40 a vial. Today: more than $40,000. [Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey] wanted to know how that could've happened. His investigation got nowhere until last year, when the Federal Trade Commission charged the drug manufacturer, Mallinckrodt, with violating antitrust laws. [The company] bought another drug that was Acthar's main competitor ... and put it on the shelf. Many of the doctors who prescribed a lot of Acthar also were getting money from the company that makes Acthar ... adding up to huge sums. Cities like Rockford [hire pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs] to negotiate down the price of drugs. The company negotiating prices for Rockford is Express Scripts. Express Scripts is many companies, not just the PBM. It also owns a pharmacy that sells expensive drugs, [as well as] a company that ships and packs expensive drugs. The city of Rockford was able to find out one more piece of the puzzle: that Express Scripts ... had a contract to be the exclusive distributor of Acthar.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


F.D.A. Names and Shames Drug Makers to Encourage Generic Competition
2018-05-17, New York Times
Posted: 2018-05-21 19:42:04
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/health/drug-prices-generics-fda.html

Pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars to develop new drugs do not want competitors to profit from inexpensive generic copies of blockbuster medicines. To avoid rivals, they ... sometimes prevent generic drug companies from obtaining samples. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, calls this “gaming the system,” and has vowed to stop it. On Thursday, the F.D.A. took a new tack and began posting a list of makers of brand-name drugs that have been the target of complaints, to persuade them to “end the shenanigans,” in the commissioner’s words. Congressional efforts to force the companies to hand over samples of their drugs to generic competitors have not been successful. Generic drug developers usually need between 1,500 to 5,000 units of the brand drug to develop their product and test it. Both the F.D.A. and the Federal Trade Commission say securing the samples can be difficult. The F.D.A.’s new list includes drug companies the agency said may be pursuing gaming tactics to delay generic competition. Along with the name of each business, the agency noted how many inquiries it received from generic drug companies seeking supplies. Celgene, [which makes drugs to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory diseases], tops the list. Other companies ... included GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Gilead Sciences and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'
2018-04-11, CNBC News
Posted: 2018-04-29 20:23:41
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/goldman-asks-is-curing-patients-a-sustainable...

Goldman Sachs analysts attempted to address a touchy subject for biotech companies, especially those involved in the pioneering "gene therapy" treatment: cures could be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in an April 10 report entitled "The Genome Revolution." "The potential to deliver 'one shot cures' is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies," analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients. "While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow." Richter cited Gilead Sciences' treatments for hepatitis C, which achieved cure rates of more than 90 percent. The company's U.S. sales for these hepatitis C treatments peaked at $12.5 billion in 2015, but have been falling ever since. "GILD is a case in point, where the success of its hepatitis C franchise has gradually exhausted the available pool of treatable patients," the analyst wrote. "In the case of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients, thus the incident pool also declines. Where an incident pool remains stable (eg, in cancer) the potential for a cure poses less risk to the sustainability of a franchise."

Note: Many cancer treatments have been suppressed, sometimes in brutal ways, because the medical profession would lose the huge profits of traditional cancer treatments. Watch this video for undeniable evidence showing that this is the case. Read an excellent article on how the profiteering drug industry is crippling our children, possibly even intentionally. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make
2018-03-11, CNN News
Posted: 2018-04-08 20:05:01
https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/health/prescription-opioid-payments-eprise/ind...

As tens of thousands of Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses each year, an exclusive analysis by CNN and researchers at Harvard University found that opioid manufacturers are paying physicians huge sums of money - and the more opioids a doctor prescribes, the more money he or she makes. The CNN/Harvard analysis looked at 2014 and 2015, during which time more than 811,000 doctors wrote prescriptions to Medicare patients. Of those, nearly half wrote at least one prescription for opioids. Fifty-four percent of those doctors - more than 200,000 physicians - received a payment from pharmaceutical companies that make opioids. Among doctors in the top 25th percentile of opioid prescribers by volume, 72% received payments. Among those in the top fifth percentile, 84% received payments. Among the very biggest prescribers ... 95% received payments. On average, doctors whose opioid prescription volume ranked among the top 5% nationally received twice as much money from the opioid manufacturers, compared with doctors whose prescription volume was in the median. Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors are not unique to opioids. Drug companies pay doctors billions of dollars for various services. In 2015, 48% of physicians received some pharmaceutical payment. The CNN and Harvard findings are in line with other studies suggesting that money from drug companies does influence a doctor's prescribing habits.

Note: From 1999 to 2015, over 183,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in the US. A CBS article titled, "Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress" describes major regulatory failures that contributed to this crisis. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


A town of 3,200 was flooded with nearly 21 million pain pills as addiction crisis worsened, lawmakers say
2018-01-31, Washington Post
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:58:02
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/01/31/a-town-of-32...

Over the past decade, nearly 21 million prescription painkillers have been shipped to a tiny town in West Virginia, a state where more people have overdosed on opioids and died than in any other in the nation. 20.8 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills have been delivered to Williamson, W.Va., a town with ... fewer than 3,200 residents. [House Energy and Commerce] Committee leaders sent letters to two regional drug distributors, asking why the companies oversupplied this town, among others, with painkillers. “These numbers are outrageous,” Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a statement. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced a nationwide crackdown on pharmacies and prescribers that are oversupplying opioids amid a deadly epidemic sweeping the United States. In the letters, dated Jan. 26, the congressional committee noted that between 2006 and 2016, drug distributors shipped large quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone to two pharmacies in Williamson. During that time, Tug Valley Pharmacy received more than 10.2 million pills and Hurley Drug Company received more than 10.5 million pills. The pharmacies are 0.2 miles apart. The committee said in a letter to distributor Miami-Luken that from 2008 to 2015, the company had supplied more than half of all the prescription pain pills shipped to Tug Valley Pharmacy. And distributor H.D. Smith, the committee said, provided the pharmacies with nearly 5 million pills between 2007 and 2008.

Note: A CBS article titled, "Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress" describes major regulatory failures that contributed to this addiction crisis. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Fed Up With Drug Companies, Hospitals Decide to Start Their Own
2018-01-18, New York Times
Posted: 2018-01-22 15:12:52
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/health/drug-prices-hospitals.html

Hospital executives have expressed frustration when essential drugs like heart medicines have become scarce, or when prices have skyrocketed. Now, some of the country’s largest hospital systems are taking an aggressive step to combat the problem: They plan to go into the drug business themselves, in a move that appears to be the first on this scale. “This is a shot across the bow of the bad guys,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, the chief executive of Intermountain Healthcare, the ... hospital group that is spearheading the effort. Several major hospital systems, including ... the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital group, plan to form a new nonprofit company, that will provide a number of generic drugs to the hospitals. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also expressing interest in participating. The idea is to directly challenge the host of industry players who have capitalized on certain markets, buying up monopolies of old, off-patent drugs and then sharply raising prices, stoking public outrage and prompting a series of Congressional hearings and federal investigations. The most notorious example is of Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager who raised the price of a decades-old drug, Daraprim, to $750 a tablet in 2015, from $13.50. Hospitals have also struggled to deal with shortages of hundreds of vital drugs over the past decade, ranging from injectable morphine to sodium bicarbonate (the medical form of baking soda), shortfalls that are exacerbated when only one or two manufacturers make the product.

Note: Americans pay the highest prices for medications in the world, and many US government policies appear designed to keep drug prices high. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?
2018-01-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-01-15 18:32:50
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/07/is-everything-you-think-you-k...

In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression. American psychiatrists had produced a book ... called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [that] laid out nine symptoms that a patient has to show to be diagnosed with depression. If [doctors] followed this guide, they had to diagnose every grieving person who came to them as depressed. So, the doctors wanted to know, are we supposed to start drugging all the bereaved people in America? The authors ... decided that there would be a special clause added to the list of symptoms. If you have lost somebody you love in the past year ... all these symptoms are natural, and not a disorder. It was called “the grief exception”. Then ... doctors on the frontline started to come back with another question. If you agree that the symptoms of depression are a logical and understandable response to one set of life circumstances – losing a loved one – might they not be an understandable response to other situations? What about if you lose your job? What if you are stuck in a job that you hate? What about if you are alone and friendless? The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull. It suggested that there are causes out here, in the world, and they needed to be investigated and solved there. Depression ... is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong.

Note: The article at the link above is an edited extract from Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. A 2012 Huffington Post article titled, "Drug Companies Drive the Psychiatric Drugging of Children" describes how fake science and bribes have been used by corrupt pharmaceutical companies to rake in the profits.


Think You’re Seeing More Drug Ads on TV? You Are, and Here’s Why
2017-12-24, New York Times
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:25:41
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/24/business/media/prescription-drugs-advertis...

Television advertisements for prescription drugs ... have been running for 20 years. [Yet] it is not your imagination if you think you are seeing more of them these days. Lots more. 771,368 such ads were shown in 2016 ... an increase of almost 65 percent over 2012. “TV ad spending by pharmaceutical companies has more than doubled in the past four years, making it the second-fastest-growing category on television during that time,” Jon Swallen, Kantar’s chief research officer, said. The ads ... have turned to more serious ailments in the last few years. And when the ads come on, [the] audience is also listening intently to all that can befall them if they take a certain drug. An unexpected side effect of ad agency compliance with the drug administration’s regulation, it turns out, is enhanced credibility. “It’s counterintuitive, but everything in our research suggests that hearing about the risks increases consumers’ belief in the advertising,” said Jeff Rothstein, the chief executive officer of Cult Health, an ad agency that specializes in health care.

Note: 25 years ago drug advertising was illegal, as it was believed drugs should sell themselves on their own merits. Now Big Pharma is raking in profits hand over fist by inundating us with fear-based advertising. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Price of 40-year-old cancer drug hiked 1,400% by new owners
2017-12-26, CBS News
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:23:29
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cancer-drug-lomustine-price-hiked-1400-percent-b...

Prices for a cancer drug called lomustine have skyrocketed nearly 1,400 percent since 2013, putting a potentially life-saving treatment out of reach for patients suffering from brain tumors and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Though the 40-year-old medication is no longer protected by patents, no generic version is available. According to the Wall Street Journal, lomustine was sold by Bristol-Myers Squib for years under the brand name CeeNU at a price of about $50 a capsule for the highest dose. The drugmaker sold lomustine in 2013 to a little-known Miami startup called NextSource, which proceeded to hike lomustine's price nine times since. It now charges about $768 per pill for the medication. According to an analysis done for the Journal ... NextSource this year raised prices for the drug, which it rebranded as Gleostine, by 12 percent in November following a 20 percent increase in August. Soaring prices for cancer drugs are a concern for both patients and doctors because financial pressures can lead to delays in seeking treatment that can easily surpass six figures per year. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found prices for 24 patented injectible Medicare Part B drugs rose an average of 18 percent annually over the past eight years on an inflation-adjusted basis. Prices continued to rise even when generic versions of the drug became available.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ghostwritten Drug Studies Have a Healthy Afterlife in Academic Archives
2010-02-24, CBS News
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:06:04
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ghostwritten-drug-studies-have-a-healthy-afterli...

Most pharmaceutical companies have sworn off ghostwriting, the practice of writing "research" papers for doctors and then paying them to add their names as authors even when they had little involvement or the results were trivial. Merck (MRK), Forest Labs (FRX), and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have all been caught doing it. But what happens to the articles that have been disavowed by companies or discredited by lawyers? Not much, it turns out. They sit inside prestigious online archives of academic material, unretracted, where they look just like real studies with robust results. Ghostwriting doesn't look good in lawsuits, either. Pfizer (PFE) must now pay $9.5 million to a woman who claimed menopause drug Prempro gave her breast cancer; Wyeth - the company that made the drug and was later acquired by Pfizer - commissioned ghostwritten articles about the drug. So it's interesting to note that many of those pay-for-play articles are still sitting in scholarly archives such as PubMed, notching up bibliography references and footnotes, even though they shouldn't be. You can search for more ghostwritten papers here.

Note: Big Pharma giant Merck created a fake medical journal and created a list of doctors to discredit in order to popularize a dangerous drug that may have killed as many as 500,000 people before it was finally recalled. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


‘Medical marijuana has no public health risks’ should not be withheld from patients’
2017-12-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-12-24 21:24:36
https://guardian.ng/features/health/medical-marijuana-has-no-public-health-ri...

After months of deliberation and investigation, the WHO has concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) is a useful treatment for epilepsy and palliative care, and does not carry any addiction risks. The organization is set to run a fuller review of cannabis next year. The report ... also recommended imposing the strong restrictions available on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which has killed thousands of people in America’s drug addiction epidemic. “There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care,” the report said. “Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components.” In conclusion, the authors wrote: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.” They added that ‘current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol’, and declared that taking medical marijuana will not lead to addiction to THC, the psychoactive property of cannabis that induces a ‘high’.

Note: More people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined and the US federal government continues to regard non-psychoactive CBD as a dangerous drug. The UK government recently announced it will regulate CBD as medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Philippines Orders Probe Into Sanofi Dengue Vaccine for 730,000 Children
2017-12-04, New York Times/Reuters
Posted: 2017-12-11 04:21:52
https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/12/04/business/04reuters-sanofi-dengue-p...

The Philippines ordered an investigation on Monday into the immunization of more than 730,000 children with a vaccine for dengue that has been suspended following an announcement by French drug company Sanofi that it could worsen the disease in some cases. The World Health Organization said it hoped to conduct a full review by year-end of data on the vaccine, commercially known as Dengvaxia. In the meantime, the WHO recommended that it only be used in people who had a prior infection with dengue. The government of Brazil, where dengue is a significant health challenge, confirmed it already had recommended restricted use of the vaccine but had not suspended it entirely. Amid mounting public concern, Sanofi explained its "new findings" at a news conference in Manila but did not say why action was not taken after a WHO report in mid-2016 that identified the risk it was now flagging. A non-governmental organization (NGO) said it had received information that three children who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia in the Philippines had died and a senator said he was aware of two cases. Last week, the Philippines Department of Health halted the use of Dengvaxia after Sanofi said it must be strictly limited due to evidence it can worsen the disease in people not previously exposed to the infection. Nearly 734,000 children aged 9 and over in the Philippines have received one dose of the vaccine as part of a program that cost 3.5 billion pesos ($69.54 million).

Note: This US government webpage states, "Since 1988, over 18,897 petitions have been filed with the VICP [Vaccine Injury Compensation Program]. Over that 29-year time period, 16,857 petitions have been adjudicated, with 5,782 of those determined to be compensable. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $3.7 billion." Why aren't these large numbers being reported in the media? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Overdoses now leading cause of death of Americans under 50
2017-06-06, CBS News
Posted: 2017-11-27 01:21:52
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/overdoses-are-leading-cause-of-death-americans-u...

Overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50. According to preliminary data compiled by The New York Times, deaths last year likely topped 59,000 - 19 percent more than the year before. In Ohio, they were up even more. On May 26, Cleveland Police Sgt. Timothy Maffo-Judd's body camera was running as he approached a man slumped in his car. It turned out that the man was minutes from a fatal drug overdose. Three applications of Narcan - the anti-overdose drug - and the victim finally started coming around. Maffo-Judd says it's become a grim routine, and he's even encountered the same person twice. "That's pretty common," he says. In Ohio, at least 4,100 people died from unintentional drug overdoses last year - a 36 percent increase from 2015, when the state led the nation in overdose deaths. Kentucky, West Virginia and New Hampshire have also experienced shocking increases, along with the East Coast. Most of it is tied to heroin or prescription painkillers, often laced with a powerful synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. In Ohio alone, nearly four billion opioid pills were prescribed across Ohio between 2011 and 2015. Ohio is now suing five big drug companies that manufacture prescription painkillers, charging that they knowingly minimize the risks of addiction. As Attorney General Mike Dewine put it: "They knew they were wrong but they did it anyway and they continue to do it."

Note: This excellent article has lots more on the intense level of corruption found in this opioid crisis. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


OxyContin's Deception Costs Firm $634M
2001-05-10, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-11-27 01:19:44
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oxycontins-deception-costs-firm-634m/

Two days after agreeing to pay states nearly $20 million for falsely marketing OxyContin, the drug's maker, Perdue Pharma, and three current and former executives plead guilty to federal charges. The Stamford, Conn.-based maker of the powerful painkiller, and three of its current and former executives, pleaded guilty Thursday to misleading the public about OxyContin's risk of addiction. Purdue Pharma L.P., its president, top lawyer and former chief medical officer will pay $634.5 million in fines for claiming the drug was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other pain medications, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said. The plea agreement comes after the company agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and the District of Columbia to settle complaints that it encouraged physicians to overprescribe OxyContin. Even though the company was warned by health professionals, the media and members of its own sales force, "Perdue continued to push a fraudulent marketing campaign that promoted OxyContin as less addictive, less subject to abuse and less likely to cause withdrawal when they knew in fact that that was not true," Brownlee told CBS News correspondent Barry Bagnato. "Doctors are often approached right in their offices by pharmaceutical company sales reps dispensing information about one medication or another," said CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. "This case is a reminder to doctors not to believe everything they hear."

Note: The family which owns Purdue, maker of OxyContin, is among the 20 richest families in the U.S., thanks largely to sales of Oxycontin, which has resulted in thousands of overdose deaths, according to this article in Forbes. For more, see this revealing article. Then see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption and health.


First digital pill approved despite worries about biomedical Big Brother
2017-11-14, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2017-11-20 00:25:02
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/First-digital-pill-approved-despite-wo...

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.


Under New Guidelines, Millions More Americans Will Need to Lower Blood Pressure
2017-11-13, New York Times
Posted: 2017-11-20 00:15:11
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/health/blood-pressure-treatment-guidelines...

The nation’s leading heart experts on Monday issued new guidelines for high blood pressure that mean tens of millions more Americans will meet the criteria for the condition. Under the guidelines ... the number of men under age 45 with a diagnosis of high blood pressure will triple, and the prevalence among women under age 45 will double. The number of adults with high blood pressure, or hypertension, will rise to 103 million from 72 million under the previous standard. The number of people who are new candidates for drug treatment will rise ... by an estimated 4.2 million people. To reach the goals others may have to take more drugs or increase the dosages. The change is due largely to convincing data from a federal study published in 2015. That study, called Sprint, explored whether markedly lower blood pressure in older people - lower than researchers had ever tried to establish - might be both achievable and beneficial. In participants who were assigned to get their systolic pressures below 120, the incidence of heart attacks, heart failure and strokes fell by a third, and the risk of death fell by nearly a quarter. But more intensive drug treatment in so many more patients may increase rates of kidney disease. In the Sprint trial, the incidence of acute kidney injury was twice as high in the group receiving drugs to reduce their systolic pressure to 120. Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise can help many patients lower blood pressure. But many of the newly diagnosed are likely to wind up on drugs.

Note: The effect of this huge change is that billions more dollars will now flow into Big Pharma as millions of consumers are led to believe their blood pressure is dangerously high. Are drugs the best answer? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption and health.


Trump picks former pharma exec, ex-Bush official to lead HHS department
2017-11-13, CNN News
Posted: 2017-11-20 00:12:30
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/13/politics/alex-azar-health-and-human-services-se...

President Donald Trump on Monday announced he is nominating Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical company executive and George W. Bush administration official, to succeed Tom Price as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He previously served as HHS general counsel and deputy secretary for President George W. Bush. Following his time with the administration, he worked for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. [He] became president of Lilly USA in 2012. As part of his role at Lilly USA, Azar was on the board of directors for the Boards of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a drug lobbying group. In an October letter, Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, and Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, wrote that under his leadership, Azar's company fought "against federal and state legislation to increase drug pricing transparency." And a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts in early 2017 alleges that the company shot up prices on insulin "in near lock step" with two other pharmaceutical manufacturers. Following Yale Law School, Azar clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and later joined the Whitewater independent counsel headed by his "mentor" Ken Starr.

Note: Rather than draining the swamp, Trump continues to deepen the swamp in his administration. Besides this most recent appointment, he has installed Goldman Sachs executives as his Treasury secretary, top economic adviser, deputy national security adviser and chief strategist. Even his top Wall Street regulator is a former attorney for Goldman. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


How big pharma's money – and its politicians – feed the US opioid crisis
2017-10-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-11-13 02:39:02
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/19/big-pharma-money-lobbying-us-...

Trump’s nominee for drug czar, the US congressman Tom Marino, was forced to withdraw after a report by the Washington Post and CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted his role in forging legislation that hinders the DEA’s ability to move against drug distributors or pharmacies recklessly dispensing the opioid painkillers at the heart of the epidemic, which claims more than 100 lives a day. Marino’s acceptance of substantial donations from those same companies compromised his nomination to head the federal agency charged with tackling the opioid crisis. But for Congress, the process was nothing unusual. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow to lobbyists and politicians on Capitol Hill each year to shape laws and policies that keep drug company profits growing. The impact of so much drug company money coursing through the veins of Congress is often incremental or largely unseen by the American public. But on occasion it has a hugely visible impact. While lobbying shapes medical policy across the board, it has had a profound impact on the opioid epidemic as deaths quadrupled between 1999 and 2015. The pharmaceutical industry poured resources into attempting to place blame for the crisis on the millions who have became addicted instead of on the mass prescribing of powerful opioids. Some of the pressure came through industry-funded groups such as the Pain Care Forum, which spent $740m over a decade lobbying in Washington and state legislatures against limits on opioid prescribing.

Note: This excellent article has lots more on the intense level of corruption found in this opioid crisis. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress
2017-10-15, CBS News
Posted: 2017-11-06 16:57:30
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ex-dea-agent-opioid-crisis-fueled-by-drug-indust...

In the midst of the worst drug epidemic in American history, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to keep addictive opioids off U.S. streets was derailed - that according to Joe Rannazzisi, one of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by 60 Minutes. Rannazzisi ran the DEA's Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. He says the opioid crisis was allowed to spread - aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives. His greatest ire is reserved for the ... middlemen that ship the pain pills from manufacturers, like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson to drug stores all over the country. Rannazzisi accuses the distributors of fueling the opioid epidemic. "This is an industry that allowed millions and millions of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors' offices, that distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those drugs," [said Rannazzisi]. In 2013, Joe Rannazzisi and his DEA investigators were trying to crack down. Then ... with the help of members of Congress, the drug industry began to quietly pave the way for legislation that essentially would strip the DEA of its ... ability to immediately freeze suspicious shipments of prescription narcotics to keep drugs off U.S. streets.

Note: See also this informative Washington Post article for more information on this sad topic. Lots more available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in pharmaceutical industry.


Drug company founder John Kapoor arrested for alleged opioid scheme
2017-10-26, CBS News
Posted: 2017-11-06 16:56:03
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/drug-company-founder-john-kapoor-arrested-for-al...

Federal agents arrested the founder of a major drug company in an early-morning raid Thursday on charges stemming from an alleged scheme to get doctors to illegally prescribe a powerful opioid to patients who don't need it. John Kapoor ... is the billionaire founder and former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics. He faces charges including racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and fraud. Kapoor is the most significant pharmaceutical executive to be criminally charged in response to the nationwide opioid crisis. Kapoor stepped down as CEO of Insys in January but still serves on its board. The company makes a spray version of fentanyl, a highly addictive opioid intended only for cancer patients. Authorities allege Insys marketed the drug as part of a scheme to get non-cancer doctors to prescribe it. Numerous physicians were allegedly paid bribes by the company to push the painkilling drug. Insys made 18,000 payments to doctors in 2016 that totaled more than $2 million. Headache doctors, back pain specialists and even a psychiatrist ... received thousands of dollars to promote the drug last year. Last December, six other Insys executives were indicted on federal charges in Boston in connection with the alleged scheme to bribe doctors to unnecessarily prescribe the painkilling drug.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption and health.


The Drug Industry's Triumph Over the DEA
2017-10-15, Washington Post
Posted: 2017-10-23 18:54:09
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/investigations/dea-drug-industry...

In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets. By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives. Overdose deaths continue to rise. A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law. The new law makes it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies, according to internal agency and Justice Department documents and an independent assessment. Political action committees representing the industry contributed at least $1.5 million to the 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill. “The drug industry, the manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and chain drugstores, have an influence over Congress that has never been seen before,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who ran the DEA’s division responsible for regulating the drug industry and led a decade-long campaign of aggressive enforcement until he was forced out of the agency in 2015. “I mean, to get Congress to pass a bill to protect their interests in the height of an opioid epidemic just shows me how much influence they have.” The DEA and Justice Department have denied or delayed more than a dozen requests filed by The Post and “60 Minutes” under the Freedom of Information Act for public records that might shed additional light on the matter.

Note: The city of Everett, Washington is currently suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, for the company's alleged role in the diversion of its pills to black market buyers. For other reliable information on pharmaceutical involvement in the huge increase in opioid deaths, see Dr. Mercola's excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in pharmaceutical industry.


Study prompts call to examine flu vaccine and miscarriage
2017-09-13, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2017-10-01 23:21:06
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/study-prompts-call-examine-flu-vaccine...

A puzzling study of U.S. pregnancies found that women who had miscarriages between 2010 and 2012 were more likely to have had back-to-back annual flu shots that included protection against swine flu. Past studies have found flu vaccines are safe during pregnancy, though there’s been little research on impact of flu vaccinations given in the first three months of pregnancy. This study focused only on miscarriages, which occur in the first 19 weeks of pregnancy and are common. The study’s authors, two of whom are CDC researchers, saw a big difference when they looked at women who had miscarried within 28 days of getting a shot that included protection against swine flu, but it was only when the women also had had a flu shot the previous season. They found 17 of 485 miscarriages they studied involved women whose vaccinations followed that pattern. Just four of a comparable 485 healthy pregnancies involved women who were vaccinated that way. Some of the same researchers are working on a larger study looking at more recent data to see if a possible link between swine flu vaccine and miscarriage holds up.

Note: Shortly after publication, this article was removed from the ABC News website. The complete article text is available here. The study in Vaccine can be found on this page. An important article on this study by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on this webpage further states "in women who received the H1N1 vaccine in the previous flu season, the odds of spontaneous abortion in the 28 days after receiving a flu vaccine was 7.7 times greater." Could it be that the major media don't want to lose the huge revenue gained by drug ads by pharmaceuticals?


Many Doctors Get Goodies from Opioid Makers
2017-08-10, NBC News
Posted: 2017-09-04 23:22:22
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/many-doctors-get-g...

About one out of every 12 U.S. doctors gets money, lunch or something else of value from companies that make opioid drugs, researchers reported Wednesday. Companies are spending much more time and effort marketing opioids to doctors than they are other, less addictive painkillers, the researchers found. They say their findings help explain why doctors have played such an important role in the opioid overuse epidemic. “A large proportion of physicians received payments - one in 12 physicians overall,” said Dr. Scott Hadland of the Boston Medical Center. “Tens of millions of dollars were transferred for marketing purposes for opioids. In some cases they are money provided directly to physicians - for example, the speaking fees, the consultant fees and the honoraria. In other cases it is reimbursement for things like travel,” Hadland said. Between 2013 and 2015, the team found 375,266 payments worth $46 million made to more than 68,000 doctors. “The top 1 percent of physicians (681 of them) received 82.5 percent of total payments in dollars,” the team wrote in their report. A study published last year found that physicians who accepted even one meal sponsored by a drug company were much more likely to prescribe a name-brand drug to patients later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors are definitely helping drive the addiction crisis. The result is deadly. More than 30,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015.

Note: The city of Everett, Washington is currently suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, for the company's alleged role in the diversion of its pills to black market buyers. For other reliable information on pharmaceutical involvement in the huge increase in opioid deaths, see Dr. Mercola's excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Dying From an Opioid Overdose Is More Common Than You Think
2017-08-07, Time
Posted: 2017-09-04 23:20:49
http://time.com/4890536/opioid-heroin-overdose-deaths/

Since 2000, the number of overdose deaths from drugs in the U.S. has risen more than 137%. Deaths from opioids - which include painkillers and heroin - make up a large portion of these deaths; 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Federal numbers like these reveal a dire situation. But a new study finds that many opioid-related deaths are underreported, and that the full picture of the epidemic may be worse than even those numbers show. In the report, Christopher Ruhm, a professor of public policy & economics at the University of Virginia ... found that nationwide, the death rate from opioids is 24% higher than what has been estimated previously. Deaths related to heroin, which is cheaper than prescription painkillers, are 22% higher, he says. When hospitals enter the cause of death on a person’s death certificate, the drugs that contributed might not be specified, or multiple drugs will be listed as present. Between 20%-25% of the overdose death certificates Ruhm studied did not have any drug specified, suggesting that statewide estimates of deaths linked to opioids could be significantly off. Ruhm found that the overall death rates from opioids were substantially underreported across the U.S. - by more than half in Pennsylvania, for example. The growth in death rates from 2008 to 2014 - the time period Ruhm studied - was also substantially underestimated in many states.

Note: The city of Everett, Washington is currently suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, for the company's alleged role in the diversion of its pills to black market buyers. For other reliable information on pharmaceutical involvement in the huge increase in opioid deaths, see Dr. Mercola's excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Too Many Meds? America's Love Affair With Prescription Medication
2017-08-03, Consumer Reports
Posted: 2017-08-20 00:16:27
https://www.consumerreports.org/prescription-drugs/too-many-meds-americas-lov...

Americans take more pills today than at any other time in recent history - and far more than people in any other country. Much of that medication use is lifesaving or at least life-improving. But a lot is not. The amount of harm stemming from inappropriate prescription medication is staggering. Almost 1.3 million people went to U.S. emergency rooms due to adverse drug effects in 2014, and about 124,000 died from those events. That’s according to estimates based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Other research suggests that up to half of those events were preventable. All of that bad medicine is costly, too. An estimated $200 billion per year is spent in the U.S. on the unnecessary and improper use of medication, for the drugs themselves and related medical costs. Our previous surveys have found that higher drug costs - including more expensive drugs and higher out-of-pocket costs - also strain household budgets, with many people telling us they had to cut back on groceries or delay paying other bills to pay for their prescriptions. Total spending on drug ads targeting consumers reached $6.4 billion last year, 64 percent more than in 2012. That’s $1.3 billion more than the FDA’s entire 2017 budget. Drug companies spend even more - $24 billion in 2012 alone - on marketing just to doctors through ads in medical journals, face-to-face sales, free medication samples, and educational and promotional meetings.

Note: For more, see this informative article . For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering and health.


Why Martin Shkreli Won’t Be the Last Pharma Bro
2017-08-08, Fortune
Posted: 2017-08-20 00:14:06
http://fortune.com/2017/08/08/martin-shkreli-pharma-bro-pharmaceutical-compan...

Martin Shkreli - famously known as the guy that jacked up the price of a lifesaving AIDS treatment by 5,000% - finally saw his day in court, albeit for a completely unrelated case involving an unrelated company. The trial ... found Shkreli guilty of three counts of fraud for essentially lying to his investors about how he would invest their money and when they would be paid back. The conviction, carrying a potential 20 years in prison, is no joke. Yet the notorious self-promoter took the opportunity to ... let the world know he wasn’t fazed. And why should he be? How Shkreli got rich in the first place remains not just legal but celebrated. The real crime of the Pharma Bro is the unrepentant greed that drives him, as well as the industry he’s thrived in. Sen. Bernie Sanders has attempted to put a stop to this greed with recently introduced legislation to cap prices for pharmaceuticals developed by government-funded research. Far from a new idea, Sanders has been pushing for a bill like this for decades. While raising the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000% rightfully drew the scorn of millions of people, price gouging is all too common for the industry. Take the EpiPen, the lifesaving device for kids and adults with severe allergies, whose price was famously hiked up over 500% ... after it was acquired by Mylan. Laws that protect investors in these companies are what landed Shkreli in court. Yet until there are laws to protect patients from drug company extortion, like the one proposed by Sanders, the line of Pharma Bros ready to take his place is already queued up.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering and corporate corruption.


Why Are Drug Prices So High? These Politicians Might Have The Answer
2017-08-14, International Business Times
Posted: 2017-08-20 00:11:59
http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/why-are-drug-prices-so-high-these-po...

Why do Americans continue to pay the highest prices for medicine in the world? Lawmakers have sculpted specific policies, often not found in many other nations, that boost pharmaceutical industry profits. Meanwhile, the drug industry has spent $61 million on state elections and nearly $67 million on federal elections since 2010. Both parties have made pivotal decisions ... that have kept drug prices high. Insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, across the U.S., face at least nine class-action lawsuits alleging they attached arbitrary premiums to the prices of often less-expensive, generic prescription drugs. The plaintiffs also accuse the PBMs and insurers of imposing so-called “gag clauses” on pharmacies to keep pharmacists from telling consumers that they could save money by paying out of pocket. The system could be denying customers $120 billion in discounts and rebates. Should drugs developed at taxpayer expense be sold to Americans at sky high prices? In the past, the federal government passed a rule saying no — but that rule was rescinded in 1995. If Americans were allowed to import lower-priced drugs from places like Canada, it would save government agencies alone $6 billion. But ... Americans are still prohibited from engaging in such importation. The federal government could [also] save billions of dollars a year by having Medicare use its huge market power to negotiate - or require - lower drug prices for the program's beneficiaries.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering and health.


Bernie Sanders’ Drug Price Bill Would Save Billions, Congressional Analysts Say
2017-07-31, International Business Times
Posted: 2017-08-06 16:26:19
http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/bernie-sanders-drug-price-bill-would...

Allowing Americans to purchase lower-priced medicines from other countries would save the federal government alone more than $6 billion, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. Under existing law, drugmakers are permitted to produce pharmaceuticals abroad and then import them into the United States, where ... they charge Americans the highest prices for medicines in the world. However, while drugmakers themselves are allowed to import medicines, current law prohibits U.S. consumers and pharmaceutical wholesalers from doing so, even when the same medicines are sold at much lower prices abroad. Spending millions on campaign donations and lobbying, the pharmaceutical industry has for years successfully fought off legislation to end the prohibition. This year — nearly 17 years after President Bill Clinton’s administration killed ... drug importation legislation — the importation initiative has once again been renewed. Looking to take advantage of President Donald Trump’s promise to lower drug prices, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ... introduced the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act on Feb. 28. Overall, campaign spending by the pharmaceutical industry is skyrocketing. Congressional donations from pharmaceutical PACs are up 11 percent as compared with a similar time frame in 2015, and donations to ranking members of health-related committees have risen by 80 percent from two years ago. Lobbying is also on the rise, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering.


Why Are We Drugging Our Soldiers?
2012-04-21, New York Times
Posted: 2017-07-17 09:16:09
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/why-are-we-drugging-our-sold...

Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a large and steady rise in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among our troops. One recent study of ... Americans who served in those countries found that the rates of the disorder jumped to 22 percent in 2008 from just 0.2 percent in 2002. [A] factor that might be playing a role in the increasing rates of the disorder ... has escaped attention: the military’s use of stimulant medications, like Ritalin and Adderall, in our troops. Annual spending on stimulants jumped to $39 million in 2010 from $7.5 million in 2001 - more than a fivefold increase. The number of Ritalin and Adderall prescriptions written for active-duty service members increased by nearly 1,000 percent in five years, to 32,000 from 3,000. The military almost certainly uses the stimulants to help fatigued and sleep-deprived troops stay alert. By causing the direct release of norepinephrine — a close chemical relative of adrenaline — in the brain, stimulants facilitate memory formation. Not surprisingly, emotionally arousing experiences — both positive and negative — also cause a surge of norepinephrine, which helps to create vivid, long-lasting memories. That’s why we tend to remember events that stir our feelings and learn best when we are a little anxious. Since PTSD is basically a pathological form of learning known as fear conditioning, stimulants could plausibly increase the risk of getting the disorder. It is an open question whether the use of stimulants in combat does more good than harm.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in drug companies and in the military.


Soaring Numbers of Children on Powerful Adult Psychiatric Drugs
2012-08-14, Huffington Post
Posted: 2017-07-17 09:12:55
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/children-antipsychotics_b_1771...

Unethical and illegal drug company activities have driven the prescription of toxic antipsychotic drugs to children. Now the “success” of this campaign has been documented in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In a comparison between the years 1993-1998 and 2005-2009, prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs for per 100 children (0-13 years old) rose from 0.24 to 1.83. That’s more than a sevenfold increase. Given that most of prescriptions are for the older children in this age range, the rate would be substantially higher among preteens and 13-year-olds. For adolescents (14-20 years old) the increase was nearly fivefold. The drugging of children with antipsychotic drugs is a direct result of off-label (unapproved) uses promoted by the drug companies in cooperation with unscrupulous psychiatrists and researchers. The new ... study confirms that most of the prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs to children have indeed been off-label for disruptive behavioral disorders. Instead of helping parents and teachers to improve their methods of disciplining children, psychiatrists are suppressing the overall mental life and behavior of these youngsters with antipsychotic drugs. As I describe in my new book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families, health professionals must stop the psychiatric drugging of children and focus on developing facilities and approaches for helping children as well as adults to withdraw from these drugs as safely as possible.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Drug Companies Drive the Psychiatric Drugging of Children
2012-07-24, Huffington Post
Posted: 2017-07-17 09:10:44
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/psychiatric-drugs_b_1693649.html

Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, has tentatively agreed to a settlement of $2.2 billion to resolve a federal investigation into the company’s marketing practices. Johnson & Johnson confidentially paid psychiatrists such as Harvard’s Joseph Biederman to promote adult drugs such as the powerful antipsychotic drug Risperdal for children. The company has even ghost-written at least one of the Harvard professor’s “scientific” articles. Another recent DOJ settlement with drug company GlaxoSmithKline resulted in Glaxo’s agreement to pay $3 billion in criminal and civil fines. GlaxoSmithKline employed several tactics aimed at promoting the use of [Paxil] in children, including helping to publish a medical journal article that misreported data from a clinical trial. GlaxoSmithKline also secretly paid about $500,000 to psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff ... to promote Paxil. Glaxo even ghostwrote a psychopharmacology textbook for family doctors, who write many prescriptions for children, which was “coauthored“ by Nemeroff and psychiatrist Alan Schatzberg. None of these drug-company-bought psychiatrists has suffered serious consequences. Meanwhile, the DOJ has now enforced a total of $8.9 billion in criminal and civil fines against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson. Stimulants, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs are very harmful to the brain. The health professions would do far more good stopping the drugging of children than continuing or increasing it.

Note: The above was written by Peter Breggin, MD, author of the book, "Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families" For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Republicans and Democrats Continue to Block Drug Reimportation – After Publicly Endorsing It
2017-06-02, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2017-06-11 21:04:24
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-on-republicans-and-democ...

The entire pharmaceutical industry is floated by a protectionist racket. Drugs that are in fact very cheap to make are kept artificially expensive – we have drugs that cost $1,000 a pill here in America that sell for $4 in India, for instance. The means of keeping prices high vary, but include lengthy patents to push production of generics into the future, the barring of foreign competition, and the prohibition of negotiations to lower prices for bulk purchases by both the federal and state governments. Without government intervention, the pharmaceutical industry would be profitable, but it wouldn't be the massive cash factory it is now. In 2015, for instance, the 20 largest drug companies made a collective $124 billion in profits. All the industry needs to protect those sums is the continued cooperation of Congress. So naturally it spends money ... to make sure they always have just enough dependable people in office to block change. Which brings us ... to drug importation. Trump announced early in the race that he was in favor of bringing in cheaper drugs from Canada and made it a big stump theme. The Democrats, meanwhile, put allowing importation of drugs from countries like Canada in their platform last summer. The seeming synergy of the two candidates' positions led to the hope that something might actually be done about the problem, no matter who won. No such luck. Trump's support for drug importation basically went up in smoke from the moment he started filling out his executive appointees.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and throughout Big Pharma.


Drug Prices in the U.S. Are Ridiculous
2017-04-28, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2017-04-30 23:18:21
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/science/why-drug-prices-in-the-us-are-ridic...

Public money and public universities boost Big Pharma’s profits, so shouldn’t the public be able to afford the drugs? Almost 1 in 2 people used a prescription drug in the past month, and more than 1 in 5 used three or more. As the population ages and deals with more chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and depression, the percentage of people needing prescription medicines is growing. But what really sets us apart is how much they cost. Medicines in the US cost 2 to 6 times more than the rest of the world. 1 in 5 Americans - 35 million people - do not get their prescriptions filled because they don't have enough money. Big Pharma says high prices are necessary to invest in breakthrough research. But corporations don't actually do much of that, [and] have shifted money away from new-drug research to quick-profit minor variations on proven moneymakers. So who funds new-drug and breakthrough-drug research? Taxpayers. 84% of new-drug research is funded by the government. The public also subsidizes drug research through generous R&D tax credits. Using public research (plus charging high prices) gives corporations big profits. Drug companies' annual stock returns are twice the standard.

Note: A comprehensive infographic showing Big Pharma's preferential treatment by US regulators can be found at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


Pharmaceutical giant 'plotted to destroy cancer drugs to drive prices up 4,000%'
2017-04-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-04-23 19:10:56
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/drug-giant-aspen-plot-destroy-cancer...

Leaked internal emails appear to show employees at one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies calling for “celebration” over price hikes of cancer drugs. After purchasing five different cancer drugs from British firm GlaxoSmithKline, [Aspen Pharmacare] tried to sell the medicines ... for up to 40 times their previous price. When bargaining over drug prices in Spain, the pharmaceutical giant is said to have threatened to stop selling the cancer treatments unless the health minister agreed to price rises of up to 4,000 per cent. Now another leaked email appears to reveal that staff at Aspen discussed destroying their supplies of the drug in the row. The price increases were made possible by a loophole that allows drug companies to change the price of medicines if they are no longer branded with the same name. The loophole is designed to make drugs cheaper once their patents have expired – but if drug companies have no competition, they are free to rise prices as well. A ruling by the Italian competition watchdog found Aspen had taken an “aggressive” approach to negotiations in the country. The company said it would stop supplying Italy with the drugs in October 2013 if authorities did not agree to price rises of up to 2,100 per cent in three months.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Former FDA Reviewer Speaks Out About Intimidation, Retaliation and Marginalizing of Safety
2017-07-21, TruthOut.org
Posted: 2017-04-23 18:47:49
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/10524-former-fda-reviewer-speaks-out-about...

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.


The government’s struggle to hold opioid manufacturers accountable
2017-04-02, Washington Post
Posted: 2017-04-09 23:31:20
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/dea-mallinckrodt/?utm_...

To combat an escalating opioid epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration trained its sights in 2011 on Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of the highly addictive generic painkiller oxycodone. It was the first time the DEA had targeted a manufacturer of opioids for alleged violations of laws designed to prevent diversion of legal narcotics to the black market. Ultimately, the DEA and federal prosecutors would contend that the company ignored its responsibility to report suspicious orders as 500 million of its pills ended up in Florida between 2008 and 2012. Investigators alleged in internal documents that the company’s lack of due diligence could have resulted in nearly 44,000 federal violations and exposed it to $2.3 billion in fines. But six years later ... the government has taken no legal action against Mallinckrodt. Instead, the company has reached a tentative settlement. Under the proposal, which remains confidential, Mallinckrodt would agree to pay a $35 million fine and admit no wrongdoing. “Mallinckrodt’s response was that ­‘everyone knew what was going on in Florida but they had no duty to report it,’” according to an internal summary of the case prepared by federal prosecutors. The Post reported in October that the DEA’s civil and administrative enforcement efforts against the mammoth wholesale distributors that deliver painkillers to pharmacies stalled in the face of a stepped-up lobbying campaign by the drug industry.

Note: The city of Everett, Washington is currently suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, for the company's alleged role in the diversion of its pills to black market buyers. For other reliable information on pharmaceutical involvement in the huge increase in opioid deaths, see Dr. Mercola's excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


New Study Shows U.S. Government Fails to Oversee Treatment of Foster Children With Mind-Altering Drugs
2011-11-30, ABC News
Posted: 2017-04-09 23:19:59
http://abcnews.go.com/US/study-shows-foster-children-high-rates-prescription-...

The federal government has not done enough to oversee the treatment of America's foster children with powerful mind-altering drugs, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO's report, based on a two-year-long investigation, looked at five states - Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas. Thousands of foster children were being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in these five states alone. And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this. Overall, the GAO ... found that more than one-fourth of foster children were prescribed at least one psychiatric drug, [and] were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates up to nearly five times higher than non-foster children. The chances of a foster child compared to a non-foster child being given five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time were alarming. In Texas, foster children were 53 times more likely to be prescribed five or more psychiatric medications at the same time than non-foster children. Foster children were also more than nine times more likely than non-foster children to be prescribed drugs for which there was no FDA-recommended dose for their age. For ... those less than 1 year old, foster children were nearly twice as likely to be prescribed a psychiatric drug compared to non-foster children.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


Amid opioid crisis, city sues pharma that makes OxyContin
2017-03-14, CBS News
Posted: 2017-04-02 22:19:45
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/everett-claims-purdue-pharma-let-oxycontin-be-fun...

As deaths from painkillers and heroin abuse spiked and street crimes increased, the mayor of Everett took major steps to tackle the opioid epidemic devastating this working-class city north of Seattle. Mayor Ray Stephanson stepped up patrols, hired social workers to ride with officers and pushed for more permanent housing for chronically homeless people. The city says it has spent millions combating OxyContin and heroin abuse. So Everett is suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, in an unusual case that alleges the drugmaker knowingly allowed pills to be funneled into the black market and the city of about 108,000. “Purdue Pharmaceuticals was knowingly putting OxyContin into the black market in our community,” Stephanson told CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV earlier this year. He said the opioid crisis caused by “Purdue’s drive for profit” has overwhelmed the city’s resources, stretching everyone from first responders to park crews who clean up discarded syringes. In 2007, Purdue Pharma and its executives paid more than $630 million in legal penalties to the federal government for willfully misrepresenting the drug’s addiction risks. The same year, it also settled with Washington and other states that claimed the company aggressively marketed OxyContin ... while downplaying the addiction risk. A Los Angeles Times report [published last summer] found Purdue had evidence that pointed to illegal trafficking of its pills but in many cases did nothing to notify authorities or stop the flow.

Note: For other reliable information on pharmaceutical involvement in the huge increase in opioid deaths, see Dr. Mercola's excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma Lost $24.6 Billion in 20 Minutes During Donald Trump’s Press Conference
2017-01-11, Fortune
Posted: 2017-03-06 20:55:37
http://fortune.com/2017/01/11/donald-trump-press-conference-biopharma-stocks/

Pharmaceutical companies are "getting away with murder," President-elect Donald Trump said during his Wednesday press conference. After Trump mentioned drug prices and pharmaceutical companies' tax inversions, the nine biggest pharmaceutical companies by market cap on the S&P 500 shed roughly $24.6 billion in 20 minutes. The SPDR S&P Biotech exchange-traded fund, which tracks pharmaceutical stocks, fell nearly 4% in that time, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index fell 3% in the same period. Granted, the loss in market cap for big pharma is small relative to companies' overall market cap - a 3% decrease from their combined $906.8 billion before Trump's speech. For the most part, pharmaceutical executives were relieved when Trump won the election. That's because Hillary Clinton, the one-time Democratic presidential nominee, heavily criticized drug companies on the campaign trail. Big pharmaceutical executives hoped that Trump would not come down as hard on their industry. Even now, it seems investors aren't all that worried about Trump's press conference criticisms: The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF is still up nearly 9% since election day. Merck's stock has managed to stay in the green despite losses during Trump's speech, thanks to news that the Food and Drug Administration had decided to speed up the review of a one of its lung-cancer treatments.

Note: Yet less than a month later, Trump completely changed his tune to support big Pharma, as shown in this Chicago Tribune article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Trump had a good idea on drug costs. He ditched it after meeting with pharma execs.
2017-02-02, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2017-03-06 20:52:34
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-trump-drug-costs-20170202-story.html

It was Tuesday morning. The new president was about to go into a meeting with chief executives from Johnson & Johnson, Merck and a handful of other major pharma companies. During his campaign, he often said that if he were elected, the federal government would start negotiating with the drug companies over the prices Medicare and Medicaid had to pay for drugs -- something it's now prevented from doing by statute. Pharma companies were "getting away with murder," he said on Jan. 10. A few weeks later, he claimed that the government would save $300 billion if it could negotiate prices. "We don't do it," he said. "Why? Because of the drug companies." "We have to get prices down," he says at the beginning of the meeting with cameras rolling. "We have no choice." Then the doors were closed. When they opened again, Trump had not only abandoned his promise to use the government's bargaining power to bring down drug prices, he was now totally against it! "I'll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market," he said. "That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what's happening." He accused an agency that has no power to negotiate prices of "price-fixing." And so it was that after one meeting with pharma CEOs, Trump was turned around on his one good idea and embraced instead yet another nonsensical one.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Big Pharma really, really doesn't want you to know the true value of its drugs
2017-02-17, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2017-02-27 13:38:53
http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-drug-pricing-evzio-2017...

The latest poster child for cruel and inhuman drug pricing is Kaleo Pharma, maker of an emergency injector for a med called naloxone, which is used as an antidote to save the lives of people who overdose on painkillers. As America’s opioid crisis reaches epidemic levels, Kaleo has jacked up the list price for its Evzio auto-injector by 600%, soaring from $690 several years ago to $4,500, according to lawmakers. Nearly three dozen senators wrote to Kaleo’s chief executive, Spencer Williamson, last week to say they were “deeply concerned” about the price hike and to note that it “threatens to price out families and communities that depend on naloxone to save lives." But that’s not what caught my attention. Rather, I was struck by the company’s answers to me about lawmakers’ concerns. In response to emailed questions, Williamson said that although the list price for Evzio is more than $4,000, that’s “not a true net price to anyone … due to numerous discounts and rebates that are negotiated in the supply chain that make up our healthcare system.” In other words, even though the price tag for his company’s easy-to-use, lifesaving device is ridiculous and indefensible, there’s no need to worry because backroom deals by assorted players in the healthcare food chain make that price tag meaningless. And that, in a nutshell, illustrates the lunacy of the U.S. healthcare system.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and income inequality.


Big pharma approach to drug R&D challenged by UN panel
2016-10-14, CBC News/Reuters
Posted: 2017-02-13 17:38:34
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/drug-r-and-d-1.3761482

The world cannot rely solely on free markets to deliver medicines needed by billions of people in poor countries, so governments should commit to a legally binding convention to coordinate and fund research and development. That's the conclusion of a major United Nations report. The high-level panel was set up last year by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to find solutions to the "policy incoherence" between the rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health needs. The final report ... calls for a de-linkage of R&D costs and drug prices — at least in areas where the system is failing, such as tropical diseases and the hunt for new antibiotics against "superbug" resistant bacteria. The report attacks the "implicit threats" it says are sometimes used by Western governments and companies to stop poorer countries from exercising their right to over-ride drug patents under World Trade Organization rules. That may not go down well in Washington, given the United States' long-standing defence of the international intellectual property system, which has governed world trade for more than two decades. The panel also calls for greater transparency on the true cost of developing a new drug, citing estimates of anything between $150 million US and $4 billion US per medicine. And it wants disclosure on the real prices paid by insurers and governments for drugs, after discounts. The UN panel consisted of representatives from government, academia, health activism and industry.

Note: Big Pharma has long lobbied for protection of its rights to huge profits from new medicines and kept secret its costs for R&D by refusing to separate these costs from marketing costs. For lots more, read a profoundly revealing essay by the former head of one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and income inequality.


Industry money may taint advice from patient groups, regulators
2017-01-18, Fox News/Reuters
Posted: 2017-02-06 08:39:14
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/01/18/industry-money-may-taint-advice-from...

As a social worker, Susannah Rose referred clients with cancer to patient advocacy groups she trusted to dispense unbiased advice - until she heard the groups might be taking money from pharmaceutical companies. So she set out to investigate. Two-thirds of patient advocacy organizations reported receiving industry funding, Rose, now a bioethicist, finds in a new study. Her research was published ... in JAMA Internal Medicine along with other studies showing a host of ways pharmaceutical manufacturers appear to pay for influence. Rose and her colleagues identified 7,865 patient advocacy organizations in the U.S., most involving cancer and rare or genetic disorders. They surveyed a random sample of the organization's leaders. More than 67 percent of 245 patient advocacy groups reported receiving industry funding in the past year. Of those, nearly 12 percent reported that more than half their funding came from industry. When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain in an effort to curtail a growing epidemic of abuse of the painkillers in 2015, nonprofit organizations stepped in to challenge the effort. The CDC postponed releasing the guidelines and solicited public comments for 30 days. Opioid manufacturers gave money to 45 of 158 patient advocacy and professional organizations that commented on the proposed guidelines. Organizations with funding from opioid manufacturers were significantly more likely to oppose them, researchers found.

Note: It's interesting to note that apparently no other major media picked up this Reuters article. Drug company executives have recently been caught bribing doctors to over-prescribe opioids, and ex-DEA official has publicly accused Congress of helping drug makers avoid responsibility for their role in the US opioid epidemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Research Confirms this Holistic Treatment is Safer and More Effective than Morphine
2017-01-12, Waking Times
Posted: 2017-01-23 20:41:48
http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/01/12/research-confims-holistic-treatment-mor...

Morphine is an opioid pain medication which can have severe adverse effects. These include drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, tired feeling, anxiety and mild itching. Other risks associated with morphine use include misuse, abuse and addiction. In addition, scientific research has shown that prescription opioids may actually worsen chronic pain. It appears that a holistic alternative to treating pain is much-needed in order to mitigate the dangers of conventional pharmaceutical pain treatment. Now, a groundbreaking study shows that acupuncture is one of these effective holistic alternatives. Considering the study results, it may perhaps be even more effective than morphine. The [new] research evaluated 300 emergency patients. 150 were administered up to 15 mg of morphine per day. The other 150 were given acupuncture treatment. The acupuncture group in the study experienced significant pain reduction, and the effect occurred faster and with fewer side effects when compared to the morphine group. In 1996, acupuncture became an accepted form of medical treatment endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO based their endorsement on data from numerous controlled clinical trials conducted over the two previous decades. Undoubtedly, acupuncture can play a powerful role in pain management. It is an effective drug-free alternative to reducing pain with very few side effects that has been proven over the ages.

Note: Why wasn't this important study reported in the major media? Could it be that big Pharma has bought out the media with their billions in advertising dollars such that they won't report on discoveries that eat into their profits? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical corruption from reliable major media sources.


New Healthcare Law Is A Win For Lobbyists And Drug Companies
2016-12-01, International Business Times
Posted: 2017-01-02 20:02:53
http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/new-healthcare-law-win-lobbyists-dru...

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is rushing to finalize a new healthcare law that would overhaul the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill, called the 21st Century Cures Act, is also a huge win for lobbyists: 1,455 lobbyists, working on behalf of 400 different healthcare companies, medical device makers and research institutions weighed in on the 900 pages of regulatory tweaks and research grants. Originally conceived as a bill to boost research ... pro-industry groups have used the bill as a vehicle to achieve their long standing legislative agenda. It effectively makes it easier for drug companies and medical device manufacturers to get FDA approval for their products without demonstrating that consumer safety has been taken into account. Consumer advocates are particularly concerned with several provisions that make it much easier for pharmaceutical companies to bypass stringent testing requirements to market and sell drugs for multiple uses. Currently, if a company wanted to sell a drug to treat more than one ailment, it must conduct randomized scientific trials showing the product does indeed work for each separate illness it's marketed for. The 21st Century Cures Act lowers that threshold. The bill also frees pharmaceutical companies to work with insurance companies to promote off-label uses for their drugs and creates a new category of ... medical devices which qualify for expedited regulatory approval. The lawmakers who introduced the measure are bankrolled by the healthcare industry.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


Despite Pledges To Cut Back, Farms Are Still Using Antibiotics
2016-12-22, NPR
Posted: 2017-01-02 20:00:59
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/12/22/506599017/despite-pledges-to-c...

Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation's swine, cattle and poultry. According to the latest figures, released this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine. The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections. But the FDA finds a glimmer of good news in the latest figures, pointing out that the rate of increase has slowed. In the previous year, antibiotic use had increased by 4 percent, and a total of 22 percent from 2009 to 2014.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about food system corruption and health


20 States Accuse Generic Drug Companies of Price Fixing
2016-12-15, New York Times
Posted: 2016-12-19 15:53:50
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/15/business/generic-drug-price-lawsuit-teva-my...

A wide-ranging investigation into generic drug prices took its most significant turn yet on Thursday, as state attorneys general accused two industry leaders, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Mylan, and four smaller companies of engaging in brazen price-fixing schemes - and promised that more charges were coming. A civil complaint filed by 20 states accuses the companies of conspiring to artificially inflate prices on an antibiotic and a diabetes drug, with executives coordinating through informal industry gatherings and personal calls and text messages. Officials said the case was a small example of broader problems in the drug business. “We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” George C. Jepsen, Connecticut’s attorney general, whose office started the inquiry that led to the charges, said. “I stress that our investigation is continuing, and it goes way beyond the two drugs in this lawsuit, and it involves many more companies than are in this lawsuit.” The complaint on Thursday describes a cozy industry culture defined by regular dinners and social outings, and argues that those events often cross the line to violate antitrust rules. Generic drug makers hoping to begin selling a new drug first seek out rivals, the suit says, in hopes of reaching an agreement on how to maintain market share and avoid competing on price. “These agreements had the effect of artificially maintaining high prices for a large number of generic drugs and creating an appearance of competition when in fact none existed,” the lawsuit says.

Note: A separate anti-trust investigation into Mylan was recently launched in New York over price-fixing on public school EpiPen contracts. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Feds Arrest 6 Former Insys Execs for Allegedly Bribing Doctors
2016-12-08, Fortune
Posted: 2016-12-19 15:51:42
http://fortune.com/2016/12/08/insys-execs-charged-bribing-doctors-fentanyl/

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.


Placebos Help Kids With Migraines as Well as Drugs Do
2016-10-28, NBC News
Posted: 2016-11-21 15:18:17
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/placebos-help-kids-migraines-well-d...

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.


Monthly cost of providing key drugs could be $1-2 per person, experts say
2016-11-08, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2016-11-14 18:18:05
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/essential-medicines-1.3841471

Essential medicines could be provided for as little as $1-$2 US a month per person in developing countries, experts said on Monday as they called on governments to boost efforts to ensure everyone can access basic healthcare. Although global spending on medicines is about eight times this amount, one in five countries spends less than $1 per month per person, according to the first analysis of the cost of providing key drugs by The Lancet Commission on Essential Medicines. The commission, comprising 21 international experts, said lack of access to affordable, quality medicines was threatening progress towards universal health coverage. The list of essential medicines contains 201 drugs needed for a basic healthcare system. The commission estimated the cost of providing essential medicines to the populations of low- and middle-income countries to be between $77 billion and $152 billion a year. It said 41 countries were spending less than $1 per person per month on medicines while global spending on medicines in 2017 was predicted to be $1.2 trillion. The experts said "massive inequities and inefficiencies" in financing and governance were restricting access to drugs for many people. They said persistent problems with the quality and safety of medicines in many low- and middle-income countries must also be addressed with better regulation, [and] called for urgent reforms in the way essential drugs are developed and patented to improve affordability and access.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and health.


Opioid epidemic: ex-DEA official says Congress is protecting drug makers
2016-10-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-11-07 18:50:32
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/31/opioid-epidemic-dea-official-...

A former top Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official has accused Congress of putting pharmaceutical company profits ahead of public health in the battle to combat the US’s prescription opioid epidemic. Joseph Rannazzisi, head of the DEA office responsible for preventing prescription medicine abuse until last year, said drug companies and their lobbyists have a “stranglehold” on Congress to protect a $9bn a year trade in opioid painkillers claiming the lives of nearly 19,000 people a year. Rannazzisi ... said the drug industry engineered recent legislation limiting the DEA’s powers to act against pharmacies endangering lives by dispensing disproportionately large numbers of opioids. He also accused lobbyists ... of whipping up opposition to new guidelines for doctors intended to reduce the prescribing of the painkillers. Charges that Congress is too beholden to pharmaceutical companies have been levelled for years. But ... the influence on opioid policies is particularly disturbing because so many lives are being lost. Industry groups have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying to stave off measures to reduce prescriptions and therefore sales of opioid painkillers. Among the most influential drug industry groups is the Pain Care Forum, co-founded by a top executive of Purdue Pharma – the manufacturer of the opioid which unleashed the addiction epidemic, OxyContin. It spent $740m lobbying Congress and state legislatures over the past decade.

Note: See also a Washington Post article for more. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering.


MDs Say US Costs For Valeant's Lead Poisoning Drug Are 33,000% More Than Canada's
2016-10-06, Forbes
Posted: 2016-10-23 16:15:23
http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/10/16/cost-for-valeants-lead...

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.


Ads disguised as news: A drug company's stealth marketing campaign exposed
2016-10-05, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2016-10-10 15:28:16
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/vaginal-atrophy-analysis-1.3786547

It's rare to get a glimpse behind the curtain of pharmaceutical marketing. CBC [has] learned about a stealth marketing campaign involving a drug company, a well-known Canadian comedian, a doctor and a public relations firm. "Cathy Jones of This Hour Has 22 Minutes is on a mission to get women to start talking about female sexual health after menopause - and particularly, their vaginas," wrote PR company GCI Group in a press release, offering to arrange an interview. But nowhere did it say this "mission" was initiated and sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., which makes a vaginal hormone pill. Nor did GCI's release specify that Jones was paid to give media interviews about vaginal atrophy. When CBC asked if there was a drug company involved, the PR firm said yes, Novo Nordisk, but that was to be kept secret. "No parties including GCI want any mention of the drug or drug company," CBC was told. "It's an unbranded campaign." In other words, it's marketing that looks like any other lifestyle article in news. This is what it looks like on the Globe and Mail's website. There was originally no mention of Novo Nordisk sponsoring the campaign. Is it OK for a drug company, behind a curtain, to generate news about a condition and then encourage women to see their doctor? "No, it is not OK," says Dr. Jerilynn Prior [with] the University of British Columbia. "It is misrepresenting the marketing purpose behind it." This is a rare public example of something that happens all the time.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about Big Pharma corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


EpiPen outrage: Silicon Valley engineers figure real cost to make lifesaving auto-injector two-pack — about $8
2016-10-01, The Mercury News (One of Silicon Valley's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2016-10-10 15:25:50
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/01/epipen-outrage-silicon-valley-engineers...

In his 93 years, Bob Wallace has seen some product-pricing doozies over the decades, but the nonstop national furor over the stratospheric price hikes for EpiPens - now retailing above $700 for a two-pack - was the final shot. Wallace and Roland Krevitt, a veteran Scotts Valley manufacturing and tooling consultant, set out to demystify the cost to produce the EpiPen, piece by piece. The auto-injector delivers a lifesaving dose of adrenaline to treat serious allergic reactions to everything from bee stings to food. [They crunched] the costs for molding and manufacturing the nozzle, needle, syringe, springs, safety cap - and 0.3 mg of epinephrine. Their startling estimate of the cost for a two-pack of EpiPens: $8.02. And that even included the bright-yellow box. The pharmaceutical giant Mylan is the latest drugmaker to withstand a public lashing over skyrocketing drug prices. While politicians and patients demand explanations ... policy experts and drug makers blame an American health care system built on an ever-expanding pool of middlemen whose piece of the action is driving up the final bill. [Mylan’s] chief executive, Heather Bresch, recently told a congressional committee her company pays $69 per two-pack to the firm that actually manufactures the EpiPen, [and] pointed to charts explaining why the company charges a $608 wholesale price for a two-pack. The Wall Street Journal ... reported last week that Mylan low-balled its calculation of EpiPen profits to Congress.

Note: Read more about Mylan's price gouging on EpiPens. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


2 Paths of Bayer Drug in 80's: Riskier One Steered Overseas
2013-05-22, New York Times
Posted: 2016-10-10 15:19:59
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/22/business/2-paths-of-bayer-drug-in-80-s-risk...

A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs - medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS - to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The Bayer unit, Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas, [and] kept making the old medicine for several months more. In Hong Kong and Taiwan alone, more than 100 hemophiliacs got H.I.V. after using Cutter's old medicine. Many have since died. Cutter also continued to sell the older product ... in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Argentina. The Cutter documents, which were produced in connection with lawsuits filed by American hemophiliacs, went largely unnoticed until The Times began asking about them. Federal regulators helped keep the overseas sales out of the public eye. When a Hong Kong distributor in late 1984 expressed an interest in the new product, the records show, Cutter asked the distributor to "use up stocks" of the old medicine. Several months later, as hemophiliacs in Hong Kong began testing positive for H.I.V., some local doctors questioned whether Cutter was dumping "AIDS tainted" medicine into less-developed countries.

Note: Watch a three-minute MSNBC report on this decision by Bayer which resulted in thousands being infected with AIDS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Merck Whistleblower Suit A Boon to Vaccine Foes Even As It Stresses Importance of Vaccines
2012-07-27, Forbes
Posted: 2016-09-25 22:55:13
http://www.forbes.com/sites/gerganakoleva/2012/06/27/merck-whistleblower-suit...

A whistleblower suit against Merck, filed back in 2010 by two former employees, [accused] the drugmaker of overstating the effectiveness of its mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine. The scientists claim Merck defrauded the U.S. government by causing it to purchase an estimated four million doses of mislabeled and misbranded MMR vaccine per year for at least a decade, and helped ignite two recent mumps outbreaks that the allegedly ineffective vaccine was intended to prevent in the first place. “As the single largest purchaser of childhood vaccines (accounting for more than 50 percent of all vaccine purchasers), the United States is by far the largest financial victim of Merck’s fraud. Specifically, the suit claims Merck manipulated the results of clinical trials beginning in the late 1990s so as to be able to report that the combined mumps vaccine ... is 95 percent effective, in an effort to maintain its exclusive license to manufacture it. However, instead of reformulating the vaccine whose declining efficacy Merck itself has acknowledged, the company reportedly launched a complicated scheme to adjust its testing technique so that it would yield the desired potency results. While the Justice Department has refused to rule on the case after conducting its own two-year investigation, the allegations ... offer an extremely damaging view into the inner process of a company accused of misleading both regulators and consumers about a vital medical product.

Note: For more on this, see this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption and vaccine controversies.


New dengue vaccine could instead cause more cases, experts warn
2016-09-01, CNN News
Posted: 2016-09-11 23:46:31
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/01/health/dengue-vaccine-increase-disease/

The newly licensed vaccine against the dengue virus - trade name Dengvaxia - could lead to an increase in the number of cases of the disease if not implemented correctly, experts warn in a new study. The number of people affected by dengue has increased in recent years, with 390 million people estimated to be infected each year. Cases of the disease have [been] reported in more than 100 countries worldwide. Dengvaxia was produced by Sanofi Pasteur, which, after spending 20 years developing the vaccine, published promising findings on its effectiveness in 2015. Trials showed the vaccine to be 59.2% effective against dengue when results were pooled across populations and age groups. [Study author] Neil Ferguson used data from the clinical trials to assess the impact of using the vaccine in different settings and found that its use in areas with low levels of disease, where people are unlikely to have been previously exposed to dengue, could lead to an increase in people severely affected by the infection due to the complexities of the virus and the way it interacts with our immune system. "Unlike most diseases, the second time you get dengue, it's much more likely to be severe than the first time you get it," Ferguson said. When people who have never experienced the infection get immunized, the vaccine may act like a silent infection, gearing them up for a more severe infection should they face the real form of the virus. "It can have the potential to make things worse if it's misused," Ferguson said.

Note: Dengue fever is carried by aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also carry zika virus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine news articles from reliable major media sources.


New York attorney general launches antitrust probe of Mylan's EpiPen contracts
2016-09-06, CNBC
Posted: 2016-09-11 23:42:11
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/06/new-york-attorney-general-launches-antitrust-p...

New York state's attorney general on Tuesday opened an investigation into the pharmaceuticals giant [Mylan], focused on its contracts with local school systems to buy its lifesaving EpiPens. The skyrocketing price of those auto-injection devices, used to counteract potentially fatal allergic reactions, has drawn intense criticism. The office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it launched its probe after a preliminary review revealed Mylan might have inserted anti-competitive terms into its deals to sell EpiPens. Schneiderman's move came within hours of U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Mylan violated federal antitrust laws. "As the cost of EpiPens skyrocketed, schools seeking relief turned to Mylan's 'EpiPen4Schools' program," Blumenthal's office said. "Some of these schools were required to sign a contract agreeing not to purchase any products from Mylan's competitors for a period of 12 months - conduct that can violate the antitrust laws." Schneiderman's probe also comes on the heels of news that Minnesota's attorney general, Lori Swanson, has asked Mylan to provide documents that would justify the company having raised the retail price of EpiPens more than 400 percent. "No child's life should be put at risk because a parent, school, or health-care provider cannot afford a simple, lifesaving device because of a drug-maker's anti-competitive practices," Schneiderman said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Mylan CEO's Pay Rose Over 600 Percent as EpiPen Price Rose 400 Percent
2016-08-23, NBC News
Posted: 2016-08-29 20:28:55
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/mylan-execs-gave-themselves-raises-t...

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.

Note: For more, see this CNBC article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry.


High cholesterol 'does not cause heart disease' new research finds, so treating with statins a 'waste of time'
2016-06-16, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-08-08 19:15:26
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/06/12/high-cholesterol-does-not-cause...

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.


Medicare safeguard overwhelmed by pricey drugs
2016-07-24, Seattle Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2016-07-31 19:58:46
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/ap-exclusive-medicare-safeguard-overwhel...

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.


As need grows for painkiller overdose treatment, companies raise prices
2016-07-17, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2016-07-24 22:51:56
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-naloxone-sales-20160707-snap-story.html

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.

Note: Tens of thousands of deaths are caused by prescription opioid overdose in the US each year. If Big Pharma sees this as an opportunity to profit, what does that say about the healthcare system?


One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana
2016-07-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-07-24 22:49:36
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/13/one-striking-chart-sho...

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.


How Big Pharma Uses Charity Programs to Cover for Drug Price Hikes
2016-05-19, Bloomberg
Posted: 2016-07-24 22:47:26
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-19/the-real-reason-big-pharma-...

In August 2015, Turing Pharmaceuticals and its then-chief executive, Martin Shkreli, purchased a drug called Daraprim and immediately raised its price more than 5,000 percent. Within days, Turing contacted ... PSI, a charity that helps people meet the insurance copayments on costly drugs. Turing wanted PSI to create a fund for patients with toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that is most often treated with Daraprim. Having just made Daraprim much more costly, Turing was now offering to make it more affordable. But this is not a feel-good story. It’s a story about why expensive drugs keep getting more expensive, and how U.S. taxpayers support a billion-dollar system in which charitable giving is, in effect, a very profitable form of investing for drug companies - one that may also be tax-deductible. PSI, which runs similar programs for more than 20 diseases, jumped at Turing’s offer. PSI is a patient-assistance charitable organization, commonly known as a copay charity. It’s one of seven large charities ... offering assistance to some of the 40 million Americans covered through the government-funded Medicare drug program. A million-dollar contribution from a pharmaceutical company to a copay charity can keep hundreds of patients from abandoning a newly pricey drug. Fueled almost entirely by drugmakers’ contributions, the seven biggest copay charities, which cover scores of diseases, had combined contributions of $1.1 billion in 2014. For that $1 billion in aid, drug companies “get many billions back” from insurers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring
2014-07-02, New York Times
Posted: 2016-07-24 22:36:21
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/health/Vaccine-Costs-Soaring-Paying-Till-It...

Vaccination prices have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits in the last two decades, creating dilemmas for doctors and their patients as well as straining public health budgets. Some doctors have stopped offering immunizations because they say they cannot afford to buy these potentially lifesaving preventive treatments that insurers often reimburse poorly, sometimes even at a loss. Childhood immunizations are so vital to public health that the Affordable Care Act mandates their coverage at no out-of-pocket cost and they are generally required for school entry. Old vaccines have been reformulated with higher costs. New ones have entered the market at once-unthinkable prices. Together, since 1986, they have pushed up the average cost to fully vaccinate a child with private insurance to the age of 18 to $2,192 from $100, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The costs for the federal government, which buys half of all vaccines for the nation’s children, have increased 15-fold during that period. The most expensive shot for young children ... is Prevnar 13, which prevents diseases caused by pneumococcal bacteria, from ear infections to pneumonia. Each shot is priced at $136, and most states require children to get four doses before entering day care or preschool. Pfizer, the sole manufacturer, had revenues of nearly $4 billion from its Prevnar vaccine line last year.

Note: Read an excellent article on how big Pharma is raking in the big bucks on vaccines which haven't even been adequately tested for safety. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on pharmaceutical industry corruption and vaccine controversies from reliable major media sources.


Vets' vaccine alert after claims of dog deaths
2016-07-02, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-07-17 20:20:45
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/02/dogs-dying-after-having-protective...

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.


Flu shot effectiveness for 2015-16 disappointing, data shows
2016-07-10, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2016-07-17 20:18:46
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canada-flu-shot-vaccine-skowronski-h1n1-1.3669427

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.


Hepatitis C cure for under $300 US fuels excitement
2016-04-15, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2016-07-11 17:05:44
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/hepatitis-c-1.3538623

Treating the hepatitis C virus used to require frequent injections and daily pills that had to be taken for up to a year with flu-like side-effects. Tolerable drugs that could eliminate the infection in most patients in about 12 weeks were introduced in 2013. But the retail price for an eight- to 24-week regimen of the anti-virals ranged from $55,000 to $80,000 in 2015. Now the non-profit organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and Egyptian drug maker Pharco Pharmaceuticals have signed agreements to provide a combination of the Hepatitis C drugs sofosbuvir and the antiviral ravisdasvir for further clinical tests for $300 US or less per treatment course. The agreement was announced this week at the International Liver Congress ... said Dr. Isabelle Andrieux-Meyer, HIV and hepatitis C medical advisor for Doctors Without Borders. The drugs make such a difference in wealthy countries but the contrast in lower and middle income countries is "brutal," Andrieux-Meyer said. "So many patients can't buy treatment," she said. Under the agreement, the company agreed to set the commercial price at $294 US or less per treatment course once the scale-up is approved. Doctors Without Borders is a member of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, which has licensed rights for ravisdasvir in low- and middle-income countries from Presidio Pharmaceuticals.

Note: While it is great that these medications may become more affordable in low-income countries, hepatitis C drugs are priced and marketed to maximize revenue regardless of the human consequences. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Even $20 meals can sway doctors, study finds
2016-06-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2016-06-26 20:57:18
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Fancy-meals-can-sway-doctors-study-finds...

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.


Drugmakers pay $67 million to settle claims they exaggerated cancer drug's effectiveness
2016-06-07, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2016-06-20 13:47:15
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-genentech-tarceva-settlement-20160607-s...

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.


A question of timing: A lawsuit claims Gilead Sciences could have developed a less-harmful version of its HIV treatment sooner
2016-05-29, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2016-06-06 23:03:48
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gilead-20160529-snap-story.html

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.


Why Can’t Drug Costs be Reined In?
2016-05-19, Time Magazine
Posted: 2016-05-29 21:27:28
http://time.com/4341416/why-cant-drug-costs-be-reined-in/

When the price of the blood-pressure drug Nitropress leaped from $215 to $881 last year, an increase of 300%, it triggered public outrage. [Drug maker] Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ... would buy patents for unique, lifesaving drugs, hike their prices and then watch the profits roll in. In the wake of the Valeant pricing scandal ... congressional and media investigations have revealed that the embattled company’s business model is hardly unique. In a memo from Oct. 16, 2015 ... the global investment bank Canaccord Genuity wrote that the price increases were not out of the ordinary. In a report from the same day, BMO Capital Markets reiterated that Valeant’s tactics were a “common industry practice” and that “at least 14 different pharmaceutical companies, excluding Valeant,” had made similar price hikes in recent years. The drug industry boasts some of the biggest profits of any industry. Wall Street investors have swooned over the sector. From 2012 to the middle of 2015, more than $50 billion in new capital poured into the industry. That influx of cash shifted the character of the industry. Instead of focusing on time-consuming R&D, drug companies began worrying more about delivering short-term gains to shareholders. For 20 of the biggest drug companies, 80% of shareholder earnings in 2014 were the result of price hikes. [The] industry ... spends more on lobbying than any other industry in the country.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Merck accused of stonewalling in mumps vaccine antitrust lawsuit
2015-06-04, Reuters
Posted: 2016-05-16 01:22:53
http://www.reuters.com/article/health-vaccine-idUSL1N0YQ0W820150604

Two former Merck & Co Inc scientists accusing the drugmaker of falsifying tests of its exclusive mumps vaccine said in a court filing on Monday that Merck is refusing to respond to questions about the efficacy of the vaccine. Attorneys ... who represent the scientists asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to compel Merck to respond to their discovery request, which asks the company to give the efficacy of the vaccine as a percentage. Instead of answering the question, the letter said, Merck has been consistently evasive ... saying it cannot run a new clinical trial to determine the current efficacy, and providing only data from 50 years ago. The two scientists, Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, filed their whistleblower lawsuit in 2010 claiming Merck, the only company licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to sell a mumps vaccine in the United States, skewed tests of the vaccine by adding animal antibodies to blood samples. As a result, they said, Merck was able to produce test results showing that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, even though more accurate tests would have shown a lower success rate. The plaintiffs said these false results kept competitors from trying to produce their own mumps vaccines, since they were unable to match the effectiveness Merck claimed.

Note: For more, read this excellent mercola.com article revealing how a single vaccine can bring in $6 billion in revenue to one company. Read in a CNN report that all 40 Harvard students who recently came down with the mumps had been vaccinated against the disease. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Millions of antibiotic prescriptions each year are unnecessary, study finds
2016-05-03, CBS News
Posted: 2016-05-08 18:07:49
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/millions-of-antibiotic-prescriptions-each-year-un...

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been a growing concern in the United States, leading to thousands of deaths each year. Doctors prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily is a big contributor to the problem, and now a new analysis of government data [has] found that an estimated 30 percent of outpatient oral antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S. from 2010 to 2011 may have been unwarranted. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant infections affect 2 million people and lead to about 23,000 deaths annually. "Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent public health threats of our time," Dr. Katherine E. Fleming-Dutra, of the CDC, told CBS News. "The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to resistance." For the study, Fleming-Dutra and her team analyzed two CDC national surveys. The results showed that about half of the antibiotics prescribed for acute respiratory infections, including the common cold, bronchitis, and viral sore throat, may have been unnecessary. Across all conditions, about 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions were inappropriate from 2010 to 2011. "This equates to about 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions written every year in the United States," Fleming-Dutra said. The strategy to improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing is twofold. Doctors need to be more cautious about prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily. Patients can play a role in stopping antibiotic misuse, too, [by expressing] their concerns about antibiotic overuse to their clinicians.

Note: Big Pharma profits handsomely from unnecessary drug prescriptions. 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.


BMJ editor Fiona Godlee takes on corruption in science
2016-04-19, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting station)
Posted: 2016-04-24 23:09:28
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bmj-fiona-godlee-science-1.3541769

Dr. Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ [British Medical Journal], specializes in the unexpected. [A marionette puppet on her desk is] dressed as a doctor, complete with a stethoscope around its neck. Its strings represent the hidden hand of the pharmaceutical industry. Godlee keeps it ... to remind her of the dark forces at work in science and medicine. And she is blunt about the results: "I think we have to call it what it is. It is the corruption of the scientific process." Hundreds of papers are being pulled from the scientific record, for falsified data, for plagiarism, and for a variety of other reasons that are often never explained. Sometimes it's an honest mistake. But it's estimated that 70 per cent of the retractions are based on some form of scientific misconduct. As the editor of one of the oldest and most influential medical journals, Godlee is leading several campaigns to change the way science is reported, including opening up data for other scientists to review, and digging up data from old and abandoned trials for a second look. She has strong words about the overuse of drugs, and the influence of industry on the types of questions that scientists ask, and the conclusions that are drawn from the evidence. "I do have a belief in the fundamentality of science to correct itself. We can't do that under the blanket of secrecy," she says. It matters, Godlee says, because bad science can be dangerous. "We do know that patients are harmed, and we know that the health systems are harmed as a result of poor science."

Note: Retraction Watch is fascinating reading for anyone interested in what goes on behind science's closed doors. Read also the revealing comments of Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, on the massive corruption she found in the health industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


HPV vaccine is neither safe nor effective
2015-08-12, Baltimore Sun (One of Baltimore's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-04-11 09:54:16
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-vaccine-letter-...

Since HPV vaccines were introduced seven years ago, it has been assumed that they would prevent cervical cancer. But the vaccines have never been shown to prevent any cancer. It has also been assumed for seven years that the vaccine is safe. Yet there have been thousands of adverse event reports. The CDC itself admits there are three times as many adverse events for the HPV vaccine Gardasil as there are for all other vaccines combined. Compared to all other vaccines in the U.S. schedule, Gardasil alone is associated with 61 percent of all serious adverse events, including 63.8 percent of all deaths and 81.2 percent of all permanent disabilities in females under 30 years of age. Japan, India and France have removed HPV vaccines from their recommended list due to safety and efficacy concerns. The Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry of Japan also conducted a national investigation regarding post HPV vaccine injuries, [which] concluded that the harm experienced by women taking the vaccine is overwhelmingly greater than any expected benefits. Prompted by medical reports of post-HPV vaccination arrhythmia and motor neuron disabilities in children in Denmark, the European Medicines Agency is conducting an investigation of HPV injection adverse events. Lawsuits for HPV injuries and deaths have also been filed in Spain, France and Columbia.

Note: Read an article showing that several countries have filed lawsuits claiming damage from the HPV vaccine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Makers took big price increases on widely used U.S. drugs
2015-04-05, Reuters
Posted: 2016-04-11 09:50:20
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-drugpricing-idUSKCN0X10TH

Major drug companies took hefty price increases in the U.S., in some cases more than doubling listed charges, for widely used medications over the past five years, a Reuters analysis of proprietary data found. Prices for four of the nation's top 10 drugs increased more than 100 percent since 2011, Reuters found. Six others went up more than 50 percent. Together, the price increases on drugs for arthritis, high cholesterol, asthma and other common problems added billions in costs for consumers, employers and government health programs. Extraordinary price hikes by two small companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc ... drew new attention to drug costs. Turing expected to book $200 million by raising the price of Daraprim, an antiparasitic used for a rare infection, by 5,000 percent, according to company documents released by Congressional investigators. Routine price increases by bigger players may draw less attention, but they add up. Sales for the top 10 drugs went up 44 percent to $54 billion in 2014, from 2011, even though prescriptions for the medications dropped 22 percent, according to IMS Health data. Even after discounts, pharmacy benefit managers told Reuters they pay annual price increases on top medications of up to 10 percent. By comparison, the U.S. consumer price index rose an average of 2 percent annually over the last five years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Vitamin C 'gives chemotherapy a boost'
2014-02-09, BBC
Posted: 2016-04-11 09:45:45
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26038460

High-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab and mice, research suggests. Given by injection, it could potentially be a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for ovarian and other cancers. US scientists ... call for large-scale government clinical trials. Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative therapy for cancer. In the 1970s, chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C given intravenously was effective in treating cancer. However, clinical trials of vitamin C given by mouth failed to replicate the effect, and research was abandoned. It is now known that the human body quickly excretes vitamin C when it is taken by mouth. However, scientists at the University of Kansas say that when given by injection vitamin C is absorbed into the body, and can kill cancer cells without harming normal ones. The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer. They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed. The treatment worked in tandem with standard chemotherapy drugs to slow tumour growth. "Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies," said lead researcher Qi Chen. "We believe that the time has arrived for research agencies to vigorously support thoughtful and meticulous clinical trials with intravenous vitamin C."

Note: Read more about this amazing cancer research. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on promising cancer research that has been suppressed by the medical industry.


Rattled by drug price increases, hospitals seek ways to stay on guard
2016-03-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2016-03-20 22:24:39
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/rattled-by-drug-price-...

Doctors at the University Hospitals of Cleveland see an immediately recognizable symbol pop up alongside certain drugs when they sign in online these days to prescribe medications for patients: $$$$$. The dollar signs, affixed by hospital administrators, carry a not-so-subtle message: Think twice before using this drug. Pick an alternative if possible. The ... approach is just one of the strategies hospitals nationwide are using to try to counter drug costs. The increases often involved brand-name drugs with little or no competition as well as commonly used generics around for decades. Among those tagged were Nitropress and Isuprel, injectable heart medications that are a staple at many hospitals. Their 2015 list prices rose more than 200 percent and 500 percent, respectively. Hospital officials around the United States point to similar experiences, saying their predicament illustrates one dimension of a broken prescription-drug system. A recent Bloomberg Business survey of about 3,000 brand-name prescription drugs found that prices had more than doubled for 60 medications since December 2014 and at least quadrupled for 20. Prices for many other drugs continued to rise at 10 percent or more annually. “The patient doesn’t initially see the price increase,” said Scott Knoer, chief pharmacy officer at the Cleveland Clinic. “But it raises the cost for the hospital. Eventually, it catches up and it raises the cost for insurance companies, which is passed on to employers, employees and taxpayers.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


GlaxoSmithKline fined $3bn after bribing doctors to increase drugs sales
2012-07-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-03-14 19:14:18
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jul/03/glaxosmithkline-fined-bribing...

The pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $3bn (Ł1.9bn) after admitting bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants to children. The company encouraged sales reps in the US to mis-sell three drugs to doctors and lavished hospitality and kickbacks on those who agreed to write extra prescriptions. The company admitted corporate misconduct over the antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin and asthma drug Advair. GSK also paid for articles on its drugs to appear in medical journals and "independent" doctors were hired by the company to promote the treatments. Paxil – which was only approved for adults – was promoted as suitable for children and teenagers by the company despite trials that showed it was ineffective. Children and teenagers are only treated with antidepressants in exceptional circumstances due to an increased risk of suicide. The second drug to be mis-sold was Wellbutrin – another antidepressant aimed only at adults. The prosecution said the company paid $275,000 to Dr Drew Pinsky, who hosted a popular radio show, to promote the drug on his programme, in particular for unapproved uses. US attorney Carmin Ortiz said: "The sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations [and] paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, to tickets to Madonna concerts." Despite the large fine, $3bn is far less than the profits made from the drugs.

Note: In February 2016, GlaxoSmithKline was fined another $53 million by the UK for preventing generic competition. The list of huge fines to top drug companies includes five fines of over $1 billion and dozens over $100 million. How can we trust these companies on the safety and reliability of their products?


GlaxoSmithKline fined $490m by China for bribery
2014-02-19, BBC
Posted: 2016-03-14 19:12:34
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29274822

China has fined UK pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline $490m (Ł297m) after a court found it guilty of bribery. The record penalty follows allegations the drug giant paid out bribes to doctors and hospitals in order to have their products promoted. The court gave GSK's former head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, a suspended three-year prison sentence and he is set to be deported. Other GSK executives have also been given suspended jail sentences. The guilty verdict was delivered after a one-day trial at a court in Changsha, according to the Xinhua news agency. Chinese authorities first announced they were investigating GSK in July last year, in what has become the biggest corruption scandal to hit a foreign firm in years. The company was accused of having made an estimated $150m in illegal profits. GSK said it had "published a statement of apology to the Chinese government and its people". This is a humiliating outcome for one of Britain's biggest companies: pleading guilty to systematic bribery, facing the biggest fine in Chinese history and making an abject apology to the Chinese government and people.

Note: In February 2016, GlaxoSmithKline was fined another $53 million by the UK for preventing generic competition. The list of huge fines to top drug companies includes five fines of over $1 billion and dozens over $100 million. How can we trust these companies on the safety and reliability of their products?


Drug Distribution Becomes Weapon to Block Competition
2016-03-03, ABC/Associated Press
Posted: 2016-03-07 13:34:17
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/drug-distribution-weapon-block-compe...

The same strategy that Martin Shkreli used to get away with a 5,000-percent price increase on an old drug is used by many other drugmakers. Before the price hike that made him infamous, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals had to ensure that no competitor would be able to launch a cheaper version of Daraprim, the 60-year-old anti-infection pill that is no longer under patent. Shkreli had the perfect weapon: a tightly-controlled distribution system which would make it virtually impossible for a competitor to obtain enough Daraprim to develop their own version. Many larger drugmakers have also turned drug distribution into a powerful tool against competition. The strategy takes advantage of a simple fact: If generic drugmakers can't get their hands on the original product, they cannot perform the tests needed to develop a generic version. When the original drugmaker controls the drug's distribution, they can simply refuse to sell. The effect on patients is higher prices for drugs. At least 40 drugs worth an estimated $5.4 billion are sheltered from competition by distribution hurdles, according to a study commissioned by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, an industry trade group. The Food and Drug Administration is aware of the misuse of distribution programs. The agency does not penalize companies for the practice.

Note: For more excellent information on drug prices hikes, read this penetrating article in the Daily Beast. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Pharmaceutical companies cause doctors to receive biased information about drugs ‘costing hundreds of thousands of lives’
2016-02-24, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-02-28 20:35:55
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/pharmaceutical-companies-cause...

Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist and a trustee of the King’s Fund health think tank, claims there is “a systemic lack of transparency in the information being given to doctors to prescribe medication, in terms of the benefits of drugs being grossly exaggerated and their side effects under reported in studies”. Dr Malhotra said the prevalence of pharmaceutical companies, which are “profit making businesses” being able to fund studies and drug trials causes biased information to be recorded and reported on in medical journals. This is in turn “creating an epidemic of misinformed doctors,” he said. This lack of transparency ... harms patients through the adverse side effects of drugs, Dr Malhotra said, citing an FDA report that found adverse events from prescribed medications caused 123,000 deaths in the USA in 2014 and 800,000 serious patient outcomes, which include hospitalisation or potentially causing disability. The FDA report also states that the number of adverse events from prescribed medications have tripled in the past 10 years in America. While the UK does not have the same kind of data, Peter Gotze, professor of research design at the University of Copenhagen, has evidence to suggest that prescribed drugs are the third biggest killer behind heart disease and cancer. Last year the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges launched a campaign to stop doctors from ‘over-treating’ patients.

Note: The editor of The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, recently wrote that half of all claims made in medical science journals may be untrue. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Shkreli Was Right: Everyone's Hiking Drug Prices
2016-02-02, BloombergBusinessweek
Posted: 2016-02-14 09:56:50
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-02/shkreli-not-alone-in-drug-p...

After Martin Shkreli raised the price of anti-parasitic drug Daraprim more than 50-fold to $750 a pill last year, he said he wasn’t alone in taking big price hikes. The former drug executive was right. A survey of about 3,000 brand-name prescription drugs found that prices more than doubled for 60 and at least quadrupled for 20 since December 2014. Skyrocketing prices are getting increased scrutiny ahead of a U.S. congressional hearing this week: Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking member on a committee that is probing drug pricing, said Tuesday that pricing “tactics are not limited to a few ‘bad apples,’ but are prominent throughout the industry.” The cost of many drugs [rises] at annual rates of more than 10 percent. Drugmakers raised the prices of products as wide-ranging as erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, heart treatments, dermatology medicine and even brands that long have lost their patents. While specialty companies have had the steepest hikes, giants such as Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc kept pushing through smaller rises. About 400 formulations of brand-name drugs went up at least 9.9 percent since early December. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which in recent months has been under fire for its pricing was among the most aggressive, with 13 drugs that doubled or more since December 2014.

Note: For more excellent information on drug prices hikes, read this penetrating article in the Daily Beast. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Gates Foundation accused of 'dangerously skewing' aid priorities by promoting 'corporate globalisation'
2016-02-19, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2016-02-07 10:57:24
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/gates-foundation-accused-of-...

Bill and Melinda Gates are facing calls for their philanthropic Foundation, through which they have donated billions worldwide, to be subject to an international investigation. The Gates Foundation is about benefiting big business, especially in agriculture and health, through its “ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation,” according to [a] report published by the campaign group Global Justice Now. The report accuses the Gates Foundation of [turning] “basic needs into commodities controlled by the market.” The report is critical of the close working relations between the Foundation and major international pharmaceutical corporations. It accuses the Gates Foundation of promoting specific priorities through agriculture grants, some of which undermine the interests of small farmers. These include promoting industrial agriculture, use of chemical fertilisers and expensive, patented seeds, and a focus on genetically modified seeds. The criticism echoes the accusations made by the Indian scientist Vandana Shiva who called the Gates Foundation the “greatest threat to farmers in the developing world.” The Foundation’s emphasis on “technological solutions” often ignores real solutions involving social and economic justice. “This cannot be given by donors in the form of a climate-resilient crop or cheaper smartphone, but must be about systemic social, economic and political change – issues not represented in the foundation’s funding priorities.”

Note: The Gates Foundation is heavily invested in GMO giants like Monsanto. It also provided $5 million to Oxitec, a company criticized for secretly releasing GM mosquitoes into the wild in 2009. Oxitec was purchased last August by biotech giant Intrexon for $160 million. By December, the Zika virus was all over the news and Intrexon was ramping up production of these GM insects to "fight Zika" in Brazil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Taking antidepressants during pregnancy linked to increased risk of autism
2015-12-14, USA Today
Posted: 2016-01-31 19:26:25
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/14/taking-antidepressants-during-p...

Women who took antidepressants in the last six months of pregnancy were 87% more likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism. Doctors saw no increase in autism rates in women who took medication for depression in the first three months of pregnancy, according to [a new] study, published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. In the U.S., about 2.2% of children ages 3 to 17 - about one in 45 - have autism, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey, conducted in 2014. Women who took a specific type of antidepressants, called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, had more than double the risk of having a child with autism. Women who took more than one medication for depression ... were four times as likely to have a child with autism. The new study is ... part of a growing body of research that suggests that the events that cause autism largely occur before birth. Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism, for example, if they are born early or very small. Children are also at higher risk if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling.

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.


Pricey hepatitis C drugs threaten health care system
2016-01-11, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2016-01-31 19:24:22
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Pricey-hepatitis-C-drugs...

When does Big Pharma profiting become profiteering? This issue was the subject last month of a Senate Finance Committee investigation of pricing practices of Gilead Sciences Inc., a leading provider of hepatitis C medications. After examining 20,000 pages of internal company documents, looking at Medicaid data and interviewing health care experts, the authors concluded that the Foster City drugmaker “pursued a calculated scheme for pricing and marketing its hepatitis C drug based on one goal: maximizing revenue regardless of the human consequences.” With the hepatitis C virus affecting about 3 million people in the United States, the impact of Gilead’s pricing strategy is real, measurable - and devastating. With a 12-week course of Gilead’s Harvoni priced at nearly $100,000, taxpayer-funded Medicare Part D spent $4.6 billion on hepatitis C alone in the first half of 2015. When insurers refuse to pay for treatment, all but the wealthy are left at risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer and death. While anticipating record profits of $30 billion in 2015, Gilead virtually eliminated its medication assistance program. More than 90 percent of hepatitis C patients can achieve a cure with as little as one pill a day. But to realistically address this epidemic at current pricing levels would bankrupt our health care system. Pharmaceutical innovation holds great promise for the future of our health care system. But not if none of us can afford it.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


Doctor-pharma industry ties examined in 'embarrassing' report
2016-01-08, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2016-01-10 19:00:54
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/doctor-pharma-industry-ties-re...

A report commissioned by the College of Family Physicians of Canada to examine the relationship between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry is being criticized. The document ... was completed in 2013 and only released this month after a number of doctors challenged the college board to make it public. In one of its key findings, the report notes, "There have been instances in which marketing messages have been portrayed as education and health care and pharmaceutical industries have attempted in this way to influence physicians' behaviour or practices," it says. "Evidence suggests that there could also be significant influence on the behaviour of individuals who may be offered gifts or other forms of support, even when the recipients perceive neither obligation nor influence." The report makes 20 recommendations dealing with issues such as conflict of interest, financial relationships, marketing and other relationships with the pharmaceutical and health care industries. But they don't prevent a doctor with ties to the pharmaceutical industry from serving in leadership positions, sponsoring certain events, or even from contributing to an "unrestricted" education fund. Alan Cassels, a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria, is critical of the college for sitting on the report as long as it did. He suspects the college held it back because it's "pretty embarrassing."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corruption of science and big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


Researcher issues 'call to action' to force release of hidden drug safety data
2015-12-22, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2016-01-03 13:52:08
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/drug-safety-data-herder-1.3375325

Dr. Nav Persaud, a family doctor in Toronto, asked and received thousands of pages of documents from Health Canada, and what he saw made him question the effectiveness of a popular morning sickness drug. But he can't talk about it, because Health Canada forced him to sign a confidentiality agreement, and threatened him with legal action if he makes the data public. Matthew Herder, [a] health law associate professor ... is calling on other doctors, researchers and journalists to bombard Ottawa with their own demands for drug industry data, using [a] new legislative lever written into ... the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, which was passed late last year. Today, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Herder is urging Canadians to use the clause [to request] data that has long been protected by a wall of bureaucratic and corporate secrecy. The European Medicines Agency has started publishing all of the clinical reports submitted as part of drug marketing authorization applications - the same material Health Canada refuses to disclose. Almost half of the drug trials remain secret. [In the US], one group looked at 12 antidepressants, comparing the published studies with the internal FDA assessments. 94 per cent of the published studies were positive, compared to 51 per cent when they included all of the studies assessed by the FDA. The authors concluded that without seeing all the data, drug effectiveness can be exaggerated, leading doctors and patients to assume the medications work better than they do.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


Disgraced CEO Shkreli embodies problem with U.S. pharma industry
2015-12-18, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-12-27 21:13:30
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Disgraced-CEO-Shkreli-embodies-pr...

Martin Shkreli ... gained notoriety in August when, as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he acquired a drug to treat parasitic infections, especially in pregnant women and AIDS patients, and proceeded to hike the price to from $13.50 to $750 per pill. He resigned from Turing Friday after being arrested on unrelated charges of securities fraud at a hedge fund. Shkreli was no doubt a first-class tool. But to focus exclusively on shaming Shkreli risks missing the larger problem, that the American health care system allows opportunists like him to [exploit] the lack of transparency on how drugs are priced in the United States. His price gouging was perfectly legal and even justified under the market-based system that underpins the health care industry. “There’s no law that he has to be ethical,” said [Dr. Jeffrey] Lobosky, author of It's Enough To Make You Sick. “His job is not to make drugs available and save patients. His responsibility is to make a profit for his shareholders.” On paper, Turing is a drug company, but it more closely resembles a private-equity firm: it buys undervalued assets - older drugs already approved by federal regulators - and makes money by charging more than what it paid. Many firms make drugs that are mere copies of others and offer no real therapeutic value, Lobosky said.

Note: The unrepentant profiteering of big pharma and financial industry corruption go hand-in-hand.


‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli arrested for securities fraud
2015-12-17, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-12-20 18:06:57
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2015/12/17/pharma-bro-martin-...

Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old former hedge fund manager notorious for jacking up the price of an obscure but critical drug, was arrested Thursday on securities fraud charges. The charges are unrelated to Shkreli’s leadership of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Instead, the charges brought by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York are related to Shkreli’s time at Retrophin, another bio-pharmaceutical company he founded, and his time at MSMB Capital Management, a hedge fund. Federal prosecutors alleged that for five years, Shkreli lied to investors in two hedge funds and bio-pharmaceutical company Retrophin, all of which he founded. After losing money on stock bets he made through one hedge fund, Shkreli allegedly started another and used his new investors’ money to pay off those who had lost money on the first fund. Then, as pressure was building, Shkreli started Retrophin, which was publicly traded, and used cash and stock from that company to settle with other disgruntled investors. Shkreli “engaged in multiple schemes to ensnare investors through a web of lies and deceit,” U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers told reporters. “His plots were matched only by efforts to conceal the fraud, which led him to operate his companies ... as a Ponzi scheme.” At his arraignment Thursday afternoon, Shkreli pleaded not guilty. He was released on $5 million bond.

Note: The unrepentant profiteering of big pharma and financial industry corruption seem to go hand-in-hand for Martin Shkreli.


Doctors' group calls for ban on prescription drug ads
2015-11-17, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2015-11-23 13:45:45
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-group-calls-for-ban-on-drug-ads/

The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices, saying they contribute to rising costs and patients' demands for inappropriate treatment. Delegates at the influential group's policy-making meeting in Atlanta voted to adopt that as official policy as part of an AMA effort to make prescription drugs more affordable. It means AMA will lobby for a ban. "Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member. According to data cited in an AMA news release, ad dollars spent by drugmakers have risen to $4.5 billion in the last two years, a 30 percent increase. Other data show prices on prescription drugs have climbed nearly 5 percent this year, Harris said in the news release. She also raised concern that advertising spurs use of newer brand-name drugs when other possibly lower-cost options might be just as good. "Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate." The pharmaceutical industry opposes the AMA's stance.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.


The life-saving pill ‘pharma bro’ increased to $750 now has a $1 competitor
2015-10-23, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-11-08 20:36:04
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/10/23/the-life-sav...

Turing Pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli found himself in the middle of a media firestorm last month as he adamantly defended his company's 4,000 percent drug price hike. Daraprim, which treats a life-threatening infection in patients with HIV/AIDS and other immune problems, was increased to $750 a pill, a move resoundingly decried. Now, another company will offer a Daraprim alternative, at just $1 a pill. It's not an exact replica of Daraprim. San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it is selling pills containing a "customizable compounded formulation" of pyrimethamine and leucovorin, both ingredients in Daraprim. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't approve compounded drugs, such as this one offered by Imprimis. Typically, compounded drugs are prescribed to patients who can't take FDA-approved drugs, such as for those who are allergic to an inactive ingredient. Compounded drugs are no stranger to controversy; a compounding pharmacy was at the heart of a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012 that killed 64 people and sickened more than 600. Federal legislators subsequently tightened regulations over such companies. And compounded drugs can be very pricey, too. But it appears the Daraprim alternative compound was not born out of a physical inability to use Daraprim, but a financial one.

Note: Read more about Turing Pharmaceuticals' outrageous Daraprim price-hike. Those in charge of the compounding pharmacy mentioned above were charged with homicide, but when a meningitis outbreak killed 11 children in an illegal Nigerian drug trial conducted by Pfizer, no one at Pfizer was charged with a crime. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma corruption.


When Crime Pays: J&J’s Drug Risperdal
2015-09-17, New York Times
Posted: 2015-10-11 16:18:07
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/opinion/nicholas-kristof-when-crime-pays-jj...

Risperdal is a billion-dollar antipsychotic medicine with real benefits — and a few unfortunate side effects. It can cause strokes among the elderly. And it can cause boys to grow large, pendulous breasts; one boy developed a 46DD bust. Yet Johnson & Johnson marketed Risperdal aggressively to the elderly and to boys while allegedly manipulating and hiding the data about breast development. J&J got caught, pleaded guilty to a crime and has paid more than $2 billion in penalties and settlements. But that pales next to some $30 billion in sales of Risperdal around the world. In 1994, J&J released Risperdal. The Food and Drug Administration said it ... was effective primarily for schizophrenia in adults. That’s a small market. So J&J reinvented Risperdal as a drug for a broad range of problems, targeting everyone from seniors with dementia to children with autism. The company also turned to corporate welfare: It paid doctors and others consulting fees and successfully lobbied for Texas to adopt Risperdal in place of generics. Even though Risperdal wasn’t approved for the elderly, J&J formed a sales force called ElderCare. The F.D.A. protested and noted that there were “an excess number of deaths” among the elderly who took the drug. At the same time, J&J ... began peddling the drug to pediatricians, so that by 2000, more than one-fifth of Risperdal was going to children and adolescents. In 2003, the company had a “back to school” marketing campaign for Risperdal. By 2004 Risperdal was a $3-billion-a-year drug.

Note: For more, see this NY Times article and this one. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Study 329: Antidepressant trial's upended results show need for sharing all data
2015-09-17, International Business Times
Posted: 2015-10-04 18:18:19
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/study-329-antidepressant-trials-upended-results-show...

In 2001, a "landmark" study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry purported to show the safety and effectiveness of using a common antidepressant to treat adolescents. The original published findings were biased and misleading. Known as Study 329, the randomised controlled trial ... was funded by SmithKline Beecham – now GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – the manufacturer of paroxetine. The research has been repeatedly criticised, and there have been numerous calls for it to be retracted. To re-analyse the evidence of effectiveness and safety of paroxetine, we used documents posted online by GSK. We also had access to other publicly available documents and individual participant data. We found that paroxetine [Paxil] was no more effective than a placebo, which is the opposite of the claim in the original paper. We also found significant increases in harms with both paroxetine and imipramine, [another antidepressant]. Compared with the placebo group, the paroxetine group had more than twice as many severe adverse events, and four times as many psychiatric adverse events, including suicidal behaviours and self-harm. And the imipramine group had significantly more heart problems. Our re-analysis ... identified ten strategies used by researchers in this clinical trial to minimise apparent harms. More importantly, our findings show influential peer-reviewed research published in leading medical journals can be seriously misleading.

Note: We all know that clinical trial are skewed when they are sponsored by drug companies, but here is undeniable proof of this published in the UK's most respected medical journal. See this key study on the website of the British Medical Journal. Then don't miss that amazing documentary "Bought" available for free viewing.


Valeant Pharmaceuticals' drug price hikes in crosshairs of U.S. Congress
2015-09-29, CBC News (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2015-10-04 18:16:09
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/valeant-pharmaceuticals-price-hikes-1.3248265

Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceutical's price hikes of drugs long off patent has raised the ire of U.S. legislators and frustrated Canadian physicians. Democrats on the House of Representatives committee on oversight and government reform sent a letter Monday to the committee's Republican chairman seeking a subpoena that would force Valeant to turn over documents tied to the U.S. price hikes of two heart drugs. In the U.S., the price of Isuprel or Isoprenaline increased 2,500 per cent and Nitropress went up 1,700 per cent in three years, as the drug changed hands. Valeant purchased the rights to both heart drugs from Marathon Pharmaceuticals in February. As huge overnight drug price hikes becomes an election issue in the U.S., some doctors in Canada struggle to get other prices rolled back. In late 2013, Valeant Canada announced that as of January 2014, the price of a one-month supply of Syprine would match the U.S. price of roughly $13,244, or about 13 times higher than the previous price. The medication makes the difference between a full and productive life or a downward course of increasing liver and neurological disease. For physicians, the price increase put them in the position of having to tell patients their disease can be managed or cured but at an out-of-pocket price of $200,000 a year for the rest of their lives.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Daraprim 'profiteering' controversy lifts lid on soaring cost of prescription drugs
2015-09-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-10-04 18:13:27
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/us-money-blog/2015/sep/27/daraprim-profite...

Until this week most of us had never heard of Daraprim, a drug that fights toxoplasmosis. But after the decision of the drug’s new owner, Turing Pharmaceuticals, to boost its cost per pill from $13.50 to a whopping $750, we’re all unlikely to forget its name or the name of Turing’s owner, 32-year-old Martin Shkreli. The outrage over the astronomical hike in a life-saving drug has opened the doors to a ... debate about the soaring costs of prescription medications in the United States. Daraprim ... has been around since the 1940s. Logic suggests that drugs that have been around for a while should decline in price. It turns out that isn’t the case. The profit-minded individual or company snaps up the patents, suddenly hikes the drug’s price and puts consumers – from insurance companies to individuals – in a position of either paying what is demanded or going without. Late this summer, Rodelis Therapeutics boosted the cost of 30 tablets of cycloserine, a tuberculosis drug, from $500 to $10,800. Early in the year, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc boosted the prices of two heart drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel, by 525% and 212% on the same day that they acquired them. “Our duty is to shareholders and to maximize the value” of Valeant’s products, a company spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal at the time.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Doubts Rise About Surge In Statin Prescriptions For Oldest Americans
2015-09-21, NPR
Posted: 2015-10-04 18:10:28
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/21/442276285/doubts-rise-abo...

Inexpensive statin drugs are given to millions of people to reduce cholesterol, even many who don't show signs of heart disease. A recent study has found that seniors with no history of heart trouble are now nearly four times more likely to get those drugs than they were in 1999. Here's the catch: For patients of that age, there is little research showing statins' preventive heart benefits outweigh possible risks, which can include muscle pain and the onset of diabetes. There have only been a handful of studies that included the over-79 population. The rate of statin use among octogenarians and beyond who don't have a history of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease or vascular heart disease quadrupled between 1999 and 2012. Concerns about statins' effects in those older than 79 are being raised as some cardiologists question whether statins are overprescribed even among some younger people. Dr. Steven Nissen, department chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, suggests Congress legislate incentives for drugmakers to study a wider array of drugs and their effects on the very elderly. Most drugs aren't supported by hard clinical evidence to back up treatment in the elderly, he said. Ohio State's Dr. Michael Johansen, a co-author of the recent statins study, suggests doctors be more cautious. Muscle pains that some seniors on statins complain of might be so severe as to ... lead to life-threatening injuries, he suggested. "We just don't know," he said.

Note: In 2010, ABC News reported on drug company involvement in statin research after a critical review found major flaws in the science behind this research. Does anyone but big pharma profit from over-prescribing drugs?


US pharmaceutical company defends 5,000% price increase
2015-09-22, BBC
Posted: 2015-09-27 18:33:10
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34320413

The head of a US pharmaceutical company has defended his company's decision to raise the price of a 62-year-old medication used by Aids patients by over 5,000%. Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to Daraprim in August. After Turing's acquisition, a dose of Daraprim in the US increased from $13.50 (Ł8.70) to $750. The pill costs about $1 to produce, but [CEO Martin] Mr Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, said that does not include other costs like marketing and distribution, which have increased dramatically in recent years. "We needed to turn a profit on this drug," Mr Shkreli told Bloomberg TV. "The companies before us were actually giving it away almost." He says the practice is not out of line with the rest of the industry. "Daraprim is still underpriced relative to its peers," he told Bloomberg TV. The Infectious Diseases Society of America, the HIV Medicine Association and other health care providers wrote an open letter to Turing, urging the company to reconsider.

Note: Following public outcry, Martin Shkreli now says that Daraprim's price will not increase by 5000%, but the fact that this would even be consider shows how rampant corruption is in the industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Cancer patients may need better prep for chemo side-effects
2015-09-18, CBC/Reuters
Posted: 2015-09-20 21:21:27
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cancer-patients-may-need-better-prep-for-chemo-...

Cancer patients need to be prepared for serious side effects from chemotherapy, and hospitalization is one that happens much more often in the real world than in drug trials, according to a new study. Researchers found that people with advanced lung cancer receiving chemotherapy in real-world settings were almost eight times more likely to be hospitalized during treatment than those participating in clinical trials. What's more, very few clinical trials even report how often participants are hospitalized during the research, the study authors found. "Clinical trials should be routinely reporting their hospitalization rates so we know what to expect," said senior author Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska, a medical oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto, Canada. Krzyzanowska and her colleagues write in JAMA Oncology that the number of times a person goes to the hospital with treatment complications is important to the patient and to the hospital. The researchers suggest several possible explanations for the differences in hospitalization rates. First, the patients in highly selective clinical trials are different from real-world patients. In this study, people receiving chemotherapy in real-world settings were also older, on average, than those in clinical trials.

Note: While big pharma profits from hiding the negative effects of their drugs, there is some promising cancer research underway, some of which is being suppressed to keep the cash cow flowing for big pharma.


Could Pot Help Veterans With PTSD?
2015-08-02, Newsweek
Posted: 2015-08-16 23:31:01
http://www.newsweek.com/pot-and-ptsd-358139

Marijuana and the Veterans Affairs Hospital system’s relationship is complicated. On the one hand, 23 states plus the District of Columbia say marijuana is legal for sanctioned medical use, and veterans are clamoring for it for their post-combat symptoms. On the other, marijuana is classified a Schedule I drug. Veterans [have] been stuck in the middle. As many as 20 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Paxil, along with other heavy-duty pills, have been the traditional mainstays in VA doctors’ arsenals. Non-FDA approved options, marijuana among them, haven’t been options at all. But that has started to change. The Veterans Equal Access Act ... aims to open the entire VA system to judicious prescription of medical cannabis. Prior to its introduction, VA doctors couldn’t even discuss cannabis with their patients, much less prescribe it. Arizona psychiatrist Sue Sisley [has] spent two decades treating patients with PTSD. “All we have now is Zoloft and Paxil. And if you know much about those meds, you know there are many side effects, and they often don’t work. If they are effective, then patients are dealing with these side effects,” Sisley adds. “Vets come home from service, and they just want to reintegrate into their family. And we make them fat and impotent and mired in a bunch of disabling side effects.” When asked why marijuana might be better than other options, Sisley’s quick to answer: “A single plant can provide monotherapy for this whole constellation of symptoms.”

Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure". The healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be openly investigated.


Drug Prices Soar, Prompting Calls for Justification
2015-07-23, New York Times
Posted: 2015-08-02 18:09:34
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/business/drug-companies-pushed-from-far-and...

As complaints grow about exorbitant drug prices, pharmaceutical companies are coming under pressure to disclose the development costs and profits of those medicines and the rationale for charging what they do. So-called pharmaceutical cost transparency bills have been introduced in at least six state legislatures in the last year, aiming to make drug companies justify their prices, which are often attributed to high research and development costs. “If a prescription drug demands an outrageous price tag, the public, insurers and federal, state and local governments should have access to the information that supposedly justifies the cost,” says the preamble of a bill introduced in the New York State Senate in May. In an article being published Thursday, more than 100 prominent oncologists called for support of a grass-roots movement to stem the rapid increases of prices of cancer drugs, including by letting Medicare negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies and letting patients import less expensive medicines from Canada. “There is no relief in sight because drug companies keep challenging the market with even higher prices,” the doctors wrote in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Pressure is mounting from elsewhere as well. The top Republican and Democrat on the United States Senate Finance Committee last year demanded detailed cost data from Gilead Sciences, whose hepatitis C drugs, which cost $1,000 a pill or more, have strained the budgets of state and federal health programs.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Taking on Goliath
2006-05-10, Huffington Post
Posted: 2015-07-20 15:54:55
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-rost/taking-on-goliath_b_20732.html

Beginning in 1997, Pharmacia, currently a subsidiary of Pfizer, sought to boost its sales of the drug Genotropin. To that end, the company illegally marketed the drug to spur growth in short children and as an anti-aging drug for adults looking for the fountain of youth. In a nutshell, the off-label marketing scheme included direct payments to doctors, all-expense paid junkets for doctors, financial incentives to distributors and phony consultant contracts to funnel payments for the off-label promotion. As a result of the scheme's success, sales of the Genotropin sky-rocketed and over the years, Medicaid and other public healthcare programs paid millions of dollars for its improper use. The full amount of damage to health care programs is not yet known. "But this much is certain," former Pfizer Vice President turned whistleblower, Dr Peter Rost, says, "Pharmacia turned Genotropin into a cash cow by illegally peddling a dangerous drug to make short kids tall and their grandparents young." Genotropin is a man made human growth hormone approved to treat a limited range of hormonal deficiencies. The FDA has never approved the drug to spur growth for children without hormonal deficiencies or to prevent aging. Dr Rost joined Pharmacia in June of 2001 as a VP of Marketing. On May 22, 2003, Dr Rost became aware of the pervasive nature of ongoing illegal activity. [He then] decided to file a lawsuit ... alleging fraud relating to the off-label marketing of Genotropin and delivered a copy of the complaint to the US Attorney's Office on June 4, 2003.

Note: Read an excellent article on Dr. Rost and other major whistleblowers from the pharmaceutical industry.


A Big Pharma whistleblower blogs on drugs
2007-06-06, Fortune
Posted: 2015-07-12 20:34:07
http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/06/11/10006...

Peter Rost is worked up. The ex-Pfizer senior executive turned blogger believes he has uncovered another instance of unethical marketing by Big Pharma. Rost's blog, Question Authority With Dr. Rost, is one part mocking rant, two parts investigative chronicle. He has also published an exposé of his years in the drug industry, "The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman." Trained as a physician in his native Sweden, Rost has worked in the drug industry for most of the past 20 years. He almost certainly never will again. Rost hopes that Question Authority - named after the Fortune column in which he was once featured - will help him create a new career. Rost's many critics would love to be able to dismiss him as an embittered crank. But they can't. The blog [is] a conduit for Big Pharma whistleblowers [that once prompted] a government probe into Pfizer's marketing activities. And a dispatch on dubious sales practices led to at least one sales director's ouster. For Big Pharma, whose public image is already battered, blogs are an added nuisance. The problem, says Robert Ehrlich, CEO of DTC Perspectives, a health-care marketing consultancy, is that most pharma companies are, "medically oriented and legally oriented ... but as an industry they are not consumer-oriented." For better or worse, the drug industry is going to have to get used to Dr. Peter Rost - and others like him.

Note: Read an excellent article on Dr. Rost and other major whistleblowers from the pharmaceutical industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Leaked trade deal terms prompt fears for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
2015-06-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-06-21 15:44:19
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/11/pacific-trade-deal-raises-fea...

The leak of new information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) shows the mega-trade deal could provide more ways for multinational corporations to influence Australia’s control of its pharmaceutical regulations. Revealed via Wikileaks, the annexe on “transparency and procedural fairness for pharmaceutical products and medical devices” uncovered the draft agreements regarding medicines between the 12 TPPA member countries [representing] 40% of the world’s economy. The leaked text, dated December 2014, laid out the draft rules for member countries regarding medicines under national health care programs, in Australia’s case, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This ‘transparency’ annexe seeks to erode the processes and decisions of agencies that decide which medicines and medical devices to subsidise the public money and by how much. That will mean fewer medicines are subsidised, or people will pay more as co-payments. However, [trade minister Andrew] Robb said ... that the government would not accept anything that would adversely affect the PBS. Parliamentarians were offered the chance to see the TPP draft by Robb [only] if they agreed to a four year non-disclosure agreement. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson ... who has not seen the draft as he refused to agree to the terms of the agreement, said the latest leak suggested the Australian PBS could be undermined.

Note: The Trans-Pacific Partnership may be a pending disaster. But we do not know for sure, because its contents remain secret. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Drug companies donated millions to California lawmakers before vaccine debate
2015-06-18, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-06-21 15:42:02
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article24913978....

A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through California’s Capitol is opponents’ allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. Critics of Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions for schoolchildren, accuse the measure’s supporters in the Legislature of doing the bidding of donors who make vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. The bill’s proponents and drug companies dismiss the charge. Pharmaceutical companies and their trade groups gave more than $2 million to current members of the Legislature in 2013-2014, about 2 percent of the total raised. Nine of the top 20 recipients are either legislative leaders or serve on either the Assembly or Senate health committees. Receiving more than $95,000, the top recipient of industry campaign cash is Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and doctor who is carrying the vaccine bill. In addition, the industry donated more than $500,000 to outside campaign spending groups that helped elect some current members last year. Leading pharmaceutical companies also spent nearly $3 million more during the 2013-2014 legislative session lobbying the Legislature, the governor, the state pharmacists’ board and other agencies, according to state filings.

Note: Read powerful evidence that some vaccines are not safe nor effective. Remember that big Pharma makes billions in profit from vaccines.


Medical marijuana helps stem 6-year-old's seizures
2012-12-10, CNN News
Posted: 2015-06-15 14:29:10
http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/10/health/medical-marijuana-child/

Before he started taking a liquid, nonpsychoactive form of marijuana, Jayden couldn't walk, eat solid food or take a bath. He has Dravet's syndrome, a rare and catastrophic form of childhood epilepsy. It has triggered seizures so frequent that 44 times he has been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Jayden's doctors prescribed 22 anti-seizure pills a day, which controlled the seizures but left him immobilized due to the side effects. "He's in pain and suffering and crying," said Jayden's father, Jason David. "You can't help him no matter what. What are you supposed to do?" Last year, he had enough. David turned to ... medical marijuana. For the first time since Jayden was 4 months old, the boy went through an entire day without a seizure. Jayden [now] plays at a park, climbing up and down the steps of the jungle gym. He swims at his local pool. His father has begun to wean him off the powerful pharmaceutical pills, which he believes have kept his son from developing properly. The liquid, nonpsychoactive form of marijuana that Jayden takes ensures the boy doesn't get "high." Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana clinic in Oakland, California, helped create the original tincture Jayden took. The center still analyzes and tests the marijuana before David administers it to his son. "Parents don't want to bring their children to something controversial like cannabis," says Harborside's executive director, Steven DeAngelo. "The only thing separating them from help are outdated rules that need to be changed." Those rules are at the federal level, where marijuana remains illegal.

Note: Watch a very touching video on Jayden and his miracle recovery.


Is The FDA Being Compromised By Pharma Payments?
2013-08-07, Forbes
Posted: 2015-06-08 16:10:40
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2013/08/07/is-the-fda-being-comprom...

In ... the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (JLME), Donald W. Light of the School of Public Health, University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, wrote an article entitled “Risky Drugs: Why The FDA Cannot Be Trusted”. The bulk of his essay focuses not on his views about pharma’s competence but rather on his issues with the FDA. While I found a number of his comments troubling, the following stood out. “The ... article in JLME also presents systematic, quantitative evidence that since the industry started making large contributions to the FDA for reviewing its drugs, as it makes large contributions to Congressmen ... drugs approved are significantly more likely to cause serious harm, hospitalizations, and deaths.” This is a pretty damning comment. Basically, Light is saying that pharma paid congressmen to sponsor legislation that results in the FDA being beholden to pharma for funding for its work. Implicit in this is that, as a result of these large “contributions”, the grateful FDA is rapidly approving medicines that are harmful.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about big pharma profiteers and government corruption.


Lancet Editor Richard Horton Tweets Dark View of Contemporary Medicine
2012-01-27, Forbes
Posted: 2015-05-31 22:17:56
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2012/01/27/lancet-editor-richard-hort...

One brief message at a time, Lancet editor Richard Horton is tweeting his dark view of the contemporary medical establishment. If you have any interest at all in peeking behind the curtain to see what really goes on behind the scenes of top medical organizations then you need to follow Richard Horton’s Twitter feed. In sudden bursts of candor, humor, and cynicism, Horton has been tweeting thoughts that don’t often see the light of day. Here’s his unvarnished opinion of the World Health Organization, for instance: "WHO is no longer a science-based organisation. WHO believes that scientists within the agency should be anonymous bureaucrats." The thread of tweets that prompted this post [is] about an ongoing editorial battle with authors and another highly respected journal. The significance of these remarks is considerable. As Horton remarks at the end, the episode appears to lend evidence to the manipulation of journals by industry: "The mother of all authorship disputes has broken out. When papers get salami sliced and divided between NEJM and us, it gets complicated. And sometimes nasty. And today, even threatening. From Principal Investigator: “Approval [of the drug in question] has already occurred in the US, yet private insurers are slow to place it on their formulary. A major publication is typically how this occurs in the US, and it is important to be in a journal typically recognised by US-based companies. This publication is critical to (company A's) ability to “market” their product. Lancet ... will aid (company Y) quite nicely.”

Note: The Lancet is considered by many to be the most prestigious medical journal in the world. If the editor-in-chief of the Lancet readily admits to for-profit collusion between medical journals, insurers and big pharma, who can we trust for accurate health information? To learn more, read a powerfully revealing essay by former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine Marcia Angell on how the drug companies blatantly manipulate science for profit.


Brain-Damaged UK Victims of Swine Flu Vaccine to Get Ł60 Million Compensation
2014-03-02, International Business Times
Posted: 2015-04-27 00:44:06
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/brain-damaged-uk-victims-swine-flu-vaccine-get-60-mi...

Patients who suffered brain damage as a result of taking a swine flu vaccine are to receive multi-million-pound payouts from the UK government. Following the swine flu outbreak of 2009, about 60 million people, most of them children, received the vaccine. It was subsequently revealed that the vaccine, Pandemrix, can cause narcolepsy and cataplexy in about one in 16,000 people, and many more are expected to come forward with the symptoms. Across Europe, more than 800 children are so far known to have been made ill by the vaccine. The Pandemrix vaccine was manufactured by pharmaceuticals giant Glaxo Smith Kline, which refused to supply governments unless it was indemnified against any claim for damage caused. "There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children," Emmanuelle Mignot, a specialist in sleep disorder at Stanford University in the United States told Reuters. Among those affected are NHS medical staff, many of whom are now unable to do their jobs because of the symptoms brought on by the vaccine. They will be suing the government for millions in lost earnings. However, the vast majority of patients affected - around 80% - are children. Despite a 2011 warning from the European Medicines Agency against using the vaccine on those under 20 and a study indicating a 13-fold heightened risk of narcolepsy in vaccinated children, GSK has refused to acknowledge a link.

Note: Read about people in other countries who were damaged by the vaccine on this webpage. See powerful media reports suggesting that both the avian flu and swine flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. And watch a powerful CBS video describing how 4,000 Americans in 1976 sued for neurological damages caused by a swine flu vaccine that they agreed to take after falling for fear mongering about the flu by the government. 300 people allegedly died from the vaccine. For more, see the excellent resources in our Health Information Center.


FDA "Corruption" Letter Authenticated: Lawyers, Start Your Engines!
2010-03-12, CBS News
Posted: 2015-03-08 22:52:58
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fda-corruption-letter-authenticated-lawyers-start...

The FDA has "certified" a 2009 letter sent anonymously by FDA staff to President Obama describing "systemic corruption and wrongdoing that permeates all levels of FDA." The FDA's official recognition of the letter means that lawyers who want to use it to demonstrate that the FDA isn't perfect won't have to go through weeks of tedious discovery demands to find someone at the FDA who can officially say, "Yup, we sent that." That's going to be a headache for drug companies who often defend their drugs in court by saying, "Hey, the FDA said this product was fine and we did everything they asked -- so it's not fair to hold us responsible." Plaintiffs' lawyers can now hold up the letter in court and argue that drug companies have been on notice that the FDA is riddled with politics, conflicts of interest and outright corruption, and is, as the letter says, "fundamentally broken." Written by a group of scientists on FDA letter head -- but with their names blacked out for fear of retaliation -- the letter describes a nightmare of bungling and self-dealing among higher-ups at the drug safety agency. It begs Obama to step in and reform the shop: "... many other FDA managers who have failed to protect the American public, who have violated laws, rules, and regulations, who have suppressed or altered scientific or technological findings and conclusions, who have abused their power and authority, and who have engaged in illegal retaliation against those who speak out, have not been held accountable and remain in place."

Note: The FDA actively persecutes whistle-blowers, placed a former Monsanto lobbyist in a high ranking position, and gives industrial food companies preferential treatment over small farmers. In recent years, FDA executives have been caught participating in medical industry corruption, including keeping important prescription drug safety information hidden from consumers.


Don't Trade Away Our Health
2015-01-30, New York Times
Posted: 2015-02-09 04:28:41
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/opinion/dont-trade-away-our-health.html?_r=0

A secretive group met behind closed doors in New York this week. What they decided may lead to higher drug prices for you and hundreds of millions around the world. Representatives from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries convened to decide the future of their trade relations in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.). Powerful companies appear to have been given influence over the proceedings, even as full access is withheld from many government officials from the partnership countries. Among the topics negotiators have considered are some of the most contentious T.P.P. provisions — those relating to intellectual property rights. These rules could help big pharmaceutical companies maintain or increase their monopoly profits on brand-name drugs [and] block cheaper generic drugs from the market. Big Pharma’s profits would rise, at the expense of the health of patients and the budgets of consumers and governments. Of course, pharmaceutical companies claim they need to charge high prices to fund their research and development. This just isn’t so. For one thing, drug companies spend more on marketing and advertising than on new ideas. Overly restrictive intellectual property rights actually slow new discoveries. As it is, most of the important innovations come out of our universities and research centers, like the National Institutes of Health, funded by government and foundations.

Note: Read what a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Health has to say about the egregious profiteering of Big Pharma. Watch an excellent, two-minute video by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on the TPP titled "The Worst Trade Deal You've Never Heard of," or read leaked draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for yourself.


Why does Obama keep trade deal details secret?
2015-02-05, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-02-09 04:26:12
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Why-does-Obama-keep-trade-deal-details-...

The trade rules of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership ... would cover nearly 40 percent of the world economy. Access to the text of the proposed deal is highly restricted. At last month’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the ... refusal to release the full text of the proposed trade pact. “It is incomprehensible to me that leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP, while at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge of what’s in it,” wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders, independent-Vt., in a letter to Froman last month. Congressional lawmakers are permitted to view the text of the agreement only in the U.S. trade representative’s office, without their own staff members or experts present. They are not allowed to take copies of the agreement back to Capitol Hill for deeper, independent evaluation. Despite those restrictions, specific details of the agreement’s text have surfaced from unauthorized leaks. One of the leaks showed the U.S. proposing to empower corporations to attempt to overturn domestic regulations, while ... another leaked provision would help the pharmaceutical industry inflate the price of medicines.

Note: For more, watch an excellent, two-minute video by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on the TPP titled "The Worst Trade Deal You've Never Heard of," or read leaked draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for yourself.


Flu vaccine paradox adds to public health debate
2015-01-16, CBC News (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:13:30
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vaccine-paradox-adds-to-public-health-debat...

People who receive flu vaccines year after year can sometimes show reduced protection, an effect that Canadian infectious disease specialists say muddies public health messages for annual flu vaccine campaigns. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, researchers at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control originally thought seasonal flu shots from 2008 might offer extra protection. They were puzzled to find instead, seasonal flu vaccination almost doubled the risk of infection with pandemic flu. Dr. Danuta Skowronski and her colleagues went on to do five more studies during the summer that showed the same effect in people and in ferrets, which are considered the best animal model of flu. What was originally called "the Canadian problem" has since been found in a randomized control trial by researchers in Hong Kong ... Japan and the U.S. Researchers in several countries have found a blunting or "interference" effect between previous seasonal vaccines and reduced levels of vaccine protection in later years. "People do not have a good explanation for why," said Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network. "We have kind of hyped this vaccine so much for so long we are starting to believe our own hype. Really, what we should be doing is looking for better vaccines," Gardam said. In the meantime, public health officials who aim to protect people from flu complications need to grapple with the imperfections of a vaccine given every year to a moving target of strains.

Note: Healthcare workers in New York protested the government mandate that they be given this vaccine, from which drug companies made billions of dollars. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the mysterious and profitable avian and swine flu panics and questioning the effectiveness of many other vaccines.


Special K, a Hallucinogen, Raises Hopes and Concerns as a Treatment for Depression
2014-12-09, New York Times
Posted: 2015-01-04 21:46:37
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/business/special-k-a-hallucinogen-raises-ho...

While [Ketamine] has been used as an anesthetic for decades, small studies at prestigious medical centers like Yale, Mount Sinai and the National Institute of Mental Health suggest it can relieve depression in many people who are not helped by widely used conventional antidepressants like Prozac or Lexapro. And the depression seems to melt away within hours, rather than the weeks typically required for a conventional antidepressant. Pharmaceutical companies hope to [develop] drugs that work like ketamine but without the side effects, which are often described as out-of-body experiences. Some doctors and patients are not waiting for the pharmaceutical industry. Because ketamine has long been approved for anesthesia, doctors are allowed to use it off-label to treat depression. ”There is clearly a need for new drugs. “Almost half of depressed patients are not being treated adequately by existing drugs,” said Dr. Sheldon H. Preskorn, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. That, he said, is because virtually all the antidepressants used in the last 60 years work essentially the same way. Ketamine would represent a new mechanism of action. “Synaptic connections that help us to cope seem to grow back,” said Dr. John H. Krystal, chairman of psychiatry at Yale and a pioneer in the study of ketamine for depression.

Note: A 2012 NPR story provides more detail about the ketamine research done at Yale to treat depression. Could this put a stop to the thousands of horror stories involving conventional antidepressants?


Doctor Transparency: Why Leana Wen Received Threats After Launching
2014-11-19, International Business Times
Posted: 2014-12-22 08:17:16
http://www.ibtimes.com/doctor-transparency-why-leana-wen-received-threats-aft...

Leana Wen created the “Who’s My Doctor” campaign last year. The effort ... goes a step further than the federal government’s mandate requiring physicians to disclose all money they receive from drug companies. Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released data that outlined the $3.5 billion that companies paid to the nation’s doctors. The Open Payments database ... was heavily opposed by physician groups and pharmaceutical companies. “Incentives matter,” said Wen in a recent TED talk, “If you go to your doctor because of back pain, you might want to know he’s getting paid $5,000 to perform spine surgery versus $25 to refer you to see a physical therapist.” As part of the “Who’s My Doctor” effort, each physician voluntarily publishes a “Total Transparency Manifesto,” which ... flows into a searchable database that prospective patients can use. One year after starting the project, only 34 “transparent doctors” are listed on the website. There are many more who were less than pleased. “I thought some doctors would sign on and others wouldn’t, but I had no idea of the backlash that would ensue,” she said in her TED talk. The criticism quickly went beyond online comments. Soon, people were asking Wen’s employer to fire her, and sending mail to her home address with threats.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring TED talk of Dr. Wen. And check out her website "Who's My Doctor" at http://www.whosmydoctor.com.


'Vaccine court' keeps claimants waiting
2014-11-17, Bloomberg/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-12-07 23:49:03
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-11-17/ap-impact-vaccine-court-keeps-claim...

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.


Vaccine Makers Enjoy Immunity
2009-02-23, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2014-12-01 02:08:54
http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB123535050056344903

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.


Ebola Contracts Worth $2 Billion Could Benefit Drugmakers
2014-11-10, Bloomberg
Posted: 2014-11-16 21:53:23
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-10/ebola-contracts-worth-2-billion-coul...

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.


Influenza: marketing vaccine by marketing disease
2013-05-16, British Medical Journal
Posted: 2014-11-10 10:09:10
http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3037

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 the report available on this US government webpage states, "Since 1988, over 22,045 petitions have been filed with the VICP [Vaccine Injury Compensation Program] ... with 7,423 of those determined to be compensable. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $4.3 billion." For other information on health corruption, see the excellent resources in our Health Information Center.


Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu Drug are Waste of Money, Report Finds
2014-04-10, Reuters
Posted: 2014-10-27 20:50:52
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/10/us-roche-hldg-novartis-search-idUSB...

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.


Robert B. Reich: Why we allow Big Pharma to rip us off
2014-10-07, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2014-10-20 19:17:26
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201410071030--tms--amvoices...

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.


Why do two white Americans get the Ebola serum while hundreds of Africans die?
2014-08-06, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-08-11 13:38:23
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/08/06/why-do-two-white-a...

What should happen if a massive viral outbreak appears out of nowhere and the only possible treatment is an untested drug? And who should receive it? The two American missionaries who contracted the almost-always-fatal virus in West Africa were given access to an experimental drug cocktail called ZMapp. It consists of immune-boosting monoclonal antibodies that were extracted from mice exposed to bits of Ebola DNA. Now in isolation at an Atlanta hospital, they appear to be doing well. It’s an opportunity the 900 Africans who’ve died so far never had. The reasons for different treatment are partly about logistics, partly about economics and, partly about a lack of any standard policy for giving out untested drugs in emergencies. Before this outbreak, ZMapp had only been tested on monkeys. But privileged humans were always going to be the first ones to try it. ZMapp requires a lot of refrigeration and careful handling, plus close monitoring by experienced doctors and scientists—better to try it at a big urban hospital than in rural West Africa, where no such infrastructure exists. And the two Americans who got it in Africa had been infected for more than a week, making its efficacy completely unknown.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ebola virus: British experts urge US and WHO to ‘give Africans cure’
2014-08-06, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-08-11 13:35:37
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ebola-outbreak-british-experts...

Three of Britain’s leading Ebola specialists have said experimental treatments for the deadly Ebola virus must be offered to the people of West Africa, after two US aid workers were administered with the “cure” in Liberia. The two missionaries, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, are alive and now being cared for at a specialist isolation unit in Atlanta. Though the pair remain weak – and there is no way of knowing at this stage how much of a help the new drug has actually been – the fact that it was given to the two Americans has resulted in widespread criticism and recriminations in West Africa. Almost 900 people have died from the Ebola virus across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the latest outbreak began in February this year. Some strains can have fatality rates of up to 90 per cent, though that of the current crisis appears to be around 60 per cent. Now Peter Piot, who discovered Ebola in 1976, David Heymann, the director of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security and Jeremy Farrar from the Wellcome Trust have said there are in fact several drugs and vaccines under study that could be used to combat the disease. Liberia’s assistant health minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, said that the news of Dr Brantly and Ms Writebol’s treatment had “made our job very difficult” as dying patients and their relatives in Africa request the same “cure”. The US aid workers were given ZMapp, a drug made from antibodies produced in a lab that has never gone through human trials or been approved by the US’s FDA Food and Drug Administration. Piot, Farrar and Heymann questioned why Africans were not being given the same chance.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater
2013-08-25, New York Times
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:17:40
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/health/exploring-salines-secret-costs.html?...

It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater. Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1. Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as [revealed by] the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York. Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution. At every step from manufacturer to patient, there are confidential deals among the major players, including drug companies, purchasing organizations and distributors, and insurers. These deals so obscure prices and profits that even participants cannot say what the simplest component of care actually costs, let alone what it should cost. And that leaves taxpayers and patients alike with an inflated bottom line and little or no way to challenge it. The real cost of a bag of normal saline, like the true cost of medical supplies from gauze to heart implants, disappears into an opaque realm of byzantine contracts, confidential rebates and fees that would be considered illegal kickbacks in many other industries.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing medical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


CDC's Vaccine Safety Research is Exposed as Flawed and Falsified in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journal
2014-06-13, Yahoo! Finance/PR Newswire
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:46:00
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cdcs-vaccine-safety-research-exposed-115600020....

Just months after U.S. Congressman Bill Posey compared the Center for Disease Control (CDC)'s vaccine safety studies to the SEC's Bernie Madoff scandal, malfeasance in the CDC's studies of thimerosal-containing vaccines has, for the first time, been documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature. The journal BioMed Research International now provides direct evidence that the CDC's safety assurances about the mercury-containing preservative are not fact-based, according to the article's lead author, Brian Hooker. The paper [cites] over 165 studies that have found thimerosal to be harmful, including 16 studies that had reported [serious detrimental] outcomes in human infants and children. "Substantial scientific evidence exists and has existed for many years that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal is a developmental neurotoxin" says George Lucier, former Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program. Studies showing harm from thimerosal sharply contradict published outcomes of six CDC coauthored and sponsored papers – the very studies that CDC relies upon to declare that thimerosal is "safe" for use in infant and maternal vaccines. Dr. Hooker ... said of the six CDC studies, "Each of these papers is fatally flawed from a statistics standpoint and several of the papers represent issues of scientific malfeasance. For example, important data showing a relationship between thimerosal exposure and autism are withheld from three of the publications. This type of cherry-picking of data by the CDC in order to change the results of important research studies to support flawed and dangerous vaccination policies should not be tolerated."

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? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccines news articles from reliable major media sources.


Tamiflu: drugs given for swine flu 'were waste of Ł500m'
2014-04-10, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:19:22
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/swine-flu/10756200/Tamiflu-drugs-given-for-...

The drug Tamiflu, given to tens of thousands of people during the swine flu pandemic, does nothing to halt the spread of influenza and the [UK] Government wasted nearly Ł500 million stockpiling it, a major study has found. The review, authored by Oxford University, claims that Roche, the drug’s Swiss manufacturer, gave a “false impression” of its effectiveness and accuses the company of “sloppy science”. The study found that Tamiflu, which was given to 240,000 people in the UK at a rate of 1,000 a week, has been linked to suicides of children in Japan and suggested that, far from easing flu symptoms, it could actually worsen them. Roche claimed at the time of the 2009 swine flu outbreak that trials had shown that it would reduce hospital admissions and complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or sinusitis. Based on [these claims], the Department of Health bought around 40 million doses of Tamiflu at a cost of Ł424 million and prescribed it to around 240,000 people. In 2009, 0.5 per cent of the entire NHS budget was spent on the drug. However, researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration, a not-for-profit organisation which carries out reviews of health data, found that Tamiflu only cut flu-like symptoms from seven days to 6.3 days and there was no evidence of a reduction in hospital admissions. Eight children who took the drug in Japan ended up committing suicide after suffering psychotic episodes. Other side effects included kidney problems, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Many people reported feeling anxious or depressed when taking the drug.

Note: We sent out numerous messages at the time of all the fear-mongering around the avian and swine flu scares that this was wasting huge amounts of money. Of course the money wasn't just wasted, much of it went into the pockets of Donald Rumsfeld and others, as reported in this newspaper article. For the revealing news articles we compiled showing the blatant greed and corruption involved, click here.


Data uncover nation’s top Medicare billers
2014-04-06, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:11:10
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/data-uncover-nations-top-medic...

The Medicare program is the source of a small fortune for many U.S. doctors, according to a trove of government records that reveal unprecedented details about physician billing practices nationwide. The government insurance program for older people paid nearly 4,000 physicians in excess of $1 million each in 2012, according to the new data. The release of the information gives the public access for the first time to the billing practices of individual doctors nationwide. Consumer groups and news outlets have pressured Medicare to release the data for years. The American Medical Association and other physician groups have resisted the data release, arguing that the information violates doctor privacy and that the public may misconstrue details about individual doctors. Among the highest billers were: a cardiologist in Ocala, Fla., who took in $18.1 million, mainly putting in stents; a New Jersey pathologist who received $12.6 million performing tissue exams and other tests; and a Michigan vascular surgeon who got $10.1 million. In some instances, the extremely high billing totals could signal fraudulent doctor behavior, as government inspectors have previously found. Indeed, three of the top 10 earners already had drawn scrutiny from the federal government, and one of them is awaiting trial on federal fraud charges. The greatest tallies also may signal that the Medicare payments for some procedures are too high for the amount of work involved or that perverse incentives lead doctors to overuse a procedure. The specialties most common at the top ranks of the Medicare payments were ophthalmologists, oncologists and pathologists.

Note: For more on medical corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs
2013-12-17, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:04:29
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/business/glaxo-says-it-will-stop-paying-doc...

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said ..., effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest. The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales. For decades, pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors to speak on their behalf at conferences and other meetings of medical professionals, on the assumption that the doctors are most likely to value the advice of trusted peers. But the practice has also been criticized by those who question whether it unduly influences the information doctors give each other and can lead them to prescribe drugs inappropriately to patients. Under the plan, which Glaxo said would be completed worldwide by 2016, the company will no longer pay health care professionals to speak on its behalf about its products or the diseases they treat “to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing.” It will also stop providing financial support directly to doctors to attend medical conferences, a practice that is prohibited in the United States through an industry-imposed ethics code but that still occurs in other countries.

Note: For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
2013-12-15, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-23 16:19:28
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-dis...

After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating. Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond. But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.” “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.” The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.

Note: For more on corruption in the medical industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500
2013-12-03, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-10 10:44:16
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/health/as-hospital-costs-soar-single-stitch...

In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found. A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them ... emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more. At Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Daniel Diaz, 29, a public relations executive, was billed $3,355.96 for five stitches on his finger after cutting himself while peeling an avocado. At a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., Arch Roberts Jr., 56, a former government employee, was charged more than $2,000 for three stitches after being bitten by a dog. Insurers and patients negotiated lower prices, but those charges were a starting point. The main reason for high hospital costs in the United States, economists say, is fiscal, not medical: Hospitals are the most powerful players in a health care system that has little or no price regulation in the private market.

Note: For more on corruption in the health industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
2011-09-17, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:32:18
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/17/local/la-me-drugs-epidemic-20110918

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Overdose victims range in age and circumstance from teenagers who pop pills to get a heroin-like high to middle-aged working men and women who take medications prescribed for strained backs and bum knees and become addicted. The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering, as well as aggressive sales campaigns by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Note: For more on pharmaceutical industry corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Is Big Pharma Addicted To Fraud?
2013-07-29, Forbes
Posted: 2013-10-29 09:00:42
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikakelton/2013/07/29/is-big-pharma-addicted-to-...

Recent news out of China raises the question once again of whether any aspect of the pharmaceutical business can be trusted. First, Chinese authorities announced they were investigating GlaxoSmithKline and other pharma companies for bribing doctors, hospitals and government officials to buy and prescribe their drugs. Glaxo is accused of using a Shanghai travel agency to funnel at least $489 million in bribes. Then the New York Times revealed last week the alarming news that an internal Glaxo audit found serious problems with the way research was conducted at the company’s Shanghai research and development center. Last year Glaxo paid $3 billion to resolve civil and criminal allegations of, among other things, marketing widely used prescription drugs for unapproved treatments and using kickbacks to promote sales. Glaxo is a leader in pharma fraud and wrongdoing, with other industry heavyweights close behind. Over the past decade, whistleblowers and government investigations in the US have exposed a never-ending series of problems by numerous pharma companies in all facets of the industry, starting with fraudulent “research” papers used to bolster marketing and continuing through to the manufacture of contaminated and defective products, the marketing of drugs for unapproved and life-threatening uses and the mispricing of prescription drugs. Pharma ... has paid more than $30.2 billion in civil and criminal penalties to the US and state governments and continues to face more allegations of wrongdoing. The industry – despite huge penalties and a long string of public mea culpas – has a fraud habit that is just too profitable to kick. Finding a cure should be a top priority of regulators worldwide.

Note: For more on pharmaceutical industry corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Keeping drug companies honest
2010-03-12, CNN
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:53:27
http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1003/12/acd.01.html

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Pfizer, Incorporated, with 116,000 employees and revenues of $50 billion a year, is the world's largest pharmaceutical company. The government was building a case against Pfizer for fraudulently marketing a drug that had raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, a painkiller called Bextra. Pfizer aggressively marketed it for uses and in doses not approved by the FDA. But our investigation found another story, ... about the power major pharmaceutical companies have, even when they break the laws intended to protect patients. In 2001, ... the FDA approved Bextra, but only for limited use and only for menstrual cramps and arthritis. Even so, Pfizer sales reps promoted it, illegally, for surgical pain in higher doses, uses the FDA had rejected due to safety concerns. Doctors responded. Instead of prescribing, say, ibuprofen at pennies a pill, they prescribed Bextra at nearly $3 a pill for all kinds of unapproved uses. Sales were very good. GLENN DEMOTT, FORMER PFIZER SALES REP: They said that the district manager approved it. They think it might not be legal, but if they don't make their numbers, they're not going to keep their job anyway. GRIFFIN : It brought Pfizer nearly $1 billion in profits. And it cost us all, because Medicare, Medicaid, and our private insurance picked up much of the tab. MICHAEL LOUCKS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: If the company is able to push the product for the unapproved indication, then it makes a mockery, if you will, of the FDA approval process.

Note: For an even deeper analysis on Mercola.com titled "Pulling Back the Curtain on the Organized Crime Ring That Is the Pharmaceutical Drug Cartel," click here. You can also watch a video of the above CNN segment at that link. For more on pharmaceutical industry corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Why Our Health Care Lets Prices Run Wild
2013-07-01, Time Magazine
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:42:45
http://swampland.time.com/2013/07/01/why-our-health-care-lets-prices-run-wild/

Of all the oddities of the U.S. health care system, one stands out: we spend far more on health care per person than other industrialized nations yet have no better health outcomes. Understanding why isn’t easy. A 2012 paper by the Commonwealth Fund found that among 13 industrialized countries studied, the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity, which is usually a factor in higher health care costs. Yet, the U.S. ranks far behind many other countries in our rates of citizens who smoke or are over 55, two other strong indicators of increased spending. So why is our health care spending more than 17% of our gross domestic product, far more than any other country? A central reason U.S. health care spending is so high is that hospitals and doctors charge more for their services and there’s little transparency about why. There is no uniformity to the system, in which public and private insurers have separate, unrelated contracts with hospitals and doctors. The result is a tangled, confusing and largely secretive collection of forces driving health care prices higher and higher. This isn’t possible in many other countries either because governments set prices for health care services or broker negotiations between coalitions of insurers and providers. Known as “all-payer rate setting,” insurers in these systems band together to negotiate as groups. In contrast, U.S. insurers closely guard the secrecy of their contracted prices with health care providers and negotiate individually. This is why a hospital hosting five patients for knee replacements might get paid five different amounts for the surgeries.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


An End to Medical-Billing Secrecy?
2013-05-08, Time Magazine
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:41:15
http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/08/an-end-to-medical-billing-secrecy/

Acting on the suggestion of her top data crunchers at the department’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released an enormous data file on May 8 that reveals the list—or “chargemaster”—prices of all hospitals across the country for the 100 most common inpatient treatment services in 2011. It then compares those prices with what Medicare actually paid hospitals for the same treatments—which was typically a fraction of the chargemaster prices. As a result, Americans are a big step closer to being able to compare what hospitals charge them for goods and services with what they actually cost. There are two reasons Sebelius’ release of this newly crunched, massive data file is a great first step toward a new transparency in health care costs. First, it reveals the vast disparity between what hospitals charge for pills, procedures and operations and the real cost of those services, as calculated by Medicare. The second reason the compilation and release of this data is a big deal is that it demonstrates [that] most hospitals’ chargemaster prices are wildly inconsistent and seem to have no rationale. Thus the release of this fire hose of data—which prints out at 17,511 pages—should become a tip sheet for reporters in every American city and town, who can now ask hospitals to explain their pricing. In the through-the-looking-glass world of health care economics, those who are asked to pay chargemaster rates are often under-insured or lack insurance altogether. Moreover, insurers typically negotiate discounts off the grossly inflated chargemaster prices ($77 for a box of gauze pads!), so the chargemaster matters for insured patients too.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out
2009-08-19, CBS News
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:50:13
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gardasil-researcher-speaks-out/

Amid questions about the safety of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, one of the lead researchers for the Merck drug is speaking out about its risks, benefits and aggressive marketing. Dr. Diane Harper says young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Dr. Harper helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved, and authored many of the published, scholarly papers about it. She has been a paid speaker and consultant to Merck. It's highly unusual for a researcher to publicly criticize a medicine or vaccine she helped get approved. Dr. Harper joins a number of consumer watchdogs, vaccine safety advocates, and parents who question the vaccine's risk-versus-benefit profile. She says data available for Gardasil shows that ... there is no data showing that it remains effective beyond five years. This raises questions about the CDC's recommendation that the series of shots be given to girls as young as 11-years old. "If we vaccinate 11 year olds and the protection doesn't last... we've put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit," says Dr. Harper. "The benefit to public health is nothing, there is no reduction in cervical cancers, they are just postponed, unless the protection lasts for at least 15 years, and over 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated." She also says that enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent. Cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detected early through normal Pap screenings.

Note: For more on the dangers of vaccines, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Breaking the Seal on Drug Research
2013-06-30, New York Times
Posted: 2013-07-09 08:21:07
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/business/breaking-the-seal-on-drug-research...

Peter Doshi ... is one of the most influential voices in medical research today. Dr. Doshi’s renown comes not from solving the puzzles of cancer or discovering the next blockbuster drug, but from pushing the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies to open their records to outsiders. Together with a band of far-flung researchers and activists, he is trying to unearth data from clinical trials — complex studies that last for years and often involve thousands of patients across many countries — and make it public. The current system, the activists say, is one in which the meager details of clinical trials published in medical journals, often by authors with financial ties to the companies whose drugs they are writing about, is insufficient to the point of being misleading. For years, researchers have talked about the problem of publication bias, or selectively publishing results of trials. Concern about such bias gathered force in the 1990s and early 2000s, when researchers documented how, time and again, positive results were published while negative ones were not. Taken together, studies have shown that results of only about half of clinical trials make their way into medical journals. In 2009, Dr. Doshi and his colleagues set out to answer a simple question about the anti-flu drug Tamiflu: Does it work? Resolving that question has been far harder than they ever envisioned, and, four years later, there is still no definitive answer.

Note: If the public is going to be taking these drugs, shouldn't all safety studies be publicly available? What are the drug companies hiding? For more on corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Pharmaceutical scandal: The NHS, the drug firms and the price racket
2013-06-20, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-01 13:09:08
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10133557/Pharmaceutical-scandal-...

Drug companies face accusations of secretly colluding with pharmacists to overcharge the NHS millions of pounds, following an undercover investigation by The Telegraph. Pharmaceutical firms appear to have rigged the market in so-called "specials" – prescription drugs that are largely not covered by national NHS price regulations. The prices of more than 20,000 drugs could have been artificially inflated, with backhanders paid to chemists who agreed to sell them. Representatives of some companies agreed to invoice chemists for drugs at up to double their actual cost. Chemists would then send inflated invoices to the NHS, allowing them to pocket the difference. Tens of thousands of the "special" drugs are not on the nationally controlled NHS price list and so costs can be manipulated by drug companies. Sales representatives for drug firms were secretly recorded by this newspaper offering to provide apparently falsified invoices allowing chemists to bill the NHS for sums far greater than they would spend. Another firm offered to pay an annual fee to chemists who agreed to offer its prescription drugs. Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money are feared to have been wasted in recent years due to the practice. The undercover investigation was launched after this newspaper was approached by a whistle-blower who alleged widespread malpractice. Undercover reporters posed as investors hoping to set up a chain of chemists.

Note: Watch the incriminating videos of these undercover deals at the link above. For more on pharmaceutical corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Drug Trials and Data-Based Medicine: An Interview with David Healy
2012-07-04, Psychology Today
Posted: 2013-06-11 07:23:05
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-effects/201207/drug-trials-and-data-...

Dr. David Healy is an internationally renowned psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author. He was responsible for submitting the key document that led to New York State's successful fraud action against GlaxoSmithKline. [Q.] You’ve written at your blog that “evidence-based medicine and RCTs [random controlled trials] are ... simply not the answer to determining cause and effect,” [because] they’re “quite likely to hide rather than reveal a problem like antidepressant induced suicidality.” How in fact do RCTs hide such information? [Dr. Healy:] There are ... specific problems like miscoding, where suicidality becomes “nausea” or “emotional lability” or even “treatment non-responsiveness.” There is also the problem of mislocation – patients on placebo end up being given problems they never had – and of nonexistent patients, who don’t of course have adverse events. Beyond that, there are more sophisticated tricks that companies can and do play – such as claiming that increased rates of a problem on a drug are not really evidence of an increase in rates if the data are not statistically significant. In this way, companies have hidden many more heart attacks on Vioxx and Avandia or suicidal acts on SSRIs than have been hidden by miscoding or mislocation. When it comes to adverse events, trials almost never get the right answer. The deeper problem ... is the combination of product patents, prescription-only status, and the use of clinical trials as a means of determining efficacy – in particular, when the data from those trials are not made available. This creates a perfect product ... which industry can manipulate to mean whatever they want them to mean.

Note: Dr. Healy is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and 20 books. For an excellent article going further into Dr. Healy's amazing work, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health corruption and manipulations, click here.


Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
2012-03-03, Washington Post blog
Posted: 2013-03-25 15:47:50
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/why-an-mri-costs-1080-in-am...

There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher. In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish. There are many possible explanations for why Americans pay so much more. It could be that we’re sicker. Or that we go to the doctor more frequently. But health researchers have largely discarded these theories. Americans don’t see the doctor more often or stay longer in the hospital than residents of other countries. Quite the opposite, actually. We spend less time in the hospital than Germans and see the doctor less often than the Canadians. The International Federation of Health Plans ... surveyed its members on the prices paid for 23 medical services and products in different countries, asking after everything from a routine doctor’s visit to a dose of Lipitor to coronary bypass surgery. And in 22 of 23 cases, Americans are paying higher prices than residents of other developed countries. Usually, we’re paying quite a bit more. In America, ... it’s a free-for-all. Providers largely charge what they can get away with, often offering different prices to different insurers, and an even higher price to the uninsured.

Note: And why are the prices higher in the U.S.? Could it be that the U.S. is the only developed nation that doesn't have nationalized health care, so that profit is no longer a motive in caring for people's health? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the medical industry, click here.


Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
2013-02-20, Time Magazine
Posted: 2013-03-05 09:25:14
http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killi...

The Texas Medical Center [is] a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medical facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. In fact, of Houston’s top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees. How did that happen? Where’s all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to find out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem. When you look behind the bills that ... patients receive, you see nothing rational — no rhyme or reason — about the costs they faced in a marketplace they enter through no choice of their own. The only constant is the sticker shock for the patients who are asked to pay. Yet those who work in the health care industry and those who argue over health care policy seem inured to the shock. Why exactly are the bills so high? What are the reasons ... that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?

Note: For the amazing answers to all these questions, read this detailed investigative report in its entirety at the link above. For more on corruption in the medical industry, click here.


Drug Overdose Deaths up for 11th Consecutive Year
2013-02-20, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-02-25 16:27:03
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/drug-overdose-deaths-11th-consecutive-...

Drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th straight year, federal data show, and most of them were accidents involving addictive painkillers despite growing attention to risks from these medicines. "The big picture is that this is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which gathered and analyzed the data. In 2010, the CDC reported, there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths nationwide. Medicines, mostly prescription drugs, were involved in nearly 60 percent of overdose deaths that year, overshadowing deaths from illicit narcotics. The report [in the] Journal of the American Medical Association ... details which drugs were at play in most of the fatalities. As in previous recent years, opioid drugs — which include OxyContin and Vicodin — were the biggest problem, contributing to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths. Medication-related deaths accounted for 22,134 of the drug overdose deaths in 2010. Anti-anxiety drugs including Valium were among common causes of medication-related deaths, involved in almost 30 percent of them. Among the medication-related deaths, 17 percent were suicides. The report's data came from death certificates, which aren't always clear on whether a death was a suicide or a tragic attempt at getting high. Frieden said the data show a need for more prescription drug monitoring programs at the state level, and more laws shutting down "pill mills" — doctor offices and pharmacies that over-prescribe addictive medicines.

Note: Over 38,000 drug deaths are more than the 32,000 automobile deaths in the US. This means that the risk of dying from drugs is now greater than the risk of car accidents. For lots more reliable information showing how the medical industry can actually be dangerous to your health, click here.


Big Pharma's Offshore Fraud Strategy
2012-09-11, Forbes
Posted: 2013-02-05 10:45:17
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikakelton/2012/09/11/big-pharmas-offshore-fraud...

One of [the big drug companies'] bright spots has been emerging markets where in recent years percentage growth in sales has caught up to and in many instances galloped ahead of other regions. But with pharmaceutical companies continuing to pay record civil and criminal fines in the U.S. for illegal marketing practices, recent scrutiny of similar practices abroad raises questions as to whether pharma has simply exported its fraudulent marketing playbook to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere. Those sales and marketing tactics are bad news for patients around the world, as financial inducements and bribes should not be permitted to corrupt medical treatment decisions. The good news is that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program will undoubtedly accelerate exposure of corrupt practices overseas and bring greater transparency into pharma’s business practices generally. Pharma companies already are being investigated for U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. The FCPA makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials to win business. Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, paid $60.2 million last month to the U.S. to settle charges that the company bribed government officials – including hospital administrators, government doctors and members of regulatory and purchasing committees — in China, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Kazakhstan to approve and prescribe Pfizer products. Other pharma companies are under scrutiny by the U.S. for their practices elsewhere.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical industry corruption, click here.


Health Care’s Trick Coin
2013-02-02, New York Times
Posted: 2013-02-05 10:43:56
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/02/opinion/health-cares-trick-coin.html

This month, Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 10,000 lawsuits over an artificial hip that has been recalled because of a 40 percent failure rate within five years. Mistakes happen in medicine, but internal documents showed that executives had known of flaws with the device for some time, but had failed to make them public. The entire evidence base for medicine has been undermined by [a] lack of transparency. Sometimes this is through a failure to report concerns raised by doctors and internal analyses, as was the case with Johnson & Johnson. More commonly, it involves the suppression of clinical trial results, especially when they show a drug is no good. The best evidence shows that half of all the clinical trials ever conducted and completed on the treatments in use today have never been published in academic journals. Trials with positive or flattering results, unsurprisingly, are about twice as likely to be published — and this is true for both academic research and industry studies. In the worst case, we can be misled into believing that ineffective treatments are worth using; more commonly we are misled about the relative merits of competing treatments, exposing patients to inferior ones. This problem has been documented for three decades, and many in the industry now claim it has been fixed. But every intervention has been full of loopholes, none has been competently implemented and, lastly, with no routine public audit, flaws have taken years to emerge.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical industry corruption, click here.


Biotech Firms, Billions at Risk, Lobby States to Limit Generics
2013-01-29, New York Times
Posted: 2013-02-05 10:42:39
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/business/battle-in-states-on-generic-copies...

In statehouses around the country, some of the nation’s biggest biotechnology companies are lobbying intensively to limit generic competition to their blockbuster drugs, potentially cutting into the billions of dollars in savings on drug costs contemplated in the federal health care overhaul law. The complex drugs, made in living cells instead of chemical factories, account for roughly one-quarter of the nation’s $320 billion in spending on drugs, according to IMS Health. And that percentage is growing. They include some of the world’s best-selling drugs, like the rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drugs Humira and Enbrel and the cancer treatments Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan. The drugs now cost patients — or their insurers — tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Two companies, Amgen and Genentech, are proposing bills that would restrict the ability of pharmacists to substitute generic versions of biological drugs for brand name products. Bills have been introduced in at least eight states since the new legislative sessions began this month. Others are pending. The companies and other proponents say such measures are needed to protect patient safety because the generic versions of biological drugs are not identical to the originals. For that reason, they are usually called biosimilars rather than generics. Generic drug companies and insurers are taking their own steps to oppose or amend the state bills, which they characterize as pre-emptive moves to deter the use of biosimilars, even before any get to market.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical industry corruption, click here.


Fiscal Footnote: Big Senate Gift to Drug Maker
2013-01-20, New York Times
Posted: 2013-01-29 08:24:21
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/us/medicare-pricing-delay-is-political-win-...

Just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm, scored a largely unnoticed coup on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers inserted a paragraph into the “fiscal cliff” bill that did not mention the company by name but strongly favored one of its drugs. The language buried in Section 632 of the law delays a set of Medicare price restraints on a class of drugs that includes Sensipar, a lucrative Amgen pill used by kidney dialysis patients. The provision gives Amgen an additional two years to sell Sensipar without government controls. The news was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts. But it is projected to cost Medicare up to $500 million over that period. Amgen, which has a small army of 74 lobbyists in the capital, was the only company to argue aggressively for the delay, according to several Congressional aides of both parties. Supporters of the delay, primarily leaders of the Senate Finance Committee who have long benefited from Amgen’s political largess, said it was necessary to allow regulators to prepare properly for the pricing change.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on collusion and corruption between government and the pharmaceutical industry, click here.


Keep thimerosal in vaccines, pediatricians urge
2012-12-17, NBC News/Reuters
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:58:39
http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/17/15970621-keep-thimerosal-in-vaccin...

A mercury-containing preservative should not be banned as an ingredient in vaccines, U.S. pediatricians said [on December 17], in a move that may be controversial. In its statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed calls from a World Health Organization (WHO) committee that the preservative, thimerosal, not be considered a hazardous source of mercury that could be banned by the United Nations. Back in 1999, a concern that kids receiving multiple shots containing thimerosal might get too much mercury - and develop autism or other neurodevelopmental problems as a result - led the AAP to call for its removal, despite the lack of hard evidence at the time. In a 2004 safety review ... the independent U.S. Institute of Medicine concluded there was no evidence thimerosal-containing vaccines could cause autism. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came to the same conclusion in 2010. Thimerosal contains a type of mercury called ethyl mercury. Toxic effects have been tied to its cousin, methyl mercury, which stays in the body for much longer. Earlier this year, the WHO said replacing thimerosal with an alternative preservative could affect vaccine safety and might cause some vaccines to become unavailable. Mercury, however, is still on the list of global health hazards to be banned in a draft treaty from the United Nations Environment Program - which would mean a ban on thimerosal.

Note: Can you believe that a group of doctors is advocating for continued use of mercury in vaccines? For two informative articles raising serious questions about vaccines in general and thimerosal in particular, click here and here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the risks of vaccines, click here.


Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job
2012-12-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:43:02
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist...

When the legislation that became known as "Obamacare" was first drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Fowler, his chief health policy counsel; indeed,... it was Fowler who actually drafted it. What was most amazing about all of that was that, before joining Baucus' office as the point person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation's largest health insurance provider (before going to WellPoint, as well as after, Fowler had worked as Baucus' top health care aide). And when that health care bill was drafted, the person whom Fowler replaced as chief health counsel in Baucus' office, Michelle Easton, was lobbying for WellPoint as a principal at Tarplin, Downs, and Young. Whatever one's views on Obamacare were and are, the bill's mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry. More amazingly still, when the Obama White House needed someone to oversee implementation of Obamacare after the bill passed, it chose . . . Liz Fowler. She then became Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy at the National Economic Council.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


When Good Drugs Do Harm
2001-01-08, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:32:16
http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jan/08/health/he-9609

Adverse drug reactions have reached epidemic proportions, killing more people each year than die on the nation's highways, and doing serious damage to millions more. This problem has taken on special significance recently: The FDA has pulled 10 drugs off the market in the past three years for safety reasons, which is unprecedented in the agency's history. Nearly 20 million patients, almost 10% of the U.S. population, were estimated to have been exposed to these drugs before their removal. Few people, however, are aware that their medications could be harmful, or know how to spot the warning signs and what to do if they suspect there's a problem. Yet a 1998 University of Toronto study found that roughly 100,000 Americans die of adverse drug reactions each year, and 2.1 million more are hospitalized. The FDA received reports of more than 258,000 adverse drug events in 1999, nearly quadruple the 68,000 incidents reported a decade earlier. And FDA officials acknowledge that they're catching only a tiny fraction of these incidents. More new therapies are being sold first in the United States, rather than in Europe and Asia. In the early 1980s, only 2% to 3% of new drugs were introduced in the United States. By 1998, that number climbed to more than 60%, according to FDA officials, largely due to faster approvals by the agency. Aggressive marketing of new drugs can exacerbate the problem by persuading doctors and patients to seek out the latest therapies more quickly. And it's not just newer drugs that can be dangerous.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.


As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias
2012-11-24, Washington Post
Posted: 2012-12-04 09:36:56
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/as-drug-industrys-influence-ov...

Arguably the most prestigious medical journal in the world, the New England Journal of Medicine regularly features articles over which pharmaceutical companies and their employees can exert significant influence. Over a year-long period ending in August, NEJM published 73 articles on original studies of new drugs, encompassing drugs approved by the FDA since 2000 and experimental drugs. Of those articles, 60 were funded by a pharmaceutical company, 50 were co-written by drug company employees and 37 had a lead author, typically an academic, who had previously accepted outside compensation from the sponsoring drug company in the form of consultant pay, grants or speaker fees. The New England Journal of Medicine is not alone in featuring research sponsored in large part by drug companies — it has become a common practice that reflects the growing role of industry money in research. Years ago, the government funded a larger share of such experiments. But since about the mid-1980s, research funding by pharmaceutical firms has exceeded what the National Institutes of Health spends. Last year, the industry spent $39 billion on research in the United States while NIH spent $31 billion. When the company is footing the bill, the opportunities for bias are manifold: Company executives seeking to promote their drugs can design research that makes their products look better. They can select like-minded academics to perform the work. And they can run the statistics in ways that make their own drugs look better than they are. If troubling signs about a drug arise, they can steer clear of further exploration.

Note: To read an excellent summary of a book written by a former editor in chief of the NEJM exposing major corruption by the pharmaceuticals which poses a great threat to public health, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.


Italy bans Novartis flu vaccines pending tests
2012-10-24, Reuters
Posted: 2012-11-13 11:04:13
http://news.yahoo.com/italy-bans-novartis-flu-vaccines-pending-tests-10421002...

Italy banned the sale and use of anti-influenza vaccines produced by Novartis ... pending tests for possible side effects, prompting authorities in Switzerland to also take precautionary steps. The Italian Health Ministry advised citizens not to buy or use the drugs Agrippal, Fluad, subunit Influpozzi and adjunvated Influpozzi until further notice. The move came after the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency decided further tests on the products may be necessary following indications of possible side effects. Switzerland's drug watchdog then also raised a precautionary red flag for flu vaccines Agrippal and Fluad. Preliminary investigations had shown Italy's ban came after the discovery of white particles in the injections, which could suggest some of the components of the vaccine had clumped together.

Note: Canada pulled these vaccines, as well, as you can read in this CBC article. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on dangers posed by the corrupt vaccines industry, click here.


Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School
2012-10-09, New York Times
Posted: 2012-10-30 11:29:49
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/health/attention-disorder-or-not-children-p...

When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall. The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools. “I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.” Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance. It is not yet clear whether Dr. Anderson is representative of a widening trend. But some experts note that as wealthy students abuse stimulants to raise already-good grades in colleges and high schools, the medications are being used on low-income elementary school children with faltering grades and parents eager to see them succeed.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.


Most expired drugs work fine, study says
2012-10-16, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-10-23 09:30:33
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Most-expired-drugs-work-fine-study-says-...

Thinking about going through your medicine cabinet and throwing out all your expired prescriptions? That might not be necessary, according to a UCSF-led study. Researchers analyzed eight prescription drugs with 15 active ingredients that expired between 28 and 40 years ago and found that most remained just as potent as they were on the day they were made. In 12 of the 14 drug compounds, or 86 percent of the time, the amount of active ingredient present in the drugs was at least 90 percent of the amount indicated on the label. That's well within the "reasonable variation" allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of 90 percent to 110 percent. Only two compounds - aspirin and the stimulant amphetamine - fell below the 90 percent threshold. Another medication, the painkiller phenacetin, fell below the threshold in one sample but was found in levels greater than 90 percent in another. The study was published online last week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Note: A drug listed expired as 40 years ago is still just as potent as the day it was made. Could short expiration dates be an example of drug companies finding a way to make more money through unnecessary disposal of older medications?


Mexico orders HPV vaccinations for all 5th-grade girls, saying it will end threat of cervical cancer
2012-10-03, Miami Herald
Posted: 2012-10-09 09:34:42
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/03/3032961/mexico-orders-hpv-vaccinations....

Mexico on [October 3] launched a massive program to vaccinate fifth-grade girls against human papillomavirus, making it one of the few nations in the world with a universal campaign against the sexually transmitted virus. One million schoolgirls ages 11 or 12 will receive the HPV vaccination this week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said. Another 200,000 girls who aren’t in school also will be given the vaccine. Mexico becomes one of the few countries in the world to follow in the footsteps of Greece, which in 2007 made the HPV vaccination mandatory for girls entering seventh grade. All fifth-grade girls will be given an initial shot, then a second shot six months later. A third and final dose will be given to girls in ninth grade. Mexico began an obligatory vaccination program of schoolchildren and pregnant women in 1991, and currently [administers] 14 types of vaccines, Health Secretary Salomon Chertorivski said. During weeklong periods three times a year, thousands of doctors and nurses spread across the country to schools and rural clinics to administer the free vaccinations.

Note: Once again the pharmaceutical companies are persuading governments to force the public to take their questionable vaccines. For an excellent report endorsed by dozens of respected doctors and nurses on the serious risks and dangers of vaccines, click here. Read about a key scientific study which showed that monkeys given standard human vaccines developed autism symptoms, at this link. For powerful evidence presented in major media articles that some vaccines are much more dangerous than the health industry will acknowledge, click here.


Drug giants fined $11bn for criminal wrongdoing
2012-09-20, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-10-02 10:12:17
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/drug-...

The global pharmaceutical industry has racked up fines of more than $11bn in the past three years for criminal wrongdoing, including withholding safety data and promoting drugs for use beyond their licensed conditions. In all, 26 companies, including eight of the 10 top players in the global industry, have been found to be acting dishonestly. The scale of the wrongdoing, revealed for the first time, has undermined public and professional trust in the industry and is holding back clinical progress, according to two papers published in today's New England Journal of Medicine. Leading lawyers have warned that the multibillion-dollar fines are not enough to change the industry's behaviour. The 26 firms are under "corporate integrity agreements", which are imposed in the US when healthcare wrongdoing is detected, and place the companies on notice for good behaviour for up to five years. The largest fine of $3bn, imposed on the UK-based company GlaxoSmith-Kline in July after it admitted three counts of criminal behaviour in the US courts, was the largest ever. But GSK is not alone – nine other companies have had fines imposed, ranging from $420m on Novartis to $2.3bn on Pfizer since 2009, totalling over $11bn. Kevin Outterson, a lawyer at Boston University, says that despite the eye watering size of the fines they amount to a small proportion of the companies' total revenues and may be regarded as a "cost of doing business".

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.


A Doctor's Dilemma: When Crucial New-Drug Data Is Hidden
2012-09-24, Time Magazine
Posted: 2012-10-02 10:10:47
http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/24/a-doctors-dilemma-when-crucial-new-drug...

Dr. Ben Goldacre is no slouch when it comes to rooting out the flaws in scientific studies, analyzing clinical trial data and recognizing when it's been manipulated or fudged. But even Goldacre has been fooled by bad science. In ... his forthcoming book, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, ... Goldacre describes how he ended up prescribing the antidepressant reboxetine to his patients based on insufficient data. The research overwhelmingly finds the drug to be ineffective, but it was still approved in the U.K. In order to get approval of the drug in Europe, the manufacturer had simply not published its negative data. Seven trials had been conducted comparing reboxetine against a placebo. Only one, conducted in 254 patients, had a neat, positive result, and that one was published in an academic journal, for doctors and researchers to read. But six more trials were conducted, in almost 10 times as many patients. All of them showed that reboxetine was no better than a dummy sugar pill. None of these trials was published. I had no idea they existed. It got worse. The trials comparing reboxetine against other drugs showed exactly the same picture: three small studies, 507 patients in total, showed that reboxetine was just as good as any other drug. They were all published. But 1,657 patients' worth of data was left unpublished, and this unpublished data showed that patients on reboxetine did worse than those on other drugs.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.


The drugs don't work: a modern medical scandal
2012-09-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-10-02 10:08:47
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/21/drugs-industry-scandal-ben-gol...

The doctors prescribing ... drugs don't know they don't do what they're meant to. Nor do their patients. The manufacturers know full well, but they're not telling. Negative data goes missing, for all treatments, in all areas of science. The regulators and professional bodies we would reasonably expect to stamp out such practices have failed us. Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don't like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug's true effects. This distorted evidence is then communicated and applied in a distorted fashion. In their 40 years of practice after leaving medical school, doctors hear about what works ad hoc, from sales reps, colleagues and journals. But those colleagues can be in the pay of drug companies – often undisclosed – and the journals are, too. And so are the patient groups. And finally, academic papers, which everyone thinks of as objective, are often covertly planned and written by people who work directly for the companies, without disclosure. Sometimes whole academic journals are owned outright by one drug company.

Note: This is an edited extract from Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, by Ben Goldacre, published next week by Fourth Estate. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.


Report: About 30 cents of every health care dollar wasted; US can cut costs without rationing
2012-09-06, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2012-09-11 10:48:21
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/report-about-30-cents-of-every-health-...

The U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion a year — roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar — through unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste, the influential Institute of Medicine [said] in a report. President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are accusing each other of trying to slash Medicare and put seniors at risk. But the counter-intuitive finding from the report is that deep cuts are possible without rationing, and a leaner system may even produce better quality. More than 18 months in the making, the report identified six major areas of waste: unnecessary services ($210 billion annually); inefficient delivery of care ($130 billion); excess administrative costs ($190 billion); inflated prices ($105 billion); prevention failures ($55 billion), and fraud ($75 billion). Adjusting for some overlap among the categories, the panel settled on an estimate of $750 billion. The report makes ten recommendations, including payment reforms to reward quality results instead of reimbursing for each procedure, improving coordination among different kinds of service providers, leveraging technology to reinforce sound clinical decisions and educating patients to become more savvy consumers. The report’s main message for government is to accelerate payment reforms, said panel chair Dr. Mark Smith, president of the California HealthCare Foundation, a research group. For employers, it’s to move beyond cost shifts to workers and start demanding accountability from hospitals and major medical groups. For doctors, it means getting beyond the bubble of solo practice and collaborating with peers and other clinicians.

Note: The US spends far more on health care than most other developed countries which provide health care to all of their citizens. The US system is driven by profits. For more on this, click here.


Raising the Ritalin Generation
2012-08-19, New York Times
Posted: 2012-08-28 09:25:42
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/raising-the-ritalin-generati...

I remember the moment my son's teacher told us, "Just a little medication could really turn things around for Will." We stared at her as if she were speaking Greek. "Are you talking about Ritalin?" my husband asked. Will was in third grade, and his school wanted him to settle down in order to focus on math worksheets and geography lessons and social studies. The children were expected to line up quietly and "transition" between classes without goofing around. Will did not bounce off walls. He wasn't particularly antsy. He didn't exhibit any behaviors I'd associated with attention deficit or hyperactivity. He was an 8-year-old boy with normal 8-year-old boy energy - at least that's what I'd deduced from scrutinizing his friends. "He doesn't have attention deficit," I said. "We're not going to medicate him." Once you start looking for a problem, someone's going to find one, and attention deficit has become the go-to diagnosis, increasing by an average of 5.5 percent a year between 2003 and 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of 2010, according to the National Health Interview Survey, 8.4 percent, or 5.2 million children, between the ages of 3 and 17 had been given diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There's no clinical test for it: doctors make diagnoses based on subjective impressions from a series of interviews and questionnaires. I understand why the statistics are so high. In many cases, I discovered, diagnoses hinge on the teachers' [information].

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the medical-pharmaceutical complex, click here.


U.S. must do more to fight false ads
2012-07-18, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-07-24 16:25:42
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/U-S-must-do-more-to-fight-fal...

The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a settlement in the largest health care fraud case in U.S. history. The ruling, which included accusations of false advertising, forced the once widely respected British drugmaker, GlaxoSmithKline ... to pay a record-shattering $3 billion to various plaintiffs and the Department of Justice. Despite this $3 billion settlement, advertising fraud is on the rise in the United States. Expert public relations teams are called in to spin stories and confuse consumers. It is clear there is not enough being done to prevent, stop or resolve matters of false advertising in this country. The effect of the GlaxoSmithKline case has yet to be fully seen. If GlaxoSmithKline is [creative and deceptive] then we might see it roll out ads that skew the $3 billion loss in its favor - blatantly distorting the ruling as an endorsement of its products. At this point, even as regulators secure record-breaking settlements, the American people are losing, and the corporate spin teams are winning, the fight. Record settlements mean little if the deception continues. While winning lawsuits is a first step, what really matters is changing corporate behavior.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.


So Young and So Many Pills
2010-12-28, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2012-05-28 13:54:58
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576046073896475588.html

These days, the medicine cabinet is truly a family affair. More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens are taking a medication on a [longterm] basis. Nearly 7% are on two or more such drugs. Doctors and parents warn that prescribing medications to children can be problematic. There is limited research available about many drugs' effects in kids. And health-care providers and families need to be vigilant to assess the medicines' impact, both intended and not. Although the effects of some medications, like cholesterol-lowering statins, have been extensively researched in adults, the consequences of using such drugs for the bulk of a patient's lifespan are little understood. Many medications kids take on a regular basis are well known, including treatments for asthma and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But children and teens are also taking a wide variety of other medications once considered only to be for adults, from statins to diabetes pills and sleep drugs, according to figures provided to The Wall Street Journal by IMS Health, a research firm. Prescriptions for antihypertensives in people age 19 and younger could hit 5.5 million this year.

Note: For a powerful article by Dr. Mercola showing how the drug companies get away with killing literally tens of thousands of people, click here.


The Best-Selling Drugs In America
2012-04-19, Forbes
Posted: 2012-05-15 15:51:55
http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/04/19/the-best-selling-drugs-i...

Why is a me-too drug for which there are much cheaper alternatives the second-best selling medicine in the United States? Today, IMS Health released its annual look at the sales of prescription drugs in America. It is the first year in which all of the top ten medicines in America are generics. This year, cancer drugs passed antipsychotic medicines as the top revenue generators. The biggest surprise ... is in the second-place spot: Nexium, ... from AstraZeneca, which generated $6.3 billion in sales. Abilify, from Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb, passed Seroquel from Astra as the top-selling antipsychotic drug for disease like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Crestor, AstraZeneca’s cholesterol drug, has delivered a pretty stunning 5-year sales increase of 190%, apparently grabbing patients for whom Lipitor, from Pfizer, is not powerful enough. Sales do not equal popularity. Only three of these drugs (Lipitor, Plavix, and Singulair) rank among the top 25 most popular medicines. Price is often as big a component in making money as volume.


Analysts See Merck Victory in Vioxx Settlement
2007-11-10, New York Times
Posted: 2012-05-15 15:48:05
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/10/business/10merck.html

Three years after withdrawing its pain medication Vioxx from the market, Merck has agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 lawsuits by people who claim they or their family members suffered injury or died after taking the drug. The settlement, one of the largest ever in civil litigation, comes after nearly 20 Vioxx civil trials over the last two years from New Jersey to California. After losing a $253 million verdict in the first case, Merck has won most of the rest of the cases that reached juries, giving plaintiffs little choice but to settle. Based on the fact that the 27,000 suits cover about 47,000 sets of plaintiffs, the average plaintiff will receive just over $100,000 before legal fees and expenses, which usually swallow between 30 and 50 percent of payments to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs who do not want to accept the settlement can pursue their own claims, but with so many of the top trial lawyers in the United States agreeing to the deal, they may have difficulty doing so. The settlement does not end the government investigations that Merck faces, which include both civil and criminal inquires from several states and the Justice Department. But for Merck, which has already spent more than $1.2 billion on Vioxx-related legal fees, the settlement will put to rest any fears that Vioxx lawsuits might bankrupt the company, or even have a significant financial impact.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.


Swine flu vaccine 'linked to' sleeping disorder
2012-03-29, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-05-08 12:52:40
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9171414/Swine-flu-vaccine-linked...

A study in Finland has found that children vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu virus with Pandemrix were more likely to develop the sleep disorder narcolepsy. The condition causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sufferers can fall asleep suddenly and unintentionally. The researchers found that between 2002 and 2009, before the swine flu pandemic struck, the rate of narcolepsy in children under the age of 17 was 0.31 per 100,000. In 2010 this was about 17 times higher at 5.3 per 100,000 while the narcolepsy rate remained the same in adults. Markku Partinen of the Helsinki Sleep Clinic and Hanna Nohynek of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland, also collected vaccination and childhood narcolepsy data for children born between January 1991 and December 2005. They found that in those who were vaccinated the rate of narcolepsy was nine per 100,000 compared to 0.7 per 100,000 unvaccinated children, or 13 times lower. Pandemrix was the main vaccine used in Britain against the swine flu epidemic in which six million people were vaccinated. It was formulated specifically for the swine flu pandemic virus and is no longer in use.

Note: The WHO stated "more than 12 countries reported cases of narcolepsy in children and adolescents using GlaxoSmithKline's swine flu vaccine." For powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were incredibly manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales, click here. For many news articles showing that vaccines are not tested adequately for safety and are at times politically and financially motivated, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.


No magic bullet on the flu
2012-01-15, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2012-05-08 12:50:59
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/15/opinion/la-oe-finkelstein-tamiflu-201...

In 2006 ... the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the World Health Organization in Geneva warned of the imminent onset of an avian flu "pandemic" of lethal proportions. The pandemic never occurred. After reviewing studies of Tamiflu during the avian flu scare, Dr. Tom Jefferson ... had concluded in a 2006 report that the drug was effective. "But," said the article, "several years later, another physician challenged that conclusion because 8 of 10 studies in a meta-analysis — a review of studies — that Jefferson relied on had never been published." That prompted Jefferson to seek the raw data. "He was stymied when several authors and the manufacturer gave one excuse after another for why it couldn't supply the actual data. Jefferson's concern turned to outrage when two employees of a communications company … [revealed] they had been paid to ghostwrite some of the Tamiflu studies [and] had been given explicit instructions to ensure that a key message was embedded in the articles: Flu is a threat, and Tamiflu is the answer. "After reanalyzing the raw data finally made available (they still don't have it all), Jefferson and his colleagues published their review [in December 2009], saying that once the unpublished studies were excluded, there was no proof that Tamiflu reduced serious flu complications like pneumonia or death." In short, it appears the pharmaceutical companies had been as cunning in conning the public on matters of health as Wall Street had been on matters of wealth.

Note: For powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were incredibly manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.


Novartis takes legal action in UK to make hospitals use $1,000 eye drug over $97 alternative
2012-04-24, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2012-05-01 09:04:38
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/novartis-takes-legal-action-in-uk-...

Drug maker Novartis is taking legal action in Britain to make state-run hospitals use an eye drug that costs about 700 pounds ($1,130) per shot instead of a cheaper one that costs 60 pounds ($97). In a statement, Novartis said it was calling for a judicial review “as a last resort” because it believed patient safety was being potentially compromised. According to the U.K.’s health watchdog, Novartis’ Lucentis is the only drug recommended to treat the eye problem macular degeneration in the country’s state-run National Health Service hospitals. However, several NHS hospitals have been prescribing the much cheaper Avastin, a cancer drug made by Genentech Inc., a subsidiary of Roche, for the same problem even though it has not been officially approved. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year showed Avastin worked just as well as Lucentis for treating the eye disorder. Lucentis and Avastin act on the same biological protein in the body to spur blood vessel growth. In the U.S., eye doctors have often used tiny amounts of Avastin and billed the government for the cost, rather than buying Lucentis. Patient groups called for an independent analysis to determine which drug should be used.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.


A Drumbeat on Profit Takers
2012-03-20, New York Times
Posted: 2012-03-27 08:55:00
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/science/a-drumbeat-on-profit-takers.html

Dr. Arnold S. Relman [is] 88; Dr. Marcia Angell, 72. But their voices are as strong as ever. Colleagues for decades, late-life romantic partners, the pair has occasionally, wistfully, been called American medicine’s royal couple. In fact, controversy and some considerably less complimentary labels have dogged them as well. From 1977 to 2000, one or both of them filled top editorial slots at The New England Journal of Medicine as it grew into perhaps the most influential medical publication in the world, with a voice echoing to Wall Street, Washington and beyond. Many of the urgent questions in the accelerating turmoil surrounding health care today were first articulated during their tenure. Or, as Dr. Relman summarized one recent afternoon ..., Dr. Angell nodding in agreement by his side: “I told you so.” Their joint crusade ... is against for-profit medicine, especially its ancillary profit centers of commercial insurance and drug manufacture — in Dr. Relman’s words, “the people who are making a zillion bucks out of the commercial exploitation of medicine.” Some have dismissed the pair as medical Don Quixotes, comically deluded figures tilting at benign features of the landscape. Others consider them first responders in what has become a battle for the soul of American medicine.

Note: For a powerful summary of Dr. Marcia Angell's critique of corruption in the medical industry, click here.


J&J Said to Agree to Pay $1 Billion in Risperdal Marketing Probe
2012-01-18, Bloomberg/Businessweek
Posted: 2012-02-14 15:43:53
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-18/j-j-said-to-agree-to-pay-1-billio...

Johnson & Johnson will pay more than $1 billion to the U.S. and most states to resolve a civil investigation into marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. Negotiations over a possible criminal plea are still under way. The U.S. government has been investigating Risperdal sales practices since 2004, including allegations the company marketed the drug for unapproved uses. J&J, the world’s largest health products company ... disclosed in August that it reached an agreement to settle a misdemeanor criminal charge related to Risperdal marketing. The company is discussing paying about $400 million more to settle that portion of the investigation. Risperdal, once J&J’s best-selling drug, generated worldwide sales of $24.2 billion from 2003 to 2010, reaching $4.5 billion in 2007. After that, J&J lost patent protection and sales declined. The settlement represents ... about 5.6 percent of the drug’s cumulative sales since 2003. The Food and Drug Administration approved Risperdal in 1993 for psychotic disorders including schizophrenia. That market is limited, and J&J’s Janssen unit sought to sell Risperdal for bipolar disorder, dementia, mood and anxiety disorders and other unapproved uses.

Note: For highly-illuminating reports from reliable sources on the corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.


F.D.A. Finds Short Supply of Attention Deficit Drugs
2012-01-01, New York Times
Posted: 2012-01-10 12:59:35
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/health/policy/fda-is-finding-attention-drug...

Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions. The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug-enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people. Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability. The DEA sets manufacturing quotas that are designed to control supplies and thwart abuse. Every year, the DEA ... allots portions of the expected demand to various companies. How each manufacturer divides its quota among its own ADHD medicines — preparing some as high-priced brands and others as cheaper generics — is left up to the company. Officials at the FDA say the shortages are a result of overly strict quotas set by the DEA, which, for its part, questions whether there really are shortages or whether manufacturers are simply choosing to make more of the expensive pills than the generics, creating supply and demand imbalances.

Note: This curious story reveals an astonishing level of government manipulation of the manufacturing and availability of medications, and corporations appear to go along with it because it keeps profits high. For lots more on government and corportate corruption from reliable sources, click here and here.


Insurance profits soar after health care overhaul
2012-01-06, San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg News
Posted: 2012-01-10 12:54:46
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/05/BUUH1MLB31.DTL

Insurance companies spent millions of dollars trying to defeat the U.S. health care overhaul, saying it would raise costs and disrupt coverage. Instead, profit margins at the companies widened to levels not seen since before the recession, a Bloomberg Government study shows. Insurers led by WellPoint ... recorded their highest combined quarterly net income of the past decade after the law was signed in 2010, said Peter Gosselin, the study author. "The industry that was the loudest, most persistent critic of this law, the industry whose analysts and executives predicted it would suffer immensely because of the law, has thrived," Gosselin said. Health insurers contributed $86.2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose the law after Obama administration officials criticized the [corporations'] plans for enriching themselves by raising customer premiums. Companies are changing their business focus to gain from provisions in the law that will expand the size of Medicaid, the $401 billion government health plan for the poor.

Note: Is it surprising that health insurance companies are raking in big profits from the new health care legislation?


How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?
2008-07-25, CBS News
Posted: 2011-12-27 10:58:03
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-independent-are-vaccine-defenders/

They're some of the most trusted voices in the defense of vaccine safety: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two, and pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit. But CBS News has found these three have something more in common - strong financial ties to the industry whose products they promote and defend. The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters. The totals are kept secret, but public documents reveal bits and pieces. A $342,000 payment from Wyeth, maker of the pneumococcal vaccine - which makes $2 billion a year in sales. A $433,000 contribution from Merck, the same year the academy endorsed Merck's HPV vaccine - which made $1.5 billion a year in sales. Every Child By Two, a group that promotes early immunization for all children, admits the group takes money from the vaccine industry, too - but wouldn't tell us how much. Then there's Paul Offit, perhaps the most widely-quoted defender of vaccine safety. He's gone so far as to say babies can tolerate "10,000 vaccines at once." In fact, he's a vaccine industry insider. Offit holds a $1.5 million dollar research chair at Children's Hospital, funded by Merck. He holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck. And future royalties for the vaccine were just sold for $182 million cash.

Note: An excellent report endorsed by many respected doctors and nurses reveals the serious risks of vaccines. Read an incisive list of questions regarding vaccines that are rarely raised by the media. The report accessible on this US government webpage states, "Since 1988, over 24,200 petitions have been filed with the VICP [Vaccine Injury Compensation Program] ... with 8,162 of those determined to be compensable. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $4.5 billion." Why isn't that huge price tag for vaccine injuries being talked about?


$3 billion settlement expected in GlaxoSmithKline drug-marketing probe
2011-11-03, Washington Post
Posted: 2011-12-06 11:41:47
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/3billion-settlement-expected-i...

The British drugmaker Glaxo-SmithKline has tentatively agreed to pay the U.S. government $3 billion to settle multiple civil and criminal investigations, the largest settlement in the federal government’s recent crackdown on the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing practices. If the deal is finalized, it will mark the latest success in the federal government’s push to rein in drug companies’ promotional efforts. Of the 165 settlements reached between pharmaceutical companies and federal and state governments in the past two decades, about three-quarters took place between 2006 and 2010, according to a report by Public Citizen. Before the Glaxo agreement, the largest federal settlements took place in 2009: Pfizer paid $2.3 billion to settle federal investigations tied to the promotion of the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra and other drugs, and Eli Lilly & Co. paid $1.4 billion related to the marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. Still, consumer advocates said the penalties are not enough. “The size of the penalties, although large, are not as large as the money [the drug companies] make and so they keep doing it over again,” said Sidney M. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s health research group. “The only way this is going to stop, or get reversed, is to greatly increase the size of the penalties or to start sending some of the executives to jail.”

Note: For insight into corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.


Needless Medical Tests Costly
2006-05-19, CBS News
Posted: 2011-11-22 09:59:13
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/19/health/webmd/main1637144_page2.shtml

During your next routine medical checkup you have at least a 43 percent chance of undergoing an unnecessary medical test, a new study shows. It's not like you're getting something for nothing. If you're not having symptoms, and your doctor has no reason to suspect you have a problem, U.S. guidelines advise against giving you a routine urinalysis, electrocardiogram, or X-ray. "This has more harm than benefit," says Dan Merenstein, M.D., director of research in family medicine at Georgetown University. "The problem is, there are so many false-positive results from these tests. They lead to other things, like biopsies." The tests are meant to help doctors explore specific symptoms that are troubling patients or raise suspicion of a problem. If you're a healthy person who's just getting a routine checkup, there's only a tiny chance the tests will find disease. But Merenstein points out there's a good chance the tests will get a slightly abnormal finding. That means further costly tests — maybe even a painful biopsy — to show that you were, indeed, perfectly healthy to begin with. Aside from the costs in time and the potential for unnecessary suffering, these procedures add up to big money. Merenstein's modest estimate of the cost of just these three simple tests is $47 million to $194 million a year. And that doesn't include the cost of follow-up tests.

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


Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
2011-09-01, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2011-11-01 10:44:57
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-drugs-epidemic-20110918,0,5517691.story

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation's growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

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


Mistakes in Scientific Studies Surge
2011-08-10, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2011-10-18 17:12:26
http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB100014240527023036271045764118506665820...

It was the kind of study that made doctors around the world sit up and take notice: Two popular high-blood-pressure drugs were found to be much better in combination than either alone. Unfortunately, it wasn't true. Six and a half years later, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet retracted the paper, citing "serious concerns" about the findings. The damage was done. Doctors by then had given the drug combination to well over 100,000 patients. Instead of protecting them from kidney problems, as the study said the drug combo could do, it left them more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening side effects, later studies showed. Today, "tens of thousands" of patients are still on the dual therapy, according to research firm SDI. When a study is retracted, "it can be hard to make its effects go away," says Sheldon Tobe, a kidney-disease specialist at the University of Toronto. And that's more important today than ever because retractions of scientific studies are surging. Since 2001, while the number of papers published in research journals has risen 44%, the number retracted has leapt more than 15-fold, data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by Thomson Reuters reveal. Just 22 retraction notices appeared in 2001, but 139 in 2006 and 339 last year

Note: To learn lots more of how the medical industry puts profit above public health, click here.


The danger of drugs … and data
2009-05-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-09-13 09:19:02
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/09/bad-science-medical-journ...

A fascinating court case in Australia has been playing out around some people who had heart attacks after taking the Merck drug, Vioxx. This medication turned out to increase the risk of heart attacks in people taking it, although that finding was arguably buried in their research, and Merck has paid out more than Ł2bn to 44,000 people in America. The first ... thing to emerge in the Australian case is email documentation showing staff at Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who were critical of the company, or of the drug. This list contained words such as "neutralise", "neutralised" and "discredit" next to the names of various doctors. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," said one email, from a Merck employee. Staff are also alleged to have used other tactics, such as trying to interfere with academic appointments, and dropping hints about how funding to institutions might dry up. Worse still, is the revelation that Merck paid the publisher Elsevier to produce a publication. This time Elsevier Australia went the whole hog, giving Merck an entire publication which resembled an academic journal, although in fact it only contained reprinted articles, or summaries, of other articles.

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


Public 'misled' by drug trial claims
2010-10-13, BBC News
Posted: 2011-08-30 10:55:36
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11521873

Doctors and patients are being misled about the effectiveness of some drugs because negative trial results are not published, experts have warned. Writing in the British Medical Journal, they say that pharmaceutical companies should be forced to publish all data, not just positive findings. The German team give the example of the antidepressant reboxetine, saying publications have failed to show the drug in a true light. Reboxetine (Edronax), made by Pfizer, is used in many European countries, including the UK. But its rejection by US drug regulators raised doubts about its effectiveness, and led some to hunt for missing data. This is not the first time a large drug company has come under fire about its published drug trial data. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was criticised for failing to raise the alarm on the risk of suicidal behaviour associated with its antidepressant Seroxat. GSK has also been forced to defend itself over allegations about hiding negative data regarding another of its drugs, Avandia, which is used to treat diabetes. "Our findings underline the urgent need for mandatory publication of trial data," [the researchers] say in the BMJ. They warn that the lack of all information means policy makers are unable to make informed decisions. In the US, it is already a requirement that all data - both positive and negative - is published.

Note: For a powerful summary of government/corporate corruption in the pharmaceutical industry by a respected former editor of a major medical journal, click here.


Anger at deadly Nigerian drug trials
2007-06-29, BBC News
Posted: 2011-08-30 10:52:05
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6768799.stm

In school, Anas Mohammadu's mates call him "horror" and make fun of him. But Anas is lucky to be alive. Other children who were used in the controversial 1996 drug trial by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer died. Anas, then only three years old, was the first child to be given the experimental antibiotic Trovan at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Kano, during the drug trial. Pfizer tested the then unregistered drug in Nigeria's north-western Kano State during an outbreak of meningitis which had affected thousands of children. Officials in Kano say more than 50 children died in the experiment, while many others developed mental and physical deformities. But Pfizer says only 11 of the 200 children used in the drug trial died. Following pressure from rights groups and families affected by the trial, the Nigerian government set up an expert medical panel to review the drug trial. The experiment was "an illegal trial of an unregistered drug", the Nigerian panel concluded, and a "clear case of exploitation of the ignorant". After more than a decade of silence, the Nigerian government has decided to sue Pfizer, seeking $7bn (Ł3.5bn) in damages for the families of children who allegedly died or suffered side-effects in the experiment. Kano State government has also filed separate charges against Pfizer.

Note: Pfizer settled the case out of court, as reported by BBC at this link.


Ghostwritten medical articles called fraud
2011-08-02, CBC News
Posted: 2011-08-10 09:45:00
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/08/02/ghostwriting-medical-legal-fra...

It's fraudulent for academics to give their names to medical articles ghostwritten by pharmaceutical industry writers, say two Canadian law professors who call for potential legal sanctions. Studies suggest that industry-driven drug trials and industry-sponsored publications are more likely to downplay a drug's harms and exaggerate a drug's virtues, said Trudo Lemmens, a law professor at the University of Toronto. The integrity of medical research is also harmed by ghostwritten articles, he said. Ghostwriting is part of marketing that can distort the evidence on a drug, Lemmens said. Industry authors are concealed to insert marketing messages and academic experts are recruited as "guest" authors to lend credibility despite not fulfilling criteria for authorship, such as participating in the design of the study, gathering data, analyzing the results and writing up of the findings. Lemmens and his colleague Prof. Simon Stern argue that legal remedies are needed for medical ghostwriting since medical journals, academic institutions and professional disciplinary bodies haven't succeeded in enforcing sanctions against the practice. Ghostwritten publications are used in court to support a manufacturer's arguments about a drug's safety and effectiveness, and academic experts who appear as witnesses for pharmaceutical and medical device companies also boost their credibility with the publications on their CV, Lemmens said.

Note: For a respected doctor's powerful analysis of fraud in the pharmaceutical industry, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on key health issues, click here.


Many Medicines Are Potent Years Past Expiration Dates
2000-03-28, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2011-08-10 09:36:23
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB954201508530067326.html

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.


The costly war on cancer
2011-05-26, The Economist Magazine
Posted: 2011-06-28 11:55:51
http://www.economist.com/node/18743951?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Far%2Fthecostlywar...

Cancer is not one disease. It is many. Yet oncologists have long used the same blunt weapons to fight different types of cancer: cut the tumour out, zap it with radiation or blast it with chemotherapy that kills good cells as well as bad ones. New cancer drugs are changing this. Scientists are now attacking specific mutations that drive specific forms of cancer. A breakthrough came more than a decade ago when Genentech, a Californian biotech firm, launched a drug that attacks breast-cancer cells with too much of a certain protein, HER2. In 2001 Novartis, a Swiss drugmaker, won approval for Gleevec, which treats chronic myeloid leukaemia by attacking another abnormal protein. Other drugs take different tacks. Avastin, introduced in America in 2004 by Genentech, starves tumours by striking the blood vessels that feed them. These new drugs sell well. Last year Gleevec grossed $4.3 billion. Roche’s Herceptin (the HER2 drug) and Avastin did even better: $6 billion and $7.4 billion respectively. The snag, from society’s point of view, is that all these drugs are horribly expensive. Last year biotech drugs accounted for 70% of the increase in pharmaceutical costs in America, according to Medco, a drug-plan manager. Cancer plays a huge role in raising costs.

Note: To see what happens when inexpensive potential cures for cancer are discovered, click here. For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.


Movie review: 'Burzynski'
2010-06-17, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2011-06-22 11:30:41
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/reviews/la-et-movie-review-burzynsk...

Eric Merola's "Burzynski" charts how a Texas medical doctor and biochemist developed Antineoplastons, genetic-targeted medicines, and with them began to treat a wide range of cancers, including difficult-to-treat brain malignancies, with remarkable and continuing success only to bring down the full force of the medical establishment, which has laid assault to him in the most stupefying, devious and costly manner. Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish immigrant ... eventually won a 14-year struggle – during which he found himself threatened with life imprisonment and astronomical fines for fraud and other violations – to obtain FDA-approved clinical trials of his Antineoplastons, an ordeal that cost Burzynski $2.2 million in legal expenses and the FDA $60 million in taxpayers' money. The film makes the case that big pharmacy holds the FDA in its thrall. Burzynski's Antineoplastons, with their high success rate and lack of side effects, pose a significant threat to the trillion-dollar industry of treating cancer with the traditional methods of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Note: The Los Angeles Times now requires payment to view this article at this link. For the Burzynski clinic website, click here. You can watch part or all of this revealing movie at this link. For another powerful documentary featuring a variety of potential cancer cures that have been suppressed, click here. For excerpts from numerous major media articles with potential cancer cures that are being suppressed, click here.


Latest target in FDA war on raw milk
2011-05-22, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2011-05-31 17:23:53
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/22/MNVN1JH966.DTL

Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer has become a cause celebre for raw milk drinkers as the target of a Food and Drug Administration campaign - using sting operations and guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terrorists and drug lords - to eliminate unpasteurized milk. Such milk, also known as raw or fresh milk, is legal in California and considered essential to Europe's finest cheeses, creams and butters. Allgyer is the latest to feel the force of a yearslong Food and Drug Administration campaign against raw milk that has focused on tiny farms and consumer co-ops. Raw milk drinkers say cooking milk diminishes its flavor and nutrients. They said similar sterilization standards, if applied across the American diet, would ban sushi, medium-rare steaks, oysters on the shell and most raw fruits and vegetables. The Food Safety and Modernization Act approved by Congress last year and signed by President Obama in January has vastly enhanced the agency's powers. Starting July 3, the agency can confiscate any food at any farm that it deems unsafe or mislabeled. Throughout Europe, uncooked milk is the norm, dispensed in vending machines in Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and the Netherlands. It is healthy, adherents say, because it contains fat that is not broken down by homogenization and is free of antibiotics and hormones, because cows are raised in small herds on pastures.


Patents Over Patients
2007-04-01, New York Times
Posted: 2011-05-31 17:11:52
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/opinion/01moss.html

We could make faster progress against cancer by changing the way drugs are developed. In the current system, if a promising compound can’t be patented, it is highly unlikely ever to make it to market — no matter how well it performs in the laboratory. The development of new cancer drugs is crippled as a result. The reason for this problem is that bringing a new drug to market is extremely expensive. In 2001, the estimated cost was $802 million; today it is approximately $1 billion. To ensure a healthy return on such staggering investments, drug companies seek to formulate new drugs in a way that guarantees watertight patents. In the meantime, cancer patients miss out on treatments that may be highly effective and less expensive to boot. In 2004, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that an off-the-shelf compound called 3-bromopyruvate could arrest the growth of liver cancer in rats. The results were dramatic; moreover, the investigators estimated that the cost to treat patients would be around 70 cents per day. Yet, three years later, no major drug company has shown interest in developing this drug. The hormone melatonin, sold as an inexpensive food supplement in the United States, has repeatedly been shown to slow the growth of various cancers when used in conjunction with conventional treatments. Early this year, another readily available industrial chemical, dichloroacetate, was found by researchers at the University of Alberta to shrink tumors in laboratory animals by up to 75 percent. However ... dichloroacetate is not patentable, and the lead researcher is concerned that it may be difficult to find funding from private investors to test the chemical. Potential anticancer drugs should be judged on their scientific merit, not on their patentability.

Note: To explore several cancer cures which have shown dramatic potential, yet are not being studied for lack of funds due to inability to patent the process, click here. Why are these very promising treatments not being fast-tracked as the expensive AIDS drugs were? For a top MD's revealing comments on this, click here. And for why the media won't feature these promising cancer treatments in headlines, click here.


Study: US Quietly Paid Families For Vaccine-Linked Autism Cases
2011-05-11, CBS Los Angeles
Posted: 2011-05-17 13:09:50
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/05/11/study-us-quietly-paid-families-for-...

Federal health officials may have only recently called autism a “national health emergency”, but a new study released [on May 11] showed the U.S. has been quietly compensating families with autism for nearly two decades. The report from SafeMinds.org — a group that believes scientific evidence has linked autism to vaccinations – alleges that a fund set up by the U.S. government to compensate those injured by vaccines has paid out claims to dozens of families of autistic kids. The study conducted by the Pace Environmental Law Review revealed that since the late 1980s, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has paid money for 83 cases involving autism out of approximately 1,300 cases of vaccine injury that resulted in childhood brain injury. In that same time period, federal officials have maintained that autism — which now affects an estimated one in 110 individuals — is still “rare” and has publicly conceded to only one vaccine-induced autism case involving nine-year-old Hannah Poling. The study’s authors stand behind the findings and warn they are only “the tip of the iceberg.” Currently, there are over 5,000 vaccine court cases pending that claim autism as a result of vaccine injury.

Note: For more information from major media sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here. And for a fascinating study suggesting that vaccines are much less effective than is publicly acknowledged, click here.


US Supreme Court won't review drug patent deal
2011-03-07, The Guardian/Reuters
Posted: 2011-03-22 17:47:19
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/9533058

The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling that drug companies can pay rivals to delay production of generic drugs without violating federal antitrust laws. The justices refused to review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the dismissal of a legal challenge to a deal between Bayer AG and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's Barr Laboratories. Bayer paid Barr to prevent it from bringing to market a version of the antibiotic drug Cipro. The deal, involving Bayer's 1997 settlement of patent litigation with Barr, was challenged by a number of pharmacies, which appealed to the Supreme Court. More than 30 states and various consumer groups supported the appeal. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has opposed such deals, saying they violate antitrust law and cost consumers an estimated $3.5 billion a year in higher prescription drug prices. It has supported legislation pending in Congress to prohibit such settlements, which it says have increased in recent years. The New York-based appeals court, in its ruling last year, cited its similar 2005 decision involving the drug Tamoxifen, used to treat breast cancer, infertility and other conditions. The Supreme Court declined to review that case. In the Cipro case, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal by the pharmacies without comment.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government and corporate corruption, click here and here.


Supreme Court shields vaccine makers from lawsuits
2011-02-22, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2011-02-28 11:27:18
http://www.latimes.com/business/sc-dc-0223-court-vaccines-20110223,0,1732649....

The Supreme Court on [February 22] shielded the nation's vaccine makers from being sued by parents who say their children suffered severe side effects from the drugs. By a 6-2 vote, the court upheld a federal law that offers compensation to these victims but closes the courthouse door to lawsuits. Justice Antonin Scalia said the high court majority agreed with Congress that these side effects were "unavoidable" when a vaccine is given to millions of children. If the drug makers could be sued and forced to pay huge claims for devastating injuries, the vaccine industry could be wiped out, he said. The American Academy of Pediatrics applauded the decision. The ruling was a defeat for the parents of Hannah Bruesewitz, who as a child was given a standard vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. She later suffered a series of seizures and delayed development. Her parents sought compensation for her injuries, but their claim was turned down. They then sued the drug maker in a Pennsylvania court, contending that the vaccine was defectively designed. A judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled they were barred from suing, and the Supreme Court affirmed that judgment.

Note: For powerful evidence that childhood vaccines are much less effective than is generally believed, click here.


Why Almost Everything You Hear About Medicine Is Wrong
2011-01-24, Newsweek
Posted: 2011-02-13 00:34:46
http://www.newsweek.com/2011/01/23/why-almost-everything-you-hear-about-medic...

If you follow the news about health research, you risk whiplash. First garlic lowers bad cholesterol, then—after more study—it doesn’t. Hormone replacement reduces the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women, until a huge study finds that it doesn’t. But what if wrong answers aren’t the exception but the rule? More and more scholars who scrutinize health research are now making that claim. It isn’t just an individual study here and there that’s flawed, they charge. Instead, the very framework of medical investigation may be off-kilter, leading time and again to findings that are at best unproved and at worst dangerously wrong. The result is a system that leads patients and physicians astray—spurring often costly regimens that won’t help and may even harm you. Even a cursory glance at medical journals shows that once heralded studies keep falling by the wayside. A major study concluded there’s no good evidence that statins (drugs like Lipitor and Crestor) help people with no history of heart disease. The study ... was based on an evaluation of 14 individual trials with 34,272 patients. Cost of statins: more than $20 billion per year. “Positive” drug trials, which find that a treatment is effective, and “negative” trials, in which a drug fails, take the same amount of time to conduct. But negative trials took an extra two to four years to be published. With billions of dollars on the line, companies are loath to declare a new drug ineffective. As a result of the lag in publishing negative studies, patients receive a treatment that is actually ineffective. From clinical trials of new drugs to cutting-edge genetics, biomedical research is riddled with incorrect findings.

Note: For the good of your health, the entire article at the link above is well worth reading. For lots more on how the profit-oriented health profession puts public health at risk, click here and here.


Avastin increases fatal side effects in cancer patients
2011-02-02, USA Today
Posted: 2011-02-07 15:41:31
http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/cancer/2011-02-02-avastin02_o...

One of the most financially successful cancer drugs in the world appears to cause more fatal side effects than previously realized, a new study says. Avastin, a blockbuster drug with more than $5.5 billion in global sales, increases the rate of fatal side effects by almost 50% when added to traditional chemotherapy, compared with chemo alone. About 2.5% of cancer patients who combine Avastin and chemo die from their treatment — rather than their disease, according to an analysis of 10,217 patients in today's Journal of the American Medical Association. In comparison, 1.7% of cancer patients who received only conventional chemo died as a result of therapy. The most common causes of death were hemorrhages, the loss of infection-fighting white blood cells, and perforations in the stomach or intestines, says Shenhong Wu of Stony Brook University School of Medicine, co-author of the analysis of 10,217 patients.

Note: Sadly, most studies that reveal such results are suppressed by the pharmaceutical industry.


Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence
2011-01-07, Time Magazine
Posted: 2011-01-31 12:39:32
http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/07/top-ten-legal-drugs-linked-to-violence/...

When people consider the connections between drugs and violence, what typically comes to mind are illegal drugs like crack cocaine. However, certain medications — most notably, some antidepressants like Prozac — have also been linked to increase risk for violent, even homicidal behavior. A new study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published in the journal PloS One and based on data from the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked with reports of violent behavior towards others. Please note that this does not necessarily mean that these drugs cause violent behavior. Nonetheless, when one particular drug in a class of nonaddictive drugs used to treat the same problem stands out, that suggests caution: unless the drug is being used to treat radically different groups of people, that drug may actually be the problem. Here are the top ten offenders: * 10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) * 9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) * 8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) * 7. Triazolam (Halcion) * 6. Atomoxetine (Strattera) * 5. Mefoquine (Lariam) * 4. Amphetamines: (Various) * 3. Paroxetine (Paxil) * 2. Fluoxetine (Prozac) * 1. Varenicline (Chantix)

Note: As mentioned in this article, all of these drugs are 8 to 18 times time more likely to be linked to violent acts than other drugs. For excellent reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.


Glaxo Whistle-Blower Lawsuit: Bad Medicine
2011-01-02, CBS News 60 Minutes
Posted: 2011-01-24 10:04:40
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/29/60minutes/main7195247.shtml

Of all the things that you trust every day, you want to believe your prescription medicine is safe and effective. The pharmaceutical industry says that it follows the highest standards for quality. But in November, we found out just how much could go wrong at one of the world's largest drug makers. A subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to distributing adulterated drugs. Some of the medications were contaminated with bacteria, others were mislabeled, and some were too strong or not strong enough. It's likely Glaxo would have gotten away with it had it not been for a company insider: a tip from Cheryl Eckard set off a major federal investigation. Eckard worked in Glaxo quality control and over ten years she had risen to become a manager of global quality assurance. In 2002, Eckard was assigned to help lead a quality assurance team to evaluate one of Glaxo's most important plants, in Cidra, Puerto Rico. Nine hundred people worked there, making 20 drugs for patients in the U.S. But Eckard says that when she saw what was happening to some of the company's most popular drugs, she couldn't believe it. "All the systems were broken, the facility was broken, the equipment was broken, the processes were broken. It was the worst thing I had run across in my career," she [said]. As her team continued its evaluation of the plant, Eckard says ... that powerful medications were getting mixed up.

Note: For lots more on how this major pharmaceutical is endangering lives, watch the 60 Minutes video segment at the above link.


When Insurers Put Profits Between Doctor and Patient
2011-01-06, New York Times
Posted: 2011-01-17 11:17:28
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/health/views/06chen.html

In articles, interviews, op-eds and testimony on Capitol Hill, Wendell Potter has described the dark underbelly of the health care insurance industry — unkept promises of care, canceled coverage of those who get sick and fearmongering campaigns designed to quash any change that might adversely affect profits. He should know what he is talking about. For 20 years, Mr. Potter was the head of corporate communications at two major insurers, first at Humana and then at Cigna. Now Mr. Potter has written a fascinating book that details the methods he and his colleagues used to manipulate public opinion and describes his transformation from the idealistic son of working-class parents in eastern Tennessee to top insurance company executive, to vocal critic and industry watchdog. Using little of the fiery rhetoric or lurid prose that usually marks corporate exposés or memoirs of redemption, the book, Deadly Spin ... is an evenhanded yet riveting account of the inner workings of the health care insurance industry, a cautionary tale that doctors and patients would be wise not to miss. Mr. Potter [describes] the myth-making he did, interspersing descriptions of front groups, paid spies and jiggered studies with a deft retelling of the convoluted (and usually eye-glazing) history of health care insurance policies.

Note: Mr. Potter has written a powerful condemnation of health care industry practices at this link. For other major media articles on this courageous whistleblower, click here. And for other highly informative reports on important health issues, click here.


Stanford faculty still taking drug firms' money
2010-12-20, San Francisco Chronicle/ProPublica
Posted: 2010-12-28 17:57:35
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/20/MNB51GSBQO.DTL

Last year, Stanford banned its physicians from giving paid promotional talks for pharmaceutical companies. One thing it didn't do was make sure its faculty followed that rule. A ProPublica investigation ["Dollars for Docs"] found that more than a dozen of the school's doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of Stanford policy - two of them were paid six figures since last year. Conflict-of-interest policies have become increasingly important as academic medical centers worry that promotional talks undermine the credibility not only of the physicians giving them, but also of the institutions they represent. Yet when it comes to enforcing the policies, universities have allowed permissive interpretations and relied on the honor system. That approach isn't working. Many physicians are in apparent violation, and ignorance or confusion about the rules is widespread. As a result, some faculty physicians stay on the industry lecture circuit, where they can net tens of thousands of dollars in additional income. Critics of the practice say delivering talks for drug companies is incompatible with teaching future generations of physicians. That's because drug firms typically pick the topic of the lecture, train the speakers and require them to use company-provided presentation slides.

Note: "Dollars for Docs" is an ongoing investigation into the influence of drug company marketing payments on medical providers. To search for a doctor in the database, click here.


WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer 'used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout'
2010-12-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2010-12-20 17:38:52
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/09/wikileaks-cables-pfizer-nigeria

The world's biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable. Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996. But the cable suggests that the US drug giant did not want to pay out to settle the two cases – one civil and one criminal – brought by the Nigerian federal government. The cable reports a meeting between Pfizer's country manager, Enrico Liggeri, and US officials at the Abuja embassy on 9 April 2009. It states: "According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to federal attorney general Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer's investigators were passing this information to local media." The cable ... continues: "A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa's 'alleged' corruption ties were published in February and March. Liggeri contended that Pfizer had much more damaging information on Aondoakaa and that Aondoakaa's cronies were pressuring him to drop the suit for fear of further negative articles."

Note: For more on this revealing case, see the New York Times article available here.


A placebo is a placebo is a placebo ... or maybe not, a new study suggests
2010-10-18, The Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2010-11-29 21:24:40
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/18/news/la-heb-placebo-20101018<