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NEWS: Prescription Drug Marketing Misleads Public

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posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 08:56 PM
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The lead article in today's MSN "Health Highlights" pimps statin drugs as "vitamins for the heart" to lower cholesterol. The page is sponsored by Crestor, a blockbuster statin manufactured by AstraZeneca. The author neglects to mention Crestor's and other statins' specific dangers, and downplays recent findings that several prescription drugs have serious and fatal side effects. The current public health campaign to better control drug safety is completely ignored. In related news, Big Pharma is reeling, and an FDA advisory committee nixed Merck's request to sell statin drug Mevacor over-the-counter last week. The FDA has until February 24 to reach a decision about Mevacor - and the fight is on.


 



cholesterolmatters.msn.com
"...some studies suggest that healthy people who are considered to be at low risk for heart disease may also want to have their cholesterol levels checked and lowered with a statin drug. ...Some heart specialists see statins as "vitamins for the heart" and say billions of dollars could be saved and thousands of deaths prevented if more people who are considered to be at low risk for heart disease were put on the medication.
...Putting more people on statin therapy in the long run could help lower total health-care costs because people would need fewer procedures. They would have fewer heart attacks, fewer stenting procedures and fewer bypass surgeries," says Dr. Jerome Cohen..."

"A Crestor warning has been issued by several groups since Crestor was approved for use by the FDA in August of 2003. Crestor is touted as a "super satin" that is prescribed to treat patients with high cholesterol thereby lowering their risk of heart complications. Crestor is manufactured and aggressively marketed by the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and is approved in doses up to 40 milligrams in strength.
...These Crestor warnings are compounded with the recent recall of a similar drug called Baycol (manufactured by Bayer) in 2001. ...The Crestor warning that cautions users about the harmful risks of taking Crestor describes the same risks that were shown to be caused by Baycol use. ...The most serious adverse health consequence that has been associated with Crestor use is the risk of developing the serious and fatal muscle disease called rhabdomyolysis. ...Rhabdomyolysis causes muscles to atrophy (break down) and releases harmful substances into the blood stream. ...Crestor use increases a patient's risk of developing this disease which, if left untreated can lead to acute renal failure (kidney failure) and death."
www.adrugrecall.com...

"Calls are mounting for revamp of FDA: Just as the Enron scandal triggered an overhaul of corporate accounting practices, the nation's prescription drug crisis may prompt a sweeping revamp of the way the Food and Drug Administration ensures drug safety, some say.
...The proposal garnering the most support is Grassley's plan to create an independent drug safety office to keep drug companies honest. ...Absent that, drug safety details trickle out from lawsuits, congressional hearings, and academic meetings.
...Specialists inside and outside the FDA say at least three changes are needed before the public can be assured that drugs are safe: naming a permanent FDA commissioner; increasing the agency's budget to permit meaningful surveillance of the safety of drugs after they are approved for use by consumers; and adding regulatory muscle to require that companies complete promised postmarketing studies."
www.boston.com...

"Merck's request to have a non-prescription over-the-counter version of their popular cholesterol-lowering drug Mevacor approved for sale was turned down by an FDA advisory panel last week. ...The FDA does not have to follow recommendations made by the advisory committee, ...(and) has until Feb. 24 to reach a decision about over-the-counter Mevacor."
www.healthtalk.ca...



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


In a veritable flood released by the Vioxx scandal, whistleblowers are coming out of closets en masse, and 'lost' documents are making their way to publishers' desks. It seems as if most of the 'miracle drugs' released in the past few years are downright dangerous. We're talking heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure and suicide. On the lighter side, we're facing bone loss, and "serious and substantial bleeding."




"A medical journal has given U.S. regulators confidential drug company documents suggesting a link between the antidepressant Prozac and a heightened risk of suicide attempts. ...Documents from an anonymous source indicate Prozac's manufacturer, Eli Lilly & Co., was aware of the drug's potential side-effects in the 1980s, the British Medical Journal said in its Jan. 1 issue."
www.cbc.ca...

From Reuters:
"A television commercial for Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Seasonale misleads consumers by excluding risk information to make the birth control pill seem safer, U.S. health regulators warned in a letter released on Thursday. The commercial suggests use of the oral contraceptive leads to only four menstrual periods a year but fails to mention frequent and sometimes substantial bleeding..."

"Bone Loss Seen with Lung Disease Treatment. People who use an inhaled steroid long-term to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or emphysema, face a loss of bone mineral density in the hip and spine, a new study shows. ...the study also found the medication did not improve lung function."

MORE

"FDA tells doctors to limit painkiller use"
msnbc.msn.com...

"Painkillers may damage small intestines. About 70 percent of users suffered injury, study finds"
www.msnbc.msn.com...

"UM study shows use of antibiotics may be factor in asthma, allergies: ...Your asthma and allergies may be an unintended gift of the antibiotics you took years earlier. ...Asthma cases in the United States climbed 75 percent from 1980 to 1994."
toledoblade.com.../20041223/NEWS32/412230393

"The team said it suspects that changes in gut microflora caused by widespread use of antibiotics plus a modern high-fat, high-sugar, low-fiber diet could be responsible for a major increase, over the last 40 years, in cases of chronic asthma and allergies in Western industrialized countries."
www.rednova.com...


Some doctors are standing up to Big Pharma, and demanding change.



www.cbc.ca...

...regulators need to be able to force industry to conduct better safety trials, a cardiologist says. ...in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Topol recommends:
* Better tracking of the side-effects of medications.
* Much less direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs.
* Greater legislative authority to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require industry to conduct trials deemed necessary to ensure the safety profile of a drug.
..."Had coxib trials been conducted five years ago in patients with established cardiovascular disease, when the benefit and risks were indeterminate, clinicians would have quickly learned the risk and potentially avoided a major cardiovascular calamity," Topol wrote. "The combination of mass promotion of a medicine with an unknown and suspect safety profile cannot be tolerated in the future."



The FDA is flexing a bit of muscle and Big Pharma is flexing back.



"Pfizer Inc. ads for the painkillers Celebrex and Bextra mislead consumers and fail to properly disclose the drugs' side-effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the pharmaceutical company."
www.jointogether.org...

Big Changes for Big Pharma
www.businessweek.com...


The drug industry has become the world's largest industry in the world over the past few decades - and surpasses oil in profits. Unfortunately, many drug profits come at the expense of patient health: most drugs treat one symptom, while triggering progression of the underlying disease.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. ...As a side note, over-the-counter drugs are not covered by insurance, so FDA approval for OTC sales benefits the health insurance industry - and sticks it to the consumer.





Some tangled webs just can't be untangled:

...Astra Merck, (is) a joint venture between Astra AB and Merck. Astra Merck merged in 1998 with Astra USA of Boston to create Astra Pharmaceuticals.
www.astrazeneca.com...

and... The Department of Defense contracted with Merck-Medco Managed Care to provide military personnel mail order service for maintenance prescriptions in 2001...
www.narmc.amedd.army.mil...



Related News Links:
www.atsnn.com
www.abovetopsecret.com
www.abovetopsecret.com
www.abovetopsecret.com

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[edit on 18-1-2005 by soficrow]

[edit on 18-1-2005 by soficrow] Better title

[edit on 19-1-2005 by soficrow]




posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 09:02 PM
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While I agree that the profit aspect clouds and blurs ethics. The simple fact is that profit drives innovation and development. i for one do not want the future of pharma in the hads of say the Federal Government. Durgs would take too long and cost waaaaay to much.



posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
The simple fact is that profit drives innovation and development.


...The issue is direct marketing of prescription drugs to consumers.

The "innovation and development" we're getting now are killing us, or causing disability. Not the ideal effect.


.



posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
The "innovation and development" we're getting now are killing us, or causing disability. Not the ideal effect.


So how exactly do you propose to fix the system then?



posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow


"Calls are mounting for revamp of FDA: Just as the Enron scandal triggered an overhaul of corporate accounting practices, the nation's prescription drug crisis may prompt a sweeping revamp of the way the Food and Drug Administration ensures drug safety, some say.
...The proposal garnering the most support is Grassley's plan to create an independent drug safety office to keep drug companies honest. ...Absent that, drug safety details trickle out from lawsuits, congressional hearings, and academic meetings.
...Specialists inside and outside the FDA say at least three changes are needed before the public can be assured that drugs are safe: naming a permanent FDA commissioner; increasing the agency's budget to permit meaningful surveillance of the safety of drugs after they are approved for use by consumers; and adding regulatory muscle to require that companies complete promised postmarketing studies."
www.boston.com...


...regulators need to be able to force industry to conduct better safety trials, a cardiologist says. ...in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Topol recommends:
* Better tracking of the side-effects of medications.
* Much less direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs.
* Greater legislative authority to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require industry to conduct trials deemed necessary to ensure the safety profile of a drug.
..."Had coxib trials been conducted five years ago in patients with established cardiovascular disease, when the benefit and risks were indeterminate, clinicians would have quickly learned the risk and potentially avoided a major cardiovascular calamity," Topol wrote. "The combination of mass promotion of a medicine with an unknown and suspect safety profile cannot be tolerated in the future."
www.cbc.ca...



tsk tsk Fred. I work my fingers to the bone cutting and pasting and you don't even read it!


...As recommended above, plus of course, Open Access. ...We pay for research, so we should have access to the results. ...A no-brainer, I think.


.



posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 11:50 PM
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My favorite part:


Originally posted by soficrow
" Topol wrote. "The combination of mass promotion of a medicine with an unknown and suspect safety profile cannot be tolerated in the future."



Cannot be tolerated in the future?!!? Wow, this is a joke.....ever see the televised advertisements for the slew of psychotropics? They run through a novels worth of symptoms with the background music somber and forboding. The "symptoms" of course represent every possible state of mind a healthy fluctuating personality should experience, keyword fluctuating. Then inspirational music and smiling people glazed in bright lights herald the saviour prescription drug. Classic manipulation of the mood and senses; most of these drugs aren't necasssary.

I believe along with the changes proposed above, standard bureaucratic red tape of course, people need to be educated. But how many times has that been brought up?


Appreciate the time and effort, soficrow



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 07:27 AM
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Originally posted by MemoryShock
My favorite part:


Originally posted by soficrow
" Topol wrote. "The combination of mass promotion of a medicine with an unknown and suspect safety profile cannot be tolerated in the future."


...I believe along with the changes proposed above, standard bureaucratic red tape of course, people need to be educated. But how many times has that been brought up?


Appreciate the time and effort, soficrow


Thanks memoryshock.

...Even though it's been brought up before and nothing has happened - this is a here and now opportunity. ...The FDA's under fire - and there's an outcry.

Write letters, speak out, ride the wave.....






posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 07:51 AM
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Just in case some people missed it in Wired yesturday here is a story talking about the Creative Science Commons or more Commonly refered to as Open Access Biology(open source Biotechnology)

www.wired.com...

Open standards are the way to go.



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
Just in case some people missed it in Wired yesturday here is a story talking about the Creative Science Commons or more Commonly refered to as Open Access Biology(open source Biotechnology)

www.wired.com...

Open standards are the way to go.


Thanks for the heads up sardion. ...Wrote a news article about it:

www.atsnn.com...

...It's all connected.....


.



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 12:48 PM
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First of all the FDA, AMA and big Pharma are all the same entity. All have done more to harm "health" than anything else. The "natural" remedies are far more effective than "drugs" anyway and have been "bullied" out of existence because of the lack of patient and "profit" rights. American is "drug addicted" and controlled.

Cancer and many disease's are a direct result of chemical induction into the human body and the havoc they inflict on the immune system.



posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by DrHoracid
First of all the FDA, AMA and big Pharma are all the same entity. All have done more to harm "health" than anything else. The "natural" remedies are far more effective than "drugs" anyway and have been "bullied" out of existence because of the lack of patient and "profit" rights. American is "drug addicted" and controlled.

Cancer and many disease's are a direct result of chemical induction into the human body and the havoc they inflict on the immune system.


Who woulda think it? Wow. ...I agree almost totally with what you say here - although I would specify the pre-existence of fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) in most cases...

Truce for a toast DrH?



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