PATH: BS | Business | Corporations | Big Pharma

Michael Moore: How He Felt About Healthcare Years Ago

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In the wake of his new movie, "Sicko" being released in theaters soon, we dug up an old clip from him covering healthcare in the past. Want to see how he dealt with it then?

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Pharmaceutical Companies Propose "Drug TV" Channel

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[Television]
Amid strenuous lobbying across Europe to end restrictions on direct-to-consumer drug advertising, four pharmaceutical companies are considering launching their own television station. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis and Procter & Gamble envision "Pharma TV" as "a dedicated interactive digital channel funded by the industry with health news and features. "

With less regulation in America, why haven't they proposed their own channel here? Ponder that while you wait in line for your medication for restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue, fingernail fungus, erectile disfunction and dry eyes.

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Avandia: Helps Diabetes; Hurts Life Expectency

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The widely prescribed diabetes drug Avandia (generic name rosiglitazone) is linked to a greater risk of heart attack and possibly death, says a new scientific analysis published online Monday.

GlaxoSmithKline downplayed the risks today and announced their new Avandia ad slogan: "When you're dead, you'll never have to worry about Diabetes again."

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How To Get Free Prescription Drugs And Health Care

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Want to know how you can get free prescription drugs? The answer is simple....

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Senate: You'll Pay More For Prescriptions And You'll Like It!

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In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate on Monday killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings over domestic prices.

On a 49-40 vote, the Senate required the Food and Drug Administration to certify the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs before they can be imported, a requirement that officials have said they cannot meet.

"Well, once again the big drug companies have proved that they are the most powerful and best financed lobby in Washington," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

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Judge Clamps Down on Zyprexa Lawsuit Wiki

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The drug, Zyprexa, has been the subject of payouts by Eli Lilly in cases over its alleged side effects. The pharmaceutical company still faces a large number of product liability lawsuits which claim that the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder treatment has caused patients to gain weight or to contract diabetes. Eli Lilly has already paid out $1.2bn to settle suits before they reached court, including $500m just last week.

A wiki about the controversy, zyprexa.pbwiki.com, published a link to internal Eli Lilly documents which the New York Times said showed that the company deliberately downplayed the side effects of the drug, which are alleged to include weight gain, high blood sugar levels and diabetes.

The judge in one of the product liability cases, federal district Judge Jack Weinstein, ordered the site and a number of named individuals to refrain from distributing the documents or causing them to be distributed.

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Acetaminophen To Cause Some Headaches

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As many as 11 million bottles of the painkiller acetaminophen manufactured by generic brand drug manufacturer Perrigo Co. and marketed by stores such as CVS, Wal-Mart, and over a hundred other retailers are being recalled. The reason? They may contain fragments of unidentified metal ranging from "microdots" to 1/3 of an inch pieces of wire. I think it's actually brilliant--it'll make you forget the pain in your head by making you focus instead on your lacerated mouth, throat, or intestinal tract!

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Leggo My Drugs, Customs!

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[Good News]
A new U.S. Customs policy will allow small shipments of prescription drugs from Canada through the border.

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Criticism of Herbal Products Squelched

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[Faulty Products]
One of the marketing success stories in the world of herbal pills is the hype and advertising that has made Tebonin one of the big-time sellers. If you believe the ads, popping a Tebonin pill a day will relieve tinnitus (the ringing sound some people have in their ears), dizziness and even improve mental alertness. The promoters claim the drug, which is based on a patented extract from the ginkgo biloba tree, improves "impaired micro-circulation," reduces "free radicals" and "promotes optimum cell function."

According to the German manufacturer, Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co KG, eight million pills are consumed every day. Schwabe, like so many companies in the herbal supplements sector, trades on its feel-good image. "From Nature, For Health," its website claims. That's the story the company wants you to hear. However, when a small group of Australian doctors and pharmacists, AusPharm Consumer Health Watch, drafted a report raising doubts about the benefits of Tebonin, they discovered a company that was not so warm and fuzzy. Soon after sending a copy of their draft report to the company, they were hit with a writ seeking an injunction that may bury their critical assessment forever.

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Drug and Testing Companies Do Legal Dance To Avoid Liability

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...the patients had volunteered for the trial after being lured with the offer of £2,000 each to test the drug made by TeGenero, a newly formed German drug firm. Parexel, the American firm that administered the tests, told them there would be no serious side effects.

They were very wrong, and now the companies involved are claiming they're not responsible for destroying the immune system of the test subjects, and are refusing to help treat their new condition. What we learn here is that there are disposable human test subjects being used by drug companies.

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Sanofi-Aventis Continues Trials Of Dangerous Drug?

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A new antibiotic that has been found to cause four times the average rate of acute liver failure in adults continues in a trial for more than 900 children worldwide, despite criticism from a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official and a study consultant.

"How does one justify balancing the risk of fatal liver failure against one day less of ear pain?" asks Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety.

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Gardasil Cancer Vaccine Elicits Ire of Christian Right

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[Sex]
According to Christian fundamentalists, cervical cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases are not nearly as important as avoiding the subject of sex. As a result, Merck's new drug Gardisil may face opposition from church groups who are not happy about the drug and claim its use might encourage promiscuity, even though it may prevent cancer and other diseases.

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Weed Sap Cures Skin Cancer?

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[Eureka!]
Early clinical trials of a new gel to treat skin cancer have returned promising results.

The gel can be rubbed on to the skin to treat certain types of skin cancer.

Initial trials show just two applications of the gel on two consecutive days cleared up 71 per cent of basal cell carcinomas, or BCCs, the most common type of skin cancer.

The most interesting aspect is the basis for this gel is the sap of a common garden weed, petty spurge. This must really piss off big pharma unless they can figure out a way to "own" the rights to the plant.

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Industry Researchers On Drugs

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[Dubious Research]
The American Journal of Psychiatry analyzed every publicly available trial funded by the pharmaceutical industry pitting five new antipsychotic drugs against one another. Not surprisingly, nine in 10 trials claimed that the best drug was the one made by the company funding the study.

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. recently funded five studies that compared its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa with Risperdal, a competing drug made by Janssen. All five showed Zyprexa was superior in treating schizophrenia.

But when Janssen sponsored its own studies comparing the two drugs, Risperdal came out ahead in three out of four.

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Scientific Researcher Paid To Keep Quiet

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[Dubious Research]
Earlier this month, Sheffield University in Britain offered $252,000 to one of its senior medical professors, Aubrey Blumsohn. According to a copy of a proposed settlement released by Blumsohn, the university promised to pay him if he would agree to leave his post and not make "any detrimental or derogatory statements" about Sheffield or its employees. For several years, Blumsohn had been complaining of scientific misconduct. His concerns primarily revolved around a $250,000 research contract between Sheffield and the Ohio-based Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.

Well, now we know why drug costs are so high. It costs a lot of money to pay scientists to keep quiet when the research results are not favorable.

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Big Pharma Uses Fiction To Create Fiction

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[Viral Marketing]
Following up on a story that first surfaced in the gossip pages of the New York Daily News, The LA Times examines the details of a bizarre scheme aimed at scaring U.S. citizens away from importing cheap drugs from Canada.

Marketing executives at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) agreed to pay a couple of writers to craft a fictional thriller in which a group of terrorists "uses Canadian Web sites to murder millions of unwitting Americans looking for cut-rate pharmaceuticals." Kenin Spivak, one of the novelists, says a PhRMA marketing executive was "intimately involved" in shaping details of the story's plot, characterization and tone. "They said they wanted it somewhat dumbed down for women, with a lot more fluff in it, and more about the wife of the head Croatian terrorist, who is a former Miss Mexico," Spivak said.

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Can't Sleep? You're Not Alone. Take a Pill.

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[Polls]
This spring, a poll that found half of adult Americans have frequent sleeping problems was reported on "by virtually all of the country's major newspapers and television networks," as well as international media. "Lost in the somber warnings and survey results, however, was that the poll, the proclamations and the press kits that spread the information were paid for by sleeping pill manufacturers," reports the Sacramento Bee. Although the group that released the poll, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), receives more than half of its income from drug companies, only 17 of 84 newspaper stories "mentioned the foundation's pharmaceutical sponsors." And while the New York public relations firm Zeno Group was touting the NSF poll, it was also hyping the launch of a new sleeping pill, Lunesta. Zeno Group included "a pitch for coverage of the release of the Lunesta sleeping pill" in the NSF press packets announcing the poll results.

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PETA Exposes Cruelty at Drug Company

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[Mean People]
While most Americans' view of PETA seems to involve bored supermodels whining about mink coats, the organization has continued to address far more important issues than the mainstream media wants to call attention to.

Recently, an undercover PETA investigator worked as a technician inside a Vienna, Virginia laboratory, owned by Covance, a billion-dollar Princeton-based company. She videotaped workers who were striking, choking, taunting, and deliberately tormenting terrified monkeys. She documented small monkeys, choking, gagging and suffering from daily bloody noses after having large tubes forced up their nostrils and down into their stomachs. Other monkeys had developed painful protrusions of the intestines through the rectum resulting from constant stress and diarrhea, and monkeys with broken arms and other severe injuries were denied proper veterinary treatment. Sadly, many animals in desperate need of euthanasia were kept alive and in agony just to please drug companies.

PETA has filed a 272-page complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that asks for the Vienna laboratory to be shut down until a thorough investigation can be conducted.

There's a controversial video of the mistreatment of these animals that the Covance company is deperately trying to bury.

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New Pharma Breakthru: Anti-depressants Cure Depression Via Death

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After reviewing hundreds of studies on controversial antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Canadian researchers have concluded people on the drugs (such as Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac) are twice as likely to attempt suicide as those taking inactive pills. The FDA is actually considering doing something? Well not really.

What's that sound? It's ten thousand lawyers having a spontaneous orgasm.

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Nice Lookin' Nails.... for a Corpse!

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You've seen the commercials... ugly toe-inefectin' creatures scrounging around under your nails. Ewwwww. You have to get rid of this "fungus" right? Well, BigPharma(tm) thinks so, and with snake oil like Lamisil, they're willing to kill you in the process.

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