While SSRI antidepressants are arguably still the most consumed drug class in the US, sales peaked in 2008 and have declined by four percent every year since, according to Research and Markets. Continue reading
You could even be ingesting it without your knowledge.
“I was given the antibiotic Levaquin. After 5 pills my body was burning and my right arm and legs were weak,” a reader posted after an article about underreported prescription drug dangers. “I discontinued the drug and was told I would be fine. 1 month later my feet started hurting, my knees developed chronic pain and I had stabbing pain in my quads. 13 months later, I have floaters in my vision, tinnitus, flat and deformed feet, rotator cuff damage, knee grinding, hip snapping, tendonitis and I can only walk for a few minutes.” Continue reading
Look out for unbranded advertising and claims of a ‘silent epidemic.’
Did you ever wonder why new medications so often debut right after awareness of the condition they treat increases? It is no coincidence. The tactic is called unbranded advertising and “disease awareness,” and drug companies spend more on it than they do for regular advertising. Continue reading
Girls with early onset puberty face a number of mental and physical health risks.
Padded bras for kindergarteners with growing breasts to make them more comfortable? Sixteen percent of U.S. girls experiencing breast development by the age of 7? Thirty percent by the age of 8? Clearly something is affecting the hormones of U.S. girls—a phenomenon also seen in other developed countries. Girls in poorer countries seem to be spared—until they move to developed countries. Continue reading
Just as the public is digesting the fact that former chairman and CEO of drug giant Genentech, Art Levinson, is now the CEO of a new Google life sciences venture with Big Pharma and that he also serves as chairman of Apple Inc., there are more insidious “partnerships” between Pharma and top corporations. Walgreens has now announced a “partnership” with Mental Health America, an advocacy group so steeped in Pharma money, it was investigated by Congress. Continue reading
Interview with Harry Haroutunian, MD, author of ‘Not as Prescribed—Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults.’
Forgetfulness. Falls. Adding a new prescription or over-the-counter drug to address problems that are side effects of a previous drug. It is an increasingly common problem says a new book from Hazelden because people are taking more drugs than ever before and not always aware of their side effects and interactions. This “polypharmacy” can produce everything from falls and accidents to behavior that is quickly termed “dementia” in the elderly even when it is clearly from drug effects. The problem is compounded by doctors not always aware of what other doctors are prescribing a patient and the very addictive nature of many popular drugs today. Continue reading
New Treasury Department rules helped scrap the alleged tax-dodging giant's attempt to merge with overseas firm.
Big Pharma received $127 billion of our tax dollars in 2014 through the federal programs Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and TRICARE. But just because they live on our tax dollars, doesn’t mean Pharma companies want to pay taxes. Increasingly, they seek tax inversions, reincorporating in countries like Britain, Ireland or the Netherlands, often merging with a European entity to duck U.S. taxes. Continue reading
A few inconvenient truths you might need to know before tucking into that next bite of shrimp, beef or bacon.
From mercury in tuna and wood pulp in parmesan cheese to ground beef treated with ammonia to retard E. coli (“pink slime”), the press does a good job exposing the dangerous and deceptive practices of Big Food. The problem is, the public forgets about the food risk or contamination, assuming that reform is in the works and that is just fine with Big Food. Often nothing changes. Continue reading
Pharma is creaming tens of billions out of the federal government in a variety of schemes
After an 18-month investigation into the high cost of Gilead’s hepatitis C drug Sovaldi—initially listed at $84,000 for a course of treatment or $1,000 per pill—the Senate Finance Committee said the prices did not reflect the cost of research and development and that Gilead cared about “revenue” not “affordability and accessibility.” That sounds like an understatement. Sovaldi and the related pill Harvoni cost Medicare and Medicaid more than $5 billion in 2014, charged senators. Continue reading
The AMA is debating whether direct-to-consumer advertising should be banned
They are so common no one thinks twice about them: drug ads that tell you about a disease you might have, a pill that could treat it, and tell you to “ask your doctor” if the pill is right for you. Continue reading
It goes way beyond meat
It is no secret that our bodies and our environment are swimming in estrogen. Puberty is occurring in children as young as eight and, in 2010, babies in China were reported to be developing breasts. In 2011, the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail observed that women’s bra cup sizes were growing even when the women themselves were not gaining weight and speculated it was estrogen exposure. And frogs and fish are becoming “intersex” and losing their male characteristics from endocrine disrupters in the environment and waterways. Continue reading
Consumers, safety activists, Big Food, biotech companies and many of the US’s importing and exporting partners have been closely watching to see if the FDA would approve the genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon, which it did late in 2015. Of course unlabeled GE crops are eaten by millions and GE animals have been created to make human drugs largely under the public radar. Still the AquAdvantage Salmon is the first approved GE animal destined for the US dinner table. Continue reading
Most people couldn’t name one animal drug used to produce their food. Yet conventionally produced US meat is grown with antibiotics, vaccines, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones and other chemicals, most of which people would want to avoid if they were on the label. Continue reading
The advent of direct-to-consumer advertising made billion dollar blockbuster drugs possible for the first time. Often the drugs were rushed to market before their side effects were fully known or admitted like the cardiac side effects with COX-2 inhibitors like Vioxx and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) side effects with bone drugs like Fosamax and Boniva. Continue reading
How much of what we believe about the “safety” of chemical and drug products is planted in journals by industry itself? A lot! Continue reading
The years between the debut of direct-to-consumer drug (DTC) advertising in the 1990s and passage of the Physician Financial Transparency Reports (Sunshine Act) in 2010 were a kind of “Wild West” for the drug industry. Continue reading
Many had high hopes for the FDA when Margaret Hamburg was confirmed as commissioner in 2009 because of her public health background. But she swiftly moved to loosen conflict of interest rules governing those who can serve on FDA expert advisory panels, claiming it was too hard to find experts without Pharma financial links. Continue reading
Many were shocked to discover the government uses our tax dollars to help the meat industry get more CPC (cash per carcass) out of food animals in clandestine and depraved experiments thanks to a New York Times expose last month. The taxpayer funded largesse at the 55-square mile U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, is especially shocking since the USDA also tells consumers to “limit red meat” on its food pyramid page. Why is the fundamental conflict of interest in the USDA supporting producers of food which harms the consumers it is sworn to protect tolerated? Continue reading
You don’t have to see a doctor to imbibe a witch’s brew of prescriptions pain pills, antibiotics and psychiatric, cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy and heart drugs in your drinking water. They are found in many public drinking water systems says the Associated Press. Also found in drinking water is the toxic plastic, Bisphenol A. Some of the Bisphenol A comes from plastic bottled water which people, ironically, drink to avoid tap water risks! Continue reading
Since its founding in the 1940s, McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant, has navigated many threats to its bottom line. Other fast food companies have imitated and sought to improve on its concept. Labor activists have decried its treatment of workers. Food and environmental activists have assailed the way it has industrialized food production. The international community has deplored McDonald’s trade practices and protectionism. Animal welfare activists oppose its wholesale commodification and mistreatment of animals. And, of course, public health experts condemn its hawking of unhealthy, fattening food to children and adults. Continue reading
This month, mental health and correctional professionals from all over the nation gathered in Chicago to address a problem that many are not aware of. People denied mental health services who end up homeless or incarcerated as criminals. Continue reading
A few years ago, a polling group made a startling discovery about America’s dog love. A surprising number of dog owners called their answering machines during the workday to talk to their dog. Many celebrated their dogs’ birthdays with gifts and parties. And most slept with their dog—unapologetically. It’s no dirtier than sleeping with a shoe, said one respondent. Continue reading
Did you or your children use the blockbuster asthma drug Singulair? World sales of Merck’s drug were about $5 billion a year until 2012 when its patent expired and it was the U.S.’s seventh best-selling drug. But last month, data from an FDA committee were presented that acknowledge “safety concerns” about “neuropsychiatric adverse events, including suicide and suicide attempts” with the drug. Continue reading