Author Archives: Martha Rosenberg

Sleazy pharma front groups pretend concern for ‘mental illness’ while pushing pills

One out of four people has a “mental illness.” You hear the statistic all the time. People who were once “nervous” or “high strung” now have “general anxiety disorder.” People who have the “blues” from real life issues like job, relationship and family problems now have “major depressive disorder.” People who are “up and down,” again from real life issues, are now “bipolar.” Adults who can’t focus on the work at hand, either because they didn’t get enough sleep or because the work at hand is boring—hello?—have adult ADHD. All need to be on drugs indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of their life. And notably, all suffer from diseases that are medical “judgment calls” that can’t be verified by blood or other diagnostic tests. Ka-ching. Continue reading

Indiana sex slayings highlight society’s ‘throwaway women’

CHICAGO—At least seven women’s bodies have been found in Indiana within a few days in what appear to be serial, sex-related murders of women in high-risk lifestyles. Hammond police are holding Darren Vann, a convicted sex offender, in connection with the murders and say charges are possible in at least six other murders still under investigation. Continue reading

Many hope new rules will stop pharma tax dodgers

Just a few months ago, many US health corporations were eyeing tax inversions—reincorporating overseas, often merging with a European entity—to evade US taxes. Following the drug companies Mylan, Actavis, Perrigo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Endo, the Illinois-based drug company AbbVie announced inversion plans last summer, to the joy of many investors. Continue reading

Are you really a size zero?

Size inflation gives Americans a false sense of thinness

It is a sad fact that many want to ignore. The more we work out, the more “diet foods” we eat, the fatter Americans are actually getting. A chilling documentary released this summer, Fed Up, narrated by Katie Couric, highlights Americans losing battle with the bulge and indicts government capitulation to the agricultural industries that make the most fattening food. Continue reading

Getting to sleep in a post-Ambien society

Are new or existing sleeping pills any safer?

It has been several years since the bloom fell off the rose of Ambien, the blockbuster sleeping pill. Recently, the FDA has warned about Ambien hangovers, sedation and the risk of dangerous driving and recommended lower doses. The FDA warnings came a year after Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was arrested for what was believed to be Ambien-inebriated driving. The arrest came six years after her cousin, former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was also involved in an apparent Ambien-related traffic mishap. Continue reading

Victim of Chicago killer John Gacy becomes anti-bullying activist

CHICAGO—About 45 people gathered on a hot August night at a Chicago LBGT community center to hear a chapter in Chicago history that is often forgotten—how John Gacy prowled the streets of Chicago’s northside from 1972 through 1978, picking up young men and murdering at least 33 of them. Gacy, one of the most vicious mass murderers in U.S. history, was found guilty of the murders, sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois on May 10, 1994. Continue reading

Author of new book discusses shame and codependency

Codependents often have trouble being open, honest and assertive with intimate partners, says Darlene Lancer, an author and marriage and family therapist. In trying to manage, control and manipulate others, often by “people pleasing” or giving advice, codependents can “turn themselves into pretzels,” says Lancer. Now, in her latest book, “Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You,” Lancer addresses the role of shame and especially childhood shame experiences in codependency. Continue reading

Elanco is the Monsanto of the animal drug industry

Big Biotech, the chilling combo of genetic engineering, Big Chem, seed giants and Big Ag, is forging ahead in its hopes of dominating global agriculture and even patenting food production. Successfully fighting GMO labeling at home, the well-funded makers of Frankenfoods are also desperate to open overseas markets for Biotech which most of the world does not want. Continue reading

Hair loss drug linked to disturbing side effects that be permanent

No one should have to choose between their hairline and their health. But increasingly, men who use finasteride, commonly known as Propecia, to treat their male pattern baldness are making that choice, often unwittingly. In the 17 years since Propecia was approved to treat hair loss from male pattern baldness, so many disturbing urogenital and other side effects have emerged, the term Post Finasteride Syndrome (PFS) has been coined and hundreds of lawsuits have been brought. Continue reading

Questions raised about government institute director

It has been four years since Thomas Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, was suspected of pharmaceutical conflicts of interest. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, he assured the dean of the University of Miami medical school that if the dean hired Charles Nemeroff, government money would not be denied to U. of Miami. Continue reading

New Vioxx harm revealed: non-healing of bone after fractures and surgery

It has been a decade since Merck’s “super-aspirin” Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Heavily advertised by celebrity athletes like Dorothy Hamill and Bruce Jenner and used by approximately 20 million patients, estimates of the heart attacks caused by Vioxx range from 27,000 to up to 140,000. Continue reading

Is the U.S. beef supply really free of mad cow disease?

When the first U.S. mad cow was found in late 2003, 98 percent of U.S. beef exports evaporated overnight. There was such national revulsion to cow “cannibalism” when described in the late 1990s as the presumed cause of the fatal disease, Oprah Winfrey said she would never eat a hamburger again and was promptly sued by Texas cattle producers. They lost. Continue reading

Who is behind the opioid epidemic?

There is good news and bad news when it comes to the nation’s decade-long opioid/heroin addiction epidemic. Continue reading

Five foods that are designed so you can’t resist them

There are three reasons Americans’ love affair with snacks is growing—along with their waistlines: the ubiquity of junk food, the ubiquity of junk food advertising and stealth food technology. People who polish off a whole bag of chips or cookies at one sitting (usually in front of TV) are often doing exactly what the product was designed to do—be addictive. Continue reading

Big Pharma profits from addiction

Imagine a treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism that uses no drugs, requires no trained personnel, resources or insurance and makes no money for anyone. This “people’s program” is the anonymous twelve-step programs which have quietly saved millions for 79 years. Continue reading

Have you ever heard of the JOBS Act? Neither have many would-be entrepreneurs, especially women

The JOBS Act is a “game changer” that would allow “ordinary Americans . . . to go online and invest in entrepreneurs they believe in,” says President Obama. Continue reading

Why Medicare pays so much for psychiatric drugs

“Never mind” said the Obama administration in March after its proposal to limit automatic Medicare coverage of pricey depression and psychiatric drugs was met with a Pharma funded backlash. It apparently wasn’t worth it as “patients” on the Hill yelled “You’re going to limit WHAT?” and won. Continue reading

Five gross ways your meat is kept safe to eat

It is no secret that in the war against meat pathogens in commercial U.S. meat production, the pathogens are winning. The logical result of the tons of antibiotics that Big Meat gives livestock (not because they are sick but to fatten them) is clear: antibiotics that no longer work against antibiotic-resistant diseases like staph (MRSA), enterococci (VRE) and C. difficile. Continue reading

Is this art installation too risky or offensive to display?

It has been 24 years since an inflammatory art exhibit vaulted the city of Cincinnati and its Contemporary Arts Center to national attention. A sadomasochistic photo installation by the late Robert Mapplethorpe, condemned by the late Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), forced what was believed to be the first criminal trial of an art museum, especially one centered on obscenity. If convicted, the museum faced up to $10,000 in fines and its director, Dennis Barrie, up to a year in jail. The center was acquitted. Thanks to the face-off between Mapplethorpe and Helms and shocking photos like a man urinating in another man’s mouth, the trial put discussion of what is “art” and what is “obscenity” on the nation’s front burner. Continue reading

Are you eating these foods full of estrogen?

It is no secret that our bodies and environment are swimming in estrogen. Puberty is occurring as early as eight-years-old in children and recently babies in China developed breasts. Frogs and fish are becoming “intersex” and losing their male characteristics from excreted estrogens in the environment and waterways. In England, the Daily Mail ran a feature on the phenomenon of women’s bra cup sizes increasing independent of their weights, likely because of environmental and livestock chemicals. The website Green Prophet, speculated that women in the Middle East are not yet experiencing cup inflation because their environments have not become similarly estrogenized. Continue reading

A dean of a medical school on a drug company board?

Walid Gellad, MD, MPH, is both assistant professor of medicine and assistant professor of health policy at the University of Pittsburgh and a physician in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He is coauthor of a recent research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) [Academic Medical Center Leadership on Pharmaceutical Company Boards of Directors, also by Timothy Anderson, MD, Chester Good, MD, MPH, and Shravan Dave, BS] that reveals almost all US large drug companies and 40 percent of all drug companies studied have leaders in academic medical centers on their boards. These drug company board members include deans, chief executive officers, department chairs, trustees at academic medical centers, school of pharmacy officials and university presidents. Continue reading

Mefloquine, a nightmare drug given to military personnel and civilians

The malaria drug Lariam (mefloquine) is linked to grisly crimes like Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales’ 2012 murder of 16 Afghan civilians, the murders of four wives of Fort Bragg soldiers in 2002 and other extreme violence. Continue reading

A cross-cultural look at depression and how to recover

Interview with Gayathri Ramprasad, author of ‘Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within’

The just published memoir, Shadows in the Sun, is a first-of-its-kind, cross-cultural lens to mental illness through the inspiring story of the author’s thirty-year battle with depression. Continue reading

Was mom given dangerous drugs in the nursing home? It’s part of Big Pharma’s marketing plan

The Obama administration is finally addressing the expensive, dangerous and usually unnecessary psychiatric drugs that are footed by taxpayers in federal health insurance programs. It has proposed that insurers may limit Medicare coverage of certain classes of drugs that include Wellbutrin, Paxil and Prozac for depression and Abilify and Seroquel for schizophrenia. Continue reading

Direct to consumer drug advertising works so well, they are now selling radiation treatment directly to consumers

Seventeen years after direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising was instituted in the US, 70 percent of adults and 25 percent of children are on at least one prescription drug. Continue reading

Five unsavory ingredients hidden in your food

Two years ago, the nation’s collective stomach churned when people learned they were eating a meat product called “pink slime.” Lean finely textured beef as the industry wanted called, it was meat scraps that were once earmarked for pet food repurposed for the human dinner table, especially the National School Lunch Program. While the product looked like human intestines, what caused the national revulsion was that it was treated with puffs of ammonia to kill the bacterium E. coli. Yum. Continue reading

How Pharma got doctors to prescribe Risperdal, Wellbutrin, Bextra, Neurontin, Prempro & more

Until 2010 when the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which requires disclosure of Pharma payments, passed, the only thing better than working for Pharma was being a doctor wined and dined by Pharma. Continue reading

More drugs whose dangerous risks emerged only after Big Pharma made its money

In recent years, Hollywood has been perturbed by the “tweet factor.” If a movie is a dog, people leaving the theater tweet other people that it is a dog and it fails at the box office. Unfortunately, when a prescription drug is a dog that causes risky side effects, the word often doesn’t get out for years, allowing Big Pharma to make money anyway. Continue reading

Seven drugs whose risks surfaced after they made billions

Hit and run pharma marketing makes money at consumers' expense

Have you ever noticed how warnings about dangerous prescription drugs always seem to surface after the drug is no longer marketed and its patent has run out? As in after the fact? Whether it’s an FDA advisory or a trial lawyer solicitation about harm that may have been done to you, the warnings are always belated and useless. If a drug people took four years ago may have given them liver damage, why didn’t the FDA tell them then? Why didn’t the FDA recall the drug or better yet, not approve it in the first place? Continue reading

What turkey producers won’t tell you

Thanks to humane scandals at Butterball, Aviagen Turkeys and House of Raeford, many are aware of the cruel handling in commercial turkey production. Fewer people are aware of the food additives and fast-growth methods that put both turkeys and the people who eat them at risk. Continue reading

A meat additive few Americans realize they are eating

If you eat commercial US beef, pork or turkey, it was probably grown with ractopamine

Have you ever heard of ractopamine? Neither have most US food consumers though it is used in 80 percent of US pig and cattle operations. The asthma drug-like growth additive, called a beta-agonist, has enjoyed stealth use in the US food supply for a decade despite being widely banned overseas. It is marketed as Paylean for pigs, Optaflexx for cattle and Topmax for turkeys. Continue reading

What’s really in chicken products?

You don't want to know

Could there be anything worse for the chicken industry than this month’s outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that hospitalized 42 percent of everyone who got it—almost 300 in 18 states-? Yes. The government also announced that China has been cleared to process chickens for the US dinner plate and that all but one of arsenic compounds no one knew they were eating anyway have been removed from US poultry production. Thanks for that. Also this month, some food researchers have revealed the true recipe for chicken “nuggets” . . . just in time for Halloween. Continue reading