Author Archives: Martha Rosenberg

Pharma funded ‘patient’ groups keep drug prices astronomical

It happens with regularity during citizen open-mike sessions at FDA drug advisory committee hearings. A queue of “patients” materializes out of nowhere to testify, often in tears, about the crucial need for a new drug or new use approval. Some are flown in by Pharma. Continue reading

Big Meat’s dirty little secret: Few jobs for Americans

Slaughterhouse conditions are rarely in the news—it’s bad for Big Meat’s image. However, it is safe to say that few to no Americans work as knockers, stickers, bleeders, tail rippers, flankers, gutters, sawers and plate boners in U.S. slaughterhouses. With very few exceptions, Americans simply won’t work such dangerous slaughterhouse jobs that often pay as little as $6.25 to $7 an hour. Continue reading

There’s more to the bacon shortage than what’s been reported

By 2014, a virus had killed 7 million piglets in their first days of life.

Just as Big Pork has gotten people hooked on bacon as an added ingredient everywhere—even in gum, candy and ice cream—a shortage has been announced. USDA reported that stored pork bellies fell to 17.7 million pounds last month, the lowest December inventory since records began in 1957. Continue reading

How Big Pharma’s lust for profit turns their customers into guinea pigs

Is patient safety being compromised in the rush to approve new drugs?

There is a reason drug safety experts recommend waiting five years before taking a new prescription drug. Before new drugs are released to the public, they are tested on a shockingly small group of people for a shockingly short period of time. Risks and safety problems, therefore, often don’t emerge until millions try the drug as we saw with the withdrawn drugs Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Raxar, Redux and at least 11 others. Continue reading

Could Trump’s hair drug threaten his physical and mental health?

There can be a downside to a full head of orange hair

Last week, President Trump’s doctor disclosed that the president takes finasteride, a drug marketed as Propecia, to treat male pattern baldness. While it is tempting to make jokes about Trump’s hair, and even the sexual side effects that accompany the drug, it also has many disturbing side effects that neither the president—nor any other man—should risk. Continue reading

They aren’t all safe: Pharma is willing to look ‘unscientific’ to sell vaccines

Why do progressive news sites that expose government and corporate disinformation in other areas accept disinformation when it comes to vaccines—actually calling activists “unscientific”? Continue reading

Getting addiction treatment for free? Big Pharma can fix that!

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 groups—now at risk of being monetized by Pharma with the help of government agencies like the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Pharma. Increasing, government, working with Pharma, wants to make drug addiction and alcoholism “diseases” to be treated with pills and even vaccines. Ka-ching. Continue reading

Don’t believe these meat industry lies: Part Two

Since 2005 when the USDA rolled out a new food pyramid that the meat industry said reduced red meat’s place in a healthy diet to a mere “condiment,” the USDA has continued to discredit red meat as a healthful food. Then, an advisory committee developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for American, which are revamped every five years, said Americans should eat less red and processed meat in favor of a “diet higher in plant-based foods,” further inflaming the meat industry. Committee members even played the environment card and wrote that a red meat-based diet “has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy use,” compared to plant-based and Mediterranean-style diets. Continue reading

Don’t believe these red meat lies: Part One

Since 2005 when the USDA rolled out a new food pyramid that the meat industry said reduced red meat’s place in a healthy diet to a mere “condiment,” the USDA has continued to discredit red meat as a healthful food. Then, an advisory committee developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for American, which are revamped every five years, said Americans should eat less red and processed meat in favor of a “diet higher in plant-based foods,” further inflaming the meat industry. Committee members even played the environment card and wrote that a red meat-based diet “has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy use,” compared to plant-based and Mediterranean-style diets. Continue reading

Will Trump give Pharma a pass on overseas jobs?

Even before a Clinton concession speech, Pharma stocks were hopping and Wall Street saluting over a Trump administration. No pesky price regulation over drugs like EpiPen or Sovaldi. No speed bumps over the safety of drugs like the blood thinning Xarelto, linked to 500 deaths. No DOJ lawsuits about off-label marketing. Continue reading

Are cloned animals on the U.S dinner table?

It has been six years since the BBC, while reporting on a cloned cattle herd in Britain, said cloned products have been in the U.S. food supply for two years. Margaret Wittenberg, global vice-president of Whole Foods Market at the time agreed. Continue reading

As the public turns against Pharma, government embraces it

Public anger at Pharma and its outrageous prices has never been higher. Continue reading

6 ‘miracle’ drugs Big Pharma now regrets

With Big Pharma, first they promote it, then they discover the risks.

Are you depressed? It may have less to do with your mood than your birth control pills, high blood pressure pills, antibiotics or even anti-hair-loss drug, according to new research. New risks have also emerged with popular gastroesophageal reflux disease medicines and even the top-selling painkiller, Tylenol. Continue reading

Massage therapists and manicurists need training—but not gun carriers?

‘No Training’ laws make gun carriers even more dangerous to the public.

It happened at least three times in Walmarts in the last few years—gun accidents. In 2014, a woman was killed in an Idaho Walmart when her two-year-old reached into her purse and retrieved her gun. People who knew the woman said she did not “carry” for self-defense but because it was her “right.” Continue reading

5 ways you are subsidizing Big Meat without knowing it

Taxpayers are funding the slaughter of songbirds, hideous experiments on farm animals, and ad campaigns to increase Big Meat's profits.

Many people think of the USDA as a kind of FDA for farm products—dedicated to protecting the public’s health against sloppy or even sleazy practices. But actually the USDA, created when America was agrarian, primarily serves rural America and food producers not consumers. Its mission is “helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation’s natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.” Key word private. Continue reading

Don’t wait a year to stop using these dangerous products

FDA orders antibacterials removed from soaps

When antibacterial dish, body and laundry soaps emerged in the 2000s, they were supposed to get you “better than clean.” They were an example of the “new, improved,” “more cleaning power,” “new fresh scent,” claims that drive consumer product sales. Continue reading

The scandal of EpiPens runs deeper than most of us realize

There's a method to the madness of Big Pharma's prioritizing profit over human life.

It has been two years since Gilead Sciences Inc. rolled out its $1,000-a-pill hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, priced at $84,000 for a course of treatment and met with disbelief from patients, insurers and health care professionals. After an 18-month investigation the Senate Finance Committee concluded prices did not reflect Gilead’s development costs and that the drug maker cared about “revenue” not “affordability and accessibility.” The committee also found that Sovaldi and a related pill, Harvoni, cost taxpayers $5 billion in 2014. Continue reading

How the corporate food industry is taking desperate steps to fight animal reforms

The worst offenders claim factory farming is ‘green.’

From “battery” cages in egg production to excessive antibiotics, food activists are fighting some of the worst “factory farm” practices. California’s Proposition 2, for example, outlawed caged (“battery”) egg production as of 2015. “Just because they are certain to end up on a dinner plate or in a barn producing eggs . . . doesn’t obviate the need to treat them humanely during their short lives,” read a Prop. 2 LA Times editorial about chickens. Continue reading

Study defends antidepressant use in pregnancy despite birth defect risks

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

Are you taking this dangerous antibiotic?

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

Does the humor of these corporations offend you?

After a corporation has visited huge damage on humans and other living things, it usually lays low. You certainly have not seen a lot of VW ads, for example, since its “Dieselgate.” When hundreds were sickened by eating at Chipotle, some hospitalized, you did not hear too many Chipotle ads. Continue reading

Fish show disturbing signs of prescription drug effects

Sixty percent of Americans now take prescription drugs—more than ever before. This not only creates unprecedented problems for municipalities whose water filtration systems were developed before wide drug use—but for marine life. Continue reading

How Big Pharma preps you to buy drugs you probably don’t need

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

Early puberty in girls is becoming epidemic and getting worse

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

Walgreens partners with pharma to sell more psych drugs

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

Is it dementia or drug interactions and side effects? New book addresses dangers of ‘polypharmacy’

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

Pharma giant Pfizer blocked from tax evasion

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

5 disturbing facts Big Food doesn’t want you to know

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

Major Pharma scandal: Whistleblowers claim popular asthma drug was marketed illegally

Did Novartis and Genentech get away with this big marketing scam?

Asthma is big business for Big Pharma. Advair was the third best selling drug in the world in 2013 and the asthma drugs Singulair and Symbicort were also blockbusters. So it is no surprise the prospect of a high-tech injectable drug that stops an allergic response by binding to immunoglobulin E (IgE) made Big Pharma sit up and take notice. Continue reading

The Scalia-Cheney Axis of Evil

Like Henry Kissinger, it is easy to forget Dick Cheney is still alive until he makes a macabre appearance. But there he was, sitting in the front section of Justice Scalia’s memorial service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, last week. Continue reading

How an army of pharma lobbyists in Washington have locked in one of the biggest corporate rip-off schemes in America

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

4 of the most commonly prescribed drugs that may be a lot more risky than pharma is letting on

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