Author Archives: Martha Rosenberg

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

Do you really want to work there?

With another jobless recovery at hand, it is tempting to accept any position offered to you. But there are 12 kinds of companies you don’t want to work for. Here are the warning signs. Continue reading

We’re eating what?

Nine contaminants in US meat

Recently the US Department of Agriculture announced plans to “relax” federal meat and poultry inspections, allowing meat processors greater leeway in policing themselves, already the agricultural trend. But most food activists ask how standards could be relaxed any further when drug residues, heavy metals, cleaning supplies, gasses, nitrites, hormones and other unwanted guests contaminate the meat supply. They are almost all unlabeled. Continue reading

Eggs are a health risk you can do without

In 2008, the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation reported that just one egg a day increased the risk of heart failure in a group of doctors studied. And in 2010, the Canadian Journal of Cardiology lamented the “widespread misconception . . . that consumption of dietary cholesterol and egg yolks is harmless.” The article further cautioned that “stopping the consumption of egg yolks after a stroke or myocardial infarction [heart attack] would be like quitting smoking after a diagnosis of lung cancer: a necessary action, but late.” Continue reading

Anti-osteoporosis drugs may recreate industrial scourge

Bisphosphonates, to prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis, have been linked to jawbone death (osteonecrosis) and atypical fractures. Recently, Dr. William Banks Hinshaw, a gynecologist and chemist in North Carolina, likened their actions to an affliction seen 100 years ago. Continue reading

Is testosterone the new estrogen?

It’s only been ten years since estrogen replacement was huckstered as a sexual fountain of youth. Women don’t lose their hormones because they get old, they get old because they lose their hormones was the lucrative sales pitch. Hormone replacement therapy was practically a rite of passage for US women—promised as the way to keep their looks and husbands, making billions for Wyeth which is now Pfizer. Continue reading

The unsavory ways your meat and seafood is disinfected

The meat and seafood you buy probably looks and smells fine. But processors may be using unsavory drugs to retard bacterial growth and the drugs do not appear on the label. Continue reading

Is your food artificially dyed?

Many people know–or suspect–that farmed salmon is not naturally pink. They are right. Farmed salmon are dyed with the chemicals astaxanthin and canthaxanthin to produce an appealing, though unnatural, pink. In the wild, it is the crustaceans and algae that salmon eat that makes them pink; on the farm they would turn gray. Salmon farm operators can even choose the exact color they want. Continue reading

Death of meat inspector highlights conditions at nation’s slaughterhouses

Public largely unaware

Was Jose Navarro, a federal poultry inspector who died two years ago at the age of 37, a victim of increasingly noxious chemicals used in poultry and meat production? Chemicals like ammonia, chlorine and peracetic acid that are frequently employed to kill aggressive bacteria in meat and poultry? Continue reading

Sanitation, disease and humane concerns linked to US pork

You know things are bad in the pork industry when the whistleblowers aren’t animal rights activists but the government itself. In May, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of the Inspector General exposed extreme sanitation and humane violations in 30 US swine slaughterhouses it visited and in records of 600 other US plants slaughtering pigs.[1] Continue reading

Risks from asthma drug emerge after pharma made billions

World sales of Merck’s blockbuster asthma drug, Singulair, were about $5 billion a year until last year when its patent expired in the United States. But the drug also has a darkening cloud over it. The Australian medicine watchdog has received 58 reports of adverse psychiatric events in children and teenagers taking Singulair since 2000 and reports have also surfaced in the US. Continue reading

US chicken industry defends arsenic levels in food

A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found detectable levels of arsenic in chicken from grocery stores in 10 American cities, including in organic chickens. If the drug were fed to all chickens, over 100 US deaths would result from arsenic-related lung and bladder cancers, report the authors. Continue reading

Have cravings got the better of you?

Interview with an addiction expert

Dr. Omar Manejwala, a psychiatrist, is the senior vice president and chief medical officer of Catasys in Los Angeles and is the former medical director at Hazelden Foundation. Dr. Manejwala is a leading expert in addiction medicine and public speaker who addresses the topic of addiction and compulsive behaviors. He also is the author of Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough. Continue reading

Moo-ving a product with little demand

Despite 20 years of “Got Milk?” mustache ads, milk consumption in the US falls more every year. The National Dairy Promotion and Research Program and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program cite competition from calcium-fortified and vitamin-enhanced beverages, milk’s lack of availability “in many eating establishments” (You can’t find milk anywhere!) and a growing percentage of African Americans and Latinos in the US population who are not traditionally big milk consumers. Continue reading

How Big Pharma recycles old drugs—even bad ones

The blockbuster pill profit party is over for Big Pharma. Bestselling pills like Lipitor, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Singular and Concerta have gone off patent with nothing new in the product pipeline. But Pharma isn’t going to deliver disappointing earnings to Wall Street just because it has few new drugs coming online and has failed at its very purpose. It is recycling old for brand new uses. Continue reading

Another blow to red meat

If red meat had a publicity agent, he or she would be fired by now. Publicity agents are supposed to plant positive news about their client and kill any negative publicity. But ever since James Garner, the face of the “Real Food for Real People” beef campaign, suffered a heart attack in 1988, there has been nothing but bad publicity about red meat. Continue reading

Do you have back pain? Hot flashes? Big Pharma hopes so!

Recently some of the nation’s top researchers, clinicians and scientists convened in Washington, D.C,. for the first annual Selling Sickness conference—examining how Pharma “sells” diseases to move the medications intended to treat them. Continue reading

Animal drugs in your food? Probably

Most people have heard of the drug companies Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Merck. But they may not have heard of the animal-drug companies Fort Dodge, Elanco, or Intervet and the drugs they make. “Animal Pharma,” the animal-drug divisions within drug companies, tends to operate under the public’s radar. First, because the people who eat food grown with its products are not its actual customers and secondly because the additives, hormones, growth promoters, antiparasite and fungal drugs, and vaccines it uses would make people lose their appetites. Continue reading

Are eggs safe to eat again?

An article last week in the British Medical Journal finds that one egg per day is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. That is good news for the egg industry and egg lovers—but it also contradicts several other studies. Continue reading

Could prescription drugs be causing military suicides?

Why does the suicide rate among military personnel continue to climb—even among those who never saw combat? Last week, the Pentagon announced there were more suicides among active-duty members of the armed services in 2012 than combat deaths—a staggering 349. Eighty-five percent had not even seen combat, reported Bloomberg. Continue reading

Merck emails ridicule patients harmed by drug

As early as 2004, Merck knew its blockbuster osteoporosis drug Fosamax was causing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) after in-office dental procedures and ridiculed afflicted patients. The condition, also called jawbone death, occurs when traumatized tissue doesn’t heal but becomes “necrotic” and dies. Continue reading

The GE salmon is leaping toward our tables

The genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon, (AAS), often referred to as a “Frankenfish, is moving through the FDA approval process despite doubts raised at 2010 hearings, in scientific reports and by 400,000 consumers. Continue reading