Author Archives: Martha Rosenberg

New mad cow case: Nothing to see here, says USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new home grown mad cow case recently in a cow raised for beef in Florida. The 6-year-old cow tested positive for atypical H-type BSE but, “never entered slaughter channels, and at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health,” says USDA. Continue reading

Think obesity is caused by lack of exercise not junk food? The message is brought to you from big food donations

There are now more than 700 million obese people worldwide, 108 million of them children, reported the New York Times in 2017. In Brazil, food giant Nestle sends vendors door to door hawking its high-calorie junk food and giving customers a full month to pay for their purchases. Such a deal. Nestle calls the junk food hawkers, who are themselves obese, “micro-entrepreneurs.” Right. Continue reading

Quoting pharma-funded docs, NY Times says dosing kids with drugs is fine

An astounding 10,000 2- and 3-year-olds in the U.S. are on drugs like Ritalin and Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder it was reported in 2014. Pediatric “psychopharmacology” treating conduct disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and more has become a gold mine for Pharma. Pre-school kids are even “diagnosed” with schizophrenia. Fifty percent of pediatricians prescribe kids insomnia drugs. Children are ideal patients because they have to do what their parents, teachers and doctors tell them. Continue reading

Why animals loathe zoos

In July, a 3-year-old male jaguar, Valerio, at New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo escaped and fatally mauled four trapped alpacas, one emu and one fox who were held in other displays. Valerio bit a hole in steel fencing and zoo officials vowed to install stronger materials. Continue reading

Pharma ‘screening’ is a ploy to seize more patients

There is an old saying that if you keep going into a barber shop, eventually you will get a haircut. The same can be said of Pharma’s many health “screenings.” Continue reading

Questions about a popular antibiotic class

Antibiotics, once considered benign drugs, are raising new and disturbing questions. Excessive medical and agricultural use of antibiotics is now clearly linked to antibiotic-resistant microbes or superbugs. Worse, antibiotics are now known to have negative effects on the microbiome, sometimes called the body’s second brain, contributing to obesity, diabetes and problems with mood. Continue reading

What Big Meat doesn’t want you to know about slaughterhouses

It has happened at slaughterhouses run by Smithfield Foods, Swift and Agriprocessors. Continue reading

States struggle against disease outbreak at commercial deer farms

It’s happening on commercial deer farms in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Pennsylvania. Hundreds of captive deer stricken with the dreaded chronic wasting disease (CWD) are being euthanized. As state Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) try to contain the lethal, incurable disease which threatens their all important hunting revenues, cattle farmers now worry the disease will “jump species.” Deer on 11 farms in Wisconsin, alone, have been annihilated. Continue reading

Psychiatric drugs for kids—a Big Pharma revenue stream

How did the once modest medical specialty of child psychiatry become the aggressive “pediatric psychopharmacology” we see today? Millions of children who were once just considered too active are now diagnosed with ADHD, conduct disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, mixed manias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, pervasive development disorders, irritability, aggression and personality disorders and given drugs. Children who were once considered shy or moody are now diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, social phobia, anxiety, borderline disorders, assorted “spectrum” disorders and even schizophrenia. Continue reading

No Ambien does not make you a racist but it does a lot of other concerning things

“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication,” tweeted Sanofi-Aventis after Roseanne Barr blamed her tweets on the sleeping drug Ambien. While the drug maker may look like the good guy now—and enjoy a boost in Ambien/zolpidem sales––12 years ago it was a different story. Continue reading

The Ambien made me do it, says Roseanne Barr

Is a side effect of Ambien racism and anti-Semitism? Or does it simply lower someone’s inhibitions so their innate racism and anti-Semitism come out? Disgraced TV star Roseanne Barr says taking Ambien explains her recent tweets which instantly moved ABC to cancel her show. Continue reading

Pharma paid and Trump delivered

How high are Pharma’s prices? Novartis wants $475,000 a patient for its new cancer therapy. Hep C drugs cost $95,000 for a course of treatment. The immune drug, Actimmune, costs $52,321.80 a month. The parasite drug Daraprim costs $45,000 a month. And the gallstone drug Chenodal costs $42,570 a month. Continue reading

Big Pharma wants people on antidepressants for years and it’s working

Antidepressants were once considered a short-term therapy to help people get over a troubled time. All that changed with the debut of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, drug ads on TV and the promotion of the “chemical imbalance” theory of depression. Though there is almost no evidence of the theory––that SSRI antidepressants correct deficits in brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter––antidepressants became blockbusters for Pharma. Continue reading

Beware these health myths

An orgy of antibacterial dish, body and laundry soaps emerged in the 2000s to help people get “better than clean.” But the bacterial overkill, when soap and water work just as well, fuels antibiotic resistance and possibly childhood allergies by preventing exposure to natural microbes in the environment. But there’s a worse problem with the germ killers in such antibiotic products (called endocrine or hormone disrupters): they are the same compounds that are producing frogs with no penises in polluted streams and are actually pesticides. Continue reading

New lows reached with drug ads

“My number two does not look like a number two. I don’t know what to call it. Is there a number three?” So begins an ad in an aggressive AbbVie campaign to sell the disease of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in order to sell AbbVie’s drug for it. EPI is characterized by frequent diarrhea, gas, bloating and stomach pain says the campaign whose pay off line is “Don’t Keep a Lid on It.” Creon, AbbVie’s drug to treat the hitherto almost unknown disease of EPI is priced at over $500 a prescription. Continue reading

Inside the medical device racket

Millions of Americans have under-regulated and overhyped devices in their bodies.

Imagine a TV ad for a hip replacement device. Over scenes of the puppies and sunsets, a voiceover warns, “Hip replacements may cause tissue death, the destruction of muscles, bones and ligaments, nerve damage, mental changes, thyroid disorder, vision and hearing problems and heart failure.” Such ads may soon be part of primetime viewing, not just because the device industry is starting to advertise but because medical device side effects are as scary as, if not worse than, drug side effects. Continue reading

Big Pharma still tries to push dangerous drug class

Bisphosphonate bone drugs are among the most harmful and misrepresented drug classes still on the market. But that has not stopped Pharma-funded medical associations like the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Bone Health Alliance from periodically wringing their hands over low sales. Continue reading

‘Potty’ ads work for pharma giant AbbVie

My number two does not look like a number two. I don’t know what to call it. Is there a number three?” So begins an ad in an aggressive AbbVie campaign to sell the disease of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in order to sell AbbVie’s drug for it. EPI is characterized by frequent diarrhea, gas, bloating and stomach pain says the campaign whose pay off line is “Don’t Keep a Lid on It.” (Get it?) Creon, AbbVie’s drug to treat the hitherto almost unknown disease of EPI is priced at over $500 a prescription. Continue reading

Few are aware of these Wildlife Services programs

The goldfish and koi started surrendering to the surface around Halloween. Bass, crappie, catfish and the distinctive sunfish/bluegill hybrids that inhabited the pond for 140 years followed. Soon the 5.2 acre South Pond in Chicago’s Lincoln Park sported a slick of shiny, golden and still moving fish, kind of like a macabre woman’s drink. Continue reading

Birth control pills linked to breast cancer—a risk that has been known for decades

Recently, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) revealed a small but significant risk of breast cancer with regular hormonal birth control pills. The longer women take them, the higher the risk. Yet, says the FDA about one popular hormone-based birth control pill, “Most studies suggest that the use of oral contraceptives is not associated with an overall increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.” Continue reading

How Big Pharma infiltrated the Boston Museum of Science

Do you overeat? Did your boyfriend just break up with you? Does no one return your emails? Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from mental illness! Mental illness is a highly stigmatized, life-long condition, that millions do not even realize they have and only a pharmaceutical drug can fix says Pharma and its operatives. Continue reading

This Pharma-funded group is also in bed with gun lobby

For years I have reported that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is widely considered a Pharma front group, pushing psychiatric drugs not non-drug treatment to prevent suicide. A recent AFSP annual report acknowledges receiving money from Sunovion, Janssen, Forest, Pfizer and Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals and AFSP appointed former Forest executive and JED Foundation founder Phil Satow to its Project 2025 Advisory Committee. Continue reading

How Pharma uses the charge of ‘stigma’ to sell psychiatric drugs

Do you overeat? Did your boyfriend just break up with you? Does no one return your emails? Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from mental illness! Mental illness is a highly stigmatized, life-long condition, says Pharma, that millions do not even realize they have and only a pharmaceutical drug can fix. Luckily there are advocacy groups like Glenn Close’s Bring Change to Mind and the Pharma-funded front groups, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to help you. Continue reading

Trump and the meat tycoon: Backstory to a commutation

After he served 8 years of a 27-year sentence for money laundering, kosher meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin had his sentence commuted. Continue reading

How patients who “kill the messenger” are Pharma’s best salespeople

“Prince was not addicted to pain medication. Prince had a medical condition—chronic pain–which is criminally under-treated. . . . Physical dependence is not addiction.” So reads one of many articles that defend opioids and blame their restrictions for the nation’s opioid crisis. Right. Continue reading

Beware these Pharma dirty tricks

Even during the recession of 2009 with people losing their homes and jobs, Pharma remained the nation’s third most profitable sector. Now, with its recent five-digit Hep C drugs and six-digit cancer drugs, it is doing even better. (Though Pharma companies still want to incorporate overseas to dodge U.S. taxes.) Continue reading

The atrocious Big Pharma record of the new HHS nominee

It should come as no shock that Trump has nominated Alex Michael Azar II, a former Pharma executive and lobbyist, to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). After all, Trump named Scott Gottlieb, a Pharma consultant and stock speculator, FDA commissioner and EPA opponent Scott Pruitt to be head of the EPA. Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned amid a scandal over his use of taxpayer money for his personal and official travel. Continue reading

Get ready to eat Chinese chickens

China has sold rat meat billed as lamb, gutter oil billed as cooking oil and baby formula contaminated with melamine. In the U.S. its pet food killed many dogs and cats in 2007. But this spring the U.S. agreed to import cooked chickens from China. Why? Because China agreed to accept U.S. beef imports after a 13-year “mad cow” scare in which many countries refused U.S. beef. Continue reading

No, you probably don’t have adult ADHD (sorry Pharma)

Adult ADHD has been a gold mine for Pharma. “Estimated to be twice the size of the pediatric ADHD population, the highly prevalent, yet largely untapped, adult ADHD population continues to represent an attractive niche to target,” wrote the market research agency, Datamonitor, in 2008. Continue reading

Do you have hep C? Pharma hopes so

The sicker you get, the richer they become.

The campaigns are everywhere. On ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, Animal Planet, the Game Show Network and Syfy. In People, Popular Mechanics and Better Homes and Gardens magazines. On the radio and along subway lines. If you were born between 1945 and 1965, you could have hep C, screams Gilead Sciences, which makes the hep C drug Harvoni. Continue reading

How offensive ads sell drugs for pharma

How did pharma become the third most lucrative U.S. industry? In addition to millions doled out to federal lawmakers and medical groups, it uses the world’s best ad agencies and public relations firms to “move product.” Continue reading

Will Hugh Hefner be remembered as a visionary or a flesh peddler?

Even in his golden years, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner made headlines like celebrities a quarter of his age. After his bride-to-be Crystal Harris left him at the altar in 2011, he rallied with a new show on NBC, The Playboy Club, and reduced the October issue of Playboy to its 1961 price of 60 cents to help buzz the TV show. Continue reading