Category Archives: Health

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

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

Trump’s gift for the unemployed: Kicking them off health care

Imagine telling a laid off employee they won't have Medicaid to fall back on.

On January 11, the Trump administration issued a cruel announcement: If you can’t find a job, don’t count on being able to get health care. 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

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

Leading Democrats are way behind the public on health care

60 percent of Americans support single payer health care. So why is the party leadership dragging its feet?

Good news, people—at last, congressional Democrats have gotten a clue, grown some spine, and are beginning to act like . . . well, like progressives. 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

One nation, in sickness and in health

Time and again, "repeal and replace" has proven to be a farce. Let's focus on the hard work of true reform and get health care for all.

A couple of things observed after successful surgery and a week in the hospital: For reasons seemingly unrelated to your operation, you will find bits of surgical tape attached to odd parts of your body for days after your return home. 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

Our health care system is a corporate care system

Why is health system flailing? Because its guiding ethic is profit, not care.

Rather than a health care system, our country’s leaders have kept us shackled to a “corporate care” system. Continue reading

Puerto Rico: A public health catastrophe

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke deplorably called the federal response to crisis conditions in Puerto Rico a “good news story,” adding she’s “very satisfied.” Continue reading

Big corporations like Nestlé are aggressively making people even fatter across the globe

Developing countries are a hot market for Big Food's high-calorie junk food.

There are now more than 700 million obese people worldwide, 108 million of them children, reported the New York Times recently. 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. Nestlé calls the junk food hawkers, who are themselves obese, “micro-entrepreneurs.” Right. Continue reading

Better than statins and only $200,000 a year, says new drug hype

It is no secret that the pill profit party is over for drug companies. Best-selling pills like Lipitor, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Singular, Concerta, Cymbalta and Abilify have gone off patent and Wall Street is moving on to industries that offer better returns. Continue reading

Harvey triggers ‘unbearable’ pollution as refineries spew cancer-causing chemicals

‘Air pollution is one of the unseen dangers of the storm.’

As the catastrophic flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey continues to devastate Texas, reports of “unbearable” smells are beginning to emerge from the state, sparking growing concerns of the long-term health effects that could result from toxic waste and fumes being spewed from temporarily closed oil refineries. Continue reading

Drug company-funded anti-suicide groups on campus raises questions

Many are baffled why the suicide rate in the United States is rising despite antidepressant use being at an all time high. Suicide has risen to 38,000 a year, says USA Today, after falling in the 1990s despite almost a quarter of the population in some age groups taking antidepressants and use of some psychiatric drugs growing by 700% in the military. Shouldn’t suicides be going down? Continue reading

How Pharma keeps health care costs astronomical

In 2009, CBS news reported that drugmakers had spent hundreds of millions of dollars to raise awareness of fibromyalgia which it called, “a murky illness, helping boost sales of pills recently approved as treatments and drowning out unresolved questions—including whether it’s a real disease at all.” Eli Lilly and Pfizer had donated more than $6 million to “nonprofit groups for medical conferences and educational campaigns,” reported CBS. While fibromyalgia, like most diseases given such “awareness” certainly exists, the timing and estimation of how many people “suffer” was totally orchestrated by Pharma and its many patient front groups. Continue reading

Stop suicide by helping Big Pharma, says shady suicide prevention group

Next month, hundreds across the country will participate in “Out of the Darkness” walks to raise awareness about suicide and to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Continue reading

Anti-choice states are worse for women and children, says study

States that don't prioritize reproductive rights, don't prioritize healthcare for women and children in general

A new study challenges the conservative idea that abortion restrictions are put in place by legislators who simply want to protect women’s health and safety. Continue reading

It’s time for the adults in this nation to talk seriously about Medicare for All

Today, we breathe a quick sigh a relief. But we cannot celebrate a return to the failed status quo.

Hundreds of people slept overnight in cars, or camped for days in a field. They told stories of yanking out their own teeth with pliers, of reusing insulin syringes until they broke in their arm, of chronic pain so debilitating they could hardly care for their own children. At daybreak, they lined up for several more hours outside a white tent, waiting for their chance to visit a doctor. For many, this was the first health care provider they’ve seen in years. Continue reading

Trump’s big loss

The demise of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is hardly the end of the story. Donald Trump will not let this loss stand. Continue reading

The two party (one party) health care shuffle

Okay, kiddies. I refer to those of you out there who still believe in A) Santa Claus and B) This Two Party System of Government. Why? Well, for those of us who study what is called A) Truth and B) Facts that prove it, no one has ever seen either Santa Claus or this two party system of government being really adversarial on the key issues that go against this Military-Industrial Empire. Continue reading

Antibiotics are not the only drugs used in U.S. meat

By now, most people know that antibiotics are used by the ton in the production of U.S. meat—not because animals are sick but because less food is required when animals are given the drugs so meat producers make a greater profit. Continue reading

Worst on record cholera epidemic in Yemen

Obama’s war on Yemen, escalated by Trump, bears full responsibility for what Oxfam calls the worst outbreak of cholera “ever recorded in any country in a single year.” Continue reading