Category Archives: Health

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

The war on weed is winding down—but will Monsanto be the winner?

In April, Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize medical cannabis, a form of the plant popularly known as marijuana. That makes nearly half of US states. A major barrier to broader legalization has been the federal law under which all cannabis—even the very useful form known as industrial hemp—is classed as a Schedule I controlled substance that cannot legally be grown in the US. But that classification could change soon. In a letter sent to federal lawmakers in April, the US Drug Enforcement Administration said it plans to release a decision on rescheduling marijuana in the first half of 2016. 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

2000+ doctors declare: ‘It’s time for single-payer to be back on the table’

'We can continue down this harmful path or we can embrace the long-overdue remedy that we know will work: a publicly financed, nonprofit, single-payer system that covers everybody.'

Despite limited advances provided by the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. healthcare system remains “uniquely wasteful” and profit-driven, leaving tens of millions without any insurance and even more underinsured. 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

‘Truth About Cancer’ documentary

Information on the important documentary to be released online April 12 states, “CANCER WILL KILL NEARLY 8 MILLION PEOPLE THIS YEAR.” Continue reading

Minimizing the risk of radiation skin burns: Act II

I recently (2016) underwent radiation for breast cancer so I titled this piece “Act II” because this is the second round of radiation for me. The first episode occurred in 2000 for treatment of inoperable throat cancer so I consider myself fortunate that this was not a recurrence of squamous cell cancer of the neck, but a different type of cancer to breast tissue. The breast cancer is a ductal cell type and according to the surgeon and radiologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance they are not related. 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

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

Are you ingesting estrogen without realizing it from these everyday products?

It goes way beyond meat

It is no secret that our bodies and our environment are swimming in estrogen. Puberty is occurring in children as young as eight and, in 2010, babies in China were reported to be developing breasts. In 2011, the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail observed that women’s bra cup sizes were growing even when the women themselves were not gaining weight and speculated it was estrogen exposure. And frogs and fish are becoming “intersex” and losing their male characteristics from endocrine disrupters in the environment and waterways. Continue reading

Pfizer: We’re aren’t paying no stinking taxes

You would think the drug company that made the best selling drug in the world—Lipitor—and the blockbuster Viagra would appreciate the country and patients who have been so good to it. You’d be wrong. Continue reading

Frankenfoods headed for the dinner table

Consumers, safety activists, Big Food, biotech companies and many of the US’s importing and exporting partners have been closely watching to see if the FDA would approve the genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon, which it did late in 2015. Of course unlabeled GE crops are eaten by millions and GE animals have been created to make human drugs largely under the public radar. Still the AquAdvantage Salmon is the first approved GE animal destined for the US dinner table. Continue reading

The drugstore in your meat

Most people couldn’t name one animal drug used to produce their food. Yet conventionally produced US meat is grown with antibiotics, vaccines, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones and other chemicals, most of which people would want to avoid if they were on the label. Continue reading

Universal vaccinations for children will be overseen by committee which accepts vaccine manufacturer monies

A House of Representatives Bill, short titled “Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015,” has been referred to the Subcommittee on Health and is awaiting committee action. Continue reading

The unaffordable non-care act

When the mainstream corporate media raise alarms over the rising costs of health insurance and major problems involving the misnamed Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), you can be sure corporate interests are threatened. Since the open enrollment period for 2016 ACA policies began on November 1, National Public Radio, the New York Times, CNN, etc., all supporters of Obamacare, have issued warnings couched in typical reassuring double-talk about developing problems. Continue reading

The rise and fall of the blockbuster antipsychotic Seroquel

The advent of direct-to-consumer advertising made billion dollar blockbuster drugs possible for the first time. Often the drugs were rushed to market before their side effects were fully known or admitted like the cardiac side effects with COX-2 inhibitors like Vioxx and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) side effects with bone drugs like Fosamax and Boniva. Continue reading

Is crony capitalism a big reason for America’s dental health care crisis?

For an example of how Big Money in politics is causing real harm to average Americans, look at the practice of dentistry in this country. Continue reading

The healthiest Americans are those who avoid TV drug ads

Americans should be the healthiest people in the world with our advanced medical care. But thanks to direct-to-consumer advertising, they are some of the sickest in the world suffering from seasonal allergies, depression, mood disorders, dry eye, GERD, perimenopause, adult ADHD, sleep/wake disorders, restless legs, high cholesterol, thinning bones and spectrum disorders which may or may not even have symptoms. (Like people with “epilepsy spectrum disorder” who never had a seizure). Continue reading

How to reduce the absurd amount of money Americans spend on health care? One community at a time

If you’d like to meet someone who is truly “part of the solution,” someone who understands the problems of American health care in a way that few politicians do—and someone who is putting her money where her mouth is to get us healthier—meet Esther Dyson. Continue reading

Industry ghostwriters are behind many deadly products presented as ‘safe’

How much of what we believe about the “safety” of chemical and drug products is planted in journals by industry itself? A lot! Continue reading

Presidential aspirations for Medicare’s future

If you’ve watched all of the presidential debates so far—both Democratic and Republican—and you were waiting for the candidates to tell you if and how they would change Medicare, you are still waiting. Continue reading

Think corruption from pharma money has been stopped? Think again!

The years between the debut of direct-to-consumer drug (DTC) advertising in the 1990s and passage of the Physician Financial Transparency Reports (Sunshine Act) in 2010 were a kind of “Wild West” for the drug industry. Continue reading

The ‘casino effect’ on your health insurance rates

If you’re being hit with a huge rate hike on your individual health plan next year, your insurance carrier likely ‘placed bad bets’ last year.

Minnesotans who get health insurance through the individual market last week became the latest in the country to get unwelcome news: the cost of their coverage will likely go up significantly next year. According to the state’s Commerce Department, which regulates insurance in the North Star state, some customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota may see their premiums jump nearly 50 percent beginning January 1. Continue reading

Presidential candidates in fantasy land over health care

Candidates say this and that about health care, but it’s the insurers and pharmaceutical companies that call the tune

Presidential candidates from both parties are full of sound and fury about various aspects of the U.S. health care system, but unless we as a nation get serious about big money in politics, all the noise will ultimately amount to nothing. Continue reading

‘Paging Dr. Doctivity’: Medicine evolves into a business model

Beneath a three-column headline in my local newspaper was a barely-edited press release. Continue reading

The benefits of medical marijuana

Caution: May induce euphoria

I periodically meet John at the rehabilitation center where I receive occupational therapy for my arthritic fingers, and where he receives treatment for the stroke he suffered several years ago. The stroke left his right arm and leg paralyzed. Continue reading

Insurers say private Medicare plans are better, but we really don’t know

Firms hold tight to data, so comparing their programs with traditional Medicare not possible

Health insurers have been telling us for years that their Medicare Advantage plans, which are federally funded but privately run alternatives to traditional fee-for-service Medicare, can provide better care—at lower cost—than the government. Continue reading