Category Archives: Health

Congress ‘asleep at the switch’ as Biden continues Trump-era ploy to privatize Medicare

More than 1,500 physicians warn that the experiment threatens "the future of Medicare as we know it."

A Trump-era pilot program that could result in the complete privatization of traditional Medicare in a matter of years is moving ahead under the Biden administration, a development that—despite its potentially massive implications for patients across the U.S.—has received scant attention from the national press or Congress. Continue reading

Greed is prolonging the pandemic

The longer it takes the world to get vaccinated, the more variants we’ll see.

Stop me if this sounds familiar. Continue reading

Biden nominates two industry shills to “regulate” their industries

In 2011, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, an Obama nominee, lamented that the government could not find enough experts who were not funded by drug makers to serve on advisory committees and recommended that the FDA’s conflict of interest rules be loosened. Continue reading

GOP, Big Pharma plotting to convince Senate parliamentarian to help kill drug price reforms

The pharmaceutical industry and its allies in the Republican Party are reportedly teaming up to craft challenges to congressional Democrats’ drug price reform plan in the hopes of convincing the Senate parliamentarian—an unelected functionary—to help tank the proposal. Continue reading

Treat “early and often” and other drugmaker ruses

I have often reported on the drugmaker ruse of “disease mongering” or “selling sickness”—floating symptoms of scary diseases that you may have right now with convenient online, “symptom quizzes” for you to self-diagnose and verify. Long gone are the days when the medical establishment assured you that you were well (“take two aspirins and call me in the morning”) thanks to direct-to-consumer advertising. Continue reading

The health of your eyes can be restored

Earlier this year I felt I was going blind and decided that I might have to give up the love of my life, writing, since I could no longer stare at a computer screen. Living alone, I would not be able to drive a car and thereby get groceries or take care of the many other things necessary for survival in the modern world if my eyesight diminished further. I considered suicide. Continue reading

Prescription drug safety risks hidden; hypochondria created by marketing

If you’re like most people, you never heard of the prescription drug Humira until 2013. That’s when Abbott Laboratories spun off AbbVie, to aggressively market the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug which went on to become the top selling drug by 2019. Continue reading

Baby food alert: Interview with Asian-based food processing consultant

Last year, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation found almost 6,000 food items contaminated with microbes, excessive food additives and agricultural/veterinary drugs –– and memories of melamine in milk and U.S. pet food heighten concerns. Continue reading

“Race norming” and health care Jim Crow

Health care disparities are inevitable when notions of white superiority are guiding principles in every sector of society.

The term “race norming ” ought to be immediately suspected as having a nefarious intent. Anything referred to as norming in a racist society invariably ends with Black people getting the short end of the stick. The concept that Black bodies are anatomically different may be known as “race correction”, “ethnic adjustment”, or “race adjustment” and causes Black people to be undertreated for pain, undiagnosed for serious illness, and denied life saving treatments because of an idea which is inherently white supremacist and very much unscientific. Continue reading

Big Pharma corporate lobby vs. everyday Americans

Organizers take to the streets to call on Big Pharma to halt its assault on popular reforms to lower prescription drug prices.

Armed with a “STOP PHARMA GREED” banner and a large, menacing image of a greedy industry executive, member leaders from People’s Action rallied in front of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Washington, D.C., headquarters last week to protest drug companies’ relentless pursuit of profits at the expense of everyday people. Continue reading

‘Political malpractice’: House Democrats’ bill wouldn’t add dental to Medicare until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

House Democrats’ 2,465-page reconciliation package includes a plan to add dental benefits to Medicare, a proposal that is overwhelmingly popular with U.S. voters and—according to advocates—urgently needed to assist the tens of millions seniors who have been forced to go without crucial care. Continue reading

Spreading vaccine misinformation is dangerous and wrong

People can disagree about vaccine mandates, but the science on vaccines is clear: They’re safe and effective.

In the late 19th century, people protested against mandatory smallpox vaccines. Despite them, today we live in a world without smallpox. Continue reading

Prescription drug prices: Politicians are all talk, no action

On July 26, 2020, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order under which the US government’s Medicare Part D program would have negotiated lower prescription drug prices based on an “International Price Index.” Continue reading

Have drug makers created a generation of hypochondriacs?

A month before the COVID-19 shutdowns, the Wall Street Journal reported that many young people are seeking “accommodations” such as greater time allotments at work for their anxiety, PTSD, depression and other mental conditions. Of course there is much less anxiety zooming from your couch but the issues will no doubt return when workers do. Continue reading

Time to end the Medicare Advantage scam

Over 100 Democratic lawmakers last week introduced legislation to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60. There is one small problem that needs fixing, though: so-called “Medicare Advantage.” Continue reading

The subliminal death wishes of the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers

Those who think wearing a face mask somehow negates their freedom and by getting a COVID-19 vaccine they will die have it all backwards. Continue reading

COVID’s lab leak theory obscures zoonosis and progression

Even as COVID-19 is found in apes, big cats, minks, domestic cats, other small mammals, and now in U.S. deer, some don’t want to let go of the insultingly simplistic “lab leak” theory. Do they really think the 1918 influenza and AIDS pandemics (or Ebola, MERS, and SARS ) needed lab mendacity to exist? We won’t even talk about the prehistorical plagues! Continue reading

Selfishness over selfless citizenship will sustain the pandemic and create further mutations

The COVID-19 coronavirus will continue to spread around the nation and mutate so long as there are selfish citizens who continue to disregard public health officials, the medical research community, and the president of the United States. As long as there are individuals who refuse to understand the seriousness of COVID-19 and its various mutations: Continue reading

Lab accidents from animal disease research raise fears

A French laboratory worker has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) leading to an immediate moratorium on the prion research the worker and others conduct at five public research institutions in France. Lab accidents are as common as they are dangerous. Continue reading

How media consolidation endangers our health amid pandemic

The FCC has allowed local stations nationwide to become overrun by corporate giants that have little interest in vetting the syndicated disinformation they pump out over our airwaves. Continue reading

Healthcare parasites are sucking Americans dry

Parasites attach themselves to your body and suck your blood to feed themselves. Most, like ticks and mosquitos, while they may provide food for birds, bats and other animals, seem to provide no direct benefit at all to humans. Continue reading

UN experts warn US sanctions endangering lives of Venezuelan cancer patients

The United States' attempt "to control the political agenda of Venezuela has had devastating consequences for hundreds of people undergoing treatment."

Six independent experts appointed by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Wednesday warned that “hundreds of Venezuelan cancer patients could die” as a result of illegal U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuela and its state-owned oil company. Continue reading

These journal ads could not run today

Many drug ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s would offend today. Continue reading

Schumer backs Sanders’ proposal to include dental, hearing, and vision care in Medicare

"With the current Medicare platform, those three things are just left out, like it's no big deal," said the Democratic leader. "But it is a big deal and we should fix it."

Following calls from progressives to include an expansion of Medicare in the infrastructure bill being negotiated in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced late Sunday his support for covering dental, vision, and hearing care under the popular 56-year-old program, backing a proposal long pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Continue reading

International leaders join call for end to all legal barriers to abortion

"Women must have the right to decide about their own bodies—that is a human right."

Several international lawmakers and leaders joined rights activists Wednesday in a call for all legal barriers to abortion care to be removed worldwide, demanding clinics that were shut down during the pandemic be reopened and for a “global campaign of factual and unbiased information” to counter well-funded anti-choice groups. Continue reading

Drug advertising has helped create victim politics

“How dare you suggest I/my son is not sick?” “Stop invalidating the lived experiences of millions of people!” “Able-bodied people like you have no right to report this.” “How dare you suggest my medication has risks?” “You’re not taking my drugs!” Continue reading

A People’s Vaccine against a mutating virus and neoliberal rule

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that worries about the COVID pandemic in the United States are at their lowest level since it began. Only half of Americans are either “very worried” (15%) or “somewhat worried” (35%) about the virus, while the other half are “not very worried” (30%) or “not worried at all” (20%). Continue reading

How getting a vaccine in India is a ‘privilege’ especially for those in rural areas

Indian states have been left to compete with each other in the global market for vaccine procurement.

If the month of April was marked by images of endless rows of burning funeral pyres from major Indian cities, the images of floating bodies in the Ganges River near the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in May were a grim reminder of the unchecked spread of the virus in rural India where a majority of Indians, without access to basic health care, vaccines or infrastructure, have been fighting the virus. Continue reading

A caring world needs a sharing world to end the COVID-19 pandemic

A virus that mutates forever is a perpetual money-making machine for Big Pharma. Everybody else wants the world’s population to be vaccinated to control the spread of the pandemic.

After three months of dithering, the Biden administration eventually agreed to a temporary waiver of patent rights for the COVID-19 vaccines. The proposal by South Africa and India for a waiver on intellectual property rights in the World Trade Organization has found support from a large number of countries and more than 400 public health organizations. The proposal now faces opposition from the European Union countries, which had earlier portrayed themselves to be more progressive than the United States. This portrayal was not difficult to achieve under the Trump administration. The latest move by Biden has, however, wrong-footed the EU, leaving the bloc as the only public supporter of Big Pharma in the WTO. Continue reading

How India has creatively turned social media into a COVID-19 helpline to battle the pandemic

How India has creatively turned social media into a COVID-19 helpline to battle the pandemic

Death, sickness, and helplessness have become the “new normal” that Indians are being forced to live with as they witness the collapse of an already inadequate health care system and the failure of its political system that was caught napping on the uptick of cases, which showed an upward trend as far back as February. Continue reading

Modi is singularly responsible for India’s pandemic disaster

As infections and deaths mount at a terrifying pace in India, the prime minister’s culpability for the crisis has become startlingly clear.

India has become the new global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with daily infections surpassing 300,000 per day and the official death toll—likely a massive underestimate—nearing a quarter of a million people. Hospitals are being overrun with patients, and the crisis is exacerbated by a devastating shortage of oxygen. The Indian judiciary has gone as far as threatening capital punishment for anyone caught trying to divert shipments of oxygen from around the country to affected areas. There have been dozens of deaths documented directly tied to a lack of oxygen. Continue reading

The COVID-19 catastrophe in India keeps growing

It is difficult to overstate the grip of COVID-19 on India. WhatsApp bristles with messages about this or that friend and family member with the virus, while there are angry posts about how the central government has utterly failed its citizenry. This hospital is running out of beds and that hospital has no more oxygen, while there is evasion from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet. Continue reading