Tag Archives | Big Pharma

Big Pharma’s Latest Trick: Testing Meds on Homeless People

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

Homeless Veteran on the streets of Boston, MA

Are the massive pharmaceutical corporations known collectively as “Big Pharma” now the world’s worst corporate villains? Carl Elliott writes of a dastardly plan to test trial medications on homeless people, at Medium:

Two years ago, on a gray January afternoon, I visited the Ridge Avenue homeless shelter in Philadelphia. I was looking for poor people who had been paid to test experimental drugs. The streets outside the shelter were lined with ruined buildings and razor wire, and a pit bull barked behind a chain-link fence. A young guy was slumped on the curb, glassy-eyed and shaky. My guide, a local mental health activist named Connie Schuster, asked the guy if he was okay, but he didn’t answer. “My guess is heroin,” she said.

We arrived at the shelter, where a security guard was patting down residents for weapons. It didn’t take long for the shelter employees to confirm that some of the people living there were taking part in research studies.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Reveals Deadly Cost of American Patents

tppAnother take on the evils of TPP from Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism:

While US news stories occasionally mention the breathtaking cost of some medications, they almost always skirt the issue of why American drugs are so grotesquely overpriced by world standards. The pharmaceutical industry has managed to sell the story that it’s because they need all that dough to pay for the cost of finding new drugs.

That account is patently false.

First, part of the story the drug industry chooses to omit is that a substantial portion of drug R&D, and the riskiest part (basic research) is heavily funded by the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. It’s hard to put all the data together, but the latest estimates I’ve seen put the total funded by the government at over 30%.

Second, Big Pharma spends more on marketing [than] on R&D. And it markets in the highest cost manner possible: in person sales calls to small business owners (doctors).

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How Big Pharma is Killing Cancer Patients

Abby Martin highlights a new report from the World Health Organization that predicts global cancer rates to rise by 57% over the next 20 years, and calls attention to the battle over generic cancer medicine and the threat posed by pharmaceutical companies who put profits before human need.

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Big Pharma’s Big Fight: Syngenta Vs. Professor Tyrone Hayes

Prof. Tyrone Hayes

Prof. Tyrone Hayes

It doesn’t really seem like a fair fight, but Professor Tyrone Hayes has been an underdog his whole life and may just be the man to spike the  second biggest herbicide used in the United States after Monsanto’s Roundup: Atrazine (banned in Europe). Not, however, if Swiss chemical giant Syngenta can stop him, and as documented in this lengthy article in The New Yorker, they’re trying every dirty trick in the book:

In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings.

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The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)

AdhdbrainFinally some tough questions are being asked about one of Big Pharma’s most successful manufactured “diseases,” ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The New York Times reports that the number of diagnoses soared amid a 20-year drug marketing campaign – and now it’s gearing up to persuade adults that they have ADHD just like their kids do:

After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating.

Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond.

But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990.

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Former DSM Chairman Says The Psychiatric Manual Is Attempting To Turn Eccentricity Into An Illness

eccentricity into an illnessVia Wired, Allen Frances, chairman of the task force behind the previous edition of psychiatrists’ widely-used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is vocally critical of the new DSM, arguing that it is part of a push toward over-medication:

Nature takes the long view, mankind the short. Nature picks diversity; we pick standardization. We are homogenizing our crops and homogenizing our people. And Big Pharma seems intent on pursuing a parallel attempt to create its own brand of human monoculture.

With an assist from an overly ambitious psychiatry, all human difference is being transmuted into chemical imbalance meant to be treated with a handy pill. Turning difference into illness was among the great strokes of marketing genius accomplished in our time.

Human diversity has its purposes or it would not have survived the evolutionary rat race. Human difference was never meant to be reducible to an exhaustive list of diagnoses drawn carelessly from a psychiatric manual.

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Burzynski: Fighting the Big Pharma Cartel to Cure Cancer

[Note: the opinions expressed below are those of the contributor alone and publication does not indicate that The Disinformation Company endorses those opinions.]

My friend Talitha Thayla organized a screening of Burzynski: The Movie at Traditions Cafe in downtown Olympia, WA. It's a movie about the legal struggles of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a physician whose antineoplaston cancer treatments has earned the ire of the United States Food and Drug Administration. The movie depicts patients being cured of aggressive brain cancers when the only alternative was crippling doses of radiation and chemo. You can watch the video in this post. As I watched the movie a familiar pattern unfolded: A monopolistic big business cartel uses the legal system to conduct a witch hunt against an individual who threatens their hegemony in keeping themselves rich and the public powerless. Only this time there is a refreshing twist: Burzynski is making headway in the fight. He's beaten the Texas Medical Board's and the FDA's malicious prosecutions Five times. One thing the FDA in its witch hunt against Dr. Burzynski never denied: His natural, non-invasive non-toxic therapy cures cancer. Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business from BurzynskiMovie on Vimeo.
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Death By Side Effect

Picture: DEA (PD)

Carl Pettit writes at the Good Men Project:

I’ve noticed over the years how commercials have become longer and louder, and how the number of ads for prescription drugs have steadily increased. The latter is probably due, at least in part, to the baby boomers hitting retirement age.

The advertisements that have caught my attention this time around are for underarm testosterone treatments. I’d never seen testosterone ads on television before, but these promos seem to be running all the time, although, for obvious reasons, I didn’t catch any when I watched The View (not my normal fodder) this morning, which was a refreshing change.

Men with low or no testosterone should consult their doctors, and take part in testosterone treatment if needed, yet I’m exceedingly distrustful of national ad campaigns plugging the benefits of topical testosterone without educating the public about the specific reasons a man should take testosterone in the first place.

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Prescribing Mood Drugs For The Symptoms Of Childhood Poverty

New York Times on the growing trend of doping up poor kids suffering from academic and social issues, since it’s apparent we’re not going to improve their surroundings:

When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians.

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Pfizer Ordered to Pay US Government $60 Million in Connection with Bribery Charges

 

Photo: Candy (CC)

Via BBC News:

Pharmaceutical giant has Pfizer has agreed to pay the United States government $60 million to settle charges that its representatives bribed health care officials in Europe and Asia to secure lucrative contract. The company admits no wrongdoing:

The US drugs giant does not admit any guilt.

“Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers,” said Kara Brockmeyer, chief of the SEC’s foreign enforcement division, which made the allegations.

The countries involved are Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Serbia.

Sixty million dollars may sound like a lot of money, but it’s practically peanuts to Phizer: The company grossed almost $48 billion in income last year.

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