Tag Archives | Big Pharma
Carl Pettit writes at the Good Men Project:
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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.
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:
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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.
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.
Living with Bipolar Disorder: Andy Behrman's 'Electroboy' | The Disinfocast with Matt Staggs: Episode 05Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania. At first, Andy Behrman's manic episodes gave him an edge among the young professional elite of 1980s New York City: thousands of ideas tumbled out of his super-charged brain and he slept only a couple of hours a night, leaving him plenty of time to pursue them all. Soon, though, the dizzying highs and crushing lows of his undiagnosed bipolar disorder grew too strong, and Andy's life spun out of control. He developed a taste for drugs, quick money and risky sex. He grew delusional and grandiose, spending thousands of dollars on impulsive trips around the world and luxury goods. His mania-fueled joyride ended in a federal court, an accused embezzler and forger of modern art. It took almost 20 rounds of electroconvulsive therapy to bring some degree of normalcy to Andy's life, but his story doesn't end there. He became a spokesperson for a powerful pharmaceutical company, ultimately betraying his corporate paymasters to become one of their harshest critics. Big pharma critic, author and mental health advocate Andy Behrman is my guest on this episode of The DisinfoCast.
Sara Novak writes on Treehugger:
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It’s no surprise that conventionally factory farmed chickens aren’t fed the best diet. We already knew that they were routinely fed arsenic. In fact, a 2004 study from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy showed that more than half of store-bought and fast-food chickens contained elevated levels of arsenic. Roughly 2.2 million pounds of it are being used every year to produce 43 billion pounds of poultry. It’s called roxarsone and it’s used to fight parasites and increase growth in chickens.
New research not only confirms use of arsenic, but finds the addition of a frightening elixir of drugs that includes caffeine, banned antibiotics, and even Prozac. Researchers started off testing just for banned antibiotics but went ahead and looked for other substances because it didn’t add to the cost of the test. What they found even surprised them, according to a story in The New York Times.
A pill to prevent subconscious racism? If only we’d known that it was this easy … the Telegraph reports:
Volunteers given the beta-blocker, used to treat chest pains and lower heart rates, scored lower on a standard psychological test of “implicit” racist attitudes. They appeared to be less racially prejudiced at a subconscious level than another group treated with a “dummy” placebo pill.
Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear. Propranolol acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses.
Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study, said: “Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”
Read More: Telegraph
Via Motherboard, Kelly Bourdet on the inevitable mass shortages of the drug necessary to function in modern life. Will the empty pharmacy shelf be the 21st century equivalent to the gasoline scares of the 1970s?
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For many people with ADHD, Adderall is what best manages their symptoms. At the same time, a drug that reduces appetite, increases wakefulness, induces feelings of euphoria (side effects, or, rather, effects of Adderall) — all through flooding your brain’s reward system—has vast potential for abuse. Amphetamine salts, used in Adderall, are classified by the U.S. Government as a Class II Narcotic, the same as cocaine and Oxycontin.
To prevent hoarding of materials and their potential for theft and illicit use, the Drug Enforcement Agency sets quotas for the chemical precursors to drugs like Adderall. But with the number of prescriptions for Adderall jumping 13 percent in the past year, pharmaceutical companies claim that the quotas are no longer sufficient for supplying Americans with their Adderall.
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Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions.
The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students, who use the medications to get high or to stay up all night.
Caught in between are millions of children and adults who rely on the pills to help them stay focused and calm. Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability.