Here’s a disconcerting thought: for the past thirty years, genes have been patentable. And we’re not just talking genetically modified corn — your genes, pretty much as they exist in your body, can and have been patented. The US government reports over three million gene patent applications have been filed so far; over 40,000 patents are held on sections of the human genome, covering roughly 20% of our genes. Upset? You’re not alone. Critics argue that the patents stifle potential research into disease, keep new treatments off the market, and bring in serious money to Big Pharma — all by exercising property claims that shouldn’t exist. After all, genes aren’t inventions, which are patentable — they’re discoveries, which aren’t. Singularity Hub recently interviewed Dr. David Koepsell ... His book Who Owns You? is currently being adapted into a documentary film, including interviews with experts like James Watson and Tim Hubbard. Check out the preview:
Tag Archives | Big Pharma
I thought hospitals were supposed to make people healthier … I guess big business is big business, but can’t we agree to leave our drinking water alone? David Gutierrez writes on Natural News:
Five health care facilities have signed an agreement with the New York Attorney General’s Office to settle charges that they polluted the state’s watersheds by dumping pharmaceutical products down sinks and toilets.
In 2008, an Associated Press investigation revealed that the drinking water consumed by more than one-sixth of the U.S. population is contaminated with trace (but potentially biologically active) amounts of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. While some of these chemicals enter sewage systems after being excreted by people taking the drugs, many of them were traced back to a common practice in hospitals and other health-care facilities: disposing of unused pharmaceuticals by flushing them down sinks or toilets.
… Read the rest
After state tests of New York watersheds revealed widespread pharmaceutical contamination, the Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation.
European criticism of the World Health Organization's handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified Friday with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond.
The WHO's response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars, according to one report. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications, according to the second report.
The reports outlined the drumbeat of criticism that has arisen, primarily in Europe, of how the world's leading health organization responded to the first influenza pandemic in more than four decades.
Alan Fram writes on Huffington Post:
… Read the rest
Chalk one up for the pharmaceutical lobby. The U.S. drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Barack Obama’s health care law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage.
To be sure, the law also levies taxes and imposes other costs on pharmaceutical companies, leaving its final impact on the industry’s bottom line uncertain. A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs suggests the overhaul could mean “a manageable hit” of tens of billions of dollars over the coming decade while bolstering the value of drug-company stocks. Others expect profits, not losses, of the same magnitude.
Either way, pharmaceutical lobbyists won new federal policies they coveted and set a trajectory for long-term industry growth. Privately, several of them say their biggest triumph was heading off Democrats led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who wanted even more money from their industry to finance the health care system’s expansion.
Another chapter from my book, 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003, by Disinfo.
For more on me, please check out The Memory Hole.
Aspirin isn’t the only “wonder drug that works wonders” that Bayer made. The German pharmaceutical giant also introduced heroin to the world.
The company was looking for a cough suppressant that didn’t have problematic side effects, mainly addiction, like morphine and codeine. And if it could relieve pain better than morphine, that was a welcome bonus.
When one of Bayer’s chemists approached the head of the pharmacological lab with ASA — to be sold under the name “aspirin” — he was waved away. The boss was more interested in something else the chemists had cooked up — diacetylmorphine. (This narcotic had been created in 1874 by a British chemist, who had never done anything with it.)
Using the tradename “Heroin” — because early testers said it made them feel heroisch (heroic) — Bayer sold this popular drug by the truckload starting in 1898.… Read the rest
Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason report on the AP via the Miami Herald:
… Read the rest
OSLO, Norway — Aker University Hospital is a dingy place to heal. The floors are streaked and scratched. A light layer of dust coats the blood pressure monitors. A faint stench of urine and bleach wafts from a pile of soiled bedsheets dropped in a corner.
Look closer, however, at a microscopic level, and this place is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia last year, soaring virtually unchecked.
The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs.
Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians were also losing their lives to this bacteria. But Norway’s public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. A key part of that program was cutting back severely on the use of antibiotics.
Louis Menand writes in the New Yorker:
… Read the rest
You arrive for work and someone informs you that you have until five o’clock to clean out your office. You have been laid off. At first, your family is brave and supportive, and although you’re in shock, you convince yourself that you were ready for something new.
Then you start waking up at 3 A.M., apparently in order to stare at the ceiling. You can’t stop picturing the face of the employee who was deputized to give you the bad news. He does not look like George Clooney. You have fantasies of terrible things happening to him, to your boss, to George Clooney.
You find — a novel recognition — not only that you have no sex drive but that you don’t care. You react irritably when friends advise you to let go and move on. After a week, you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.
Mike Adams writes on Natural News:
… Read the rest
Even as Toyota now finds itself the target of an increasingly hyped-up inquisition about “public safety,” skeptical consumers are asking the commonsense question: If public safety is so important, then why isn’t Congress asking about the dangers of Big Pharma’s deadly drugs?
Toyota’s problems with throttle controls and brakes haven’t actually killed anyone as far as we know. Even if deaths have occurred, their number would be extremely small compared to the number of deaths caused by Big Pharma’s products. FDA-approved pharmaceuticals kill nearly 270 people each day in the United States alone, and that’s according to conservative calculations published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s equivalent to a jumbo jet airliner falling out of the sky and crashing in a giant ball of flame every single day in the U.S.
If you’re concerned about public safety in the United States, there’s no industry that’s more dangerous than the pharmaceutical industry.