Drug Companies

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The Yahoo coverage says two Americans and one German American won the prize.

My bet for the most accurate reporting is the New York Times article that says three Americans won the prize.

This is mainly because I remember I wanted to leave France and return stateside with a French citizenship as a souvenir.  I found out from American authorities that if I wanted to take any kind of oath of allegiance to any country that was not the U.S. of A., then the U.S. of A. would consider it a renouncement of citizenship. Read more on You May Shut Down The Government, But Don’t Shut Down Science!…

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You know those old traveling medicine shows from the 1800s?  Royal Jelly is kind of like that.

Usually this stuff finds me when I’m minding my own business and surfing the net or scanning a book.  This time, I was in front of a TV camera with an interviewer and I had already told him in private conversation, not once but twice, I was no believer in Royal Jelly. I suggested that this was not a direction to pursue with me.  He did. Read more on Royal Jelly Ain’t That Cool…

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I was poking around, looking for what is brewing in psychopharmacology; a field I am no longer particularly proud I spent a lot of time studying and working in.  Strange, or maybe not so strange, that I’ve met both of the principals allegedly involved in this pharmacological ghostwriting scandal.

Ghost WriterI saw Dr. Schatzberg when he led various sessions at a large professional meeting on the coast.  My main memory of him is that he looked tired, maybe even a bit depressed.  I was told I had to write a lot of articles and do a lot of research projects, so maybe someday when I grew up I could do this kind of work.  I was told, often and a lot, that I had plenty enough neurons, so it would only take work, and a lot of it.  Dr. Nemeroff actually came to Kansas between visits to the coasts.  He was friends with my preceptor in psychopharmacology.  He came to speak at our grand rounds, where we were awe struck by the large amount of patients seen, as well as the large amount of numbers and lovely statistics.

Read more on Who Knows Who Writes This Stuff?…

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Drug company lobbyists still rule this country, even under a president who promised us something different.  I am sorry it took me so long to find out about the threats and deals made by the White House to get drug companies on board with Obama’s healthcare overhaul.  Apparently, it was released by Republicans at the end of May. Read more on Even Obama is Ruled by Drug Companies…

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No, you probably haven’t heard of the 51st state, the state of Jefferson.  It’s been removed from most history books and long forgotten.  An initiative that originated in the counties of southern Oregon and northern California, they even had their own flag.  It’s a square with two x’s inside of circles, meaning “we’ve been double crossed.”

Seal Of The Great State Of Jefferson

The people thought they had been double-crossed.

The issue surrounding the attempt to create this state was the same one that was at the heart of the American Revolution.  There was no adequate representation.

At the time, the people of southern Oregon and northern California were talking about a vein of copper that couldn’t be gotten out of this place — and still has not.  They felt decisions were being made by interests elsewhere, such as the southern California movie industry or the state government of Sacramento which was perceived as having little to do with them. Read more on Betrayed…

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“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” – but there are plenty of free samples when you go to your doctor’s office for a prescription.

Be wary of free samples.

What? Am I asking you to look a gift pill in the mouth? Drugs are expensive, even the co-pay for drugs can be expensive.  What’s wrong with getting a freebie?

First, the drug companies that make them do not give them out forever.  Usually, they give out samples on a newer drug as part of a launch – kinda like a “grand opening” at a store.  The prices are really great that first week and it gets you trained to go to that store.

Another reason drug companies discontinue free samples is that, very often, the insurance companies or government programs may not have them on the “formulary” (the list of available drugs) right away.  As soon as the relevant insurance (mediCal in California) starts paying for them, you can say “Bye-bye” to free samples. Read more on Free Samples Might Carry Heavy Cost — Health…

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This is one of those stories that I find very difficult to write. My anger is great and clouds my mind. Yet if I do not, there may be some kind of eruption – tears, shouts, or pounding on the wall.

The headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer read, “4 ex-pharma execs face possible jail time.”

“Possible” jail time? This is murder.

Operating TableIn brief:

Synthes received FDA approval bone cement for use only to fill bony voids or defects in some parts of the body, but not in the spine.

In 2003 and 2004, the company is accused of having its representative train surgeons to use this cement for the very thing they were forbidden by the government to do.

For those who don’t know, many surgeries are performed by people who aren’t technically allowed to practice medicine.  A lot of times, people who didn’t complete medical school or people who have had their medical licenses taken away for various disciplinary reasons can get employment with a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals or medical appliances (like replacement hip joints) and will train doctors on how to utilize these new products.

This isn’t widely discussed and is shady, at best. It’s probably criminal, but that’s another column.

Synthes executives are charged with conducting illegal clinical trials in which 200 patients were treated for ways not approved by the FDA.

Of those 200, three died.

Read more on Getting Away With Murder — Cheaply…

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Doctor Woman Eating Red AppleOnce my husband found one of those funny videos that is called “Viral” because of the way it spreads across the internet like wildfire.  This one was an episode of a 1950s game show.

Like many shows of the era, it had a sponsor’s name and logo prominently displayed in every camera shot – the backdrop of the set where the panel sat and I think even the desk fronts of the panelists.  The sponsor was Raleigh cigarettes.

The show had made the rounds of the video sites because it was so hilariously biased.  The simple quiz format always yielded the same answer –

“What is the capital of North Carolina?” Read more on Infiltrating Medical School and Continuing Education…

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Beware the rare tree octopus, for he/she is in reality possessed of a frightening power.  For this animal can show us how the internet has rendered us gullible.
This was an internet hoax, apparently created by Lyle Zapato in 1998. It not only persists, but grows.
I brake  for the tree octopus bumper sticker I had suspected that people believed anything if it appeared on a television screen, but this way far beyond adolescents believing Hannah Montana lives and has a double life as a plain, ordinary high school girl. This research seems to have been picked up by — would you believe — the British Daily Mail, people who speak the same language we do although with quite a bit of “panache.” Read more on Chasing The Tree Octopus…

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She was an administrative type, accompanying me to a meeting to which I did not particularly want to go.  I had told her about some particularly useless drugs that had been FDA approved since I don’t remember when, and she asked me the question that covered everything.

“Why doesn’t the FDA work?” Read more on Estelle On Why The FDA Is Screwed Up…

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