I’ve got my outrage in motion and I’m blowing the whistle on one of the dirtiest tricks the big pharmaceutical companies play on us.
They have a technique called “Seeding Trials” that masquerade as drug testing (clinical trials) but are really nothing more than marketing surveys they can use to get around government regulations about promoting their drugs for alternative uses (also know as “off-label” uses).
But I’m printing this news in my private newsletter — not in my public blog.
The good news, you can read this for free. All you need to do is sign up for my free newsletter (that means “free of charge” as well as “Spam-Free”).
Just type your name and email address in that little box in the upper right hand corner of this page to opt-in. Of course, you can opt-out at any time also.
But I’m hoping that you find me so fascinating that you will continue to read.
The news I print in this blog is pretty general and the items in the newsletter are more personal and specific.
I think you will find it fascinating to see into the world of medicine, science, politics, government and even culture.
The newsletter will go out by email in a day or two … so please sign on now and take this journey with me. I promise to make it worth your time.
Take care and be happy!
I was trying to remember when prescription drugs were allowed to advertise on television (called “Direct To Consumer Advertising, or DTCA”). Fortunately, I didn’t have to bust my memory cells – I just had to “Google it.”
1995. The year all HHHHell broke loose. At least if you were a doctor.
Suddenly, patients could make their own diagnoses and prescriptions and just phone the order in to their doctor. At least, that’s how most patients thought it should work. And – hoo boy! – were they upset when it wasn’t quite that easy.
Comedian Dennis Miller has a hilarious line: “I divide medical practitioners into two camps. Those who will give me a scrip for Vicodin over the phone, and those who won’t.”
Hilarious if you aren’t a doctor, that is. Read more on RX Package Insert — Just Read It!…
Why would a pharmaceutical manufacturer want to change a drug from prescription to over the counter (OTC)?
Well, one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is – When the Question is “WHY?” then the answer is “MONEY.”
Oh, sure – in our economically-ignorant country, many people think – “Whee! I can buy any drug I want without spending money on a doctor’s appointment and without having to get a prescription! ”
These people are prime candidates for the Darwin Awards.
Yes, believe it or not, the “RX to OTC Switch” can actually HURT patients.
Drug patents expire relatively quickly, competitors are waiting at the gates with generic equivalents, and when a drug becomes OTC, there is a chance that insurance does not cover it.
This makes insurance companies and government programs (Medicare, Medicaid/Medi-Cal, etc.) very happy. They are so strapped for cash that even paying for a cheaper generic is a strain on the budget. When this kind of money is involved, you can bet that lobbyists are pressuring the government to ease their restrictions so that drugs once considered risky enough to warrant a prescription so that not just anybody can have access will be available to anyone who can walk into a drug store or click on a shopping cart on the web.
Patients will have to pay for OTC meds in cash money and doctors usually do not bother prescribing an equivalent drug. If they do not already know of an equivalent, they will probably — and generally do — just tell a patient to go buy it over the counter.
A patient who cannot afford the drug will go off it.
OK – so what’s the big deal if a cold medicine, allergy remedy or hair-restoring pill is no longer a prescription drug?
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…
One of my Frequently Asked Questions is “why do you hate prescription drugs so much?”
And the answer is, I DON’T. Not at all. I have used, and will continue to use, prescription drugs whenever they are the best treatment for an individual.
What I DO hate is the way they are mis-used, and the way some companies push their drugs for inappropriate purposes, or in dosages that are harmful when they could be helpful in (usually lower) doses. Read more on A Remarkable Medicine And Its Champion…
Research is something that many people find suspicious. The mass public doesn’t know what makes “good” research and what is just plain manipulation.
Most people know that studying a lot of cases gives a more accurate picture than studying a single case – or just a few cases. But speaking as a formally trained and professional researcher, let me tell you that – contrary to conventional wisdom — it is really hard to make any sense of any kind of statistics that study a big-lot-much-HUGE number of human people.
The idea of science attempting to study or explain the interaction between doctors and drug reps seems strange.
So I checked out the original article that had been reviewed as objective science. I put it all together. I decided that none of the studies that were slopped together to make this meta-study were going to impress me. I can’t remember seeing anything that looked scientific as I poked around. We are talking about “naturalistic” studies here. Doctors really don’t seem to want to believe that anyone can control their thinking. Some might get contrarian and avoid prescribing things that are too aggressively presented. Maybe others do succumb. The idea that the drug reps bring a lecturer and somehow useful information might be exchanged is idealistic at best. Let us switch from science to reality. I remember the muscled male French drug reps they sent to me in the hospital. I remember when the dean of the medical school married a gorgeous female drug rep — a sort of midlife-change direction marriage — leaving behind someone who had once been described to me as a barracuda like entity. Read more on Influence Of Drug Reps On Physician’s Prescribing Habits…
She was a 33 year old raven-haired exhausted woman who had probably been a beauty before she bore children, now aged 9, 6, and 4. She wanted a renewal on her sleeping pills. She did not want the antidepressant or anything else, just sleeping pills. She said that since the children all slept through the night, now she could, too. She had not only a tubal ligation at her final pregnancy, but an ex-boyfriend who was no more than a distant memory.
Her last doctor, apparently a rarity, had actually started by prescribing the sleeping pills every third night. That had not lasted more than four weeks or so. She wanted, and felt she “deserved,” sleep every night. She was convinced that was what the insurance doctors gave the rich people, so she was not going to let anybody skimp on her. Sleeping pills every night. She would not have to think about anything other than keeping a bottle by her bed and getting it into her mouth. Sleep would be automatic and life would be sweet.
The last doctor had been, to his credit, assertive enough to tell her that if this was what she wanted, she would be coming in every three months for the rest of her natural life on planet earth, to get sleeping pills. She thought that was just fine; that it was what everyone did and should do, since we had something as wonderful as sleeping pills in the world. Read more on Pharmaceutical Companies Are Stealing Our Dreams…
Before you read this, I want to warn you – at any moment, I can veer off into an emotional rant. And after you read this, you should be outraged, also.
There is a prescription form of Omega-3 fish oil being marketed by a major pharmaceutical company. It costs about seven times more than the same amount of Omega-3 fish oil you can buy as a dietary supplement.
If I had no other reason to dislike “Big Pharma” this would suffice. Everything I learn about pharmaceutical companies makes me think less of them. They are stealing our effective and useful natural substances without adequate science, creating patentable molecules, and making more money than any of us can imagine off human suffering and death. Read more on Fish Oil For $100 A Pill…