Taking outrage to infinity–and beyond
What does it take to get a drug taken off the market? Do pills have to explode in your mouth? Does a drug company executive have to be caught holding a smoking gun?
Well, here’s the gun…
In a 2001 e-mail, one GlaxoSmithKline executive made this comment about a study that linked the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia to serious heart problems: “Per Sr. Mgmt request, these data should not see the light of day to anyone outside of GSK.”
No contest–that’s far and away the most outrageous health outrage of all of 2010. (And for the decade before if we’d known about it. This nine-year-old e-mail was revealed by the New York Times earlier this year.)
According to one study, more than 47,000 Avandia users needlessly experienced stroke, heart attack, heart failure or death between 1999 and 2009.
And yet, FDA officials dragged their feet, formed advisory committees, took forever to weigh the evidence, and finally, this past September, restricted the use of the drug. Restricted! That’s right! This murderous molecule is still on the market!
There were plenty of outrages in the health world this year, but none of them are as appalling, disgusting and shameful as making billions of dollars by selling a drug when you concealed evidence that it puts people at SERIOUS risk–and could possibly even lead to death.
That’s criminal. Period. And the FDA? Well, they’re like the Johnny Cochran of government agencies. “Hey, under 50K died and how can we be sure they lied?”
Now that we’re all riled up, on to those other…
Worst health outrages of 2010
The flu shot does NOT reduce the risk of death in people over the age of 65. Minnesota Public Radio reports that this revelation has been so “unsettling” that health officials have not widely informed the public. Instead, vaccine makers developed Fluzone High-Dose for seniors. This shot is FOUR TIMES the potency of a normal flu shot. In theory, it offers more protection. And in a clinical trial, adverse effects were more frequent compared to a normal shot. In other words, the flu shot scam continues–and now they’re using the people that need protection the most as guinea pigs. Find out the REAL way to protect yourself from the flu–without getting shot!
Chemo’s dirty little secret
Does chemotherapy cause secondary cancers? That question appears in a Q&A on CNN’s website. And here’s the answer, from no less an authority than the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society: “It is ironic but true that many cancer chemotherapies are known to cause cancers.” Ironic? Insanely tragic is more like it! And yet how many oncologists do you suppose ever tell their patients about this one uncomfortable little detail? Learn your options and how you can avoid hearing, “I’m sorry…it’s cancer.” — again!
It’s an ingenious plan: Genetically modify crops so they won’t die when drenched with Roundup weed killer. Weeds die. Crops survive. Win win! And it’s an especially ingenious plan if your company produces the weed killer AND the GM seeds. And that company would be the agribusiness giant Monsanto. But there was one thing Monsanto didn’t plan for: Roundup-resistant superweeds. These hard-to-kill weeds now plague millions of acres in more than 20 states. Desperate farmers have been forced to employ more workers to drive back the weeds with highly toxic herbicides. And, of course, higher operating costs combined with lower crop yields will boost the price of foods that will have who-knows-what effect on our health. Nice work, Monsanto!
Far from in the pink
If you’ve ever donated to Susan G. Komen for the cure or sweated through a 10K “run for the cure,” you probably felt great about doing your part to put an end to breast cancer. And that would be ideal, if Komen was all about the research. But in fact, a team of Komen lawyers stay quite busy filing trademark oppositions against Mom & Pop charities like Juggling for a Cure, Blondes for a Cure, Surfing for a Cure, Cupcakes for the Cure, etc. Seriously! Komen attorneys are actually strong-arming people who make and sell cupcakes to raise a few dollars to fight cancer! Pink has never looked so ugly.
Billion Dollar Baby
Everyone experiences bone density loss as a natural part of aging. So you may have perfectly healthy bones, but just not quite as dense at 45 as they were at 35. That’s osteopenia–a word dreamed up by World Health Organization researchers. But once the word was out there, it became a “condition.” And you know what they do with conditions. They treat them with drugs! Don’t fall for it. It’s not therapy and you don’t need it. It’s a marketing campaign, pure and simple.
Simple…but not so pure
If you enjoy sausage, you don’t want to see how it’s made. Apparently, the same is true with pharmaceuticals. This is the year we got a glimpse of how pharmaceuticals are made, and boy, was it ugly! In May, Johnson & Johnson recalled 40 varieties of children’s cold medicines due to bacteria contamination and other serious quality control problems. The company actually ended up closing the plant that manufactured the drugs. J&J continued to have production woes month after month. Then in October, The New York Times reported that a GlaxoSmithKline plant was “rife with contamination” for years. In addition, some lots of Paxil were actually missing the active ingredient. In other words, GSK was making and selling placebo pills (at full prescription prices, of course)! Once and for all, let this put an end to the “drugs are safer than supplements because they’re strictly regulated” argument.