big pharma

  1. Drug companies buy a seat at the FDA table

    Painkiller rules written by drug makers

    Ever wonder why the FDA insists on pushing powerful and addictive pain meds when there are much safer options out there?

    Well, wonder no more -- because new emails prove what you've probably already suspected: It looks like FDA experts and Big Pharma drug companies are working together behind your back to make sure you never even hear about those safe and natural options.

    The agency's experts on painkillers have been holding private meetings with Big Pharma drug companies in Washington D.C. luxury hotels for at least a decade now, supposedly for "collaboration" sessions.

    But since the drug industry reps paid up to $35,000 each to be there, you can bet the "collaboration" wasn't much of a two-way exchange. In fact, for $35,000 a meeting -- a price even Big Pharma drug companies balked at, according to the emails -- you can bet drug industry bosses did the dictating while everyone else took notes.

    And it looks to me like they got their money's worth -- because nearly everything to emerge from these meetings has been so favorable to the drug industry that even mainstream scientists are astounded.

    For example, one meeting produced a new standard for clinical trials that abandons a core principle of medical research. Instead of randomly assigning patients to take either a drug or a placebo, the new rules allow Big Pharma researchers to screen participants and choose only the ones most likely to respond to the treatment.

    Stacking the deck, loading the dice, buying the jury, bribing the cops -- there's no shortage of analogies here, and they all fit because this is flat-out cheating.

    And that's not the only problem with this "collaboration." That may not even be the biggest problem.

    Prescription drugs -- especially painkillers -- now kill more Americans than traffic accidents. Yet despite the rising toll, the FDA has taken almost no action at all to stop the overuse and abuse of the drugs, limit access to them and improve safety.

    And the agency has done absolutely nothing to encourage patients to try safe alternatives such as acupuncture and curcumin, which have been proven in clinical trials to be as effective as meds for some forms of pain.

    Why? The emails don't show a reason -- not a single reason, anyway.

    They show about 35,000 of them.

    It's time to pass on treatments pushed by industry money and stick to the ones backed by science instead. If your own doctor's only answer to pain is a drug, seek the help of an experienced holistic physician instead.

  2. Feds light controversy over medical marijuana

    The U.S. Department of Justice has finally responded to a 2002 petition to reclassify marijuana as a medical treatment.

    Nothing like a sense of urgency, right guys?

    Of course, after sitting on this for nearly a decade, the department responded with the same old line -- ruling against medical marijuana under no uncertain terms.

    The DOJ even went as far as to state that "marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision."

    Sorry -- as serious as this is, I can't help but find that a little funny. Replace the word "marijuana" with the name of the useless Big Pharma med of your choice, and you might have something.

    Antidepressants, painkillers, and ADHD drugs all spring immediately to mind.

    In fact, studies have shown that medical marijuana is not only effective for many forms of pain, including cancer pain, it comes with few side effects -- unlike the dangerous and addictive opioid painkillers openly and legally abused across the country.

    Back in 1999, the Institute of Medicine -- a part of the National Academy of Sciences -- told Congress that pot can help keep pain and vomiting in check, and that even with all the risks we've come to associate with this stuff, it's worth a try when other meds have failed.

    The FDA has even approved of at least two synthetic drugs based on the ingredients in marijuana -- which only proves
    that if marijuana itself could be patented by Big Pharma, it would have been approved ages ago.

    After all, the science is there: In addition to cancer pain, it's famously effective against glaucoma -- and studies have
    shown that it can fight inflammation, mental illness, Alzheimer's disease and more.

    One review last year found that marijuana can even help multiple sclerosis patients with both pain and mobility issues. (Read about it here.)

    But this is a political battle, not a scientific one -- and all the research in the world won't convince those who are against it otherwise.

    The one bright side to the Department of Justice's recent ruling is that medical marijuana backers can now take the issue to court -- and maybe now we won't have to wait a decade to see the science finally overcome the politics.

  3. Diabetes drugs for everyone

    There isn't a drug in the world that can undo the ravages of the lifestyle that leads to diabetes--but that won't stop Big Pharma from trying to sell you one anyway.
  4. How Big Pharma writes the rules

    If it seems like our major medical guidelines were written by the drug industry, it's because they practically were.
  5. Diabetes charity funded by Big Pharma

    The list of donors is a who's who of Big Pharma, with the major drug companies kicking in a combined $19 million for 2008 alone--including $2.8 million from Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
  6. Feds to fund drug research

    The government can't run a railroad, maintain the highways, or even deliver the mail on time--but somehow, they think they can develop drugs.
  7. Feds delay social media rules

    The FDA has been saying for most of 2010 that it would finally release its long-awaited social media guidelines for drug advertising by the end of the year.
  8. Big Pharma shifts research overseas

    Big Pharma has been outsourcing clinical trials at an alarming pace--but it's not just to save a buck. It's to save their meds, because it's much easier to get favorable results for iffy drugs when the research takes place far from prying eyes and pesky regulators.
  9. Big Pharma's creepy pals

    A new report by ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news agency, finds nearly 300 sanctioned docs raking in the dollars.

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