A major prescription drug company in the United States has admitted
to making misleading claims about the safety of its products. The company
failed to include important information about hypoglycemia and diabetes,
and promoted its drug as being safer than other anti-psychotic drugs.
The FDA has issued a warning letter to the company, telling them to comply
by including the information regarding hypoglycemia and diabetes, and
by avoiding making such unproven claims. This is for a drug that is prescribed
to over 10 million people around the world, and generates $2,000,000
in annual sales for this prescription drug company.
A new study has revealed startling statistics about the number of people
killed each year in U.S. hospitals. That number is now estimated to be
195,000 people, or almost twice as many as were estimated in a 1998 report
on the same subject. To put this in perspective, this is equivalent to
almost fifty 9/11 attacks each year in terms of the number of fatalities
caused. This is a health care crisis -- people are being killed by preventable
hospital errors and neglect. Unfortunately, it's also the norm in our
modern medical system.
Recent cholesterol guidelines are recommending that most people aim
for an LDL cholesterol level of 70 or lower. That's down from the previous
suggestion of 100. And of course, the number one recommended way to lower
your cholesterol, according to the popular press and pharmaceutical companies,
is to take statin drugs. The more you take the better, they seem to be
saying, and if your cholesterol isn't low enough yet, it simply means
you need to take more statin drugs. And by the way, you're supposed to
be taking these statin drugs for the rest of your life, as many physicians
have now ridiculously sworn to do.
The state of Maryland joins a growing list of cities and states attempting
to import prescription drugs from Canada. Montgomery County says it could
save $6 million to $10 million a year by giving its employees the choice
of filling their prescriptions through certified Canadian pharmacies.
A new study conducted by the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences,
a health care research organization in Toronto, has concluded that a
prescription drug commonly prescribed for congestive heart failure is
now responsible for an increased number of deaths of heart patients due
to the drug being more widely prescribed by doctors.
Amid all of the frantic warnings from the FDA that prescription drugs
from Canada are somehow dangerous, a question arises: where are all the
dead and injured Canadians? If drugs are somehow more dangerous in Canada,
shouldn't the FDA be able to produce endless examples of people who have
actually been harmed or killed by these medications? In fact, no such
evidence exists. The FDA's Director of Pharmacy Affairs, Tom McGinnis,
says, "I can't think of one thing off the top of my head where somebody
died or somebody got put in the hospital because of these medications.
I just don't know if there's anything like that."
A new independent study, conducted at the University of Birmingham,
UK, reveals that a popular prescription drug for Alzheimer's disease,
Aricept, offers no real benefit to Alzheimer's patients compared to placebo.
And yet, the drug has been approved and heavily marketed based on findings
from drug trials funded by its maker who claims the drug benefits Alzheimer's
patients in scientifically proven ways. As it turns out, the drug does
seem to help Alzheimer's patients score slightly higher on cognitive
tests, but it has no real benefit in delaying the institutionalization
of Alzheimer's patients.
A new idea has surfaced in the medical community -- to publish the results
of all medical studies on a publicly accessible website that would include
results from both positive and negative studies. This proposal has been
floated in response to the recent discovery by regulatory authorities
and various members of the press that drug companies routinely hide or
suppress the publication of studies showing undesirable results.
Skyrocketing health insurance costs are heavily impacting employers
in the United States. Now, for the first time, medical benefits to employees
has become the most expensive benefit paid by employers, according to
a new report issued by the Employment Policy Foundation. The cost of
health care for employers has jumped 12.4% between 2002 and 2003. That's
about 5 times higher than inflation, and it is threatening the competitiveness
of American corporations and the private sector. The Foundation also
reported that employers spent $331 billion last year for health insurance
for employees. That's a 50% increase since 1998. This comes out to an
average of $3.80 per hour for each worker who participated in health
A new study conducted at the Duke Clinical Research institute reveals
that one in five older patients is currently receiving at least one prescription
drug deemed unsafe according to a database of unsafe drugs. This study
looked at prescriptions written for 765,000 patients, all over the age
of 65, and compared those prescriptions against a database listing drugs
that are known to be toxic to older patients (and that may result in
severe side effects). It found that an astounding 21% of the patients
were taking at least one drug on the list, and that half of those prescriptions
were for drugs considered to have serious side effects.