Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Posts Tagged ‘Pfizer’

MUHC Endorses Pfizer’s Products

Posted by Colin Rose on April 9, 2010

Lipitor.ca

This is a back lit box on the first floor of the Montreal General Hospital, the “mountain campus” of the MUHC. This is how the McGill University Health Centre is caring for your health. Obviously Pfizer expects that the “professionels de la santé” at the MUHC would highly recommend Pfizer’s products and obviously the MUHC administration expects that they would. How many $millions is Pfizer paying the MUHC for this priceless endorsement of its products which directly benefit those “professionels de la santé?” What would happen to any of the “professionels de la santé” who gave “précieux conseils” that Lipitor was useless in the vast majority of people for whom it is prescribed as described in our blog page on statins? Do true professionals associate with organizations that take money from the profits of companies selling the products they recommend? In Quebec our taxes are about to increase dramatically to pay for a “health contribution” a lot of which will go to paying for expensive, mostly useless drugs like Lipitor. That’s good business if you are running a hospital but not if you are really caring for health. If you would like to protest this highly unprofessional behaviour  phone Rebecca Burns (MUHC media) at (514) 934-1934 Ext. 71443 or  email Dr. Arthur Porter, CEO of the MUHC.

—————————————————————————–

Update, April 16, 2010

It seems the MUHC administration felt some heat. One week after posting this blog, the Pfizer ad had been removed. They reacted so fast that they had no replacement and had to leave only an embarrassing blank light box.

Thanks to all those who took the time to register their opinion of this example of grossly unprofessional behaviour.

One hopes that in the future McGill and the MUHC will think twice about prostituting themselves to the drug dealers.

MGH-Box

Posted in cholesterol, drug marketing, drugs, ethics, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Drug Dealers Fund Doctors’ Education

Posted by Colin Rose on September 10, 2009

Here is a classic example of Big Pharma controlling what doctors get to hear during “continuing medical education”. Big Pharma pays big money to have their logos appear below that of McGill, a presumed institute of higher learning that is tacitly approving of their drugs and the methods they use to promote them.

There is always the meaningless disclaimer about how the grants are “unrestricted”. Just try inviting a speaker who is at all critical of Big Pharma and see how fast the grant disappears.

How much does the McGill Faculty of Medicine receive? How much of the money goes into undergraduate education? Is the money also influencing what gets taught to medical students?

Write to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Richard Levin,  and try to get his answers. Lots of luck.

McGill-Refresher-Course-Drugs

Posted in cme, continuing medical education, drug marketing, professionalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OBSTAT-Doctors being paid to push drug study

Posted by Colin Rose on April 3, 2009

“Dr. LeLorier reports having served as a paid speaker or consultant for the following manufacturers of statins: Merck Frosst Canada, Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.” Why would anyone take any advice on statins from him?


Doctors being paid to push drug study
BY TOM BLACKWELL
National Post
03 Apr 2009

Quebec doctors are being offered $100 for every new patient they put on cholesterollowering statin drugs as part of a major, federally subsidized study that is raising questions about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on health…read more…

Posted in cardiology, drug marketing, drugs, ethics, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary

Posted by Colin Rose on March 3, 2009

March 3, 2009

BOSTON — In a first-year pharmacology class at Harvard Medical School, Matt Zerden grew wary as the professor promoted the benefits of cholesterol drugs and seemed to belittle a student who asked about side effects.

Mr. Zerden later discovered something by searching online that he began sharing with his classmates. The professor was not only a full-time member of the Harvard Medical faculty, but a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including five makers of cholesterol treatments.

“I felt really violated,” Mr. Zerden, now a fourth-year student, recently recalled. “Here we have 160 open minds trying to learn the basics in a protected space, and the information he was giving wasn’t as pure as I think it should be.”

Mr. Zerden’s minor stir four years ago has lately grown into a full-blown movement by more than 200 Harvard Medical School students and sympathetic faculty, intent on exposing and curtailing the industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories, as well as in Harvard’s 17 affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes.

They say they are concerned that the same money that helped build the school’s world-class status may in fact be hurting its reputation and affecting its teaching.

The students argue, for example, that Harvard should be embarrassed by the F grade it recently received from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools monitor and control drug industry money.

Harvard Medical School’s peers received much higher grades, ranging from the A for the University of Pennsylvania, to B’s received by Stanford, Columbia and New York University, to the C for Yale.

Harvard has fallen behind, some faculty and administrators say, because its teaching hospitals are not owned by the university, complicating reform; because the dean is fairly new and his predecessor was such an industry booster that he served on a pharmaceutical company board; and because a crackdown, simply put, could cost it money or faculty.

Further, the potential embarrassments — a Senate investigation of several medical professors, the F grade, a new state law effective July 1 requiring Massachusetts doctors to disclose corporate gifts over $50 — are only now adding to pressure for change.

The dean, Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier, who says he wants Harvard to catch up with the best practices at other leading medical schools, recently announced a 19-member committee to re-examine his school’s conflict-of-interest policies. The group, which includes three students, is to meet in private on Thursday.

Advising the group will be Dr. David Korn, a former dean of the Stanford Medical School who started work at Harvard about four months ago as vice provost for research. Last year he helped the Association of American Medical Colleges draft a model conflict-of-interest policy for medical schools.

The Harvard students have already secured a requirement that all professors and lecturers disclose their industry ties in class — a blanket policy that has been adopted by no other leading medical school. (One Harvard professor’s disclosure in class listed 47 company affiliations.)

“Harvard needs to live up to its name,” said Kirsten Austad, 24, a first-year Harvard Medical student who is one of the movement’s leaders. “We are really being indoctrinated into a field of medicine that is becoming more and more commercialized.”

David Tian, 24, a first-year Harvard Medical student, said: “Before coming here, I had no idea how much influence companies had on medical education. And it’s something that’s purposely meant to be under the table, providing information under the guise of education when that information is also presented for marketing purposes.”

The students say they worry that pharmaceutical industry scandals in recent years — including some criminal convictions, billions of dollars in fines, proof of bias in research and publishing and false marketing claims — have cast a bad light on the medical profession. And they criticize Harvard as being less vigilant than other leading medical schools in monitoring potential financial conflicts by faculty members.

Dr. Flier says that the Harvard Medical faculty may lead the nation in receiving money from industry, as well as government and charities, and he does not want to tighten the spigot. “One entirely appropriate source, if done properly, is industrial funds,” Dr. Flier said in an interview.

And school officials see corporate support for their faculty as all the more crucial, as the university endowment has lost 22 percent of its value since last July and the recession has caused philanthropic contributors to retrench. The school said it was unable to provide annual measures of the money flow to its faculty, beyond the $8.6 million that pharmaceutical companies contributed last year for basic science research and the $3 million for continuing education classes on campus. Most of the money goes to professors at the Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals, and the dean’s office does not keep track of the total.

But no one disputes that many individual Harvard Medical faculty members receive tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through industry consulting and speaking fees. Under the school’s disclosure rules, about 1,600 of 8,900 professors and lecturers have reported to the dean that they or a family member had a financial interest in a business related to their teaching, research or clinical care. The reports show 149 with financial ties to Pfizer and 130 with Merck.

The rules, though, do not require them to report specific amounts received for speaking or consulting, other than broad indications like “more than $30,000.” Some faculty who conduct research have limits of $30,000 in stock and $20,000 a year in fees. But there are no limits on companies’ making outright gifts to faculty — free meals, tickets, trips or the like.

Other blandishments include industry-endowed chairs like the three Harvard created with $8 million from sleep research companies; faculty prizes like the $50,000 award named after Bristol-Myers Squibb, and sponsorships like Pfizer’s $1 million annual subsidy for 20 new M.D.’s in a two-year program to learn clinical investigation and pursue Harvard Master of Medical Science degrees, including classes taught by Pfizer scientists.

Dr. Flier, who became dean 17 months ago, previously received a $500,000 research grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb. He also consulted for three Cambridge biotechnology companies, but says that those relationships have ended and that he has accepted no new industry affiliations.

That is in contrast to his predecessor as dean, Dr. Joseph B. Martin. Harvard’s rules allowed Dr. Martin to sit on the board of the medical products company Baxter International for 5 of the 10 years he led the medical school, supplementing his university salary with up to $197,000 a year from Baxter, according to company filings.

Dr. Martin is still on the medical faculty and is founder and co-chairman of the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, which researches degenerative diseases, and actively solicits industry money to do so. Dr. Martin declined any comment.

A smaller rival faction among Harvard’s 750 medical students has circulated a petition signed by about 100 people that calls for “continued interaction between medicine and industry at Harvard Medical School.”

A leader of the group, Vijay Yanamadala, 22, said, “To say that because these industry sources are inherently biased, physicians should never listen to them, is wrong.”

Encouraging them is Dr. Thomas P. Stossel, a Harvard Medical professor who has served on advisory boards for Merck, Biogen Idec and Dyax, and has written widely on academic-industry ties. “I think if you look at it with intellectual honesty, you see industry interaction has produced far more good than harm,” Dr. Stossel said. “Harvard absolutely could get more from industry but I think they’re very skittish. There’s a huge opportunity we ought to mine.”

Brian Fuchs, 26, a second-year student from Queens, credited drug companies with great medical discoveries. “It’s not a problem,” he said, pointing out a classroom window to a 12-story building nearby. “In fact, Merck is right there.”

Merck built a corporate research center in 2004 across the street from Harvard’s own big new medical research and class building. And Merck underwrites plenty of work on the Harvard campus, including the immunology lab run by Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher — a professor who also sits on the board of the drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, which paid her nearly $270,000 in 2007.

Dr. Glimcher says industry money is not only appropriate but necessary. “Without the support of the private sector, we would not have been able to develop what I call our ‘bone team’ in our lab,” she said at a recent student and faculty forum to discuss industry relationships. Merck is counting on her team to help come up with a successor to Fosamax, the formerly $3 billion-a-year bone drug that went generic last year. But Dr. Marcia Angell, a faculty member and former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, is among the professors who argue that industry profit motives do not correspond to the scientific aims of academic medicine and that much of the financing needs to be not only disclosed, but banned. Too many medical schools, she says, have struck a “Faustian bargain” with pharmaceutical companies.

“If a school like Harvard can’t behave itself,” Dr. Angell said, “who can?”

Posted in cholesterol, drugs, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Disaster! Americans stop taking Lipitor.

Posted by Colin Rose on November 19, 2008

Well, I predicted many years ago that the exorbitant cost of drugs for lifestyle diseases would at some point destroy the cherished American ideal of unlimited consumption. It has happened a lot sooner than even I thought. The same attitude that powered the myth of free money and endless consumption of houses and goods is responsible for the myth of harmless gluttony while taking pills for “cholesterol”, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, all, to a large extent, diseases of lifestyle.  Most of these drugs have never been shown to prolong life in the general population and should never have been prescribed in the first place. The same thing happens in Canada. I just saw a patient with normal blood sugar and normal “cholesterol” who was prescribed metformin and Lipitor “just in case”.

The profligate American lifestyle is undergoing a profound change. In the financial crunch It has finally dawned on a lot of people that they really don’t need those “cholesterol” pills, that they might be much better off if they just changed some of their greedy habits. In most cases it is not a choice between “meals and medication”. Less meals = less medication. Most Americans are eating far too much anyway.

Two-thirds of the US population is now overweight or obese, all “high risk” people on multiple drugs for treating the symptoms of inflammatory excess visceral fat. I predict we will witness a stabilization of amelioration of the pandemic of obesity and a marked drop in the costs of treating it’s complications, now about $75 billion per year in the US. It will be discovered anew that obesity is not genetic and one really doesn’t need a “gastric bypass” to lose weight. All you have to do is eat less.

You read it here first. Nothing like a financial collapse to cure gluttony.

————————————————————-

From the New York Times

nyt-drugs-financialcrisis

By STEPHANIE SAUL
Published: October 21, 2008

For the first time in at least a decade, the nation’s consumers are trying to get by on fewer prescription drugs.

As people around the country respond to financial and economic hard times by juggling the cost of necessities like groceries and housing, drugs are sometimes having to wait.

“People are having to choose between gas, meals and medication,” said Dr. James King, the chairman of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a national professional group. He also runs his own family practice in rural Selmer, Tenn.

“I’ve seen patients today who said they stopped taking their Lipitor, their cholesterol-lowering medicine, because they can’t afford it,” Dr. King said one recent morning.

“I have patients who have stopped taking their osteoporosis medication.”

On Tuesday, the drug giant Pfizer, which makes Lipitor, the world’s top-selling prescription medicine, said United States sales of that drug were down 13 percent in the third quarter of this year.

Through August of this year, the number of all prescriptions dispensed in the United States was lower than in the first eight months of last year, according to a recent analysis of data from IMS Health, a research firm that tracks prescriptions.

Although other forces are also in play, like safety concerns over some previously popular drugs and the transition of some prescription medications to over-the-counter sales, many doctors and other experts say consumer belt-tightening is a big factor in the prescription downturn.

The trend, if it continues, could have potentially profound implications.

If enough people try to save money by forgoing drugs, controllable conditions could escalate into major medical problems. That could eventually raise the nation’s total health care bill and lower the nation’s standard of living.

Martin Schwarzenberger, a 56-year-old accounting manager for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, is stretching out his prescriptions. Mr. Schwarzenberger, who has Type 1 diabetes, is not cutting his insulin, but has started scrimping on a variety of other medications he takes, including Lipitor.

“Don’t tell my wife, but if I have 30 days’ worth of pills, I’ll usually stretch those out to 35 or 40 days,” he said. “You’re trying to keep a house over your head and use your money to pay all your bills.”

Although the overall decline in prescriptions in the IMS Health data was less than 1 percent, it was the first downturn after more than a decade of steady increases in prescriptions, as new drugs came on the market and the population aged.

From 1997 to 2007, the number of prescriptions filled had increased 72 percent, to 3.8 billion last year. In the same period, the average number of prescriptions filled by each person in this country increased from 8.9 a year in 1997 to 12.6 in 2007.

Dr. Timothy Anderson, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Company pharmaceutical analyst who analyzed the IMS data and first reported the prescription downturn last week, said the declining volume was “most likely tied to a worsening economic environment.”

In some cases, the cutbacks might not hurt, according to Gerard F. Anderson, a health policy expert at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “A lot of people think there there’s probably over-prescribing in the United States,” Mr. Anderson said.

But for other patients, he said, “the prescription drug is a lifesaver, and they really can’t afford to stop it.”

Dr. Thomas J. Weida, a family physician in Hershey, Pa., said one of his patients ended up in the hospital because he was unable to afford insulin.

Not everyone simply stops taking their drugs.

“They’ll split pills, take their pills every other day, do a lot of things without conferring with their doctors,” said Jack Hoadley, a health policy analyst at Georgetown University.

“We’ve had focus groups with various populations,” Mr. Hoadley said. “They’ll look at four or five prescriptions and say, ‘This is the one I can do without.’ They’re not going to stop their pain medication because they’ll feel bad if they don’t take that. They’ll stop their statin for cholesterol because they don’t feel any different whether they take that or not.”

Overall spending in the United States for prescription drugs is still the highest in the world, an estimated $286.5 billion last year. But that number makes up only about 10 percent of this country’s total health expenditures of $2.26 trillion.

Pharmaceutical companies have long been among those arguing that drugs are a cost-effective way to stave off other, higher medical costs.

The recent prescription cutbacks come even as the drug industry was already heading toward the “generic cliff,” as it is known — an approaching period when a number of blockbuster drugs are scheduled to lose patent protection. That will be 2011 for Lipitor.

if (acm.rc) acm.rc.write();

Already, a migration to generic drugs means that 60 percent of prescriptions over all are filled by off-brand versions of drugs. But with money tight, even cheaper generic drugs may not always be affordable drugs.

Factors other than the economy that may also be at play in the prescription downturn include adverse publicity about some big-selling medications — like the cholesterol medications Zetia and Vytorin, marketed jointly by Merck and Schering-Plough. And sales of Zyrtec, a popular allergy medication, moved out of the prescription category earlier this year when Johnson & Johnson began selling it as an over-the-counter medication.

Diane M. Conmy, the director of market insights for IMS Health, said the drop in prescriptions might also be partly related to the higher out-of-pocket drug co-payments that insurers are asking consumers to pay.

“Some consumers are making decisions based on the fact that they are bearing more of the cost of medicines than they have in the past,” Ms. Conmy said.

The average co-payment for drugs on insurers’ “preferred” lists rose to $25 in 2007, from $15 in 2000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health care research organization. And, of course, lots of people have no drug insurance at all. That includes the estimated 47 million people in the United States with no form of health coverage, but it is also true for some people who have medical insurance that does not include drug coverage — a number for which no good data may exist.

For older Americans, the addition of Medicare drug coverage in 2006 through the Part D program has meant that 90 percent of Medicare-age people now have drug insurance. And in the early going, Part D had helped stimulate growth in the nation’s overall number of prescriptions, as patients who previously had no coverage flocked to Part D.

But a potential coverage gap in each recipient’s benefit each year — the so-called Part D doughnut hole — means that many Medicare patients are without coverage for part of the year.

The recent IMS Health figures reveal that prescription volume declined in June, in July and again in August, mirroring studies from last year suggesting that prescription use begins dropping at about the time more Medicare beneficiaries begin entering the doughnut hole.

Under this year’s rules, the doughnut hole opens when a patient’s total drug costs have reached $2,510, which counts the portion paid by Medicare as well as the patient’s own out-of-pocket deductibles and co-payments.

The beneficiary must then absorb 100 percent of the costs for the next $3,216, until total drug costs for the year have reached $5,726, when Medicare coverage resumes.

Gloria Wofford, 76, of Pittsburgh, said she recently stopped taking Provigil, prescribed for her problem of falling asleep during the day, because she could no longer afford it after she entered the Medicare doughnut hole.

Her Provigil had been costing $1,695 every three months. “I have no idea who could do it,” she said. “There’s no way I could handle that.”

Without the medication, Ms. Wofford said, she falls asleep while sitting at her computer during the day but then cannot sleep during the night. Because she feels she has no choice, Ms. Wofford is paying out of pocket to continue taking an expensive diabetes medication that costs more than $500 every three months.

For some other people, the boundaries of when and where to cut back are less distinct.

Lori Stewart of Champaign, Ill., is trying to decide whether to discontinue her mother’s Alzheimer’s medications, which seem to have only marginal benefit.

“The medication is $182 a month,” said Ms. Stewart, who recently wrote about the dilemma on her personal blog.

“It’s been a very agonizing decision for me. It is literally one-fifth of her income.”

Posted in addiction, cholesterol, diabetes, Type 2, diet, drugs, junk food, obesity, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pfizer and Sanofi Join Merck in Abandoning Obesity Drugs

Posted by Colin Rose on November 9, 2008

Pfizer and Sanofi Join Merck in Abandoning Obesity Drugs

By Jim Edwards

November 5th, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

For those of you hoping that America’s obesity crisis could be solved with a pill, think again. Pfizer announced late Wednesday that it is scrapping its anti-fat drug, the as-yet unnamed “CP-945,598,” for essentially political reasons. Sanofi-Aventis today also announced that it was ending its trials on Acomplia/Zimulti, an obesity pill that was approved and then yanked in Europe. And Merck a couple of weeks ago pulled its fat pill taranabant, from its pipeline.

Pfizer’s statement contained an interesting mystery. It said there was nothing wrong with the compound, but they were booting it from the pipeline because they couldn’t be bothered to navigate the bureaucracy required to bring it to market:

Pfizer believes that the CP-945,598 compound has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for weight management. However, the Company has decided to discontinue the development program based on changing regulatory perspectives on the risk/benefit profile of the CB1 class and likely new regulatory requirements for approval.

“While confident in the safety of the compound, we believe that this is the appropriate decision based on all available information regarding this class of agents, as well as recent discussions with regulatory authorities,” said Martin Mackay, president, Pfizer Global Research and Development.

Really? The company has an effective drug but won’t attempt to sell it — clearly we’re lacking some important details.

Sanofi was more forthright. Acomplia was pulled from shelves because Euro regulators thought the pill was too dangerous for sale; and the same authorities asked Sanofi to stop its ongoing trials for the same reason. Merck stopped its version because it had similar side effects seen in Sanofi’s — weird mood changes and depression.

Interestingly, all three drugs acted on cannabinoid receptors. So how likely is it that Merck and Sanofi’s drugs were riddled with side effects while Pfizer’s was just fine? Hmmm.

None of this news is surprising to BNET readers. Back in July we noted that “Drug companies have been down this route many times before, and always failed to find success. A safe and effective weight-loss pill is like Big Pharma’s El Dorado — a lost city of gold that no one can find.”

It’s worth repeating the explanation for why these pills tend to fail, provided by Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline:

Evolutionary pressures have been too strong — our metabolisms try to make absolutely sure that we have plenty of reserves against the lean times, because over most of the history of our species, it’s been nothing but lean times….

So many of the weight loss drug attempts have been in the area of appetite suppression — stop the problem before it develops. But you run into those multiple pathways there, too — any animals whose feeding behaviors can be easily shut down are long dead. We’re the descendants of the opposite population: the ones that scrambled for food no matter what.

Posted in diet, drugs, obesity | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pfizer abandons “cholesterol”

Posted by Colin Rose on October 1, 2008

After spending tens of $billions in DTC ads and bribes to doctors to terrorize the world into believing that blood “bad cholesterol” is the cause of atherosclerosis, the most common fatal disease, and selling hundreds of $billions worth of Lipitor to lower it, Pfizer has admitted there is no truth to and no more profit to be made from the myth of “dyslipidemia” that Pfizer and other peddlers of statin drugs created. Its much hyped drug, torceptripib, touted as the next Lipitor, which did all the “right” things to blood cholesterol actually worsened atherosclerosis in the ILLUSTRATE trial. Finally, the proof was in that high blood “bad cholesterol” is only a symptom of an atherogenic lifestyle, not the cause of atherosclerosis. But it will take a generation or two for the cholesterol myth to disappear.

So now Pfizer is directing more of its research toward Type 2 diabetes, a disease directly related to obesity, which is directly related to the moral hazard effect created by the cholesterol myth (I can eat anything as long as my cholesterol is low). Very clever marketing! Create diseases, real or imagined, then sell high profit drugs to to “treat” numbers associated with them.


PFIZER REFOCUSES ITS STRATEGY
BY SHANNON PETTYPIECE Bloomberg News
National Post
01 Oct 2008

Pfizer Inc. will abandon early-stage research on heart drugs as part of a strategy to sharpen its focus on ailments such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes where the chances of a bigger profit are greatest. The New York-based company, the…read more…

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, diabetes, Type 2, drugs, obesity, statins | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Medical Terrorism and the Big Lie

Posted by Colin Rose on July 5, 2008

Medical terrorism

Medical terrorism

Medical Terrorism

Medical Terrorism

Medical Terrorism

Medical Terrorism

If you go to www.makingtheconnection.ca you find that it is a Pfizer funded site. Pfizer spent many $millions on these terrorist ads. Pfizer makes Lipitor, a statin cholesterol-lowering drug and the biggest selling drug in the world. In 2005 about $US 12 billion was sold.

These advertisements appeared in many Canadian publications over the last few years. The implication is clear: either measure your cholesterol (and take a pill to lower it if you have “dyslipidemia” ) or you will die. This is a propaganda technique known as “the big lie“. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “…the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one…” Pfizer has learned well. There is NO evidence that in an otherwise healthy person measuring blood cholesterol and taking a statin to lower blood cholesterol will live any longer than not doing so. Even the Canadian Government in allowing the publication of these ads swallowed the big lie.

All primary prevention trials to date of cholesterol lowering with drugs (LRC-CPPT, WOSCOPS, ASCOT-LLA) have shown NO total mortality benefit.

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, drugs, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Statins added to WHO list of “essential” drugs

Posted by Colin Rose on May 10, 2007

Well, it finally happened. The statin peddlers convinced WHO to add statins to the list of essential drugs.

But look at who was behind the initiative, Dr Gotto

Dr. Gotto receives many thousands of dollars from statin peddlers.

Here is a disclosure statement from a recent publication

“Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., MD, DPhil, serves as a consultant for
AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson-Merck, Kos
Pharmaceuticals, Kowa, Merck & Co., Inc., Merck-Schering Plough,
Novartis, Pfizer Inc, and Reliant Pharmaceuticals.”

Surely this should have been mentioned in the Cornell press release.

Personally, I refuse to take any advice from anyone who receives even one cent from a drug dealer.

I completely agree with Dr Kishore’s statement:

“Increasingly, ‘Western’ high-fat diets, tobacco use and urbanization have
helped make heart disease a bigger killer than ‘The Big Three’—HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria—combined.”

Indeed, high risk individuals have high risk lifestyles.

But the FIRST thing to do is change the diet and eliminate tobacco BEFORE labeling statins essential drugs. To do otherwise will reduce any incentive to improve lifestyle and make the obesity and diabetes pandemic even worse.

Do you think that the “developing” world is going to be happy with generic simvastatin? Not likely. They are going to start demanding patented Crestor and Vytorin, just like the rich Americans.

Cubans take no statins but live longer than Americans? If statins are not essential in Cuba, why should they be in Africa?
—————————————————————————

Weill Cornell Medical College Students Help Change Global Health Policy

NEW YORK (May 21, 2007) – In a move to improve global public health, Weill
Cornell Medical College students have helped place a lifesaving heart
disease drug onto the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of essential
medicines. This list is a guideline for developing countries to choose which
high-priority drugs should be supplied to their citizens inexpensively.

Students from Weill Cornell’s chapter of Universities Allied for Essential
Medicines (UAEM) answered the charge of Dr. David Skorton, President of
Cornell University, and Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., dean of Weill Cornell
Medical College, to “seek new strategies for Cornell to advance public
health” across the globe.

“I am extremely proud that the students at Weill Cornell Medical College
have had such an admirable influence on global health policy,” says Dr.
Skorton, who is also a professor of internal medicine and pediatrics. “Such
actions by our students show the promise of their future leadership.”

“Adding this medicine to the list of essential medicines represents an
exceptional achievement by our students,” says Dr. Gotto, an internationally
renowned expert in heart disease prevention, who served as the senior
advisor for the project. “Because of the students’ success, over 150
national governments that work with WHO will be encouraged to recognize
heart disease as a serious health concern deserving of great medical
attention.”

UAEM comprises a national group of students whose goal is to determine how
universities can help ensure that biomedical products, including medicines,
are made more accessible in poor countries and further the amount of
research conducted on neglected diseases affecting the poor.

“For years, it was thought that heart disease was a concern of affluent
countries. But, today, nearly 80 percent of all deaths due to heart disease
occur in the developing world,” says Sandeep Kishore, an MD-PhD student at
Weill Cornell Medical College who helped spearhead the initiative with UAEM.
“Increasingly, ‘Western’ high-fat diets, tobacco use and urbanization have
helped make heart disease a bigger killer than ‘The Big Three’—HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria—combined.”

Kishore and Ben Herbstman, UAEM members, petitioned WHO that simvastatin
(Zocor)—originally manufactured by Merck—be added to the list. Simvastatin
was selected based on its worldwide availability, cost-effectiveness and the
interest of generic firms in producing it. Such statin medicines have been
shown to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) levels, commonly
known as “bad cholesterol,” by 25-30 percent in individuals at high-risk for
heart disease.

Last month, the students from UAEM — with the assistance of medical
librarians from Weill Cornell’s Samuel J. Wood Library & C.V. Starr
Biomedical Information Center — were successful in their efforts to get a
generic version of Zocor included on the list of essential medicines. Now,
the United Nations and other philanthropic foundations can donate large
numbers of the statin drug to the national pharmaceutical inventories of
developing countries.

Furthermore, generic versions of the medicine will be sold at a fraction of
their original price tag. The drug will cost as little as $40 per year per
person—10 cents a day—down from nearly $1,200 a couple of years ago.

The announcement comes on the heels of Cornell University’s new Africa
Initiative, a university-wide movement to promote sub-Saharan African
development and health.
The Weill Cornell chapter of UAEM has hosted an ongoing series of global
health events. On June 15, the former CEO of Merck, Inc., Dr. Roy Vagelos,
will present a lecture titled “Corporations Can and Should Do Social Good”
in a seminar exploring new academic-pharmaceutical alliances to increase
access to medicines worldwide.
Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College—located in New York City—is committed to
excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the
art and science of medicine. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic
affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum
that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based
learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring
courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are
engaged in cutting-edge research in such areas as stem cells, genetics and
gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular
medicine, AIDS, obesity, cancer and psychiatry—and continue to delve ever
deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the
mysteries behind the human body and the malfunctions that result in serious
medical disorders. Weill Cornell Medical College is the birthplace of many
medical advances—from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to
the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy
and birth in the U.S., and most recently, the world’s first clinical trial
for gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Weill Cornell’s Physician
Organization includes 650 clinical faculty, who provide the highest quality
of care to their patients. For more information, visit http://www.med.cornell.edu.

Contact:
Andrew Klein
(212) 821-0560
ank2017@med.cornell.edu

Sandeep Kishore
(917) 733-1973
sunny.kishore@gmail.com

# # #


Sandeep P. Kishore, M.Sc.
Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Fellow
Weill Cornell / The Rockefeller University / Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Institute
Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program
420 East 70th St, Suite 10M
New York, New York, USA 10021
email: sunny.kishore@gmail.com
tel: (917) 733 -1973
_______________________________

Posted in atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, diet, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Get With The Guidelines – Do as the drug salesmen say

Posted by Colin Rose on May 4, 2007

Here is a classic example of drug dealers influencing the prescribing habits of doctors. If you read this GWTG-CAD carefully you will find a litany of insinuations WITHOUT PROOF. The data presented here are only observational. There is no control group. What were the lipids of the population that didn’t have a heart attack? The main insinuation is that the only cause of atherosclerosis is “dyslipidemia” and if the whole population of the world achieved “ideal” lipid levels by taking enough statins to lower their LDL to less than 70 mg/DL and somehow managed to also get their HDL higher than 60 mg/DL, there would be no heart attacks. There is NO PROOF for this hypothesis. 21% of the heart attack patients were on statins before their heart attack but still had one!

Now, if you want to know how such stupidity gets into print and gets the backing of the AHA, just look at the disclosures which are in small print at the bottom left. Enough said.

Posted in cholesterol, coronary artery disease, drugs, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »