If the giant pharmaceutical companies of the world seem quite big enough to you already, well, that just means you probably aren’t a major investor in or CEO of one. But the major investors and CEOs do think bigger is better, and so to that end two of them are merging to create an even bigger drug behemoth and take it overseas. [More]
A Japanese drug maker is facing higher punitive damages for allegedly concealing the cancer risks associated with a diabetes drug than those dished out in the past by federal juries. [More]
The Los Angeles District Attorney revealed that a California doctor faces murder charges for allegedly pushing unneeded prescription drugs to patients, three of whom died of overdoses in 2009. She also faces 21 felony counts of writing fraudulent, purposeless prescriptions. Authorities says she prescribed tens of thousands of unneeded prescriptions to various patients, including methadone, Xanax, oxycodone to patients. [More]
Guys who want to take control of birth control have limited options, but researchers are aiming to change that, focusing on hormones that reduce sperm counts. Men looking for alternatives to condoms and vasectomies may one day be able to pop pills that deprive their “boys” of swimming abilities. [More]
Physicians apparently have two strong new weapons against melanoma, according to studies that show a pair of drugs are effective at slowing the cancer in its advanced stage. The drugs could be game-changers for doctors and patients who have long struggled to find effective ways to treat the type of skin cancer. [More]
After the Food and Drug Administration granted KV Pharmaceuticals sole rights to produce progesterone, a drug that prevents premature births in mothers, the company has begun charging $1,500 per dose of a drug that formerly cost $10. [More]
Generic prescription drugs are just that: generic. Most patients don’t think much about who actually manufactures them. It’s pretty likely, however, that you have something in your medicine cabinet manufactured by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. A profile of the company in this past weekend’s New York Times is fascinating. Most interesting of all: while the company is sensibly frugal enough to make Captain Moneycat purr, they refuse to move manufacturing to China or India, as many of their competitors have. [More]
When J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare Unit announced a recall of children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl over the weekend, it also provided a toll free number you could call for more info. Ron Lieber at the New York Times called it on Saturday to find out how the refund process would work. What he got was a three minute recording telling him to throw the products in the trash, but nothing else. [More]
If you or someone you know were prescribed the high cholesterol drugs Zetia or Vytorin and paid full price or a co-pay, you may be eligible for a refund as part of a recent class-action lawsuit. Manufacturers Merck and Schering-Plough are accused of violating consumer protection laws. While both drugs were marketed as superior to other, cheaper statins on the market, more recent studies showed that the drugs weren’t significantly more effective than the older drugs, and could have more harmful side effects.
Oh no! Brooke Shields used to have stringy, stick-figure eyelashes! I figured this out after watching Consumer Reports’ video dissection of a new commercial for Latisse, the glaucoma medication that has been rebranded as an expensive, temporary eyelash enhancer with side effects.
Over the past few years, the numbers of recalled pharmaceuticals has grown as new drugs are rushed to market before their safety is proven. Want to help improve drug safety? If you experience any serious side-effects from pharmaceutical or suspect drug interactions be sure to report these instances to the FDA. Here’s how:
Haters of Big Pharma, rejoice! Pfizer has been smacked with a $2.3 billion (yes, with a B) civil penalty which includes a $1.2 billion criminal fine after they did some very, very bad things while promoting painkiller Bextra and other drugs. That’s the largest criminal fine in American history. Let’s hope they’re proud!
The Senate just released 88 pages of a confidential 270+ page marketing plan by Forest Laboratories, created in 2004 and focused on how to get doctors to prescribe the antidepressant Lexapro over similar but cheaper alternatives such as Celexa. The New York Times notes that the line between marketing and education seems to be heavily blurred, which may not surprise you. There are, however, two interesting notes for consumers who may be taking Lexapro.
Wired Magazine reports that drug companies’ are facing a new obstacle in clinical trials: over the past few decades, the placebo response has gotten stronger. Some drugs, like Prozac, would have had trouble getting FDA approval if their effectiveness against placebos were as insignificant as tests now show.