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.
A company called Help Remedies is offering basic drugs and first aid supplies with simple explanations. Sounds good, provided they remain focused on simple maladies.
The Chinese poison train makes plenty of stops outside of the United States. When those stops are in developing countries, bad things can happen. Even worse things happen when dangerous products from China are intentionally mislabeled as being from another country. Say, India.
Vermont Gets Tough On Doctor/Pharma Relationships The new law “bans drug companies-and manufacturers of medical devices and biological products, such as vaccines-from paying for gifts, including meals and travel, to physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacists, and health plan administrators. Any allowable payments drug companies make to doctors, such as those for legitimate educational purposes, will be posted in a database on a public website maintained by the Vermont Attorney General.” [Consumer Reports Health]
We’ve heard about quite a few recent class-action settlements that you just might be eligible for, as well as cute little baby suits still looking for claimants. Products included: energy drinks, name-brand prescription drugs, and zombie microwaves.
We knew Ambien could cause sleep driving and sleep eating, but this man blames it for causing him to hook up with a woman he barely knows. Now he says the woman has called his home and refers to him as her f*** buddy, and yet he can’t even remember the act. Oh also, he’s married.
Who knew botulism could be so awesome? Botox is Allergan’s cash cow, earning the pharmaceutical company $1.3 billion last year alone. The funny thing about the toxin—originally developed as a biological weapon—is it works for a lot of “off-label” uses as well (like treating anal fissures and preventing hair loss), and Allergan says that non-cosmetic applications could be an even bigger market because health insurers will help pay for the treatments. Likely upcoming FDA-approved treatments: stroke-induced muscle spasms, chronic migraines, and enlarged prostates.
The FDA has suspended all new drug applications from one of Ranbaxy’s plants in India—the Paonta Sahib plant—after “determining the facility was falsifying scientific data.” You may recall that last September the FDA banned the import of 30 popular generic meds made by Ranbaxy due in part to quality control issues from this very same plant. What do they think they are, a peanut butter factory?
Beginning tomorrow morning, drug companies will stop peppering doctors’ offices with branded pens, bandages, tongue depressors, stethoscopes, calipers, mugs, prescription pads, soap dispensers, and t-shirts.
Starting January 1, drug companies will implement a voluntary moratorium on branded goodies from drug companies.
If there’s one group of Americans who don’t carry their weight and need to pay more money to the healthcare industry, it’s those layabout senior citizens! That’s why their Medicare drug premiums are increasing by an average of 31% for the 10 most popular plans beginning in 2009. If you were with Humana, formerly the cheapest Medicare drug plan you could get (its premium was $9.51 in 2006), you can expect to pay $40.83 per month in 2009, an increase of 60% over this year’s rate. As you would expect, Humana is no longer the cheapest option—so it may be time to shop around for a new plan.
If you weren’t one of the 41 million Americans drinking water contaminated with sex hormones and pharmaceutical waste, welcome to the club! Testing prompted by the AP’s damning investigation has revealed that another five million people, including residents of Reno, Colorado Springs, and Chicago, now sip the potentially dangerous pharmaceutical soup.
Sometimes gentleness is required of your toddler. Sometimes ill-tempered old folks get too agitated and threaten you with canes. That’s why sometimes the best solution is a good old fashioned thorazine pill, or a barbiturate elixir. Weirdomatic has a collection of bizarre ads like these from the past. Our favorite, aside from the drug ads, is the one showing Olympian speed skater Jack Shea taking a break from his skating to enjoy the rejuvenating effects of a Camel cigarette. So that’s how Phelps did it.