Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Biology of Mental Disorders

This would be funny if it were not so sad. There is very little biology in this book. Have a look through yourself. We think you'll find there is a lot on government policy (pork) in the document, though.
pork zydeco Pictures, Images and Photos
The Biology of Mental Disorders The Biology of Mental Disorders Chris Nash The Biology of Mental Disorders presents a summary of research into the biological factors associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. The report also discusses support for this research and the social context in which it moves forward.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Antibiotics Versus Iodine

Antibiotics are unsafe (package insert information can be found here). Some can promote cancer (fungus connection) and others, like Prozac and Accutane, can make you lose contact with reality. What's left? Iodine. Link
Iodine makes good nutritional sense. Read about it at the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pharma Corruption: Greed Kills the Golden Goose

March 5, 2009: Globe and Mail columnist claims there is no Big Pharma conspiracy and that medicine is basically good

Nothing to see here, move along...

March 28, 2009:
Harvard shrinks issued subpoenas

Philip Dawdy of sums it up nicely:
"Controversial Harvard child psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and his colleagues Tim Wilens and Thomas Spencer were named in a federal subpoena yesterday. The trio have all pulled in millions from pharma companies while also doing federally-funded research, a potentially illegal conflict of interest which was allegedly improperly reported. They are all being investigated by their university and NIH.
The subpoena, issued by the US Attorney for Eastern Massachusetts, was served on Fletch Trammel, an attorney representing various states attorneys general and other plaintiffs in cases against pharma companies over pushing antipsychotics for use in children and adults. Apparently, the feds want whatever documents and depositions Trammel has gathered on the three."

Nothing to see, yet, but we hear the crash of distant cash registers, and expect fireworks and a feast of roast goose soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Death By Medicine by Gary Null and Carolyn Dean

Death By Medicine - Gary Null (The Dangers Of Allopathy) Death By Medicine - Gary Null (The Dangers Of Allopathy) Death By Medicine, By Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD; The Dangers Of Allopathy (Orthodox/Western Medicine - Drug Diseases)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Take Zinc for Your Thyroid

Zinc and Hormones

Zinc deficiency affects hypothalamic pituitary thyroid function. Thyrotropin releasing hormone content was decreased in the zinc deficient rat (Morley et al., 1980). Ultimately triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin levels were decreased. The hypothalamic axis susceptibility to Zn deficiency may explain the dynamic relationship between testosterone and Zn. Injections of testosterone or dihydro-testosterone in mice restores normal zinc content (Donovan and Thomas, 1980) while Zn deficiency decreases serum production and delays puberty (Prasad, 1966).

Elevations in hypothalamic Zn concentrations in the rat appear to correlate with the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone and gonadotropins which occurs between proestrus and estrus and after castration, although this, of course, does not establish a causal relation (Zinc and Manganese in the Schizophrenias
Merriam et al., 1979). Hypothalamic Zn ions rise with gonadotropin secretions (Merriam et al., 1979; Root et al., 1979). Hypogonadism occurs with Zn deficiency (Caggiano et al., 1969; Prasad, 1966).

Zinc deficiency inhibits essential fatty acid metabolism to prostaglandins (PG) either by blocking linoleic acid desaturation to gamma - linoleic acid or by inhibiting mobilization of dihomo - gamma linolenic acid from tissue membrane stores (Cunnane and Horrobin, 1980). Prolactin and Zn have similar actions on PGE1 formation and prolactin enhances flow of fluid from fetal to maternal compartments (Manku et al., 1975; Manku et al., 1979). Zinc deficiency can result in polyhydraminos (Manku et al., 1979). Opiates may have an effect on PGE1 synthesis which is opposite to that of Zn and there is evidence that reduced PGE1 production (possibly due to an endogenous opioid) may play a role in schizophrenia (Horrobin et al., 1978; Horrobin and Morgan, 1980). An enkephalin degrading amino peptidase from rat brain homogenates is a Zn metalloenzyme(Schnebli et al., 1979). A higher than normal proportion of arachidonate was found in the fatty acids of Zn deficient skin (Bettger et al., 1980). PGE2 and PGF2 have opposing effects on Zn transport and may act as regulators of the intestinal mucosa transport of Zn (Song and Adham, 1979).

Zinc deficiency and thyroid hormone shortage occurring in both cretinism and myxedema have similar signs, ie. retarded growth, reduced appetite and activity, impaired development of skin and hair (Hartoma et al., 1979). Zinc deficiency symptoms may be mediated by excess glucocorticoids since Zn depletion results in elevation of glucocorticoids. Elevated glucocorticoids and Zn deficiency both result in death of thymic lymphocytes (Donovan and Thomas, 1980). A deficiency of nerve growth factor may occur with Zn deficiency. One nerve growth factor is a small basic protein with three distinct types of sub-units (Vinores and Guroff, 1980). Two molecules of Zn are present in the complex and Zn participates in holding the structure together (Dunn et al., 1980; Pattison and Dunn, 1975). In the absence of Zn the subunits separate. Nerve growth factor is required for the survival and development of certain sympathetic and sensory neurons. It is equally clear that nerve growth factor affects a wide variety of other cells as well. Nerve growth factors are present on the plasma membrane and almost certainly at the synaptic ending as well (Dunn et al., 1980). Nerve growth factor action increased dendritic attachments which requires elevated levels of RNA synthesis, which is Zn dependant.

- From article on Zinc and Manganese in the Schizophrenias by Carl Pfeiffer


Want to know more?
We like the site hosted by Mary Shimon
Listen to an mp3 about your thyroid, zinc and other minerals and vitamins from Wellness Resources here

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chemo Brain: Cognitive Effects of Chemotherapy

"The systems of the body most affected by chemotherapy drugs include visual and semantic memory, attention and motor coordination.[6] These effects can impair a chemotherapy patient's ability to understand and make decision regarding treatment, perform in school or employment and reduce quality of life.[6]
Breast cancer survivors who were treated with chemotherapy have to work harder to perform tasks than survivors whose treatment was surgical. A year after treatment the brains of cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy had physically shrunk while those of people not treated with chemotherapy had not.[7]
Post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment comes as a surprise to many cancer survivors. Often, survivors think their lives will return to normal when the cancer is gone, only to find that the lingering effects of post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment impede their efforts. Working, connecting with loved ones, carrying out day-to-day tasks—all can be very challenging for an impaired brain. Although post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment appears to be temporary, it can be quite long-lived, with some cases lasting 10 years or more.[8]"
Discussion at NPR

Friday, March 20, 2009

Charles Manson's Biochemistry

Image: Charles Manson at 74. Charles Manson may be twice a prisoner - of the California correctional system and of his own biochemistry. He has a condition known as Pyroluria which can result in odd or violent behavior, and which is easily corrected with inexpensive nutritional elements such as B6 and zinc. There seems to be a familial connection, discussed here.
Read about what is wrong with Manson's biochemistry - and that of many others - and how to correct it, in Dr. Walsh's presentation here - pdf. More on Pyroluria here.
Another page discussing a pyroluria protocol is here.
If all children were given an opportunity to be screened for nutritional type and appropriate accommodations made, crime rates would probably plummet. Let's do it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

German school murderer was on antidepressant medication

'It emerged that (Tim) Kretschmer had been suffering from depression, even attending a clinic and receiving medication for the condition.

The 17-year-old had far from excelled at Albertville. His parents – his father Joerg was a wealthy owner of a packaging firm employing 150 people – had removed him from the state secondary in 2007 and sent him to a private school. His grades were poor and teachers were unimpressed.

The Kretschmers hired a tutor. She felt the boy had problems. "He was a really strange boy – introverted and closed," she told German newspapers. "But he did love his cat."

Kretschmer tried sport – especially table tennis – but wasn't very good. Over the years he became more and more interested in just two passions: violent computer games and guns. The teenager was obsessed with Counter-Strike, a 'shoot 'em up' game in which special forces have to kill terrorists to win. He was good, his few friends said. He was also, they added, a fine shot.'

Story here

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zyprexa: Eli Lilly's Billion Dollar Lies

Mental health tied to income equality

"Evidence: Mental Health
Until recently it was hard to compare levels of mental illness between different countries because nobody had collected strictly comparable data, but recently the World Health Organisation has established world mental health surveys that are starting to provide data. They show that different societies have very different levels of mental illness. In some countries only 5 or 10% of the adult population has suffered from any mental illness in the past year, but in the USA more than 25% have.

We first showed a relationship between mental illness and income inequality in eight developed countries with WHO data - the USA, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Since then we've been able to add data for New Zealand and for some other countries whose surveys of mental illness, although not strictly comparable, use very similar methods - Australia, the UK and Canada. As the graph below shows, mental illness is much more common in more unequal countries. Among these countries, mental illness is also more common in the richer ones."


We think one factor in this may be nutrition....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do antidepressants destroy our ability to love?

"My main thought was: What a pain in the ass... I had not the slightest emotional reaction. I thought, this is a really strange art project... It was a most amazing sight in terms of sheer elegance. It fell like water. It just slid, like a turtleneck going over someone's head... It was just beautiful. You can't tell people this. ... I just felt like everyone was overreacting. People were going on about it. That part really annoyed me... I cried about all the animals left there in the neighborhood... I think I have some kind of emotional block. I think I should join some support group for people who were there... You know what was really funny? After the fact, like, all these different writers were writing these things about what it was like, and nobody bothered to call me."
- Elizabeth Wurzel, author of PROZAC NATION, and antidepressant user, on her reaction to the events of 9/11

Similarly, some persons on antidepressants lose their ability to feel love. For some, that feeling may never return - a part of the human soul is permanently destroyed.

Malic Acid and Magnesium for Brain Zaps

Image inspired by R.Crumb

If you are withdrawing from meds - antidepressants - you may have brain zaps or other painful symptoms as part of what the pharmaceutical industry wishes us to benignly think of as "discontinuation syndrome".
As many who have been through SSRI withdrawal know, the experience can be a kind of Hell. You can read descriptions of brain zaps here.
To ease brain zaps, you may consider using supplements of Magnesium and Malic acid, described in the link below. Magnesium is the main ingredient in baby powder and Epsom salts, and Malic acid is also found under the name Apple Cider Vinegar. Link

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gator Bait, Bad Brains

There has been much sad news this week of multiple murders, and we may find that the gunmen were on psychotropic medications.
But apart from altered mental status from antidepressants, there are 29 possible reasons why people run amok: mostly, "schizophrenia" is caused by nutritional disorders. These are fairly easy to identify and correct, and they are listed and explained here.
This case may prove to be just too much TV, but makes us think of a deficiency of B6, zinc and essential fatty acids - pyroluria. - More here.
We get really involved in the quality of food for our pets - isn't it time we start thinking about nutrition for our families' minds?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Melatonin during meds withdrawal

The Nightmare by Henri Fuesli
Food for thought about melatonin, Ambien and other sleep and mood medications. It is particularly interesting that antidepressants can cause depletion of the body's melatonin. Link

Antidepressants Strongly Linked to Heart Disease

"Researchers have documented an alarming link between the use of antidepressants and the development of serious heart disease. The link was discovered by following 63,449 women as part of the Nurses’ Health Study. The results show a “specific relationship between antidepressant use and sudden cardiac death.” The specific conclusion of the study states, “In this cohort of women without baseline coronary heart disease, depressive symptoms were associated with fatal coronary heart disease, and a measure of clinical depression including antidepressant use was specifically associated with sudden cardiac death.”

This antidepressant news followed another recent and rather stunning finding, that antidepressants cause significant bone loss. The commonly used SSRI antidepressants double the risk for fractures in anyone over the age of 50 who uses them regularly. The mechanism involved is that too much serotonin from the drugs directly interferes with the formation of new bone."

Former Drug Rep on Manipulating Doctors

We applaud Gwen Olsen for her courage in coming forward with this information.

Dr. Heather Ashton on Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

More videos in this series are available at Youtube.
The Ashton Manual is online here:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Find out what's in your vaccine

The ingredients are not pretty, and may be dangerous. Website:

NYT: Crackdown on Doctors Who Take Kickbacks

'A common problem in illegal drug and device marketing cases is doctors’ willingness to delude themselves into thinking that cash, lucrative trips and other kickbacks do not affect them, said Mr. Morris, the chief counsel.

“Somehow physicians think they’re different from the rest of us,” Mr. Morris said. “But money works on them just like everybody else.”

Mr. Sullivan, the United States attorney, said officials hoped to send a strong message to doctors. “I have been shocked at what appears to be willful blindness by folks in the physician community to the criminal conduct that corrupts the patient-physician relationship,” he said.'

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Death Cab for Lilly

'Eli Lilly & Company's rap sheet as a public menace is so long that for Lilly watchers to overcome the "banality-of-Lilly-sleaziness" phenomenon, the drug company must break some type of record measuring egregiousness. Lilly obliged earlier this year, receiving the largest criminal fine ever imposed on a corporation.

If Americans are ever going to revoke the publicly granted charters of reckless, giant corporations -- well within our rights -- we might want to get the ball rolling with Lilly, whose recent actions appalled even the mainstream media. And with Lilly's chums, the Bush family, out of power, now might be the right time.

On January 15, 2009, Lilly pled guilty to charges that it had illegally marketed its blockbuster drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses to children and the elderly, two populations especially vulnerable to its dangerous side effect. Lilly plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and agreed to pay $1.42 billion, which included $615 million to end the criminal investigation and approximately $800 million to settle the civil case.

One of the eight whistle-blowers in this case, former Lilly sales representative Robert Rudolph, says the settlement will not completely change Lilly's business practices, and he wants jail time for executives. "You have to remember, with Zyprexa," said Rudolph, "people lost their lives."'

The case for giving Eli Lilly the corporate death penalty

Friday, March 6, 2009

GSK Head: most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people

'Do we need pharma?
The global market for pharmaceuticals in 2007 was estimated at US $712 bn. The BMJ Clinical Evidence website documents that only 13% of medical treatments examined have been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect, and the largest proportion, 47%, are of unknown effectiveness. But this story is little-told.
The benefits of some of the key earners are far from impressive:
Cancer chemotherapy ($13bn worldwide) 2% impact on 5-year survival
Statins ($30bn) 17% reduction in coronary events, but 25% muscle symptoms if the patient exercises
HAART ($10bn) 4-12 years delay in progression to AIDS in USA and Europe, but 4-12 months in sub-Saharan Africa
So the evidence is there that pharmaceuticals work in some cases—but at a price.
Do we hear the truth?
A 2008 study looked at the effect of pharmaceutical advertising on what journals publish about dietary supplements, and found a powerful influence; in journals with the most of such adverts, 67% of studies had negative (unsafe or ineffective) conclusions, while in those with the fewest adverts the figure was 4%. But negative findings are commonly hyped in the media (which costs money in PR and lobbying) and the positive ones go unheard.
Several years ago Hickey and Roberts wrote about specific ways to design a trial to show the absence of a benefit from these vitamins in heart disease (Hickey S. Roberts H. (2004) Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C, Lulu Press). In relation to a recent study critical of nutrients they commented: “We intended our advice to show how NOT to perform a trial of vitamin C and E in heart disease. Perhaps someone should explain that to them”.
Can we afford pharma?
The ecological effect of pharma is considerable. In the UK healthcare represents 8.4% of the GDP (twice that in the USA). That makes healthcare a major player in terms of carbon footprint, pollution and even resource depletion.
Pharmaceuticals contaminate the environment:
- via factory run-offs; a study in India in 2007 found “astronomical” amounts of antibiotics in a major river, coming from manufacturing plants
- via patients’ urine; bioactive levels of contraceptives have been found in urban water systems worldwide
- via disposal of unused medications; Associated Press estimated that as much as 250 million pounds of unused pharmaceuticals may be flushed into US sewers every year by hospitals and care homes.
Incinerators, including hospital incinerators, which are often in urban locations, release quantities of particulates, pesticides and heavy metals that have been shown to cause damage to health, increasing rates of cancer, heart disease and even autism.
What is coming next?
In 2003, GSK’s Vice President for Pharmacogenetics, Dr Allen Roses, said, “the vast majority of drugs - more than 90 per cent - only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people……I wouldn't say that most drugs don't work. I would say that most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people.”'


Stories of Corruption and Big Pharma

"The New York Times looks at three books that basically focus on the same thing – how we’ve been co-opted into believing that there is “a pill for every ill” by billion dollar drug companies, which bolster favorable opinion from leading medical authorities by greasing the wheels."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Judi Chamberlin, Mental Health Activist, in Hospice

Sad news...we wish her comfort.
Judi is blogging here.

Harvard Medical Students Rebel Against Pharma-Ties

Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability and

Harvard Medical Students Rebel Against Pharma-Ties


A front page report in the Business section of the New York Times should bestir some of Harvard Medical School alumni. 200 Harvard Medical School STUDENTS are confronting the administration demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry influence in the classroom.

"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."

Harvard received the lowest grade--an F--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.

The revolt began when a first year medical student "grew wary" when a professor promoted cholesterol drugs and "seemed to belittle a student who asked about side effects." He later discovered that the professor, a full-time Harvard Medical faculty member, was a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including manufacturers of cholesterol drugs.

Another first year 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 fact is, no one is keeping track of faculty income from industry, or covert marketing pitches infiltrating the classroom: "The school said it was unable to provide annual measures of the money flow to its faculty.." One Harvard professor's disclosure in class listed 47 company affiliations.

On one side of the confrontation: the administration and most of the faculty who admittedly loath to "tighten the spigot" of cash from industry: "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." An outspoken supporter of ties between industry and academia--who served on numerous pharmaceutical advisory boards, Professor Thomas Stossel who is unconcerned about industry influence. He views industry support as "a huge opportunity we ought to mine." A smaller faction of students calls for "continued interaction between medicine and industry at Harvard." They are led by Vijay Yanamadala, 22.

On the other side: students such as Kirsten Austad, 24, a first-year Harvard Medical student who is one of the movement's leaders, who said: " "Harvard needs to live up to its name. We are really being indoctrinated into a field of medicine that is becoming more and more commercialized."

The students are joined by Dr. Marcia Angell, a faculty member and former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine who has vigorously advocated for an end to liaisons between academia and Big Pharma: "Too many medical schools have struck a 'Faustian bargain' with pharmaceutical companies. If a school like Harvard can't behave itself, who can?"

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

March 3, 2009
Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary

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?"

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (C ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Antidepressant Use in UK, Germany, France 1998-2002


"The aim of this paper is to compare the evolution of antidepressant consumption in France, Germany
and the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2002. Commercial databases (IMS Health) have been
used in conjunction with administrative data (PACT for the UK, GKV for Germany and Afssaps for
France) to estimate antidepressant consumption in Daily Defined Doses. The main results are: (1)
Antidepressant consumption has increased significantly over the last decade in France (x2), Germany
(x2.4) and the UK (x3.8); (2) SSRIs are the most heavily consumed drugs in France (67%) and the UK
(60%); (3) Germany is distinguished by an overall level of antidepressant consumption twice as low as
the other two countries and a relatively low use of SSRI antidepressants (31%), in favour of TCAs. In
conclusion, the combined use of administrative and commercial data is possible for an evaluation of
the volume of consumption. This study sheds both medical and economic light on the differences in
both the level and structure of consumption in these three countries.

Keywords: antidepressant consumption, SSRI, France, UK, Germany
Codes JEL: I11 et L65"

Study released February 2009 Pdf here

Monday, March 2, 2009

Money Talks: The Movie

A sequel to the wonderful Pharma expose' SIDE EFFECTS.

"If we want it to be different, we have to insist on it."
Jerome Hoffman MD, UCLA Medical School

This 50-minute documentary was created to give an in-depth, academic perspective on the questionable marketing tactics of the pharmaceutical industry, and features the commentary of investigative journalists and medical professionals including Dr. John Abramson, author of Overdosed America, and Prescription Access Litigation Project Director, Alex Sugerman-Brozan. Other notable interviewees include Dr. Bob Goodman of Columbia University, founder of the ‘No Free Lunch’ program, and Dr. Jerome Hoffman of UCLA Medical School.

Engaging and informative, the film offers a reasoned approach to the subject matter and is a terrific way to stimulate discussion about the ethical implications of pharmaceutical promotion. Filmmaker Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau has received both national and international press coverage, including The Atlantic Monthly, British Medical Journal, CNN, The New York Times, Psychology Today, USA Today and The Economist.

Notable Comments

"Money Talks presents a wealth of unsettling information and forward-looking ideas about one of the most urgent issues facing our country today. This film should be required viewing for anyone concerned about the complexities and failings of the American health care system." -Meghann Matwichuk, University of Delaware, Media Librarian/Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults Committee Member

"Money Talks filled the gaps... things are far worse than I suspected" -Evelyn Hampton, UTNE

"Money Talks exposes shady drug industry practices... it is
important for anyone who wants to understand how
corporations are controlling their health."
-Heather Gehlert, AlterNet

"I recommend the documentary film Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety" -Christine Northrup M.D.

"A chilling documentary" -Marilynn Larkin, The Lancet

“Viewers of Slattery-Moschkau’s work will be forever changed in their perception of the pharmaceutical industry." -Bradley Lewis, M.D. Ph.D., NYU

“This documentary should be required viewing in all health care educational programs.” -David A. Apgar, R.Ph.

“The facts uncovered in this film shocked even me--and I've been a 'prevention-first' doc all along.”
-Malynn Utzinger, MD

"I can’t imagine a more compelling way to drive home the idea that we all need to be proactive about the medications we are taking and giving to our children... simply riveting.” -Dr. Dominick Riccio, chairman of the Just Say “Know” to Prescription Drugs Campaign

Why we made Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety

Money Talks was created to address the outstanding audience questions raised by Side Effects, Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau’s first film about issues involving the pharmaceutical industry.

The production team turned the camera on the experts with the goal of creating informative bonus material for the Side Effects DVD. Once the filmmakers reviewed the compelling interview footage, they realized that the material deserved its own project. The result is this engaging and straight shooting documentary that holds a mirror up to the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing tactics, exposing how their pervasive influence ultimately compromises healthcare. It is our hope that Money Talks will help people make educated choices about their own health and about the future of medicine in the U.S.


AstraZeneca: "Lisa has done a great smoke-and-mirrors job"

AstraZeneca “buried” unfavorable studies of its $4.4 billion blockbuster psychiatric drug Seroquel, according to internal documents released Friday in a legal dispute between the company and lawyers for thousands of people who sued the company because they said the drug caused diabetes and weight gain.
In one of the documents, a 1997 e-mail message, Richard Lawrence, an AstraZeneca official, praised Lisa Arventis, the company’s Seroquel project physician at the time, for minimizing adverse findings in a “cursed” study. He wrote: “Lisa has done a great ‘smoke-and-mirrors job!’ ”
Lawyers suing AstraZeneca, a British drug maker whose United States headquarters are in Delaware, said the documents show it tried to hide the diabetes link for nearly a decade.
“AstraZeneca knew about the risk of weight gain and diabetes in 2000 and not only failed to warn physicians and patients but marketed in a way that represented there was no risk,” Edward F. Blizzard, a Houston-based lead lawyer on the cases, said in a conference call with reporters.

Read more about the Seroquel scandal at the New York Times. For the best investigative journalism anywhere on this, go see what Philip Dawdy has to say at Furious Seasons.

ADHD drugs make children hallucinate

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