Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pharmaceutical Freebies on eBay

Big Pharma's used handouts to physicians are sold on eBay.
Sic transit gloria Mundi.
Now that guidelines for all doctors on accepting "gifts" are going to be in place, what other such ephemera will we see? Link

Corporate Influence in Academic Science

Power-point presentation from Tufts University with input from Ralph Nader.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

India's "holy spice" reveals its secrets

"Let your food be your medicine" said Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine

"Scientists in Michigan are reporting discovery of the secret behind the fabled healing power of the main ingredient in turmeric — a spice revered in India as "holy powder." Their study on the ingredient, curcumin, appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In the study, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy and colleagues point out that turmeric has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems. Although modern scientific research on the spice has burgeoned in recent years, scientists until now did not know exactly how curcumin works inside the body.
Using a high-tech instrument termed solid-state NMR spectroscopy, the scientists discovered that molecules of curcumin act like a biochemical disciplinarian. They insert themselves into cell membranes and make the membranes more stable and orderly in a way that increases cells' resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes."

More information: "Determining the Effects of Lipophillic Drugs on Membrane Structure by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy -- the Case of the Antioxidant Curcumin," Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Source: American Chemical Society


Tardive Dyskinesia: Jen's Story

A charming young woman with some digestive problems was given psychotropic (antipsychotic) medications. Medical decisions made for her have permanently disabled her; she has Tardive Dyskinesia - TD - and is in a wheelchair - probably for life.
Jen's Pages
"Why is this young woman in a wheelchair?"

"Tardive dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements. Features of the disorder may include grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing of the lips, and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the extremities may also occur. Impaired movements of the fingers may also appear. For comparison, patients with Parkinson's disease have difficulty moving, while patients with tardive dyskinesia have difficulty not moving.
Other closely related neurological disorders have been recognized as variants of tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dystonia is similar to standard dystonia but permanent. Tardive akathisia involves painful feelings of inner tension and anxiety and a compulsive drive to move the body. In the extreme, the individual undergoes internal torture and can no longer sit still. Tardive tourettism is a tic disorder that can closely mimic Tourette Syndrome, sometimes to the point where the two can only be distinguished by the details of their onsets. Tardive myoclonus, a rare disorder, presents as brief jerks of muscles in the face, neck, trunk, and extremities."

- Wikipedia

Antipsychotics are not the only medications that can cause TD. You can also get this condition from antidepressants. Depending on where you live, your doctor may or may not be legally bound to tell you about side effects of medications s/he prescribes for you, This information is available from drug companies - pharmacists in the US can show you in the "Big Red Book" and in Canada in the "CPS" - and on package inserts.
This information is in the Merck Manual too. Another online resource, very amusing and factual, is here.

Get good information before you make a medical decision; mistakes can be very costly.

A Culture Soaked in Alcohol and Drugs - Daily Kos

From the diary:

"How many of you have been told you were stupid, lazy, no-good, a failure who'd never amount to nothin'?" Glodoski asked the students. Easily four-fifths of the students raised their hands.

"What the thinker thinks, the prover proves," I thought to myself.

Some of these kids will be lucky enough to escape this tiny town. Some will be resilient enough to endure it mostly intact . . . but they may still pass the same pattern down to their own kids, if only in a watered-down form. Most, sadly, will repeat the cycle unless something is done to save them. And no one is doing enough to save them. The underfunded school district, where teachers with master's degrees make only $35,000 a year, can't save them. Their families aren't equipped to save them. And unlike in the inner city, where at least a drop-in center or a street outreach program can make contact with thousands of children and maybe make a difference for a few dozen, here there is no such thing, because there's no critical mass of population to make such a thing possible.

No wonder Republicans are in a panic about the state of the American family. Get outside a large or medium-size metropolitan area, and the state of the American family is apocalyptic, a confusing mess in which stability is a fantasy, violence and verbal abuse are pervasive, and everyone resents someone for something. No wonder the residents of "red" counties flee to "family values" churches for security -- out here, it seems like church is the only force that can counter the disintegration, and even church can only do so much.

With jobs drying up, without money for the schools, without the population density for recreation and enrichment activities, what is there to relieve the bleakness of life? There's TV. There are video games. There's gossip. And there are drugs and alcohol.

This is America today.

This is what the flight of jobs has done to us.

This is what underinvestment in schools does to us.

This is what violence, despair and lack of empathy do to us.

This is what the loss of our dignity does to us.

This is the peril we're in.

What are our leaders going to do about it?

What are we going to do about it?


Study after study in prisons and schools have demonstrated that addictions, bad behavior, failure to learn, lack of productivity and poor social values are related to poor nutrition. So the first thing to do is - fix the food.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drug Safety and Health Canada Going, Going… Gone?

Health Canada’s drug safety procedures lacking, says study
April 20, 2009 | National Office | Topic(s): Health, health care system, pharmacare | Publication Type: Press Release

OTTAWA—Health Canada’s drug safety procedures leave a lot to be desired, says a new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Drug Safety and Health Canada: Going, Going… Gone? by Dr. Joel Lexchin says Health Canada’s priorities are skewed in favour of rapid approval of new drugs at the expense of the post-marketing pharmaco-surveillance system.

“In Canada 3-4% of drugs approved will eventually be withdrawn from the market because of safety issues and the number of people exposed to these drugs is increasing because of aggressive marketing tactics by the pharmaceutical industry,” says Dr. Lexchin.

According to the study, there are significant limitations to The Food and Drugs Act.

“Health Canada cannot force a drug company to recall drugs deemed harmful from pharmacy shelves,” says Dr. Lexchin. “Nor can they directly compel a company to revise product labels to reflect new safety information.”

In order to improve drug safety, the study makes several recommendations for Health Canada, including:

Stop the treatment safety information as confidential and make it public available promptly after approving a new drug;
Decrease dependence on industry for safety information by using progressive licensing and ensuring post-market studies are undertaken, analyzed, and reported on, independent of industry;
Reorient priorities so that post-marketing pharmaco-surveillance is on equal footing with the approval of new drugs; and
Undertake a systematic study to examine whether faster drug approvals lead to more post-marketing safety issues.

Drug Safety and Health Canada: Going, Going… Gone? is available from the CCPA website at

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.


Lyme Disease in Neurology and Psychiatry

Chinese-American author Amy Tan thought she was losing her mind. After receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment, she is recovering from Lyme Disease, and writing again.

Lyme Disease can affect anyone! Read about the neurological manifestations of Lyme Disease

Seven-year old on antidepressants hangs himself

'Weeks before his death, Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home, had been prescribed a powerful mind-altering drug linked by federal regulators to an increased risk of suicide in children.'
Please, let's stop these tragedies.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
- W.B. Yeats.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pharmawater everywhere, and not a drop to drink

Pharmaceuticals found in drinking water, affecting wildlife and maybe humans

Associated Press Writers
A vast array of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed."

This special AP investigation - Pharmawater - addresses a matter we have been concerned about for years.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 20th: Anniversary of Columbine Shooting

Today marks a sad anniversary - the
Columbine High School massacre. Did medications cause the Columbine shootings - and many others?

Film by Gary Null, 2005

'In the absence of any objective medical tests to determine who has ADD or ADHD, doctors rely in part on standardized assessments and the impressions of teachers and guardians while the they administer leave little room for other causes or aggravating factors, such as diet, or environment. Hence, diagnosing a child or adolescent with ADD or ADHD is often the outcome, although no organic basis for either disease has yet to be clinically proven. Psychiatrists may then prescribe psychotropic drugs for the children without first without making it clear to parents that these medications can have severe side-effects including insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, psychotic symptoms and even potentially fatal adverse reactions, such as cardiac arrhythmia. And yet, despite these dangers, many school systems actually work with government agencies to force parents to drug their children, threatening those who refuse with the prospect of having their children taken from the home unless they coooperate.'

PDF: Treatment-related mania: antidepressants can cause bipolar disorder

Since product infomation documents and inserts WARN of these very side effects, isn't it time we stopped this?

Statistics on antidepressant murders, suicides and other tragedies are here

This is Dr. Ann Blake Tracy's site on the dangers of psychotropic drugs:

Eldercare in Canada: Dignity Denied

From the report:

"Older Canadians are not and must never be seen as a burden.
They worked hard to build Canada into the modern and compas-
sionate country that it is today. They survived the Great Depression
and many wore our country’s uniform during a world war. They
paid their fair share of taxes and they continue to do so. They are a
continuing source of wisdom, experience and talent.
In this paper we discuss the issues confronting (Long Term Care) in Canada,
including the lack of access to adequate and affordable care. We
speak to the stress endured by families that have to make diffi-
cult choices regarding their parents and grandparents. We also
consider the circumstances of the women and men who work in
LTC facilities, providing care to our nation’s seniors. Too often
those workers are undervalued, underpaid and burned out."


One result of lack of long term care for seniors can be dangerous - sometimes fatal: overmedication.
Toronto STAR: "Drugged-out seniors a prescription for disaster"

Much of what is diagnosed as dementia may be the result of poor nutrition. This little guide to helping
dementia patients with some nutritional support is from the State of Wisconsin.

However, we would like to go further. We think that much dementia has roots in deficiencies in B12 and zinc, and that to restore and maintain neurological health over a lifetime, these and other nutrients - in the proper amounts and proper balance - need to be supplied.

More in-depth information on better lifelong brain health through nutrition can be seen at this PDF -
Harold Foster's writing on Alzheimer's
and at the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine here.

Death Under Pressure Pictures, Images and Photos Even if you don't have an elderly relative or friend, please consider this information for your own sake - and keep the Reaper at bay.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Can Psychiatry Cure Mental Illness?

You may be surprised to hear these psychiatrists pronounce their judgment.

Adelle Davis

We love Adelle Davis.
heart icon Pictures, Images and Photos

Daisie Adelle Davis (25 February 1904 - 31 May 1974), popularly known as Adelle Davis, was an American pioneer in the fledgling field of nutrition during the mid-20th century. She advocated whole unprocessed foods, criticized food additives, and claimed that dietary supplements and other nutrients play a dominant role maintaining health, preventing disease, and restoring health after the onset of disease:
"Research shows that diseases of almost every variety can be produced by an under-supply of various combinations of nutrients... [and] can be corrected when all nutrients are supplied, provided irreparable damage has not been done; and, still better, that these diseases can be prevented." [1]
Davis is best known as the author of a series of books published in the United States between 1947 and 1965. One of her books, Let's Have Healthy Children (Signet 1981, revised edition) states that Davis prepared individual diets for more than 20,000 people who came to her or were referred to her by physicians during her years as a consultant. She was also well known for her scathing criticism of the food industry in the United States. In the early 1970s, she addressed the ninth annual convention of the "International Association of Cancer Victims and Friends" at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. After citing U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics about tens of millions of people in the United States suffering from afflictions such as arthritis, allergies, heart disease, and cancer, she stated, "This is what's happening to us, to America, because there is a $125 billion food industry who cares nothing about health".

- From Wikipedia article and links about Adelle Davis

Visit the Adelle Davis Foundation - you will find a recipe on the ;landing page - here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bees: Colony Collapse Disorder Cause and Cure Found

This is great news and we are delighted to pass it on to you.

"A new study published in the journal Environmental Microbiology Reports may clarify things, as a team of Spanish researchers report the cause of the colony collapse disorder, and also suggest a cure. The researchers isolated the parasitic fungi Nosema ceranae from a pair of Spanish apiaries, while finding none of the other proposed causes—Varroa destructor, IAPV, or pesticides. With the identification of the invading pathogen, the team treated other diseased colonies with fumagillin—an antibiotic—and observed a complete recovery of the colony.

Honeybees play a key role in horticulture as they are significant pollinators of fruit, crops, and wild flowers. They are indispensable to many sustainable agriculture farms, so keeping them healthy is of great concern. While they are important, other research has suggested using wild bees—those that are solitary cavity- or soil-nesting insects—as opposed to large colonies of honey bees, can result in successful pollination as well."

Get more of the buzz here.

A Prescription Drug for the Annoyingly Cheerful

A Prescription Drug for the
Annoyingly Cheerful
Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND | April 17, 2009

Today, I have a news (video) clip about a new drug that helps people who have a "persistently positive outlook on life."

The following ONN news clip reports that the FDA approved the first ever depressant drug. (Note: NOT an anti-depressant.) It’s a proposed treatment for the "approximately 20 million Americans who are insufferably cheery."

The depressant treats a wide range of symptoms including: "Participating in Community Theatre" and "Organizing Neighborhood Potlucks."

Click the play button below to watch the 2-minute video clip and then make sure to read my commentary afterward.

Please note: The video contains profanities (one written, one verbal)…


Friday, April 17, 2009

Psychology Today interviews Dr. David Healy

The interview is here.
A follow-up blog here got this response from us:
In the 1950's, an American TV show host shocked the nation and made everyone laugh by testing a product he advertised on his show. The host was, I think, Arthur Godfrey; the product was dog food.

We applaud the work of Dr. Healy and other physicians who ask hard questions, of Senator Grassley and the patient-consumer movement in exposing the ties between pharma and the mental health industry.

Exposing and cutting pharma perks might not be as effective as establishing - let's call it the Fido Rule: Anyone who writes assessments of drugs the pharmaceutical companies have on offer must *try* them.

Ready for your medicine, Dr. Ghaemi?

Little Puppy Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Canadians spend $30 Billion a Year on Medications

That CAN'T be healthy.
Two thoughts:
The father of medicine said "Let your food be your medicine"
Are we medicating for nutritional deficiencies? Do we take laxatives when extra fiber and Vitamin C would put us right?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disease

Britney Spears' manager gave her medication
It seems there wasn't much bipolar disease before certain psychiatric drugs were put into use by physicians.
"Has the pharmaceutical industry become the Pied Piper of Hamelin–ridding us of lethal diseases only to turn around and “take” our children?
Would a physician from the 1950s “have identified the frenzy to treat bipolar disorders in infants that developed in twenty-first-century American as a mania?”

In his latest book, Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disease (the John Hopkins University Press) David Healy, author of Let Them Eat Prozac, looks at the historic roots of our current “medicalized distress” in which half the population is said to suffer a mental illness at some point in life and babies are diagnosed in utero as bipolar.

Bipolar disorder, once called manic depression, has been embroiled in controversy from its first descriptions in Paris in the 1850s. The pharmaceutical companies and academics behind its current popularity as a “catch-all” disease say it dates back to the ancient Greeks.

But David Healy, professor of psychiatry and the director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University, is not so sure.

References to the frenzied behavior of mental patients found in Hippocrates’ Epidemics books 1 and III, Plato’s Phaedrus and other early writings almost certainly referred to infective states and not what we mean by bipolar disorder
infective disorders with high fevers, hysteria, postpartum manias, catalepsies and melancholies developing into manias, he writes.

Even if the disorder existed before direct-to-consumer television advertising beamed its warning signs into living rooms, it was rare says Healy. Between 1875 and 1924 only 123 patients from North West Wales were admitted to the asylum in North Wales with what we would today call bipolar disorder from a population of a quarter of a million or 12,500,000 person years."

Hmmm... Link
We suspect, too, that nutritional deficiencies have something to do with this.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Psychology Today Interviews Furious Seasons' Philip Dawdy

"The bipolar child is a purely American phenomenon": An interview with Philip Dawdy

By Christopher Lane, Ph.D. on April 7, 2009 - 12:17pm in Side Effects

Philip Dawdy, a prize-winning investigative journalist, has for several years written a powerful, well-researched, and well-regarded weblog, Furious Seasons, which focuses on American psychiatry, mental health, and the way we think about treatment options. Given his intensive work on the issues, I wanted to ask him several burning questions about ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other controversies in American psychiatry.

You've written extensively about the psychiatric diagnosis of teens and preschoolers. How do you account for the astonishing rise in the number of diagnoses we're seeing in these age groups, especially with regard to ADHD and bipolar disorder?

To me, you can lay all of this squarely at the feet of the pharma companies, which had a slew of newish drugs come online in the 80s and 90s and wanted them taken by as many humans as possible—consequences for the patients be damned—and a crew of child psychiatrists at Harvard/MGH who see deeply-flawed, ill-for-life children where other psychiatrists might see personality disorders and issues that will burn out over time. The pharma companies and the Harvard crew worked hand-in-hand to bring America a generation of ADHD kids and bipolar children, and their profound influence can be seen in the millions of children and teens who now carry lifetime diagnoses and take gobs of psychotropic drugs each day, often to their detriment.

That may sound extreme to some people, but it's worth noting that the rest of the world has not embraced these diagnostic and treatment paradigms—except Britain, where there was an initial embrace of ADHD and stimulants, but where there's now a significant backlash. Meanwhile, in France and Italy ADHD is rarely diagnosed and it's difficult to see where French and Italian culture have suffered as a result. As for bipolar disorder in kids (meaning pre-teens and younger), it's simply not an issue in the rest of the world. The bipolar child is a purely American phenomenon, as big a metaphor of our times as credit swaps, subprime loans, and government bailouts.

Continues at Link

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bloomberg: NAMI to be probed re Pharma ties

Grassley Probes Financing of Advocacy Group for Mental Health
By Nicole Gaouette

April 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator Charles Grassley expanded his investigation into drug company influence on the practice of medicine by asking a nonprofit mental-health- advocacy group about its funding.

In a letter sent today to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, based in Arlington, Virginia, Grassley asked the nonprofit group to disclose any financial backing from drug companies or from foundations created by the industry.

The Iowa Republican, in a series of hearings and investigations, has focused on financial ties between the drug industry, doctors and academic institutions. His efforts have led New York-based Pfizer Inc. to begin disclosing consulting payments to U.S. doctors, and Harvard Medical School in Boston to reexamine its conflict-of-interest policies. Now Grassley is expanding his inquiries to nonprofit groups.

“I have come to understand that money from the pharmaceutical industry shapes the practices of nonprofit organizations which purport to be independent in their viewpoints and actions,” Grassley wrote in his letter.

Officials at the National Alliance for Mental Illness didn’t return calls for comment.


Thank Senator Grassley - or contact him with your concerns - here.

Read the Bonkers Institute's response to Senator Grassley's initiative here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Corporate Corruption, and the Hijacking of Our Food Supply

Image adapted from graphics bank at Cornell U. Link

Health activist extraordinaire HELKE FERRIE tells it like it is regarding the powers in charge of our health, with special focus on Bill C-6 in Canada.
The article begins with a memorable quote:

Corporate Corruption, and the Hijacking of Our Food Supply
by Helke Ferrie
What is wrong with the world today? I’ll tell you what’s wrong – short-term thinking, which is the sign of a disease called arrogance. Those suffering from the disease, however, want us to believe that they are actually the world’s great protectors. The feverish rush for short-term gain is as old as history. The kings, emperors, and popes of antiquity, the dictators of the 20th century, along with big business and the governments they hijacked, all do as their ancestors did: disguise their message inside protestations of safety and offers of protection. But today we have the Internet, an educated distrusting public, and humanity has developed an attitude of disobedience. Besides, we are all getting very bored with this racket.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What Really Causes Alzheimer's?

A complete book in PDF format by orthomolecular nutrition expert Harold Foster.
Link Foster's expertise in health includes AIDS and schizophrenia and much more. His books are sensible, technically impeccable, a pleasure to read - and help a lot of people avoid bad nutrition that brings on neurological disorders.