March 5th, 2012
By: Elizabeth Walling
Nearly 32 million Americans currently take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol levels, but they are probably completely unaware that these drugs can come with side effects like diabetes and memory loss. Why don’t they know? Because until this week, the FDA didn’t require these drugs to carry a warning of these possible dangers.
On Feb. 28 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the need for new warnings for popular statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor. The new labels warn doctors and patients that statin drugs can cause hyperglycemia (i.e. high blood sugar levels) and increase the risk of developing diabetes.
The research linking cholesterol drugs with diabetes is well established. The connection was first reported in one 2008 study of nearly 18,000 Crestor patients. More research soon followed confirming the risk: one study in 2010 published in the Lancet, another in 2011 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and yet another in 2012 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. That’s a whopping four studies in four years that all confirm statin drugs increase your risk of diabetes.
The FDA also added a warning that statins may cause memory loss and confusion in some patients. These side effects have been reported by some individual statin users, although no official research has been done to verify who is most at risk for memory loss while taking statins.
But the FDA says keep taking statin drugs despite risks
One can’t help wondering about the real purpose of these new statin warnings. The FDA recommends that doctors and patients discuss the risk of memory loss and diabetes, but they also say patients should keep taking these drugs. They don’t want you to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.
“We want healthcare professionals and patients to have the most current information on the risks of statins, but also to assure them that these medications continue to provide an important health benefit of lowering cholesterol,” says Dr. Mary Parks from the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Apparently, we need to keep millions of Americans on statin drugs, but we just want to make sure they are aware that side effects like diabetes and memory loss are normal. Patients don’t need to be alarmed if they develop diabetes or experience memory loss while on cholesterol drugs. Their drugs came with warning labels reminding them that this is normal. And, of course, since this was stated on the warning label, lawsuits are definitely out of the question.
It sounds like Big Pharma doesn’t want you to throw their corporate profits out the window just because of some pesky side effects. These warnings are more about protecting their wallets more than protecting patients.
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
February 20, 2012
By Ethan A. Huff
“Here is a perfect example of why you should be seeing doctors who do not prescribe drugs or perform surgeries. In other words, see a naturopath first. They will encourage you to avoid vaccines.” –KTRN
Parents who refuse to allow their children to be forcibly injected with cocktails of toxic adjuvants, chemical preservatives, and live viral materials are increasingly being told by mainstream medical quacks that they are no longer welcome as their patients. Convinced that their own personal opinions on vaccines must apply to everyone, these vaccine-pushers have assumed the role of medical dictators, treating everyone who does not agree with their vaccine dogma as if they are unworthy to receive medical care.
According to a study conducted in Connecticut last year, the number of conventional practitioners and pediatricians that say they have dismissed patients because of vaccine refusal appears to be on the rise. While only six percent of physicians said they “routinely” dismissed families over vaccine refusal back in 2001 and 2006, that number appears to at least be in the double-digits today, with one survey of 133 doctors showing that about 30 percent of them have refused patients who resist vaccines.
Dr. Scott J. Goldstein and his partners from the Northwestern Children’s Practice in Chicago, for instance, now require all of their patients to comply with the practice’s vaccine requirements (http://www.cbsnews.com). And Dr. Allan LaReau and his 11 colleagues from Bronson Rambling Road Pediatrics in Kalamazoo, Mich., stopped working with all families that refused vaccinations back in 2010 (http://online.wsj.com).
The excuses for this blatant form of medical discrimination include many of the usual suspects. One of the most humorously irrational ones, of course, is the idea that unvaccinated children pose a disease risk to the vaccinated. The sheer insanity of this pseudoscientific nonsense would be humorous if it were not taken seriously by many so-called medical professionals today.
The vast majority of the vaccines administered to children in the first few years of their lives have never been proven either safe or effective, and yet self-professed experts like Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Lareau worship them as if they are some kind of magical cure for disease. Dr. Goldstein, in fact, told CBS News that he believes vaccines have “done more than anything else over the past 100 years to help improve the health of children,” an ideology that has no basis in reality.
February 16, 2012
By Mike Barrett
“Reject vaccines and your doctor fires you. Sounds like a win/win situation to us.” –KTRN
For many years government and health officials have been trying to push vaccination.
While childhood vaccine exemption rates have been increasing, we have been seeing an overall increase in the amount of people receiving the flu shot each year.
There have even been numerous occasions where legislators and others have called for mandatory vaccinations that could affect health care workers in particular.
In fact, many pediatricians are so angry with their patients who refuse vaccination that they are ‘firing’ patients and their families, refusing to play their role as doctor. That’s right, pediatricians are refusing to help parents — and their families — if they aren’t ‘responsible’ enough to vaccinate their children.
One study of Connecticut pediatricians found that some 30 percent of 133 doctors said they they refused to help a family due to vaccine refusal. Another survey of 909 Midwestern pediatricians found that 21 percent dismissed a family due to vaccine refusal.
While doctors are trained and told to ‘sell’ these vaccines, many people are becoming aware of vaccine dangers and risks. One study found that more than 1 in 10 parents are straying away from the traditional vaccine schedule, with the number to increase exponentially over the next few years.
For doctors to refuse care for those making a decision for their own health is irresponsible to say the least. Perhaps doctors should consider these truths about vaccines and the flu shot before ‘firing’ patients who refuse to be pricked.
Flu vaccines have been shown to be quite ineffective. They simply aren’t nearly as helpful as health officials make them out to be.
Vaccines suppress the immune system which could actually increase your risk for contracting the flu for weeks or months.
January 26, 2012
What if it felt like there were tiny bugs crawling all over your body, causing oozing sores and mysterious fibers sprouting from your skin? That’s how many people described their symptoms to government doctors several years ago, with health officials sometimes receiving up to 20 calls a day from sufferers.
Many of these people lived in California, prompting one of that state’s U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein, to ask for a scientific study. In 2008, federal health officials began to study people who said they were affected by this freakish condition called Morgellons disease – named from a 1674 medical paper that described similar symptoms.
What did the long-awaited study conclude? Morgellons exists only in the patients’ minds.
Sufferers of Morgellons describe symptoms including fatigue, erupting sores, crawling sensations on their skin, and mysterious red, blue or black fibers sprouting from their skin. Some say they’ve suffered for decades.
January 18, 2012
By Steve Connor
An edible microchip that records the precise details of a patient’s pill regime will be available in Britain by the end of year following a commercial deal that opens the door to an era of digital medicines.
An American biomedical company has signed up with a British healthcare firm to sell digestible sensors, each smaller than a grain of sand, that can trigger the transmission of medical information from a patient’s body to the mobile phone of a relative or carer.
The aim is to develop a suite of “intelligent medicines” that can help patients and their carers keep track of which pills are taken at what time of day, in order to ensure that complex regimes of drugs are given the best possible chance of working effectively.
Ultimately, the plan is for every one of the many pills taken each day by some of the most chronically-ill patients, especially those with mental health problems, to be digitally time-stamped as they are digested within the body.
The healthcare company Lloyds- pharmacy said it intends to sell the edible microchips of Proteus Biomedical of California by the end of the year, as part of a trial to test whether NHS patients would be prepared to pay privately to ensure that they or their relatives take the right medicines at the right time.
“There is a huge problem with medicines not being taken correctly,” said Steve Gray, healthcare services director of Lloydspharmacy.
“Anyone taking several medications knows how easy it can be to lose track of whether or not you’ve taken the correct tablets that day,” he added.
“Add to that complex health issues and families caring for loved ones who many not live with them and you can appreciate the benefits of an information service that helps patients to get the most from their treatments and for families to help them to remain well.”
November 4, 2011
By S. L. Baker
Treating cancer patients, who are suffering excruciating side effects from radiation and chemotherapy, is emotionally draining. But wouldn’t you think someone who chose the profession of oncology would know this in advance and would have a lot of compassion for his or her patients? It turns out, that’s not exactly true for many oncologists.
“Earlier studies have shown that oncologists respond to patient distress with empathy only about a quarter of the time,” James A. Tulsky, M.D., director of the Duke Center for Palliative Care, said in a media statement. “Often, when patients bring up their worries, doctors change the subject or focus on the medical treatment, rather than the emotional concern. Unfortunately, this behavior sends the message, ‘This is not what we’re here to talk about.’”
In a new study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Tulsky and his research team found that the use of a computer-based interactive training tool developed by Dr. Tulskey resulted in more empathic responses from oncologists. After the cancer doctors incorporated techniques they learned from the computerized training, their patients reported greater trust in their doctors which translated into a better quality of life for the cancer patients.
To test the new computer training’s effectiveness, Dr. Tulsky and colleagues enrolled 48 doctors at Duke, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They audio-recorded four to eight visits between the doctors and patients suffering from advanced cancer.
All the physicians then attended an hour-long lecture on communication skills. Next, half were randomly assigned to use the CD-ROM tutorial to learn empathy skills and the other half received no other training. The results of the study showed the CD taught the doctors how to recognize and respond when patients shared a negative emotion and how to communicate information about prognoses. They also received feedback on how they could improve their communication with cancer patients and were asked to commit to making changes in their practice to demonstrate more empathy.
Afterward, all the doctors were again recorded during patient visits and then both trained listeners and patients were asked to evaluate how well the doctors responded with empathy when faced with patient fears and questions. Oncologists who had taken the CD course responded empathetically twice as often as those with no training. They were also more like to promote conversations rather than to shut them down when patients tried to talk about concerns.
“Patient trust in physicians increased significantly,” Dr. Tulsky said in the media statement. He explained that patients actually feel better when they believe their doctors are on their side. “This is exciting, because it’s an easy, relatively inexpensive way to train physicians to respond the basic needs of a patient.”
August 26th, 2011
By: Christina Luisa
Being microchipped is now being spun as a method of protecting the health of hospital patients. To help mask the practice of this bodily invasion with a trendy, high-tech appearance, microchipping sensors are being referred to as “electronic tattoos” that can attach to human skin and stretch and move without breaking.
Supposedly the comparisons of this hair-thin electronic patch-like chip to an electronic tattoo are being made because of how it adheres to the skin like a temporary tattoo using only water.
The small chip is less than 50 micrometers thick, which is thinner in diameter than a human hair. It is being marketed as a “safe” and easy way to temporarily monitor the heart and brain in patients while replacing bulky medical equipment currently being used in hospitals.
This device uses micro-electronics technology called an epidermal electronic system (EES) and is said to be a development that will “transform” medical sensing technology, computer gaming and even spy operations, according to a study published last week.
The hair-thin chip was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore and is described in the Journal of Science.
The proven link between animal microchipping and cancer
Pet microchips have become increasingly common over the past few years. These chips are marked with a small barcode that can be scanned just like the tags on grocery items.
This seems to suggest that microchips are meant to turn the wearer into an object that can be tracked and catalogued. Once inserted in an animal, the chip stays there for the entirety of its lifetime and can be used to identify the pet if it should be found on the street or turned into a shelter. The subdermal chips are often recommended by vets and animal care experts as a way to ensure lost pets find their way home again.
But research suggests that despite their proclaimed usefulness, pet microchips may cause cancer. Multiple studies have clearly linked pet microchips with increased incidence of cancer and tumors in mice and rats.
In the past, public disclosure of these suggested links between microchipping and cancer in animals stirred widespread concern over the safety of implantable microchips in living beings. The animal microchip study findings that created such an uproar were so persuasive that Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was quoted in an article about microchipping as saying, “There’s no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members.”
A 2001 study found that 1% of rats with implanted microchips developed cancerous tumors near the chip location. At least a dozen animal studies have been done between 1990 and 2007 and most concluded that microchips significantly increased the risk of cancer at the microchip site.
Soon we’ll all have “cool electronic tattoos!”
All the electronic parts of the new EES chip are built out of wavy, snake-like components which allow them to be stretched and squeezed. They also contain tiny solar cells which can generate power or get energy from electromagnetic radiation. The sensor is mounted on to a water-soluble sheet of plastic and attached to the body by brushing the surface with water – hence the comparison to a temporary tattoo.
This new device being implanted in hospital patients certainly looks and acts like a microchip – yet it is persistently being referred to as an “electronic tattoo” in order to make the concept appear harmless, friendly – even trendy!
Invasive microchips – is the cost worth the convenience?
Scientists claim the supposed advantage of the EES chips is their ability to cut back on the bevy of wires, gel-coated sticky pads and monitors that are currently relied on to keep track of the vital signs of hospital patients. Apparently these traditional forms of bulky equipment and monitors are overly “distressing” to patients.
It appears scientists believe these new microchips are convenient enough that they outweigh the potential risks.
In test trials, the microchip was purposefully attached to the throat of a human and used to detect differences in words such as up, down, left, right, go and stop. Researchers used these functions to control a simple computer game.
Is the convenience of not having to manually operate equipment great enough to justify the implantation of an electronic sensor beneath the skin of humans? Would you trust a microchip to monitor your bodily functions without causing health hazards in the process?
The future of America: microchipped zombies
Researchers believe the technology could be used to replace traditional wires and cables, but this sounds remarkably like an excuse used to cover up the real truth: that this new microchipping method is a way to ensure all of us are eventually microchipped and able to be tracked and monitored. Soon, everyone will be required to wear chips or “tattoos” that prove they got their vaccinations, to link to health records, credit history and social security records.
If the government can require Americans to carry microchipped documents including your work, financial and health records, it seems it is only a matter of time before these chips will be implanted for the sake of “convenience” or “security.” According to them, all of this is being done “for our own good.”
August 22nd, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Linda A. Johnson
The maker of the world’s best-selling diabetes drug is facing hundreds of lawsuits and likely a big sales drop as suspicion grows that taking the pill for more than a year raises the risk of bladder cancer.
In June, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. halted sales of Actos, its top drug, in Germany and France after pressure from regulators.
Since then, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have issued warnings about the cancer risk based on new research, but they have allowed sales to continue. Doctors are being told not to prescribe Actos for people who have or have had bladder cancer.
The warning will limit patient choices and could spell the end for a once-promising class of Type 2 diabetes drugs that debuted more than a decade ago amid heavy promotion.
The once-a-day pills were appealing. They helped control blood sugar tightly, had few side effects in most patients, boosted the effects of some other diabetes drugs, worked by a new mechanism – improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin – and even allowed patients to reduce or delay use of injected insulin.
Actos, despite links to heart failure risk and other serious side effects, became the No. 1 diabetes pill after Avandia, the only other drug in that class, was found in 2007 to sharply increase risk of heart attacks. Avandia’s use was banned in the EU and sharply restricted here. Actos sales jumped from about $2.9 billion in 2006 to more than $4.3 billion last year.
Now those billions may well shift to Takeda rivals.
In the past week, the first of what lawyers predict will be thousands of lawsuits were filed in courts across the country. They allege Actos triggered bladder cancer, in some cases fatal, in clients who took the pills daily for years.
Nancy Rios, 54, is suing Takeda, blaming her recurrent bladder cancer on Actos, which she took for more than a decade. Rios, a hospital secretary, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009. In June, she had her second surgery to remove tumors. Rios, who lives in Reading, Pa., is worried about missing more work and being able to pay her medical bills. Next month, she will learn whether more treatment is needed.
“I could lose my bladder and possibly need chemo,” she said.
Her attorney, Paul Pennock of Weitz & Luxenberg, said the firm already represents another 104 clients, has about 120 more expected to pursue lawsuits and is getting 30 to 40 possible new cases a week.
“When a manufacturer distributes a drug, they owe it to the public to ensure that their product is safe for use and it appears that Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to fulfill that fundamental duty,” Pennock said.
Other large law firms are evaluating potential cases by the dozen or more. More than 20 firms, from Florida to Washington state, are advertising for clients on the Internet or in newspapers, a standard practice in personal injury law.
“We don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve been contacted by so many people who have been taking Actos and have bladder cancer,” said Marc Jay Bern of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik & Associates. “We have more than 100 (cases) that we’ve confirmed and many more that we’re evaluating.”
Takeda declined to comment on the lawsuits. The company, which is based in Japan, has issued statements that it’s committed to keeping Actos available for patients who need it.
Spokeswoman Elissa Johnsen noted an April study in the journal Diabetes Care found Actos “use for more than two years was weakly associated with increased risk.”
However, the FDA analyzed data from the first five years of a 10-year Actos safety study Takeda begun in 2002 and concluded this June that risk of bladder cancer was 40 percent higher for patients taking Actos for at least a year, although still small: an extra 28 cases a year for every 100,000 people taking it.
Erik Gordon, an analyst and professor at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said Friday that the new safety questions are “a big deal” for Takeda, particularly since the Actos patent expires in August 2012. They mean Actos won’t make as much money as expected in the final months, and they dampen prospects for two experimental drugs Takeda was hoping would succeed Actos.
“One, alogliptin, has been stuck at the FDA over safety concerns, and the other, a combination of alogliptin and Actos, now looks doomed,” Gordon said.
Alogliptin is an experimental drug in the same class as Merck & Co.’s blockbuster Januvia. Those drugs increase production of insulin, which breaks down sugar in the blood, and reduce glucose production in the liver.
Les Funtleyder, an analyst and portfolio manager for the Miller Tabak Health Care Transformation fund, said Januvia is likely to gain sales as patients defect from Actos.
He doubts the cost of the bladder cancer litigation will hit the level of Vioxx. That’s the painkiller that Merck pulled off the market in 2004 because it doubled risk of heart attacks and strokes – triggering more than 50,000 lawsuits and, eventually, a $4.85 billion settlement to end most of them.
Whatever the outcome of the Actos litigation, diabetes patients and their doctors will be considering their options now.
Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a Yale School of Medicine professor who directs its Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, said more long-term data on the effects of Actos is needed.
“It’s not clear if this (bladder cancer) risk is real,” but Actos and Avandia both are linked to heart risks, weight gain and possibly bone loss and fractures, he said. “The consensus already is that (Actos) should only be considered … after patients have exhausted all other options.”
August 22nd, 2011
By: Melly Alazraki
Does the market have you thinking about getting a little pharmacological help to ease your jitters and lift your mood? Getting a prescription for Prozac is easier than you think. In fact, you can skip the appointment with a psychiatrist altogether.
A study released last week in Health Affairs journal found a growing trend of doctors who aren’t psychiatrists offering antidepressants to patients. The meds often get prescribed without any psychiatric diagnosis, simply to boost someone’s mood, relieve mild anxiety, or improve sleep. Worse yet, there’s no evidence these drugs actually help such patients.
All these questionable prescriptions helped make this class of drugs one of the most commonly prescribed in the U.S. In 2010, according to IMS Health data, antidepressants spending grew to $11.6 billion. The class was the second most prescribed after cholesterol regulators and heart meds, with nearly 254 million prescriptions.
It’s No Secret Who’s Really Smiling
The growth in antidepressant use brings a smile to at least one group of people: Big Pharma.
While Eli Lilly’s (LLY) Prozac has long lost its patent protection, U.S. Cymbalta sales for 2010 grew 9% to $2.8 billion, topping the $758 million mark in the most recent second quarter. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Abilify U.S. sales grew by 5% in the recent quarter, to 517 million. AstraZeneca’s (AZN) second-quarter U.S. sales of Seroquel XR grew 14% to $205 million. (Both Seroquel XR and Abilify are atypical antipsychotics approved by the FDA as adjunct treatments for depression that doesn’t respond to a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor like Prozac or Zoloft alone.)
The study made no mention of any illegal marketing practices by pharmaceuticals that may have contributed to this trend, although such allegations regarding off-label marketing are certainly not foreign to AstraZeneca or Eli Lilly, among many others.
However, the study said that direct-to-consumer advertising could be causing patients to request the drugs. The U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries that allow advertising for prescription medications.
Do We Have a Drug Problem?
The researchers are concerned that this growing trend of non-psychiatrists prescribing antidepressants could mean that the drugs get prescribed inappropriately. They worry that patients who haven’t been properly diagnosed are not receiving the best care they need. The study suggests starting by educating physicians on mental disorders, the drugs, and their appropriate use.
The researchers also encourage patients to ask questions — lots of them, including questions about the diagnoses, the side effects, possible alternative treatments, and whether antidepressants are the right treatment for their problems in the first place.
March 10th, 2011
By: Kristina Fiore
Sometimes, Dr. Andrew Lieber has to tell his patients that it just isn’t working out.
When parents refuse to vaccinate their children in spite of his efforts to convince them of the benefits of immunity, he reluctantly lets them go.
“By four months, if I can’t help you come to terms with the scientific fact that vaccines are helpful, then I’ve done my job educating you,” Lieber, a pediatrician with Rose Pediatrics in Denver, told MedPage Today.
At that point, he’ll tell them to find another doctor — something he has to do “a couple times a year.”
“I feel like I have a bigger responsibility to all the other kids walking through my waiting room,” Lieber said.
More pediatricians appear to be taking this hard-line approach, especially now that parents are making greater efforts to screen doctors for one whose vaccination philosophy matches their own.
According to a 2001 American Academy of Pediatrics survey, 23 percent of physicians reported that they “always” or “sometimes” tell parents they can no longer be the child’s pediatrician if they won’t get the proper shots.
The Academy doesn’t have more recent survey data, but physicians say that they see plenty of their colleagues joining the ranks.
Lieber will sometimes work with parents to adjust the vaccination schedule — “I’m willing to separate some vaccines by two weeks, whatever I can do to increase vaccination rates is good” — but if an interviewer comes along wanting to cross all vaccines off the list, Lieber will show them the door.
Few physicians find that this practice challenges their ethics, especially in light of recent outbreaks such as pertussis in California and in certain communities within Brooklyn. Indeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics has in the past deemed it ethical to dismiss patients who refuse to get their children vaccinated, and offers a clinical guideline as well as an online toolkit on how to handle the pertinent issues.
“Physicians, like their patients, are moral agents,” says Felicia Cohn, PhD, director of bioethics for Kaiser Permanente in Irvine, Calif. “Any physician may refuse an individual for moral reasons or may conscientiously object to providing particular treatments.”
David Cronin, MD, a pediatrician with Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, says it’s “entirely appropriate for a physician to refuse elective treatment to any patient. Being a physician does not obligate one to provide care to ‘all comers.’”