By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, June 10, 2012 13:46 EDT
WASHINGTON — In order to secure his sweeping 2010 health care reforms, US President Barack Obama’s staff oversaw an unusually close collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry, documents show.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have uncovered a trove of emails and other memos showing how the Obama administration coordinated its $150 million advertising campaign with major pharmaceutical companies.
Nearly $70 million was spent through two Super PACs — political action committees — organized in part by White House officials, including Jim Messina, Obama’s former deputy chief of staff who is now managing his 2012 reelection campaign.
Memos released Friday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee revealed the close links between the Obama administration and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PhRMA.
The release comes as the Supreme Court is poised to decide on the constitutionality of Obama’s health reforms, just months ahead of a November 6 general election in which Republicans hope to take back the White House.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act is considered Obama’s signature first term achievement, but opponents argue that it overreaches government power by requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance.
Democratic consultants working with the White House on health reform asked to meet backers of the law “to discuss our ad campaign,” Ron Pollack, executive director of the Families USA consumer group, said in a June 2009 e-mail to PhRMA.
“As I mentioned previously, I wanted to get some guidance from the White House about their messaging and how our effort can be consistent with that,” Pollack wrote.
The email was among materials compiled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a probe to determine how the White House interacted with the drug industry as the health reform legislation took shape.
The panel said the emails confirmed that a decision by PhRMA to fund advertisements was “linked to policy agreements backed by the administration.”
Johnson & Johnson plans $600 million charge linked to Risperdal sales
By Ransdell Pierson
Fri Jun 8, 2012 7:12pm EDT
(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it expects to take a special charge of about $600 million in the second quarter to bolster reserves for a potential settlement of civil lawsuits related to how it marketed schizophrenia treatment Risperdal and other drugs.
The hefty charge would also fund potential settlements for litigation involving marketing of Invega, another J&J schizophrenia treatment, as well as Natrecor, a medicine for congestive heart failure.
The money being set aside would also help cover potential settlements involving Omnicare Inc, a pharmacy operator that provides medicines to patients in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Federal investigators have alleged J&J made illegal payments to Omnicare to purchase and recommend Risperdal for its patients.
J&J is facing a number of lawsuits from states that allege it improperly marketed Risperdal for patients and conditions for which it was not approved by U.S. regulators – including elderly residents of nursing homes.
The diversified healthcare company declined to provide further comment about the planned charge, the latest in big set-asides for Risperdal litigation. J&J in January took a fourth-quarter charge of $3.3 billion, which it said was largely related to ongoing Risperdal lawsuits and investigations.
Cheap calcium supplements can raise risk of a heart attack twofold: Are you at risk?
(NaturalNews) During the course of several decades, medical professionals have extolled the virtues of taking enough calcium to support bone health and avoid osteoporosis. For many aging adults (especially women) this meant supplementing with one of a number of unnatural forms of the mineral, as our diet typically provides scant amounts in a desirable form from vegetarian food sources. In the past, misguided hype from the American Dairy Association has suggested that higher calcium intake is associated with a lowered risk of high blood pressure, obesity and type II diabetes, all of which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Researchers from Germany are now sounding the alarm to warn unsuspecting individuals that calcium from supplements should be ‘taken with caution’, as they have found boosting overall calcium intake from supplementation and certain dietary sources confers no significant advantage in terms of staving off heart disease and stroke. Publishing in the British Medical Journal, scientists determined that calcium supplements might double the risk of having a heart attack.
The authors examined a cohort of 24,000 people, aged between 35 and 64 when they joined the study in 1994 to 1998. The participants were questioned about their diet for the past twelve months and they were then quizzed about whether they regularly took vitamin or mineral supplements. Their health was tracked for an average of eleven years, during which time 354 heart attacks, 260 strokes, and 267 associated deaths occurred.
NFL superstar Junior Seau yet another victim of Big Pharma
Thursday, June 07, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Seau (pronounced SAY-ow), a 12-time Pro Bowler who played in the NFL for 20 seasons, most of those seasons being for the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots, was found dead of a self-inflicted .357 magnum gunshot wound to his chest at his home in Oceanside, Calif., May 3.
At 43 years old and just a few years out of the league, initial reports speculated that he just missed the game of football too much.
But later reports noted that Seau, whom most friends remembered as an upbeat guy, had long suffered from a sleep disorder, and as such, was a regular user of Ambien, the most prescribed Big Pharma drug for those who have trouble nodding off at night.
‘Yes son, I’m fine’
In the days leading up to his death, Seau partied, bar-hopped, flirted, lifted weights, and lifted spirits. It was his nights that were problematic, however.
His 11-year-old son, Hunter, reported a strange event to his mother, Seau’s ex-wife Gina, shortly before his father killed himself. According to a USA Today report, Hunter told his mother he woke up one morning early, around 3 a.m., to let out Rock, a pit bull-mastiff mix. Seeing his father’s bedroom light on, he looked inside and saw his father, wide awake, sitting on the bed staring at the television.
Only, the TV wasn’t on.
“Dad, are you okay?” Hunter asked, according to Gina.
“Yes, son,” his father answered. “I’m fine.”
Only, he wasn’t. Seau was a long-time sufferer of sleeplessness; he used Ambien a lot, and not always as directed.
On the national level, there has been some discussion about head injuries – concussions – with NFL players, and whether repeated head blows like those regularly incurred on the football field may have led to depression and chronic pain in some of them, including Seau, even if he never reported a concussion in his two decades of play. So much so that dozens of players have sued the league over the injuries, claiming the NFL hid information that chronic traumatic brain injuries can cause a wide range of problems, including the kind of insomnia that Seau suffered.
In fact, says University of North Carolinaconcussion researcher Kevin Guskiewicz, sleep disorders are common among people who have experienced traumatic brain injury.
Big Ambien user who still couldn’t sleep with it
Several friends confirmed that Seau was a big Ambien user. The packaging says not to take the drug if you’re drinking, which Seau often did. It also says not to take it if you can’t get a full night’s sleep on it.
“He told me he usually woke up around 1 or 2 and couldn’t go back to sleep,” says friend Nancy Emsley, who worked out often with Seau at a local gym, adding that she told him he needed to get eight hours sleep after taking an Ambien.
“He just rolled his eyes,” she told USA Today.
“I know he’s had a very difficult time sleeping over the year,” Mark Walczak, who played with Seau on the Chargers in the early 1990s, said of Seau, who retired after the 2009 season. “I think it’s gotten worse and worse. Lack of sleep creates huge anxiety.”
He said he saw Seau take a sleep aid during a visit to Miami in September 2005, when Seau played for the Dolphins.
Though approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ambien’s prescribing information includes warnings that suicidal thoughts or actions have been reported by depressed patients using that class of drugs.
Sources for this article include:
Big Pharma: Getting away with murder
Thursday, June 07, 2012 by: Craig Stellpflug
(NaturalNews) If a study comes up negative for your favorite drug, just don’t publish it! 68 percent of all drug studies are swept under the carpet to keep those pesky side effects from being reported. Only 32 percent of studies come up positive, and a lot of those studies are “shortened” to limit the long-term findings. Studies cut short were found to overestimate the study drug’s effectiveness and miss dangerous side effects and complications by an average of 30 percent. This would explain the amazing 85 percent drug study success rate in the hands of Big Pharma according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In some cases, shortened studies don’t just make a drug look more effective than it ever could be, but they also turn dangerous and ineffective meds into miracle drugs, according to a study in JAMA. Studies are often cut short when researchers get “overwhelmingly convincing evidence” of a drug’s effectiveness. If you want to make money with your drug, find an early spike in the data and run with it before the data dives. Get in, get the result you want, get out fast, and make lots of money.
Crime does pay!
Remember Vioxx? Big Pharma research backing that killer drug was all roses. Merck reported over $11 billion in Vioxx sales during the 5 years the drug was on the market. So far the company has paid nearly $6 billion in litigation settlements and criminal fines over Vioxx. Well, that still leaves quite bit of cash left over to pay the greedy executives who were in charge of the company and making criminal decisions. It’s all about getting the FDA approval, buying the politicians, making loads of money (even at the expense of human life) and then minimizing the penalties and rebuilding the public relations for another run.
Oh, Merck claims they did a voluntary recall of Vioxx… but the recall came just days after the announcement that an FDA investigator was releasing a study indicating that Vioxx greatly increased the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes and had probably been responsible for at least 55,000 American deaths during the five years it had been on the market.
How many really died from Vioxx?
Looking back we see the largest ever rise in US mortality rates occurred in 1999, the very year Vioxx was introduced. Not exactly a smoking-gun until you compare it with the largest ever drop in mortality in 2004, the year Vioxx was withdrawn. The net increase was 100,000 deaths per year in 1999 through 2004. Get the picture yet? This equates to 500,000 people who died needlessly and Vioxx is the prime suspect in these murders.
Filed Under: HEALTH/EUGENICS
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