I know I sometimes harp on the pharmaceutical industry and how so many studies that show negative effects or less than positive ones, but a report out of Massachusetts has me very concerned about the validity of many studies out there. If you read this report from MSNBC.com, you can see why I am so disturbed.
It seems that Dr. Scott Reuben was fabricating data about the effectiveness of a number of drugs, including the pain killer Celebrex made by Pfizer and the antidepressant Effexor XR made by Wyeth among others. While this is certainly bad news for the two pharmaceutical companies, it should make us wonder how pervasive this is not only in the pharmaceutical world but also in the nutraceutical community.
I have often times railed against outrageous claims made by the makers of supplements that seem to be heavily anecdotal and curiously non-scientific. One case is the zeolite claims of chelating heavy metals. Still waiting for that study that is due any day showing how great it really is. Been waiting for over three years for something that was supposed to be out already. I’ve heard doctors get on stage and claim super high “cure” rates for autism, only to hear different numbers every conference he spoke at.
Research fraud is more common than you might think which means you need to read the studies with a more critical eye and not to jump on the latest hot drug or supplement. The studies have to make biochemical sense and not just report possible effects that seem too good to be true. There are a lot of Bernie Maddoff’s in science so approach those claims from the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies with a grain of salt. The life you save could be your own.
Earlier this year, I did an interview with Andrew Cutler, PhD talking about his thoughts on autism, mercury, and porphyrin testing. You can listen to it on my Let’s Talk Real Health podcast site. Just recently, Michael Ross, did a transcript of the interview that you can download and read for yourself. Thank you Michael for the work.
Just wanted to tell you that I just completed a 1+ hour interview of Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt. It was an amazing hour listening to him talk about the newest findings in medicine (his personal findings), autism and a 15 minute answer to my question about the stressful times our world is finding itself in.
Please go to my podcast site and leave comments, suggestions and thoughts about my topics and interviews. It’s starting to get a real following and I’d like to build the audience up to help inform people about what is out there.
I just gave a talk in Boulder, Colorado at the Healing Journey Seminar on the use of laboratory testing and inflammation. For those of you interested in the subject, I’ve uploaded the Powepoint presentation. Enjoy!
Incontinence drugs like Detrol, have now been linked to memory problems and other psychological ills. According to this article on MSNBC.com, “The people who took the drugs had a 50 percent faster rate of cognitive decline compared to those who didn’t take any.” That is pretty staggering if you ask me. Other drugs in the same class, known as anticholinergics also have similar effects.
So what does Pfizer, who makes Detrol say? Here is a quote from Ponni Subbiah, Pfizer’s vice president of medical affairs, “Detrol has been on the market since 1998. It has been prescribed more than 100 million times worldwide.” further more he states “the frequency of events and the role of Detrol in their causation cannot be reliably determined,” Huh? So basically they say that despite what the research tells us, lots of people are taking it and there is no way you are ever going to prove that it’s bad. Pfizer’s mind-numbing denial just goes to show how they clearly think money over health of their customers. I guess they must be working on a brain enhancing drug to make up for the brain numbing effect of Detrol. I think that maybe they have the people working at Pfizer on Detrol in order to come up with the kind of nonsensical comments they make.
My favorite part of the article was the following comment – “Our message is to be careful when using these medicines,” said U.S. Navy neurologist Dr. Jack Tsao, who led the study. “It may be better to use diapers and be able to think clearly than the other way around.” I would add that it might behove you to try some GPC (glycerophosphocholine) or PS (phosphatidyl serine) to boost brain function as well
Preventive health care has gotten a lot of wind from the people running for President of the United States. Hillary Clinton says, “focus on prevention: wellness not sickness.” Mike Huckabee said that focusing on prevention “would save countless live, pain and suffereing by victims of chronic conditions, and billions of dollars.” Obama added that “too little is spent on prevention and public health.” But what is preventive health care.
According to the pharmaceutical industry, it would be statin drugs to prevent heart disease, except, it really doesn’t do that but they won’t admit to that. Screening tests, like blood and urine are deemed too costly because they are used willy nilly and expenisve procedures like MRIs and PET scans are way overused. In a recent (February 14th) issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the Prospective omitted one type of prevention, nutrition.
Making our food supply real again would cut back on disease and would improve the quality of life more than anything out there. Eating real foods, not processed junk, would stem the tide of obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer yet they talk about everything else instead of the cause of high medical costs. Stop subsidizing big agriculture and helping them make things that have no business being called food is one way. Another, is to help educate Americans about what real food is.
Unfortunately, the government is not where this is going to happen. It will only happen when each and everyone of us makes a conscious choice at the supermarket to buy real food and avoid junk. The dollar speaks mightier than the legislative pen. Buy organic, buy local, buy real.
In the January 19, 2008 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, author Samuel Lowenberg brings up a number of serious questions relating to ethics and drug trials done by the pharmaceutical industry. After reading his brief two page review, it is apparent that a major overhaul in the way clinical trials are done is in order. The trail of abuse is international in scope and has possibly caused the deaths of innocent children.
According to Tikki Pang, the World Health Organization’s director of Research Policy and Cooperation, “The trials that are being done overseas by drug companies are in a sense secret, because they do not share the information, they site confidentiality and patient protection.” He further goes on to say “Anecdotally, we have heard many, many instances in India, China and other countries of the possibility of ethical safeguards not being followed.” In Nigeria, a number of children died of an experimental anti-meningitis drug Trovan and Pfizer, according to a lawsuit, destroyed data from the trial and gave some of the children a dangerously low dose of Rocephin, a known treatment for meningitis.
It is time for Congress to enact a bill demanding that all drug trial, in the U.S. or abroad, be registered and the results must be shared with the FDA regardless of outcome. The data then must be shared with the public without prejudice and in a timely manner. The nonsense that is pharmaceutical research has got to change. People’s health is at risk and lives are at stake. They are treating third world people like lab rats and this has got to stop.
This past Friday, I talked about the issues with Lipitor® and the lack of the association between high cholesterol and coronary heart disease. Now let’s talk about real problems that comes up by taking this drug.
Say the side-effect rate is 3-5% (which is the pharmaceutical industry line) which means that given one-percent of people get a benefit, five-percent get side-effects that can be rather serious. Guess what? That estimate is way under what practitioners in the field are seeing. Reports indicate that in the real world the side-effect rate is closer to 15%.
Obviously, this would mean that we need to move away from pharmaceutical intervention to lower cholesterol to alternative, “natural” ones right? Wrong. Turns out cholesterol levels in people with heart disease are not really much higher than people without heart disease. Also, low cholesterol (under 160mg/dl) may increase the risk of a number of health disorders like stroke, cancer, depression, and suicide. Lowering cholesterol is not the issue, in spite of what the nutraceutical industry would like you to believe. They are being no different in their claims than the pharmaceutical industry.
The real culprit in heart disease is inflammation. Lower inflammation and not only do you lower the real risk for heart disease , you lower the risks for a myriad of other diseases from diabetes to arthritis, from cancer to migraines, seizures and irritable bowel syndrome to name a few.
In tomorrow’s blog, I will discuss tools that will help you determine your level of inflammation along with things you can do to alleviate it.
Now with the scandal involving Scheering-Plough and Merck, two pharmaceutical giants becoming the biggest news story of the day I have to comment. Do you really think that the study that Vytorin is not beneficial is an isolated incident? If you do, you are sadly mistaken. When I worked for a company that sold clinical trial software to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, I was involved in talking to a number of researchers employed by these companies and some of the things I heard made me realize that the focus of these companies was not your health but their profits.
Here are some of the details of the Vytorin story you may not know about.
The data that showed that Vytorin was not beneficial in the lowering of the risk of heart disease was known almost 2 years ago by people at Merck and Scheering-Plough.
The CEO of Merck ??? sold $29 million dollars worth of stock in her company last year, after she had to have known the results of the drug trial. 800,000 prescriptions a week are written for Vytorin which provides billions of dollars of profit to these two companies.
Worst of all, and something that Congress will be looking into is the fact that after the drug companies found out that Vytorin wasn’t showing up as well as expected they tried to manipulate the data to change the end points which would hopefully show the drug actually worked.
It is this last issue I have my greatest concerns about. When I taught a class to a medical device company in Cleveland, Ohio, I was asked by one of the primary investigators whether they could change the data once it was entered into the program. I made sure they understood that this would be illegal and immoral as well. Often times, I found out that many researchers (not all) in the pharmaceutical industry manipulate data end points and use other statistical machinations to create findings that are positive instead of properly studying results and reporting good and bad regardless of the financial ramifications.
With the recent research saying that there is no link between autism and thimerasol in mercury it was apparent that the researchers manipulated the end points to come up with a result they wanted to come up with. They claim that there was no relationship because there is no change in autism rates recently since thimerasol was removed from vaccines. Problem is that the number of years since the mercury laden vaccines have been removed are not sufficient to see a change in autism rates. Most autism is diagnosed at 4-5 but the removal of thimerasol was only done 2-3 years ago so how could they see a difference. This is known as changing the end point to create a result you want. It is immoral and dangerous.
It is time the FDA and our government do what they are charged with doing, protecting the citizens from dangerous drugs. The pharmaceutical industries money first attitude needs control and must be stopped. It is time for a major overhaul of the drug research and approval system.