Archive | Conventional medicine

Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime

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Posted 31 January 2014

CAMCheck is against all forms of health product fraud, but focuses particularly on those related to “complimentary/alternative” medicines – for reasons previously explained. However, every now an then, an article pertaining to Big Pharma needs to be shared with readers.

This is a review in the Lancet of the book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare. It makes for depressing reading.

After heart disease and cancer, drugs are the third leading cause of deaths in Europe and the USA, states Peter Gøtzsche in Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare. He estimates that in the USA, every year, about 100 000 deaths are due to drugs, despite people taking the drugs correctly, and another 100 000 people die because of errors. According to Gøtzsche, “we now suffer from two man-made epidemics, tobacco and prescription drugs, both
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Evidence-based medicine – a criticism

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Posted 30 June 2013

CamCheck is devoted mainly to the shortcomings of CAMs. Some readers incorrectly jump to the conclusion that we therefore support Big Pharma or ‘orthodox’ medicine. Not true: we argue for the requirement for good evidence in support of any therapeutic modality. We simply focus on CAMS, other websites focus on other modalities.

We have also known for a long time how Big Pharma (where there is far more evidence in support of claims), may in fact be using edited, fabricated or poorly assessed research/studies. In the article below, published in the South African Medical Journal, Prof Dave Muckart describes beautifully how scientific evidence can be abused.  

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Dirty medicine

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Posted 23 May 2013

CAMCheck focuses on CAMS and alternative medicine. In fact CAMCheck is against ALL therapeutic products that make bogus or unsubstantiated claims, including those from Big Pharma: however because of the breadht of this issue, CamCheck has selectively focused primarily on CAM products.

CAM manufacturers frequently argue claim that generic proof is acceptable, i.e., that claims for an ingredient should automatically be allowed by a product containing that ingredient. We argue that the tablet or formulation may not dissolve in the same way, may not be similarly bioavailable, and in many cases, that there is no proof that the ingredients are exactly the same or that the combination of ingredients will result in the same efficacy.

In this article published in CNN Money, the authors do an in depth investigative report on the epic inside story of long-term criminal fraud at Ranbaxy, the Indian drug company Read the rest

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Testosterone marketing

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Posted 12 September 2012 

Testosterone marketing frenzy draws skepticism

By MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer  WASHINGTON (AP) —

“Are you falling asleep after dinner?”
“Do you have a decrease in libido?”
“Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?”
“It could be Low-T.”

Welcome to the latest big marketing push by U.S. drug companies. In this case, it’s a web page for Abbott Laboratories’ Androgel, a billion-dollar selling testosterone gel used by millions of American men struggling with the symptoms of growing older that are associated with low testosterone, such as poor sex drive, weight gain and fatigue.

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Keeping big pharma in check?

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A review of the book:

Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA
A book by Daniel Carpenter Princeton  

http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d1103.full

"This comprehensive, authoritative, and insightful history of the US Food and Drug Administration enables a reader to understand how the FDA garnered power over one of the most powerful industries in the world; the myriad forces that have influenced FDA decisions; and the social and political factors that shaped the FDA and those that continually buffet it. The story of the FDA is a tale of gradual accretion of authority, influenced from time to time by legislation, and punctuated not only by occasional national drug disasters but also by some almost calamitous near misses."

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Medical ghostwriters who build a brand

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An column by Dr Ben Goldacre  in The Guardian, Saturday 18 September 2010, about medical ghostwriting and potential corruption of science that can occur.

"The PLoS documents show DesignWrite sold Wyeth more than 50 peer reviewed journal articles for HRT, and a similar number of conference posters, slide kits, symposia, and journal supplements. Adriane Fugh-Berman, associate professor in the department of physiology at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington DC, who analysed the documents (who appeared against Wyeth in the class action) found that these publications variously promoted unproven and unlicensed benefits of Wyeth's HRT drug, undermined its competitors, and downplayed its harms."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/18/bad-science-medical-ghostwriters

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Faith drops – in response

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Colleen (from Faith drops) added a comment to the posting of the ASA ruling against the claims of Faith drops. As the comment is far too long, I have added it as a posting.

Colleen (from Faith drops) writes:

To Harris / Geffen / Roy Jobson…. And anyone else

It would appear that everyone is on a mission – I guess we are keeping this site active by swallowing the bait – as before I am even able to respond to one thing they are on to the next……    Allow me to have my say – then by all means, everyone – have at it!!!   
Put the truth on your blog – not an extraction of something that is taken totally out of context –  at the very least the reading … Read the rest

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It’s Evidence Jim, But Not As We Know It!

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This excellent piece, although a direct criticism of the philosophical argument by a specific individual in favour of the evidence for homeopathy, can be read more widely in the context of evidence for all “complementary” medicines. Brilliantly written, it puts in perspective a number of relevant concepts, e.g., cherry picking, publication bias, the holistic approach, and other arguments used to examine claims for various treatment modalities. It is a long read but very pertinent.

http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2007/11/08/its-evidence-jim-but-not-as-we-know-it/

In the event the website above is inactive, the text is reproduced below.

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Big Pharma creates “new” diseases?

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A major criticism of large Pharmaceutical companies is that in search of new markets for their products, they may “create” new medical “conditions” – conditions that the drug was not initially intended for. 

In this thought-provoking article from AlterNet, headed “Do You Have Excessive Sleepiness? Shift Work Sleep Disorder? Big Pharma Hopes So”, the introductory paragraph reads:

“Do you work in customer service? Health care? The restaurant industry? You might be suffering from shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) says a new ad campaign from Frazer, PA-based Cephalon who makes the Schedule IV stimulants Provigil and Nuvigil.  One out of four people working nontraditional schedules suffers from this hitherto unrecognized epidemic say radio ads which broke this week in Chicago.”

The article continues here: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/05/07/do-you-have-excessive-sleepiness-shift-work-sleep-disorder-pharma-hopes-so/ 

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