MIXING IT UP FOR GOOD HEALTH
By Dee Woods
I’ve always said, we must all accept that there are times in life when we may need an antibiotic, blood pressure medications or other absolutely necessary prescription drugs.
Having said that, you won’t believe what didn’t get big news coverage in the last several weeks. How about fraud, criminal activity and misrepresentation committed by several major drug companies. It is big news because what happened may affect millions of patients including children.
Drug company GlaxoSmith- Kline (GSK) just pled guilty and paid a $3 billion fine involving criminal and civil cases in which they were accused of marketing the antidepressant Paxil for children without Food and Drug Administration approval, and without warning doctors Paxil could actually exacerbate emotional distress symptoms in young people. There were suicides and suicide attempts by some younger people prescribed the drug.
GSK was also accused of having been aware of the heart risks associated with diabetes drug Avandia, yet failed to notify physicians and patients.
Another of the charges was that Wellbutrin was promoted as a “happy, horny, skinny” drug that can be used for weight loss and sexual dysfunction when, in fact, it was approved only for depression. Even CNN’s Dr. Drew Pinsky claimed Wellbutrin was good for sexual dysfunction. Dr. Drew denied his really off-label promotion of the drug for sexual dysfunction had anything to do with the $275,000 he was paid by GSK. Uh-huh.
Advair, used to treat serious asthma, was also wrongfully promoted for use among patients with mild asthma.
Not lost among the complaints was that the pharmaceuticals overcharged Medicaid and Medicare. Among the other ugly details listed are financial kickbacks, false claims and fabricated studies, ad nauseam.
An equally important story is found in a little noted case brought against Merck, the maker of many childhood vaccines, by former Merck scientists who have stated the mumps vaccine efficacy results were fabricated as far back as 2000.
The actual complaint and the amended complaint was brought by two former Merck virologists who allege they observed tampering with results of the mumps vaccine during testing to bring the mumps vaccine efficacy up to 95 percent as required by the government. One of their charges was that rabbit antibodies were added to the efficacy test, which helped bring the neutralization of the virus up to 95 percent (the virologists explained the antibodies were added only for testing to skew the final results, and not added to the vaccine used by the public). However, the scientists explained the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine distributed to the public was then rendered only partially effective.
Why should one believe the MMR vaccine might have been inadequate to protect children? Check out the numerous cases of vaccinated children coming down with mumps. Government and private researchers concluded there was no “immune escape,” in other words, no mutation to blame for the mumps outbreaks among vaccinated children nationwide. The FDA was not aware of the alleged tampering charges at the time of their report, hence, they suggested revaccination. If authorities insisted on revaccination it may prove to be yet another great moneymaker for pharma.
All in all, the last several weeks have been a downer when it comes to learning about drugs — and how far companies will go to sell them. Hey, $3 billion isn’t a lot when you’re making $70 billion on a drug and no one had to serve prison time.
In case you’re not disgusted enough, you may wish to read the June 13, 2012 editorial in the Wall St. Journal, “ObamaCare’s Secret History: How a Pfizer CEO and Big Pharma colluded with the White House at the public’s expense.”
If you do nothing else to protect yourself, you must ask questions when you are prescribed drugs. You must read the information on your own. It’s important to note that in all of the above cases, most all doctors were also victims of the misrepresentations and deceit.
Ethics? What ethics? Science? What science?