Sunday, July 18, 2010

Big Pharma Makes Another Killing

Activist Post

The latest outrage against the health of humanity is the paltry fine levied against GlaxoSmithKline by our protectors, the Food and Drug Administration.  The drug, Avandia, which was cited in 2007 as a potential danger, has indeed become one at the rate of around 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure per month.  The fine of $2.1 billion after taxes -- which may seem large to most -- is less than a third of Glaxo's annual profit.

Avandia was not banned; by a 20-12 decision it can continue to be sold to the very same segment of the population that it is likely to continue harming. The fine is nothing compared to the continued profits that will result from the FDA's current refusal to pull this killer drug off the market.

Wall Street Journal opinion piece rejoiced and investors cheered over the decision, while the New York Times reported:
Investors cheered the news, though, as stock analysts said the action by the Federal Drug Administration was better than expected and the $2.1 billion charge set a likely ceiling on the company’s legal liabilities.
The stock rose late Wednesday after the advisory committee voted, and again Thursday after the announcement of the charge for legal issues. The stock ended the day up 2.3 percent, to $37.21 in a market that declined slightly overall and rose slightly in most other pharmaceutical stocks. Since a low point on Wednesday afternoon before the F.D.A. vote, GlaxoSmithKline stock has risen nearly 5 percent.
Investors are delighted that, assuming the F.D.A. opts only for a stronger warning, Avandia will remain on the market, Jeremy Batstone-Carr, a pharmaceutical sector analyst at Charles Stanley & Company in London, said. 

The FDA has a history of choosing the profits of Big Pharma over the safety of the American people.  But, hey, it's a multi-trillion-dollar business.  That's a very long gravy train.  It is a gravy train that is long enough to allow for more deaths from conventional medicine than from terrorism and illegal drugs combined.  Here is a small list of of the toll:
  • Pain killers: 16,000 plus per year, and rising by double-digit percentages.  This doesn't include the scandal of Vioxx that caused between 25,000 and 50,000 deaths alone.
  • Antidepressants: The most frequently prescribed class of drugs; 60,000 prescriptions written every hour.  Millions of adverse reactions.  Hundreds of thousands of deaths.
  • Stimulants: 2.5 million children receive stimulants to treat ADHD.  The most popular is Ritalin -- linked to a 500% increase in sudden death among children.
  • Over-the-counter drugs: Acetaminophen in medications such as Tylenol can be highly toxic, resulting in the #1 cause of liver and kidney damage.  Cough and cold medications have been linked to an increase in infant deaths, as well as abuse by teens -- on par with marijuana use, but far more damaging.
Now, here is a list of the dangerous drugs actually banned by the FDA, called vitamins and supplements by health-oriented people:
  • Ephedra: An herbal stimulant linked to a handful of deaths.  Although Ephedra is natural, it was banned, while the mass-produced, chemical version known as Sudafed is sold legally in pharmacies.
  • Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxaimine): Naturally occurring in fish and chicken.
  • Raw foods: Apparently raw almonds are a risk to Americans.  They have been made illegal by the FDA, despite much evidence to suggest they are effective in preventing cancer. A government war on raw milk has been declared, despite a several-thousand-year history of sound nutrition.  Pasteurization leads to dead food (but a long shelf-life), which is the name of the game in a consumer-driven world.
This story is so similar to the recent SEC hand slap of Goldman Sachs, that both the Goldman Sachs stock price and Glaxo's stock price rose by the exact same five percent.  How could it be that oversight committees supposedly created to protect us have ruled consistently in favor of criminals and killers?  The same continues to be true of the nightmare in the Gulf that is being exacerbated by another Federal oversight agency, the EPA, which continues to lie about air quality, and allow Corexit to alter the environment in a way that even experts can't calculate.

We need to grow up and admit to ourselves that Big Business, and the agencies that protect them, will continue to make a killing for their investors by their manufactured overthrow of the natural world.

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WOLF said...

Pfizer Drug Giant That Makes a Killing from Drugs That Can Kill You
The drug company Pfizer has been associated with a seemingly never-ending series of scandals. Pfizer’s portfolio of disastrous drugs includes, but is not limited to Chantix, Lipitor, Viagra, Geodon, Trovan, Bextra, Celebrex, Lyrica, Zoloft, Halcion, and drugs for osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, kidney transplants, and leukemia.

During one single week this year, Pfizer:
Agreed to pull its leukemia drug Mylotarg from the market because it caused more, rather than fewer, patient deaths
Suspended pediatric trials of Geodon after the FDA said children were being overdosed
Suspended trials of tanezumab, an osteoarthritis pain drug, because patients got worse rather than better
Was investigated for off-label marketing of kidney transplant drug Rapamune
Saw a researcher who helped established its Bextra, Celebrex, and Lyrica as effective pain meds, Scott S Reuben, MD, sent to prison for research fraud
Was sued by Blue Cross Blue Shield to recoup money overpaid for Bextra and other drugs
Had its appeal to end lawsuits by Nigerian families who accuse it of illegal trials of the antibiotic Trovan rejected by the Supreme Court

Nonetheless, according to AlterNet:

“Still, Pfizer's vast product line, its $50 billion a year revenues -- exceeding some states' entire budgets -- and reputation for having the best trained sales reps make it the team to beat for competing salesmen and examples of Pfizer envy dot Cafepharma, the drug industry chatroom considered pharma's washroom wall”.


Activist said...

Great information. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

elisherbal said...


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