Health News Review
  • Feb 24 2014

    Bohemian Polypharmacy – latest in clever YouTube video series

    I don’t know how James McCormack, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia, finds time to produce these videos, but I’m a big fan.  His latest is “Bohemian Polypharmacy” – a parody of Queen’s classic song “Bohemian Rhapsody” – a song all about polypharmacy – taking more medicines than are clinically indicated. [...]

    2 Comments
  • Feb 6 2014

    Journalism via news release as Pfizer gets free publicity without releasing any data

    This week, Pfizer announced news from a trial of a drug for advanced breast cancer. The Pfizer news release stated “that the randomized Phase 2 trial [PALOMA-1] of palbociclib achieved its primary endpoint by demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for the combination of palbociclib and letrozole compared with [...]

    5 Comments
  • Dec 19 2013

    PBS NewsHour debate on Glaxo drug marketing announcement was almost waste of time

    GlaxoSmithKline announced this week that it would begin the “process to end direct payments to healthcare professionals for speaking engagements or attendance at medical conferences by start of 2016″ and that it would stop paying drug reps based on the number of prescriptions that doctors write. The announcement got a lot of news coverage. Disappointing [...]

    No Comments
  • Sep 30 2013

    Over half of drug ad claims potentially misleading

    “Content Analysis of False and Misleading Claims in Television Advertising for Prescription and Nonprescription Drugs,” is the title of a paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. In the eyes of coders in this analysis, 57% of major claims in TV drug ads were potentially misleading. But the researchers broke down different shades of [...]

    No Comments
  • Sep 12 2013

    Petition: drug safety data are not trade secrets

    The organization called RxISK has posted a petition on Change.org urging two drug companies to release all patient safety data from their drug research. Contents of the petition: “Drug companies maximize the sales of new drugs by hyping their benefits while downplaying significant risks. In 2010 the European Medicines Agency began releasing patient-level data from [...]

    No Comments
  • Jul 12 2013

    Docs could probably sleep through this and still earn $200

    There’s nothing terribly new or surprising about the kind of email invitation to doctors that we came across today. We simply present it as an opportunity for the general public to get a glimpse of how some of their doctors may be “educated” about new drugs. Register for a 90-minute webinar about a sleep drug [...]

    No Comments
  • Jul 12 2013

    “Our medical schools must not become shills for big pharma”

    A commentary in the Globe and Mail today, “Our medical schools must not become shills for big pharma,” begins: “Most Canadians might be surprised to learn that medical students in Canada are routinely taught by faculty who have financial ties, and work in partnership, with drug companies. Conflict of interest (COI) policies at medical schools [...]

    No Comments
  • Jul 10 2013

    Some skeptical views of NYT front page “race for cholesterol drug” story

    A front-page story in the New York Times today, “Rare Mutation Ignites Race for Cholesterol Drug,” is worthy of further exploration. Any time the NYT puts a health/medical/science story on the front page, it probably warrants further exploration.   But I don’t think NYT front-page placement automatically warrants further front-page pickup by media across the [...]

    8 Comments
  • May 28 2013

    Waste & Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension: overtreatment, industry influence

    Dr. Iona Heath, a retired general practitioner and member of the UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners, writes in JAMA Internal Medicine‘s “Less Is More” column about “Waste and Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension.” (subscription required for access to full text) This is a topic that receives very little attention. After all, who [...]

    4 Comments
  • May 21 2013

    Warnings about drug company-funded mental health websites

    A paper by New Zealand researchers published in the journal, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (subscription required for full text access*), summarizes a literature review and meta-analysis of drug company–funded mental health websites. The analysis compared mental websites funded by drug companies with those not funded by pharma.  It concludes: Practitioners are encouraged to inform patients about [...]

    3 Comments