Health News Review
  • Nov 14 2012

    “Softening the beaches before amphibious assault with a new drug”

    On Twitter, that’s how Alan Cassels – drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria, British Columbia – referred to the Wall Street Journal’s reporting in this column, “Emerging Type of Heartburn Defies Drugs, Diagnosis.” And I see what he means. First, the column sets you up with the numbers game: Some 44% of Americans [...]

  • Oct 31 2012

    More Pfizer Pfun

    The Alt_Mentalities website published a piece, “Lemons into Lemonade: How an off-label marketing fine can be good for business,” tracking Pfizer’s journey through fines for off-label marketing of Neurontin and, later, for Lyrica and other drugs. Punchline question in the piece: “Was taking the hit for off-label marketing in 2004 all part of a plan to boost [...]

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  • Oct 31 2012

    BMJ pushes Roche for raw data on Tamiflu trials

    BMJ journal editor Fiona Godlee this week published an open letter to Roche, makers of the flu drug Tamiflu. Background provided by BMJ: Roche promised in 2009 to release full reports from clinical trials of oseltamivir in response to an investigation by the BMJ and the Cochrane Collaboration. In this open letter to John Bell, [...]

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  • Jul 17 2012

    Pill progress: what are the odds a drug makes it to market?

    The following is a guest post by Chad Parmet, a Research Associate with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.  Chad gathers, evaluates and summarizes current medical research in support of new or revised Shared Decision-Making® programs. Before joining the Foundation, he worked as a medical writer. He holds a BA in physics from the University of [...]

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  • Jul 5 2012 dismantles drug company news release “fibs”

    Adam Feuerstein of publishes a lesson for journalists and the public about evaluating claims in pharma/biotech news releases.  In “How To Tell When a Drug Company Fibs About Clinical Trial Results,” he writes: Osiris Therapeutics “disappeared” important data when the company announced results Monday from a mid-stage study of its stem cell therapy Prochymal [...]

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  • Jul 5 2012

    Dr. Drew, sex advice, big $ and antidepressants

    Amidst the broader issues coming out about drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline “as the U.S. Justice Department announced a $3 billion criminal and civil settlement with Glaxo over illegal drug marketing and other matters,” the Wall Street Journal reports: In June 1999, popular radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky used the airwaves to extol the virtues of GlaxoSmithKline’s antidepressant Wellbutrin, telling [...]

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  • Jun 27 2012

    The saga of the chocolate shoes and the MA drug company gift ban

    Sounds like a children’s bedtime story, doesn’t it? WBZ-TV in Boston reports, “Time To Reverse Pharmaceutical Gift Ban?” Excerpt: Supporters say a gift ban was needed to change a too-cozy relationship between drug companies and doctors. But critics say it’s costing the Massachusetts economy millions. … “It is costing our state tens of millions of [...]

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  • Jun 12 2012

    When Practitioners Harm More Than Heal

    “Missing The Target: When Practitioners Harm More Than Heal” is the title of a two-day conference in Washington this week (June 14-15) hosted by at Georgetown.  This is their third annual conference – this one focusing on how patient harms may result from industry promotions. The full agenda and abstracts are now available online. [...]

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  • May 31 2012

    Medical research ethics whistleblower Nancy Olivieri honored again

    One of the saddest stories about drug company influence on clinical trials and on the integrity of research is the story of Dr. Nancy Olivieri. In 2009, the American Association for the Advancement of Science gave her its award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. AAAS wrote, at the time: In 1997, while conducting a clinical [...]

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  • May 16 2012

    The marketing of anemia drugs – a story we shouldn’t forget

    In an opinion piece on, Daniel W. Coyne writes, “Amgen’s incomplete report on an early major trial of epoetin misled the medical community about the anemia drug’s risks and benefits—and helped make Amgen rich.” In the book, “How We Do Harm,” Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, [...]

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