by Arnon Krongrad, MD The noose was loose on its neck. At first I worried, but then I relaxed. This was a bottle of pomegranate juice, the antioxidant superpower. As the billboard implied, it could cheat death. Perhaps if I consumed pomegranate juice, I could cheat death. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission charged POM Wonderful, LLC, makers of pomegranate products, with deceptive advertising. What ...

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by Gary Puckrein, PhD Unapproved drugs have never been tested by the Food and Drugs Administration for safety and efficacy. Prescribed by the million every year in the United States, these products pose a potential danger to all patients, but HIV/AIDS patients who suffer weakened immune systems are at an even higher risk as they are more vulnerable to injury due to their disease. That's why we ...

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Just in case you thought the problems with abuse of powerful prescription drugs have been overstated, here's a wake-up call.

The CDC's Director is taking this very seriously, saying: "Overdose with prescription drugs is one of the most serious and fastest-growing problems in this country." The problem is showing up in a doubling of emergency room admissions due to prescription drug abuse, driven primarily by oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone. Narcotic use ...

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Responses to the Avandia panel have been all over the map, as cleverly noted on the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog. Avandia is “dead” (Forbes), or, perhaps worse, “now a Zombie” (BNET). By contrast, others thought the panel granted Avandia a “reprieve” (Wall Street Journal and that Avandia would now probably be allowed to stay on the market (Los Angeles Times, Pharmalot). All these views are ...

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An excerpt from White Coat, Black Hat. by Carl Elliott These days many thought leaders find themselves on shaky ground. The past few years have not been good for business. Some of the most prominent thought leaders have been exposed and censured by Grassley. Others have seen public opinion turning against them and gone underground. As more states institute Sunshine laws, anyone considering an industry ...

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An excerpt from Unhinged: The trouble with psychiatry- a doctor’s revelations about a profession in crisis. Copyright © 2010 Daniel Carlat. Excerpted with permission by Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. My own education in pharmaceutical marketing began during my second year of residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Suddenly, I noticed that Paxil bagels began appearing everywhere. I first saw them in the break room of the ...

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One of the topics that I have often thought about (especially in light of our seeming inability to develop zero-risk obesity drugs) is the problem of averages. Our entire medical philosophy of “evidence-based” medicine seems built on the “Gaussian” assumption that averages can reflect the true benefit (or risk) of a drug, when in real life (or medical practice) there is no such thing as the truly average patient. Clearly, a ...

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It just shouldn’t be hard to get a refill on the medicines I’m taking:

  • phone the pharmacy to refill prescriptions
  • show up the next day to pick up refills
  • pay
Simple, right? Note that this is about my old pharmacy, not the new one.  For quite a while the pharmacy had been having difficulties, which is why I never trust the pharmacy.  Between the distance and the frustrations I had dealing with them, ...

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Should the public be shielded from medical information that can mislead it? Many argue against direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, which is omnipresent in print and on the airwaves. Opponents of this practice argue that it promotes the use of expensive medications when patients ask their doctors if the "drug is right for them," the tag line that appears at the end of every ad. This phrase is the drug company’s limp disclaimer ...

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I have a lot of diabetes patients and have been an avid user of the thiazolidinediones (TZD) class. There are many reasons to like the TZD's:

  • The older, generic medicines like metformin and sulfonylureas are known to fail over time. After 3 years, most patients on one of these drugs lose control of their blood sugar. In contrast, patients on TZD's maintain glycemic control (at least up to 4-5 years which ...

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