An excerpt from White Coat, Black Hat. by Carl Elliott Many of us have a relatively simple, commonsense view of the way that drug development and marketing work. People get diseases; scientists develop drugs to treat those diseases; and marketers sell the drugs by showing that the drugs work better than their competitors. Sometimes, however, this pattern works in reverse. Drug company scientists develop a drug ...

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An excerpt from Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit. by Robert Goldberg, PhD From the beginning, there were two problems with the connection between thimerosal and autism. The first problem with was that thimerosal, while about half mercury, contains ethyl mercury, for which there were no exposure guidelines. So the scientists used the ones for methyl mercury. However, the ethyl mercury ...

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Many people are already aware that marijuana is now legal in some states in the US with a medical prescription. What many people may not realize is that cocaine is also used in medical care, especially in the ENT world. Cocaine is one of the most potent anesthetic and vasoconstrictor. These two characteristics make it an ideal medication for use during sinus surgery as well as any nasal procedure where bleeding and ...

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Hold onto your hats. I am about to enter dangerous territory. I am about to suggest maybe doctors should profit from dispensing medications from their office to offset declining reimbursements and rising expenses by using prescriptions as a source of ancillary revenues. Why dangerous?  For a number of reasons. One, physicians still grapple with the perception that it is improper for a physician to make money from ...

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In 2003 in the BMJ, Wald and Law and a supporting editorial by then editor Richard Smith, proposed that 80% of heart attacks and strokes could be prevented by widespread use of a six drug polypill. The six ingredients were a statin, three low-dose antihypertensives (a thiazide, an ACE inhibitor and a beta blocker), folic acid, and aspirin. Although there was a lot of derision at that time and there has ...

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Most parents and all pediatricians are aware of the 1998 study published in The Lancet by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that mentioned a causal link between measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and the increased incidence of childhood  autism.  It shook the medical community and created an international movement of parents questioning the extensive combination of immunizations that are given to children.  Could these immunizations be the cause of the increase in ...

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by John Horton When the FDA was created in 1906, not even Nostradamus could have predicted the medical advances that would come to extend and improve our lives: childhood vaccines, insulin, and the use of lasers in surgery were all unimaginable a century ago. While many future advances are beyond our imaginations’ reach, it seems certain that the advances in biologics -- medicines made from living organisms -- will stand out as ...

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There is a lot of press about a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine that shows that adding tiotropium (Spiriva) to an inhaled steroid might have benefit in asthmatic patients. This study is creating a lot of buzz due to recent concerns of ICS/LABA safety and might prompt doctors and patients to start switching (some already have before this study came out). However, this ...

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Part 3 of a series.  Please read part 1, DTC advertising, and its history with the FDA, and part 2, Economic and commercial impact of DTC advertising. In the first two parts of this article, we explored the historical and legal contexts of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, the effects of these ads on prescribing behavior, and the economic incentives to advertise. In this final installment, we will examine what ...

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New medicines are like new fashions in clothing. They are introduced with great fanfare. Most turn out to seem fairly ordinary after a few years. Some are quickly forgotten or discarded and make us say: “What was I thinking?” Evaluating a new drug is difficult, for the pharmaceutical and scientific communities as well as for us clinicians. It often takes years of general use before a drug can really prove its ...

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