Over the past decade or so, there have been at least 20 prescription drugs removed from the market, including several cases of high-profile blockbuster drugs that were found to be harmful only after millions of patients had taken them. Vioxx, the pain reliever sold by Merck is one example; taken by an estimated 20 million Americans, it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke in some patients. The company ...

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Never in recorded history have Americans been more distrustful of how the U.S. government spends its money.  According to Gallup poll, Americans on average say that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, the highest level ever recorded since the poll was first taken in 1979.  DTC marketers should understand that this mistrust is also leading to mistrust of marketing and advertising as well as big ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 60-year-old man with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension visits the office to establish medical care. He reports monitoring his blood pressure and blood glucose measurements at home with good results. He had a cholesterol panel checked approximately 5 years ago, at which time ...

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I see this as a glass half-full, glass half-empty issue. Recently, a study was published in Pediatrics detailing research conducted in May of 2010 about parents’ preferences to use alternative vaccination schedules versus following the recommended CDC vaccination schedule. The majority of the media coverage focused on the finding that over 10% of parents followed a schedule other than the one recommended by the CDC. Not perfect and not ...

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As the clock ticks away on Primatene Mist, the only over-the-counter asthma inhaler left on the market, it is being ginned up as an argument against regulatory overreach by the Obama administration. I have been observing the Primatene controversy for decades as an asthma specialist. I have to say that there’s blame enough on many sides of this discussion, not just pro and con government regulation, but both the pharmaceutical ...

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Being a physician certainly biases how I view the world around me. I can't help but think in terms of problem solving and healing. But have you noticed how medicalized our society has become? The other night watching television, we watched at least four drug commercials and one health insurance commercial -- during a half hour show! I believe we are in the middle of the medicalization of America, and ...

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Always covered by an employer health plan, I had never given a thought to prescription costs – my medications had been covered by moderate copays. This changed when I retired and enrolled in Medicare (and a Medicare Part D plan). Just prior to retirement, my eyes suddenly began tear and swell so much that it impacted my vision. The eye doctor diagnosed an allergic reaction and prescribed prednisone drops to ...

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Large American pharmaceutical companies must decide which end of the drug development / delivery to patent pipeline they wish the American taxpayer to subsidize. They cannot have it both ways. First, let me say that there has been a free-for all demonization of the drug companies or the more pernicious appellation Big Pharma. Large pharmaceutical companies provide jobs, support community services and charities. They provide the drugs and treatments that ...

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Here is an interesting survey from Quintiles, the large clinical outsourcing company, on how different groups perceive the value of new drugs. The first problem is that not everyone can agree on what's valuable. Surveying managed-care people and physicians, the number one factor mentioned is cost. Biopharma respondents mentioned cost, but were more weighted toward outcomes (which, for example, was a factor in only 10% of the physician responses). Patients ... ...

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In general I support embargoes in medical journalism. Although the current system is far from perfect and contains all sorts of wrinkles and unexpected consequences, I support the system because it allows journalists a bit more time to work on complicated stories and to try to get them right. Recently, though, I came across the single worst abuse of an embargo that I have encountered in the course of my ...

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