I've previously written that direct to consumer drug advertising should be banned, similar to the rest of the world, except for New Zealand. The main reason reason is that many of the advertised products are for expensive, brand name drugs that have little advantage over their generic counterparts. In a New York Times' Room for Debate post on the issue, various viewpoints are presented. I find myself agreeing with internist ...

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Ghostwritten clinical papers. Off-label marketing. Channel-stuffing. Hiding of negative data. Pharma companies have earned a hefty percentage of the opprobrium heaped on them by a skeptical public. And it's mainly because of a failure to heed the Golden Rule. We all know the "classical" Golden Rule: Treat others the way you’d wish to be treated. But in so many cases, drug manufacturers seem to adhere to a different version: the Gold-in ...

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The WSJ Health Blog wrote that Merck is considering selling their asthma medication Singulair over the counter. It's Merck's best-selling drug, with revenues in excess of $1.3 billion. But internist Matthew Mintz has some reservations about the proposal. His issue is that Singulair merely treats the symptoms, rather than the problem that can exacerbate asthma:

Singulair works in the same way that antihistamines work: by treating the symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids ...

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Things are looking increasingly bleak for Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's personal physician. Reports are circulating that the powerful anesthetic propofol, also known by its trade name Diprivan, was found in the singer's body. According to ABCNews, "the autopsy of Michael Jackson found the powerful anesthetic propofol, as well as several prescription drugs, in his system, and law enforcement sources ...

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When it comes to opiate drugs, like morphine, there is a bitter debate between patients who are in chronic pain, and the doctors who are vilified for under or over-prescribing these medications. But there are some other subtle influences that push doctors to prescribe these drugs, in some cases inappropriately. An ER physician talks about the issue, saying, "when dealing with a patient who is in pain, or appears to ...

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The recent RECORD trial did not associate the diabetes drug Avandia with cardiovascular events. Internist Matthew Mintz, a staunch defender of the drug, argues that because of the scare, "over 100,000 type 2 diabetic patients [needed] insulin, which could have been avoided." Who's to blame? Dr. Mintz blames cardiologist Steven Nissen, whose questionable meta-analysis started the debacle, and The New England Journal of Medicine for fanning the flames. He ...

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Patients who are addicted to narcotic painkillers reveal methods to try and receive more drugs from an emergency room. In the interview, the patient admits calling 911 and feigning chest pain. Why?

What the caller, and only the caller, knows is that his chest is not throbbing in pain. Actually, his chest is fine. What he has done is just reserve his personal medical limousine for transport to the head of ...

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Zicam is becoming an example of the dangers of mass-marketing unproven homeopathic remedies. As MedPage Today reports, the FDA has warned patients to stop using Zicam, as the product can lead to anosmia, or loss of the sense of smell. This isn't a new claim, since, "In 2006, the company paid $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits brought by consumers who claimed the zinc nasal gel adversely affected their sense of ...

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Popular smoking cessation drugs Chantix and Zyban received black box warnings from the FDA, the strongest of its kind. Chantix, in particular, is quite effective in helping patients to quit smoking, but has been dogged by instances of increased suicidality, especially in those already having a psychiatric diagnosis. As this report in MedPage Today states, "Reports of behavioral changes, depressed mood, agitation, ...

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As predicted, the details surrounding the singer's death continue to get more bizarre. Recent reports have stated that the powerful anesthetic Diprivan, generically known as propofol, was found in the singer's house. Apparently, according to a nurse, Jackson "was begging for the powerful sedative to help him get over insomnia." There are zero circumstances where propofol should ever be used for ...

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