With the decline in network television viewership, sponsorship dollars become more important.

Showtime, the premium cable network, recently canceled a Tim Robbins pilot (via Schwitzer), a show that took a "scathing look at the pharmaceutical drug industry, focusing on a dysfunctional family behind a major drug concern."

It was considered a shoo-in to be on the schedule, so the move came as a surprise.

Showtime's owner ...

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The recession is forcing people to look for ways to cut their health care costs.

One unfortunate method is bypassing physician visits and prescription medications in favor less expensive vitamins and supplements.

According to the NY Times, here's a typical example: "In flusher times, Ms. Parham said, she spent $50 a month on prescriptions for her asthma, allergies and other chronic problems. Now, she pays $6 a ...

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One piece of big news out of the recent American College of Cardiology meetings was a "proof of concept" study involving a cardiovascular polypill.

Made up of five cheap, generic medications - aspirin, a statin, a beta-blocker, diruetic, and ace-inhibitor - the pill was shown to be well tolerated and reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol.

Which is exactly what this 5-in-1 pill should do.

That ...

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The first company that comes up with a effective drug for obesity is bound to make billions.

Prior failures notwithstanding, a trio of small pharmaceutical companies are trying to come up with the next great obesity pill. That means clinical studies are ongoing.

So, what's it like to participate in such a trial? Ed Susman, a contributing writer at MedPage Today, was involved in one, ...

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Representatives from drug companies are undergoing some hard times, as physicians increasingly are closing their doors to them, or seeing them only via an appointment.

Subsequently, the number of drug reps is predicted to fall from about 102,000 at its peak in 2007, to 75,000 by 2012.

There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that more doctors simply don't trust the information that's presented, ...

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Beginning this year, inhaled beta-agonist asthma medications had to switch to a more environmentally friendly form.

MedPage Today has a special report on the issue, one where most primary care doctors were not well educated on.

Apparently, the new inhalers, which use hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) as a propellant, have been attracting a litany of patient complaints, including that the medicine tastes funny, the propellant isn't as strong, it's less ...

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You may have heard the story of anesthesiologist Scott Reuben, who allegedly fabricated the results of 21 medical studies.

Orac, over at his blog Respectful Insolence, provides some perspective of the issue, saying, "Dr. Reuben's fraud appears to eclipse even that of Andrew Wakefield [the disgraced researcher who wrongly linked autism to the MMR vaccine]."

Apparently, the pressure for academic physicians to generate results is intense, often with ...

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So, while watching Lost the other night, I saw an add for a local grocery chain advertising free antibiotics.

Apparently, it's a nationwide promotion, with multiple chains using antibiotics as a "loss leader" to bring people into their stores.

Well, it has now gotten the attention of both the CDC and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, with latter organization writing, "If you give antibiotics ...

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In the staid world of drug research, this is about as scandalous as it gets.

The antipsychotic drug quetiapine, or Seroquel, is coming under fire. As MedPage Today reports, damning e-mails from the past are resurfacing, implicating the drug maker for "burying" studies linking the drug to weight gain and diabetes.

But here's where it gets juicy.

AstraZeneca's former US medical director has admitted prior sexual ...

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Op-ed: Pads, pens, prescriptions

The following op-ed was published on February 26, 2009 in the USA Today. Have you ever noticed the pens, coffee mugs and prescription pads at your doctor's office? Chances are, they were prominently adorned with the brand name of the prescription drug its company is touting. The pharmaceutical industry has been giving these types of small gifts to doctors for years, in hopes of raising physician awareness of ...

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