Medicine Fueled by Marketing Intensified Trouble for Pain Pills
"Pfizer spent almost $71.2 million on Celebrex, up about 55 percent from almost $46.1 million spent in the same period a year ago, according to data from the research firm TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. The effect of such advertising, many doctors say, was to drive to consumer demand for COX-2 drugs far beyond the bulk of those patients who really ...

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A different slant on pharmaceutical advertising from this month's (the last free issue by the way) BMJ - Killing me softly: myth in pharmaceutical advertising.



Above is an advertisement for Aprovel, an angiotensin-receptor blocker anti-hypertensive, from a medical journal in the UK. The BMJ dissects this ad, discussing the subtle use of myth in pharmaceutical advertising in medical journals:
This image transports the (UK) reader to ...

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Can the human eye detect an offside position during a football match?
"To apply the offside rule correctly in a football game, the referee must be able to keep in his visual field at least five objects at the same time"”two players of the attacking team, the last two players of the defending team, and the ball.

This is beyond the capacity of the human eye, which may ...

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Health Canada warns about use of pain killer Celebrex due to heart risk
"Health Canada has pulled authorization of pain relief drug Celebrex for the treatment of a rare genetic disease, following 'new information' linking the drug to an increased risk of heart attack."

Blogging from Canada continues. The recommended dose for Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) - the disease mentioned in the article - is 400 mg twice ...

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False-Positive Cancer Screening Results Costly
"Screening for cancer quite often produces a false-positive result, and this can lead to costly -- and ultimately unnecessary -- follow-up testing, according to a new report."

Some press given to the fact that indiscriminate cancer screening has its downside. That is why the evidence is so important.

The Fallout From Celebrex
Discussing the legal ramifications from today's Celebrex news.

Celebrex, Vioxx Scandals Prompt AIDS Group to Call for Ban on Consumer Drug Advertising
The only positive I see from the COX-2 debacles is that it will force the public to be skeptical of DTC marketing, hopefully the first step in eliminating them altogether. Anytime a patient comes in demanding a medication they see on TV, I'll simply respond by bringing up these Vioxx and Celebrex DTC marketing-fueled ...

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FDA Statement on the Halting of a Clinical Trial of the Cox-2 Inhibitor Celebrex
"While we have not seen all available data on Celebrex, these findings are similar to recent results from a study of Vioxx (rofecoxib), another drug in the same class as Celebrex. Vioxx was recently voluntarily withdrawn by Merck. Another drug in this class, Bextra (valdecoxib) has shown an increased risk for CV events in patients after ...

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As you have heard, Pfizer disclosed a connection between Celebrex and major heart problems:

The studies were conducted for Pfizer by the National Cancer Institute. In one [the APC cancer trial -ed], patients taking 400 mg to 800 milligrams of the drug daily were found to have a risk of experiencing major heart problems that was 2.5 times greater than people who were not taking the drug. ...

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With New Sleeping Pill, New Acceptability?
Get ready for the next big thing, a pill for insomnia designed for long-term use. This is a huge market that the pharmaceuticals would love to further exploit, since when one starts on sleeping pills, they are unable or unwilling to stop (think PPIs for GERD). Of course, the big marketing push is coming:

Sepracor, a still unprofitable company based in Marlborough, Mass., ...

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Canadian Officials Disagree on Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
Canadablogging continues! The province of Manitoba is where many of the internet pharmacies are based, and they are at odds with the Canadian health minister, who wants to "crackdown" on the entire industry.

Incidentally, why are many of the internet drug stores based in Manitoba? I wondered the same thing. Here is what I found:

Some of the ...

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Internet threatens drug price controls
". . . the current price regime is threatened by a 'Canada-only' bill now before Congress that would allow Americans to purchase drugs via Internet from Canada but not from other countries.

If such legislation were passed, Canada would be overwhelmed by drug buying from the United States, he said. The system that keeps Canadian drug prices 40 per cent below U.S. prices might ...

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Ontario plans tough new anti-smoking laws
"Ontario has introduced the toughest anti-smoking legislation in Canada, prompting anger among smokers, who will be forced to butt out virtually everywhere except in their own homes, or outside in the cold."

I'm in Canada for the next little while, so blogging will have a Canadian flavour. Regarding the new Ontario anti-smoking laws - kudos I say.

Blog Fodder
isemmelweis (newly added to the Blogroll) gives us a daily roundup of interesting links from the medical blogs. Kind of a "Grand Rounds Lite". Keep up the good work.

States Weigh Med-Mal Courts
"As debate over 'tort reform' continues across the United States, several states are considering the creation of medical malpractice courts to help streamline what many view as costly, complex litigation."

This would be a huge step forward, and probably would have a more significant impact than non-economic caps (via PointofLaw).

An interesting case courtesy of this week's NEJM:

A 66-year-old man presented with a two-year history of fatigue, paresthesia of the legs and feet, weight loss, and shoulder enlargement, with limitation of movement. On physical examination, periorbital ecchymoses (the "raccoon" sign) and infiltration of the periarticular tissues of the shoulders were found.
A biopsy specimen of abdominal fat that was stained with Congo red was positive ...

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Are caps the answer to the malpractice crisis?
A physician and a lawyer debate the pros and cons.

Weis suit against doctors who performed stomach stapling moves ahead
Charlie Weis is the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots and future head coach of the Notre Dame football team. He had the surgery because obese people don't get hired for head coaching jobs.

Unfortunately, there were complications from the procedure and he was in a coma for two weeks.

A medical malpractice ...

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A Puzzling Blood Pressure Drug Finding
"A study of recommended blood pressure drugs has produced a result even the researchers find hard to explain: Adding a calcium channel blocker to a diuretic was associated with an increase in deaths but not an increase in incidence of stroke or coronary events such as heart attacks."

I'm not sure why JAMA keeps publishing these second-tier observational studies. All they do is ...

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Ducks, Gills, Syphilis, and the Homunculus: The Tangled Bank #18
CodeBlueBlog hosts this biweekly sampler of science, medicine, and natural history blogs.

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