You Are Being Big Pharma’d

Friday, December 25, 2009
Posted in category Big Pharma

More Big Pharma antics over at Pharmaceutical Daily – otherwise called the Wall Street Journal. First, there’s a story about Merck & Co’s cholesterol drugs, Vytorin and Zetia, which are, like all of these potent prescription drugs, making people sicker and/or killing them. The FDA had reviewed clinical trials that showed an increased risk of cancer and deaths from cancer in patients taking Vytorin, and came to this conclusion:

“Based on the currently available information, FDA believes it is unlikely that Vytorin or Zetia increase the risk of cancer or cancer-related death, but at this time an association cannot be definitively ruled out,” the agency said in a posting on its Web site Tuesday.

Vytorin is a single-tablet combination of the drugs simvastatin and Zetia, which are both touted as cholesterol lowering drugs. Of course, these drugs are always claimed to lower “bad cholesterol,” which should be a pretty hilarious claim to anyone with a drop of common sense. These powerful drugs lower total cholesterol, which is why so many people who stay on them suffer bizarre and serious consequences in the long term. Side effects of Vytorin are inflammation, joint pain, muscle pain, memory loss and depression (thanks to the lowering of cholesterol), headaches, weakness, and liver problems.  ***

The second story of note is Pharmaceutical Daily‘s brief story on Cephalon, an international biopharmaceutical company. Cephalon has applied for approval for its new drug Nuvigil, which it claims reduces the effects of jet lag. Yes, jet lag. That irreversible, painful, and sometimes deadly disease that needs an immediate cure, otherwise we will all live nasty, brutish, and short lives. Indeed, jet lag can be very counter-productive and unpleasant, but it’s not the end of the world, and in fact there is much you can do to minimize its effects without submitting to another phony wonder drug that works against all of your body’s natural instincts. Once again, I will follow the money. From the story:

Nuvigil and another Cephalon drug, Provigil, are both approved to “improve wakefulness” in people with certain sleep problems. The drugs work in a similar way, though Nuvigil has longer-lasting effects. Cephalon has been raising the price of Provigil — which could face generic competition in 2012 — in what looks like an effort to get people to switch to Nuvigil, which has patent protection through 2023.

So Cephalon is pulling a fast one. The game is to get people using its most profitable drugs – those which are under patent protection and thus can be overpriced and bring forth huge revenues and substantial margins.


*** On a related note, you may want to read Duane Graveline’s book Lipitor: Thief of MemoryDuane is an MD and a former USAF flight surgeon and NASA astronaut who has offered great contributions to the statin debate and links to some fantastic material from members of the medical community who belong to the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics.

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2 Responses to You Are Being Big Pharma’d

  1. Shannon says:

    December 27th, 2009 at 1:34 am

    It amazes me how many people buy into the propaganda of the latest wonder drugs, when it is proven that the older, cheaper drugs work just as well. This has been found in drugs for diabetes and hypertension. Of course, lifestyle changes always help, but Big Pharma is in no hurry endorse treatments that are cost-effective.

  2. MoT says:

    December 27th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    People are nothing more than guinea pigs to be tested upon with the blessings of the FDA. I wouldn’t trust them and their Fed enablers. There are many alternatives that require no drugs whatsoever and will keep you healthy and, best of all, alive! But, as we all know, there is no MONEY in pushing for natural alternatives. On the pharma note I have to say that I can’t stand any of their ads, especially on TeeVee, because it seems ninety per cent of it consists of someone motor mouthing about all the side effects! If that’s the case then why would anyone trust them.

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