Embracing Neverland

Mental health……………………………………………………………………………..the journey is our own

Pharma

Doctors’ Ties to Drug Makers Are Put on Close View  Minnesota records provide a window on the financial ties between drug companies and the doctors who prescribe their products.

Thailand health minister stands firm against Big Pharma monopolistic profiteering  The health minister of Thailand, Mongkol na Songkhla, has announced that the country will override international drug patents if pharmaceutical companies do not significantly lower their prices to make medications affordable to the country’s poor.

Accidental Deaths Due to Prescription Drugs on the Rise  According to the CDC, deaths resulting from prescription drugs have risen to become the second-largest cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. Such deaths increased by 61 percent in 1999, growing from 4.4 per 100,000 people in that year to 7.1 per 100,000 people in 2004.

U.S regulators require stronger warning labels on some sleeping pills  Several prescription sleeping pills, including the top-sellers Ambien from Sanofi-Aventis and Lunestra from Sepracor, can cause unusual behavior like driving and eating while asleep, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday. The FDA ordered the manufacturers of those drugs and 11 other commonly used sleep medications to issue strong new label warnings about those risks, and to produce brochures about how to use the drugs safely.

Medication-suicide link remains touchy subject  U.S. public health officials, psychiatrists, grieving parents, outraged former patients and others are addressing the most bitterly divisive question in psychiatry: Do the drugs that doctors prescribe to relieve depression make some people more likely to commit suicide? The Food and Drug Administration decided to convene a government panel for the first time since 2004 to consider the question

Seroxat also linked to suicide in adults

Why do Drugmakers Still Defend the Use of Mercury in Their Vaccines?  Health advocates have expressed outrage over a CDC recommendation that pregnant women, infants and children should continue to receive injections of thimerosal-containing flu vaccines, which contain mercury. This recommendation comes despite an Institute of Medicine advisory that mercury-containing vaccines should not be injected into these sensitive populations.

Warning on child heart drug doses 

No such thing as naughty anymore?  badly behaved children are being diagnosed with conditions like ADHD. Latest figures show global use of ADHD drugs has nearly tripled since 1993. In England and Wales alone, prescriptions for the standard treatment, a drug called Ritalin, rocketed from just 4,000 in 1994 to 359,000 in 2004. At least one in 20 schoolchildren – 360,000 in total – is thought to have some degree of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some experts say this is the tip of the iceberg and there are many more children out there going undiagnosed. But what ever happened to sheer naughtiness? Critics argue bad behaviour in children is being over-medicalised, and even that the labels are being used to excuse unruly behaviour. Indeed, the US psychiatrist who identified attention deficit disorder says up to 30% of youngsters classified as suffering from disruptive and hyperactive conditions could have been misdiagnosed.

Kennedy Antibiotic Bill Meets “Resistance” From Big Pharma  The Kennedy Preservation of Antibiotics for Human Treatment bill threatens the high volume, repeat order, prescription free ag drugs that are Big Pharma’s backbone

Man treated with controversial acne drugs kills himself  A young man committed suicide after taking a controversial anti-acne drug which has been linked to depression. Adam Long, 22, an engineer, had been prescribed a course of Roaccutane to treat his acne but later developed schizophrenia. He was referred to a consultant psychiatrist and was treated for his mental illness with a course of anti-psychotic drugs. But in January last year he lay down in front of a train after leaving a text message on his mobile phone for his parents, Sonia and Stephen, which read: ‘I love my mum and dad.’ Roaccutane, which is prescribed to treat particulary severe treat acne and has been used by around 13 million patients worldwide since its introduction in 1982. It has been linked to psychiatric problems and suicides, but makers Roche insist there is no proven relationship between the drug and depression.

Merck loses key US Vioxx lawsuit Merck faces some 7,000 outstanding lawsuits connected to Vioxx, and experts have estimated its potential liabilities in the matter at over $5bn.

Medicating Children: The Risks We are Taking – From Kmareka.com Now when you go online to research a topic such as “bipolar children” you find yourself at websites that claim to be educational but are sponsored by drug companies — a slick new form of marketing guised as public service. Now schools have become major referrers of children into psychiatric care. Now many children in state care are being prescribed dozens of medications in a single year’s time. Unlike a problem such as lead poisoning, there are no tests that can be performed to show what level of serotonin or dopamine is the “right” level for a child, and what level is a toxic and damaging level. So we put it in the hands of doctors and we trust that they know what they are doing when they prescribe a stimulant, and then a sleep agent, and then a mood stabilizer, all for a three or four-year-old. Except, doctors don’t know what they are doing. They are guessing. They are experimenting. As Dr. Joseph Penn of Bradley Hospital points out, “there are almost no studies or published research on which to justify prescribing multiple medications for psychiatric disorders for children.”

Secret MMR fears Katie Stephen was a healthy baby girl when she was injected with the MMR triple vaccine. Ten days later she was vomiting, delirious and running a fever.That was in 1990. Seventeen years later, she is deaf in one ear.

Following the debate over MMR and its alleged link with autism, government documents just released under the Freedom of Information Act show there was another, earlier concern for which there was more evidence and, apparently, more immediate risk. Whitehall experts knew of it before MMR’s mass introduction into Britain, but the public was kept in ignorance.Katie’s symptoms were consistent with those of encephalitis, which can cause brain damage or even death. Her mother Wendy, a former psychiatric nurse, is convinced that the first variant of MMR used in Britain is responsible.

Eli Lilly said to encourage use of pill for unapproved illnesses   Eli Lilly encouraged primary-care physicians to use Zyprexa, a powerful drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in patients who did not have either condition, according to internal Lilly marketing materials.The marketing documents, given to The New York Times by a lawyer representing mentally ill patients, detail a multiyear promotional campaign that Lilly began in Orlando, Florida, in late 2000. In the campaign, “Viva Zyprexa,” Lilly told its sales representatives to suggest that doctors prescribe Zyprexa to older patients with symptoms of dementia. Medication-suicide link remains touchy subject   U.S. public health officials, psychiatrists, grieving parents, outraged former patients and others are addressing the most bitterly divisive question in psychiatry: Do the drugs that doctors prescribe to relieve depression make some people more likely to commit suicide?

Industry Funding Skews Breast Cancer Research   As had previously been shown with “heart, stroke and bone marrow cancer research,” a review by medical researchers found that “breast cancer studies funded by drug companies are more likely to yield positive findings than those without pharmaceutical industry backing.” Researchers at the University of North Carolina “looked at 140 studies published in 2003, 1998 and 1993 in 10 medical journals on breast cancer therapies, nearly half of which were deemed to have had drug company involvement in the form of funding, provision of drugs or participation of a company scientist.” The lead author of the review said it is possible that industry-funded studies “are biased and negative studies are not being published,” but it could also be true that industry-funded research focuses on “safer bets,” or drugs more likely to do well

Weight-Loss Drug Told to Lose the Advertising   The Australian government’s drug regulator has revoked Roche’s permission to advertise its weight-loss drug, Xenical. It was originally approved as a prescription-only drug for those rating over 30 on the Body Mass Index (BMI), or 27 if other health conditions were present. Xenical was later approved for over-the-counter sale, prompting Roche to launch a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign. In December, the Australian Consumer Association sent a woman who was under 25 on the BMI to 30 Sydney pharmacies to request the drug. Twenty-four sold it to her, even though the medical guidelines stated it wasn’t appropriate for her. Subsequently, a committee that advises the Australian government’s drug regulator, found that “there was insufficient public health benefit” from allowing further advertising. However, instead of reinstating Xenical’s status as a prescription drug, the committee allowed continued over-the-counter sales

City lawyer awarded £1.43m over drugs error   Cathy Horton, 44, described in court as a “woman of many accomplishments” suffered paranoia, depression and psychotic episodes after taking steroid tablets eight times the strength of her normal dose.

Retailer Sues Over Report Criticizing Its Advertising   The giant Australian retailer David Jones has launched legal action against the Australia Institute, a centre-left think tank, for featuring the company’s advertising in a report on the sexualisation of children in advertising. To prevent corporations from suing community groups, amendments were passed in 2005 preventing all companies with staff of more than ten from suing for defamation. However, David Jones is claiming that the non-profit think tank is a business and can therefore be sued under fair trading provisions that ban false and misleading conduct. David Jones’ legal strategy mimics the approach employed by drug manufacturer Schwabe Pharma Australia Pty Ltd, which won an injunction suppressing a report that was critical of its “natural” therapy, Tebonin. Schwabe’s success was short-lived, however, as the government’s drug regulator found some of its advertising breached the advertising code for complementary health products.

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