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1,295 DEAD in UK Following COVID Bioweapon Shots – Italy Halts AstraZeneca Shots After Teen Dies

By Brian Shilhavy | Health Impact News | June 11, 2021

The UK Government’s reporting system for COVID vaccine adverse reactions from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency released their latest report yesterday, June 10, 2021.

The report covers data collected from December 9, 2020, through June 2, 2021, for the three experimental COVID “vaccines” currently in use in the U.K. from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna.

They report a total of 1,295 deaths and 922,596 injuries recorded following the experimental COVID injections.

Here are the breakdowns from the three shots:

  • AstraZeneca: 863 deaths and 717,250 injuries. (Source.)
  • Pfizer- BioNTech: 406 deaths and 193,768 injuries. (Source.)
  • Moderna: 3 deaths and 9243 injuries. (Source.)
  • Unspecified COVID-19 injections: 22 deaths and 2335 injuries. (Source.)

Meanwhile, Italy announced today that it was halting use of the AstraZeneca injections for people under the age of 60, following the death of a teenager who died from blood clots.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 4 Comments

Danish drug regulator FAINTS at press conference announcing AstraZeneca vaccine halt

RT | April 14, 2021

Denmark will completely abandon the rollout of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine due to a risk of rare blood clots. One of the country’s top drug officials passed out at a press conference delivering the news.

As National Health Board Director Soeren Brostroem announced the decision, the Danish Medicines Agency’s acting director of pharmacovigilance, Tanja Erichsen, fainted and collapsed to the ground.

Erichsen’s fall sparked panic, as Brostroem and other officials rushed over to check on her. The medicines agency later announced that she had regained consciousness, but was taken to hospital for a checkup. No explanation was given for her fainting.

Denmark was the first country in the world to suspend the rollout of AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria shot in March, though a number of other countries followed suit, among them France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Denmark, however, is the first country in the world to permanently ditch the British-Swedish developed jab.

“In the midst of an epidemic, it has been a difficult decision to continue our vaccination program without an effective and readily available vaccine against Covid-19,” Brostroem said at the press conference. “However, we have other vaccines at our disposal, and the epidemic is currently under control.”

The suspension is expected to push the country’s vaccination timeline back by “some weeks,” according to a report from Danish broadcaster TV2.

Denmark began vaccinations in December, and has to date approved four vaccines – from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Only two shots, from Moderna and Pfizer, are currently available to Danes, after Johnson & Johnson delayed its own European rollout on Tuesday, due to several cases of blood clots being reported in the US.

April 14, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

AstraZeneca Recruiting 5 Year-Old Kids For Covid Vaccine Trial

By Richie Allen | February 14, 2021

AstraZeneca is planning a childhood immunisation programme that it says, could protect people from Covid-19 for most of their lives. Yesterday the company announced it was recruiting kids as young as five for the trials. Children participating in the trial will get their first jab by the end of this month. Pfizer is planning a similar trial on a global scale.

AstraZeneca believes that by giving children a “series of jabs” in early life, they’d be giving them a lifetime of immunity from Covid. Professor Sarah Gilbert, an Oxford scientist who worked on the AstraZeneca vaccine said:

“If they get infected it will just be a mild disease, it won’t be very serious, it will just be a sniffle. We’re all really waiting to see how things play out. We could be looking at giving young children immunity, and then boosting it towards the end of life.”

Children are basically immune from coronavirus. Most of them will never get it and those who do will have mild symptoms only. Kids DO NOT need a coronavirus vaccine. What’s going on? A Five-year old should not be compelled to participate in a vaccine trial. The child cannot give informed consent. Any parent who puts their child forward for the trial is guilty of neglect and I’d go further than that. It’s child abuse.

They’re already giving as many as 16 vaccines to children in this country, most of them totally unnecessary. Now they want to vaccinate them just in case they get Covid as an adult? It’s insane. Is there any opposition to this anywhere? The answer is no. The papers and the broadcasters just repeat this crap. None of them has the balls to challenge it. I despair.

Richie Allen is the host of The Richie Allen Radio show, Europe’s most listened to independent radio show and is a passionate supporter of free speech. He lives in Salford with the future Mrs Allen and their two dogs.

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

UK Intelligence to Fight Anti-Vaccine Propaganda Spread by State Actors, British Media Reports

Anti-vaccine demonstrators in Edinburgh

Anti-vaccine demonstrators in Edinburgh © Sputnik / Jason Dunn
By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 09.11.2020

A UK intelligence unit, known as the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been authorised to conduct cyber operations to tackle the spread of anti-vaccine propaganda online, The Times reported citing an anonymous government source. According to the newspaper, the government increasingly views anti-vaxxers as a new priority because of the upcoming registration of domestically-developed vaccines against the coronavirus.

Apart from GCHQ, a secretive UK Army unit within the 77th Brigade specialising in information warfare will be taking part in the efforts “to quash rumours about misinformation” related to the COVID-19 vaccines, General Sir Nick Carter confirmed to The Times.

The newspaper’s source claims that GCHQ will be using the same toolkit it utilised to combat Daesh and its propaganda and recruitment efforts. The toolkit includes ways of taking down undesired content and conducting cyber attacks against the cyberactors behind it, for example by encrypting the perpetrators’ computer data, The Times added.

“GCHQ has been told to take out anti-vaxxers online and on social media. There are ways they have used to monitor and disrupt terrorist propaganda”, the anonymous source claimed.

However, GCHQ will not be able to use its tools against everyone online because its authority only extends to dealing with [alleged] state cyber actors and the content created by them, the newspaper reported citing another anonymous government source.

Russia as Main target for UK Intelligence Cyber Operations?

The British newspaper claims Russia will be the GCHQ’s prime target, citing its own investigation into the country’s alleged ties to the surge of internet memes questioning the safety of the vaccine developed by Oxford University in concert with AstraZeneca. The said investigation was based on a trove of documents and images provided by an anonymous source, who claimed to be part of an alleged propaganda effort purportedly seeking to hurt the image of the British vaccine. The Times, however, admitted in its article that it could not directly link the alleged social media campaign, targeting only the UK vaccine, with the Kremlin.

According to the newspaper, the alleged campaign against the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine started after the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that developed Sputnik V, Kirill Dmitriev, called the UK-developed medicine a “monkey vaccine” on several occasions. Dmitriev referred to the vaccine’s usage of a monkey virus as a vector to deliver the COVID-19 material needed to form immunity. He did not directly call the drug dangerous or ineffective, but noted that the use of human adenoviruses was more reliable, as their influence on the human body is better understood.

Dmitriev’s use of the term “monkey vaccine” prompted the emergence of numerous internet memes, baselessly alleging that the British drug would be turning recipients into monkey-like creatures or otherwise negatively affecting patients’ health. The head of RDIF later denounced the use of his words to besmirch the UK-developed vaccine, but defended his concerns over the possibility of its long-term side effects.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

COVID-19: RDIF Points to Absence of Long-Term Studies on Vaccines Based on Monkey Adenoviral Vectors

By Aleksandra Serebriakova – Sputnik – 09.09.2020

The third round of trials for the AstraZeneca anti-COVID-19 drug is now on pause over “potentially unexplained illness” in a participant in the UK. On 11 August, Russia registered its own Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine, which is said to have been developed in a different way.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) the investor which has funded the development of Russia’s Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine, could not comment on the halt of AstraZeneca trials, it said in a statement.

However, RDIF pointed out that the fund’s CEO Kirill Dmitriev had previously discussed the differences between the human adenoviral vector-based platform used in Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and those used by some of their international colleagues, that rely on “novel unproven technologies such as monkey adenoviral vectors or mRNA”.

“The safety of the human adenoviral vector used in Sputnik V has been proven over decades in over 250 clinical studies, as human adenovirus has been shown to be the safest vaccine delivery mechanism and the most ‘organic for humans’, as human adenovirus has coexisted with humans for over 100,000 years,” RFID said.

Meanwhile, “mRNA and monkey adenoviral vector-based platforms have not been studied over a long period of time,” RDIF CEO Dmitriev pointed out this Tuesday.

Commenting on the so-called “pledge of safety” earlier voiced by the CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi in relation to the development of the first COVID-19 vaccines, Dmitriev stressed that this plea was “insufficient” as it did not “discuss the lack of long-term studies on the carcinogenic effects and impact on fertility of newly-developed vaccine technologies”.

“Since some of the companies developing these vaccines have taken the ‘pledge of safety’, we would like to stress that public health and safety requires not only short-term evidence of a lack of serious adverse effects, but also the safety and efficacy proved by the results of long-term studies,” Dmitriev added.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Trials on Pause

It was revealed this week that the third round of trials for the AstraZeneca anti-COVID-19 vaccine has been halted due to a “potentially unexplained illness” which had developed in a participant in the United Kingdom, without further specifications about the nature of possible side effects. The vaccine in question was developed in partnership with Oxford University and has reportedly involved around 30,000 participants in the UK, US, Brazil and South Africa. AstraZeneca described the pause as “routine” so as to allow for a “standard review process” of “safety data”.

Russia’s First Anti-Coronavirus Vaccine

On 11 August, Russia registered the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19, called Sputnik V, which was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the RDIF after several rounds of clinical trials. On Monday, the vaccine was made available to the public.

According to RDIF, Russia has now received requests for 1 billion doses of the vaccine; at least 20 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and India, have expressed an interest in obtaining Sputnik V.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Read This Before You Take That Statin

By Barbara Roberts and Martha Rosenberg | Dissident Voice | December 10, 2013

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) recently released new cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines. They are an egregious example of much that is wrong with medicine today.

The guidelines propose a vast expansion of the use of statins in healthy people, recommending them for about 44 percent of men and 22 percent of healthy women between the ages of 40 and 75. According to calculations by John Abramson, lecturer at Harvard Medical School, 13,598,000 healthy people for whom statins were not recommended based on the 2001 guidelines now fall into the category of being advised to take moderate or high intensity statin therapy.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to “build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.” Yet in its 2011-2012 financial statement, the AHA noted $521 million in donations from non-government and non-membership sources and many well-known large drug companies, including those who make and market statins, contribute amounts in the $1 million range.

Even as many in the medical community suspected the guidelines were a ploy to help the AHA’s drug partners sell statins, it was revealed that the guideline’s online calculator to determine cardiac disease risk over predicts risk by an astonishing 75 to 150 percent. But the guideline writers are standing firmly behind their faulty calculator.

Seven of the 15 authors disclosed ties to industry. Originally, the panel chair, Neil J. Stone, MD of Northwestern University, declared that he has had no ties to industry since 2008. Jeanne Lenzer, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently, interviewed Dr. Stone who said: “When I was asked by NHLBI [National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute] to chair the [cholesterol] panel, I immediately severed ties with all industry connections prior to assuming my role as chair.” However, prior to 2008, he accepted funding and consultancy fees from multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck, and Schering-Plough among others. Dr. Stone also told the BMJ that he will “definitely” not take any industry funding for two years. Are we to believe that by severing his ties in 2008 his mind became an instant tabula rasa, completely devoid of any conscious or unconscious bias towards the drug companies which had been paying him? To do so strains the bonds of credulity past the breaking point.

The financial ties between large pharmaceutical companies and the AHA are numerous and very remunerative for the AHA, including huge donations from Abbott, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer. BMS, along with Merck and Pfizer, are major funders of AHA’s Go Red For Women heart disease awareness campaign whose web site tells patients “If your doctor has placed you on statin therapy to reduce your cholesterol, you can rest easy–the benefits outweigh the risks” The site also proclaims that , “Zocor and Pravachol–have the fewest side effects,” and “statins may only slightly increase diabetes risks.” The Women’s Health Initiative, a federal study of over 160,000 healthy women to investigate the most common causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women, showed that a healthy woman’s risk of developing diabetes was increased 48 percent compared to women who were not on a statin. And contrary to what statin apologists say about statins only increasing diabetes risk in people who are at high risk of developing it anyway, for example the obese, women on statins in the Women’s Health Initiative who were of normal weight increased their risk of diabetes 89 percent compared to same weight women not taking a statin.

In 2010, AHA received $21,000 from statin maker AstraZeneca to run an AHA course about “emerging strategies with statins” at the Discovery Institute of Medical Education and almost $100,000 for learning projects including “debating controversial topics in cardiovascular disease.” The AHA defended the deceptively marketed and controversial cholesterol drug Vytorin. Did that have anything to do with the $2 million a year the AHA was taking from marketer Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals?

The AHA also rakes in millions from food companies which are also million dollar donors and which pay from $5,490 to $7,500 per product to gain the “heart-check mark” imprimatur from the AHA, renewable, at a price, every year. The foods so anointed have to be low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol yet Boar’s Head All Natural Ham (340 milligrams of sodium in a 2-ounce serving) somehow made the cut as did Boar’s Head EverRoast Oven Roasted Chicken Breast (440 milligrams of sodium in a 2-ounce serving). Such processed, high-sodium meats raise blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease and the risk of diabetes. A review of almost 1,600 studies involving one million people in ten countries on four continents showed that a 1.8-ounce daily serving of processed meat raised the risk of diabetes by 19 percent and of heart disease by 42 percent.

The new guidelines might make sense if statins were truly as effective as their proponents claim, and if they had no adverse effects. But they have an increasing list of side effects, which affect at least 18 percent of people who take them. These range from muscle pain, weakness and damage to cataracts, cognitive dysfunction, nerve damage, liver injury and kidney failure.

Even the most avid statin proponents agree that statins do not prevent 60 to 80 percent of cardiac events. This is called “residual risk.” If there were a vaccine, say Vaccine X, that did not prevent 60 to 80 percent of cases of Infection Y, very few would be inclined to take it.

As Jerome Hoffman, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at UCLA wrote recently with regard to these guidelines: “How did we arrive at a place where conflicted parties get to make distorted semi-official pronouncements that have so much impact on public policy?” How indeed?

~

Barbara Roberts, MD, FACC is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She is the author of The Truth about Statins and How to Keep from Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know about Cardiovascular Disease. Martha Rosenberg is a health reporter and author of Born with a Junk Food Deficiency.

December 11, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Withering of Big Pharma?

By Martha Rosenberg | Dissident Voice | November 7, 2013

It used to be when a drug company settled illegal marketing charges that millions took its drugs under false pretenses, the news would be released on a Friday afternoon when no one would notice. That was then. Now almost all the drug companies have joined the Off label/Kickback club and the public doesn’t seem to notice or care.

On the surface, Johnson & Johnson’s $2.2 billion settlement this week for illegally marketing drugs to the elderly, children and the mentally disabled looks like a victory.  J&J’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, will plead guilty to illegally promoting the antipsychotic Risperdal for “controlling aggression and anxiety in elderly dementia patients and treating behavioral disturbances in children and in individuals with disabilities,” reports Reuters. The promotions included a brazen kickback scheme to Omnicare Inc, a pharmacy supplying nursing homes, exposed by a whistleblower.

At least 15,000 elderly people in nursing homes die a year from drugs like Risperdal said FDA drug reviewer David Graham in Congressional testimony a few years ago. Eli Lilly who makes the similar drug Zyprexa and AstraZeneca who makes Seroquel have also settled charges that they churned the elderly drug market at the price of Grandma and Grandpa’s lives.

But it is not a victory. J&J made $24.2 billion off Risperdal from 2003 to 2010 and shareholders won’t even notice this week’s nano loss. J&J milked Risperdal for all it was worth and the patent had already run out by the time it was charged with illegal schemes. Other drug giants charged with illegal marketing schemes–Abbott for Depakote, Pfizer for Bextra,  Eli Lilly for Zyprexa, AstraZeneca for Seroquel, GlaxoSmithKline for Paxil and Merck for Vioxx–also got their money’s worth before the trivial nuisance of suit. Many, like Pfizer who illegally marketed its seizure drug Neurontin while under probation for illegal Lipitor activities–are brazen and shameless repeat offenders.

Many say the only justice that will get Big Pharma’s attention is frog marching the CEOs off to prison and/or cutting them off from their lucrative public trough of Medicare, Medicaid and military health programs.

Still, Big Pharma’s audacious business plan of asking forgiveness not permission is winding down. Not because Pharma, prescribers, consumers, regulators and health officials have seen the light but because there are no more big drugs to pimp. An estimated 100,000 workers will be losing their jobs at Pfizer, Sanofi, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Merck reported Yahoo finance last month.

Only two new drug campaigns seem to be brewing and they require a major suspension of reality on the part of doctors and patients. One tries to convince people with low back pain they actually suffer from ankylosing spondylitis an arthritis-like condition that causes chronic inflammation of the spine.  If your spine is stiff when you wake up in the morning you can take an immune suppressor like Humira which puts you at risk of tuberculosis and lethal viral, fungal and bacterial infections while costing you $12,000 to $17,000 a year. Line forms to the left.

The other, even more brazen campaign, tries to convince people with insomnia, tiredness during the day, moodiness and relationship problems that they actually suffer from Non-24-Hour Sleep–Wake Disorder, a disorder that affects mostly blind people. You don’t have to be blind to have the disorder, says the new Pharma message even though there have been fewer than 100 cases of sighted people with non-24 reported in the scientific literature. It sounds like a stretch but so did convincing people with job, money and marriage problems they really had depression or bipolar disorder.

Still it is obvious the bloom has fallen off the Big Pharma rose and it is now paying the piper for the high-flying party with drug settlements like Johnson & Johnson’s this week. But that doesn’t mean shady marketing, hidden risks, kickbacks and outrageous prices are gone from the medical field. They have just moved to the Medical Device industry.

~

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her first book, titled Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus Books. She can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net.

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Your Child Mentally Ill?

“Yes,” According to Big Pharma Funded Doctors

By MARTHA ROSENBERG | CounterPunch | October 3, 2012

How has Big Pharma managed to get so many children on expensive drug cocktails for “mental illness”? Drugs that they may not even need?

Big Pharma has spent millions on public relations campaigns that tell parents, teachers and clinicians to dose children at the first sign of problems. It knows if parents treat their kids early they will never know if the kids needed the drugs in the first place and whether residual problems are “mental illness” or drug side effects. The kids will also probably be life long customers because parents will be afraid to take them off the drugs. No wonder Pharma tells parents not to wait for “excessive energy” or “mood swings” to go away in the awareness campaigns. Ka-ching.

One “prescribe early” campaign for the atypical antipsychotic Risperdal uses a macabre abandoned wallet, a teddy bear, and keys on a barren street “to reposition a drug that was being used too late to achieve its maximum benefits,” said its advertising agency, Torre Lazur McCann. Brand managers for Seroquel, a competing antipsychotic, even considered creating Winnie-the-Pooh characters like Tigger (bipolar) and Eeyore (depressed) to sell Seroquel, according to published reports, at an AstraZeneca sales meeting. Parents say they have seen toys emblazoned with Seroquel logos.

Only one child in ten thousand has pediatric schizophrenia—some say one in thirty thousand—but that doesn’t stop Gabriele Masi, MD, with the Stella Maris Institute for Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry at the University of Pisa in Italy from portraying it as a public health problem. In an article titled “Children with Schizophrenia: Clinical Picture and Pharmacological Treatment,” in the journal CNS Drugs, Masi writes, “Awareness of childhood- onset schizophrenia is rapidly increasing, with a more precise definition now available of the clinical picture and early signs, the outcome and the treatment strategies.”

Symptoms of childhood schizophrenia include “social deficits” and “delusions . . . related to childhood themes,” writes Masi. What child doesn’t have “social deficits”? Do delusions include imaginary playmates? Masi lambastes the “hesitancy on the part of clinicians to make a diagnosis of schizophrenia,” instead of prescribing early. Masi has received research funding from Eli Lilly, served as an advisor for Shire and been on speakers bureaus for Sanofi Aventis, AstraZeneca, GSK, and Janssen, all of which manufacture many of the leading psychiatric drugs for children, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

It’s tempting to ridicule Pharma funded doctors who find mental illness and even relapses and “treatment resistance” in people who have been on the planet for forty months. But pathologizing three-year-olds isn’t funny. Both four-year-old Rebecca Riley of Hull, Massachusetts, and three-year- old Destiny Hager of Council Grove, Kansas, died in 2006 from psychiatric drugs that included Geodon and Seroquel to treat their “bipolar disorders.” And in 2009, seven-year-old Gabriel Myers of Broward County, Florida, a child in a state facility, hung himself while on Symbyax, a pill that combines Zyprexa and Prozac. If it weren’t for Big Pharma’s prescribe early campaigns, these children, and others, might still be alive.

Martha Rosenberg’s is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

October 3, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

As “Blockbuster Drug” Bubble Bursts, Big Pharma Takes Jobs Overseas

By Martha Rosenberg | Dissident Voice | March 12th, 2012

It is no consolation to the roughly one out of 600 families who lost their homes in the U.S. but Wall Street made a lot of money slicing and dicing mortgages it knew would implode, while hiding risks. Financial giants, like AIG, are still buzzing along and neither penalties or new laws will prevent a future crash, say financial analysts, because the risky business models have not really changed.

A similar Big Pharma bubble, leavened with risky blockbuster drugs that also blew up, is now bursting. Like Wall Street’s bundled high risk loans, the “tide” created by Big Pharma’s high risk drugs raised many ships during the 2000s from advertising, public relations and medical communication agencies to TV and radio stations, medical journals and doctor/pitchmen who shoveled in its marketing budgets. But now the joy ride is over and Pharma is shedding jobs and settling billions in claims without changing its risky business model, like Wall Street.

In Europe, governments are no longer willing to pay the high prices for drugs that they once did say published reports and some countries are drafting laws making drug makers “prove their drugs are effective or risk having them dropped from the coverage list, or covered at a lower rate.” Imagine!

Germany has already saved 1.9 billion euros in 2011 by refusing to pay higher prices for drugs unless they are clearly superior to existing medicines, and Pharma worries that other countries will also get tough and want scientific proof for drug effectiveness instead of marketing and spin. In the U.S. and elsewhere, a drug only needs to be superior to no drug (placebo) to be approved by regulators — yet “new” is conveyed as “better than any drug to date” in advertising.  Some clinicians say Haldol, an inexpensive antipsychotic, and lithium, a similar affordable bipolar drug are better than blockbuster antipyschotics and bipolar drugs that created Pharma’s 2000 bubble.

Before the Vioxx scandal and major settlements over blockbuster drugs like Zyprexa, Bextra, Celebrex, Geodon and Seroquel, being a Pharma rep was probably the next best thing to working on Wall Street. Direct-to-consumer advertising did your pre-sell for you, and all you had to do was show up with your snappy Vytorin tote bag and samples case. Some Pharma reps had their own reception room with ice water, swivel chairs, and laptop ports at medical offices, and most waltzed in to see the doctor right in front of waiting and sick patients. (It didn’t hurt that reps were usually “hotties,” both men or women).

But, by 2011, the bloom had fallen off Pharma reps’ roses. The number of prescribers willing to see most reps fell almost 20 percent, the number refusing to see all reps increased by half, and eight million sales calls were “nearly impossible to complete,” reported ZS Associates. Blockbuster drugs that were found to be unsafe after their big sales push or even withdrawn altogether, did not help the reps’ credibility with doctors. After the aggressively marketed hormone therapy was linked to high incidences of cancer, stroke and heart attack, Wyeth (now Pfizer) announced it was eliminating 1,200 jobs and closing its Rouses Point, New York plant where Prempro products were manufactured.

As government and private insurers increasingly say, “You want us to cover what?” about expensive, dangerous drugs that are not even proven effective, Pharma bubble jobs are evaporating. Almost 20,000 jobs have vanished at AstraZeneca, Novartis and Pfizer in the last 12 months alone. (AstraZeneca scrapped 21,600 more since 2007). Meanwhile, Pharma is outsourcing more of its operations to poor countries.

Workers and people willing to be trial subjects are both a bargain in poor countries where many can’t understand drug risks or refuse them if they did (and most can’t afford the very drugs they help sell). In January the Argentinian Federation of Health Professionals accused drug maker GlaxoSmithKline of misleading participants and pressuring poor families into joining a trial for the Synflorix vaccine, which the company says protects against bacterial pneumonia and meningitis, reported CNN. In 2010, 10 deaths occurred during Pfizer and AstraZeneca drug trials at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre which was ironically built for survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, reports MSNBC. 3,878 workers perished in Bhopal when chemicals leaked at a Union Carbide pesticide plant.

Outsourcing drug manufacturing to cheap venues also contributes to Pharma’s cascade of “quality control” problems in which drugs are mislabeled, contaminated or otherwise made dangerous. It is speculated that Johnson & Johnson’s CEO William Weldon “was pushed to retire because of all of the quality issues at McNeil as well as with the company’s hip implant products, which have resulted in a raft of litigation,” reports FiercePharma.

Like the Wall Street bubble, the Pharma bubble was built on products that industry, but not the public, knew were risky, sold for quick profits. Now regulators are examining some of these “assets” more closely and with disturbing findings. The FDA now warns that bestselling statin drugs like Lipitor and Crestor, even approved for children, are linked to memory loss and diabetes associated with. The equally well selling proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and Prilosec for acid reflux disease (GERD) are now believed to increase the risk of bone fractures by 30 percent.

In March, the FDA even rejected a Merck drug that combines the active drug in Lipitor with the active drug in Zetia and Vytorin, a drug that Forbes calls Son of Vytorin. Vytorin (the father) was advertised to treat both food and family “sources of cholesterol” until results from a study that Merck and Schering-Plough appeared to withhold from regulators showed the drug had no effect on the buildup of plaque in the arteries (believed to correlate with heart attack and stroke). There was such a gap between marketing and science, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the General Accounting Office to investigate why the FDA was approving “drugs that appear to have little to no effect in protecting lives and increasing health.”

Yet even as clouds develop over Pharma’s top-selling drugs, some say the FDA is too hard on new drugs, not too easy. “The FDA is impeding useful innovations in the U.S.,” says former FDA deputy commissioner Scott Gottlieb in the a Wall Street Journal oped and lagging behind other countries. Former FDA commissioner Andrew Von Eschenbach, also writing in the WSJ, agrees. The FDA should improve U.S. drug competitiveness by allowing drugs “to be approved based on safety, with efficacy to be proven in later trials,” while the public is already taking the drugs. Isn’t that what’s happening now?

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Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her first book, titled Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, will be published in April 2012 by Amherst, New York-based Prometheus Books. She can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Comments Off on As “Blockbuster Drug” Bubble Bursts, Big Pharma Takes Jobs Overseas