April 7, 2010
New health care law
push worthless —
and dangerous — drugs
President Obama and his Congressional henchmen have just given Pharma a bazillion dollar bonanza. While some are calling the massive overhaul of our health system Obamacare, it's really Pharmacare. And it comes at the expense of your wallet, and possibly your life. The latest drug scandal proves it.
This new scandal involves the absolutely worthless drug Neurontin. The New England Journal of Medicine recently revealed the unbelievable corruption in the marketing of this chemical. Pfizer, the manufacturer, got caught.
According to the article, recent lawsuits forced the company to reveal studies it buried. These studies showed the drug is ineffective. It works for perhaps one out of eight people at best. Why that's even worse than a placebo. But far worse, one in 8 had significant side effects (toxicity) to the chemical.
Dr. Harry Pollett is a pain specialist in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. He calls gabapentin a so-so drug with potentially serious side-effects for patients. These include drowsiness, balance problems, fogginess, and edema (swelling). "Weight gain is a very common problem and I see that a lot," Pollett said. "The drugs represent a waste of money for Canada's health-care system, said Perry, who questioned why some doctors continue to encourage people to take the drug even though the patients are not benefiting (emphasis added). We have been using probably somewhere in the order of around $300 million a year in Canada recently and this drug has been overused since the late 1990s. So, do the math. It's probably well in excess of a billion dollars."
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The Associated Press has jumped into this latest scandal. Sid Wolfe heads health research at Public Citizen and is a member of the FDA's drug safety advisory committee. He said Pfizer "maliciously manipulated the data to make a drug look more effective than it actually was. In every instance, the published article made the drug look better than it would have. This results in harm."
Art Caplan is director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics. He told the AP that the report is "one of the most ethically disturbing papers I've read in some time" and "an indication that people have been playing fast and loose with studies," particularly industry studies.
Experts believe most Neurontin sales were for off-label uses, such as those in the false reviewed studies. Sales peaked at $2.7 billion in 2004, when Pfizer paid $430 million in government fines to settle allegations it improperly marketed the epilepsy drug for unapproved uses. By last year, Neurontin sales fell to $387 million due to cheaper generic versions. The latest fine is $142 million. Wouldn't you agree that Pfizer came out smelling like a rose, pocketing billions per year, before they finally got caught and had to cough up a few pennies on the dollar?
So, let's go back to the new health care law. While it's not the same system as Canada's, it is completely supportive of Big Pharma (which supported the bill). Neurontin is just a drop in the bucket of Pharma blood money and greed. And, since the whole vehicle of insurance is tilted to reimburse for Pharma patented petrochemicals, you will see countless billions more tossed on to the roaring fire. After all, insurance pays, so who cares? With government now forcing insurance on all of us, drug sales are about to go through the roof. Investors know it. That's why they've been buying up the stock of Big Pharma companies. But don't let the new law force you to take drugs you don't need.
If you are on Neurontin, don't take it just because Medicare pays for it. I suggest getting rid of it and seeing an integrative physician for some terrific nutritional alternatives. No, insurance won't cover them. But they will help you get better and you won't have any side effects. I knew Neurontin was a fraud the day it came out. I watched as some of my closest friends took the chemical. I watched it do nothing beneficial for most of them. And it did plenty of damage to a few of them.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Ref: NEJM 1-9-09