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News and Commentary Archive

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New Rules On Doctors And Medical Firms
Devices and disclosures NYT

Drug Maker Said to Pay Ghostwriters for Journal Articles
PremPro paper trail NYT (read public documents)

Conflicts of Interest in Continuing Medical Education
CME at East Carolina U almost pharma-free Inside Higher Ed

Outsourced to India: Clinical Drug Trials
Nearly half of clinical studies off-shored St. Petersburg Times

Spinal Tap: Medtronic and a Patient Death
Devicemaker unaware of Infuse BoneGraft-related death Pharmalot

FDA’s $1.5 Million Morale Contract
Boosting job satisfaction? Bloomberg

Johnson & Johnson, Texas and Medicaid Fraud
Kickbacks to officials Pharmalot

Asthma Drugs Too Dangerous For Kids: FDA
LABAs increase deaths Pharmalot (read FDA meta-analysis)

Generic Drug Sales Are Slowing
63.7% of US market volume Pharmalot

Firms Win Victory on Doctor Gift Rules
Proposed regulation nixes research, consulting disclosures Boston Globe

Pharma Trade Group Has New DTC Guidelines
Celebrities must believe in drugs endorsed Pharmalot

Doctor Raises Concerns Over Change in Heart Devices
New design questioned NYT

AMSA Launches website
New site for evidence-based prescribing AMSA (read press release)

Generic Heart Medicines Found Equal to Brand-Name Counterparts
Warfarin, other generic drugs validated Bloomberg

The Minimal Impact of a Big Hypertension Study
Lessons from ALLHAT remain unheeded NYT

Device Makers Illegally Advertise On YouTube?
Rx Project petitions FDA Pharmalot

Doctors Ditch Drug Samples to Avoid Influencing Treatment
Carolinas Med Center bans samples USAToday

Scrutiny Grows of Drug Trials Abroad
40% of studies in low-to-mid income countries WSJ

British Balance Gain Versus Cost of Latest Drugs
UK pays less for drugs than US NYT

Study: Off-label Drugs Should Be Researched For Safety
Inadequate evidence for highly prescribed drugs USAToday

Radio Host Has Drug Company Ties
NPR "Infinite Mind" psychiatrist paid $1.3 million NYT

Doctors Claim Glaxo Dismissed Worries on Avandia
Did drug maker use intimidation? WSJ (read commentary)

"World Wide Web Health Awards" Exposed as Having Ties to Pharmaceutical Industry
Rewarding biased sites? Natural News (read blog)

Which Country Spends The Most On Meds?
US pays higher retail prices Pharmalot (read report; read about the project)

Where The Boys Are: Merck, Gardasil And Warts
Evidence against cancer still lacking Pharmalot

Did Merck And CVS Violate Patient Privacy?
Letter from PBM encouraged Januvia use Pharmalot (read WSJ article)

DTC Ad Spending Is Down… And Falling Fast
Non-branded ads down 63% since 2006 Pharmalot

Actavis Sued by U.S. Regulators to Shut Heart Drug Manufacturer
Digitek form of digoxin can contain twice listed dosage Bloomberg

Merck Aims Gardasil to Women Least Likely to Benefit
Offsetting Vytorin Bloomberg (see commentary)

Gardasil Not Linked To Side Effects
CDC finds no pattern to serious adverse effects Pharmalot

Wisconsin Medical Society Discourages Gifts from Drug Firms
No speaking fees; research OK Milwaukee Sentinel

Some Scale Back on Meds
Prescriptions down 1% NYT

Some at FDA Oppose Rules Against Suing Drugmakers
Coming out against preemption AP

Novartis Trims 550 Sales Positions
More targeted sales plan PharmaExec

Half of Doctors Routinely Prescribe Placebos
Headache pills and vitamins most commonly used NYT

Prescription Drug Injuries and Deaths Reach Record Levels
4825 deaths this quarter LA Times

GSK to Publish Level of Doctors’ Advisory Fees
Cap set at $150,000 Financial Times

Study Says Drug Samples May Endanger Children
More risks than benefits? NYT (Pediatrics study)

Lilly Settlement With States Demands Even Greater Transparency
List of docs paid more than $100 required MMM

Pfizer: $900M To Settle Bextra & Celebrex Suits
Deal covers claims from 33 states and DC Pharmalot

Drug Claims Often Misleading
Making sense of health stats ABCNews (read study; editorial)

Generics Are Powerful Medicine
New website on safety & effectiveness GPM

Senator Says Emory Psychiatrist Didn't Disclose $500,000 Payment
GSK speaker promoted Paxil and Lamictil WSJ

Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies
Spinning Neurontin NYT

33 States to Get $62 Million in Zyprexa Case Settlement
Drug marketed off-label for dementia NYT

Cephalon Pays $425 Million Over Medicaid Fraud
Off-label promotion of Actiq, Gabitril, and Provigil Pharmalot

FDA Says Cancer Test Failed to Get Its Approval
OvaSure not proven accurate NYT

Media Doesn't Often Mention Pharma Funding on Research
Brand names preferred over generic names Healthday News

DOT Ties to Sleep Aid Industry Riles Truckers
Forced use of forced-air CPAP? CSPI

Drug Firms Bankroll Attacks on NHS
In U.K., access to expensive drugs at issue The Independent

Drug Maker to Report Fees to Doctors
Lilly to post online database of payments NYT

FDA Probes Anemia Meds & Deaths In Study
Deaths in stroke patients on ESAs Pharmalot (read more)

FDA Using Pharma DTC Pro
Industry educates consumers CSPI

FDA Hires 1,300 New Doctors and Scientists
CDER pumps up AP

Looking For Published Cancer Trials? Fuggedaboutit
Only 17.6% make it to med journals Pharmalot

Drug Label, Maimed Patient and Crucial Test for Justices
Preemption favors pharma NYT

U.S. Patients and their Expensive Meds
UK spend half of U.S. Pharmagossip

FDA to Advertise Fake Blood Pressure Pill
Will study consumer responses to safety warnings Pharmalot

New GAO Report
Prescription Drugs: FDA’s Oversight of the Promotion of Drugs for Off-Label Uses GAO

Teaching Doctors—or Selling to Them?
Industry backs away from CME Businessweek

Stanford to Limit Drug Maker Financing
Read about the Stanford CME policy NYT

Amgen Alters Anemia Drug Discounts
No more Aranesp rebates NYT

Drug Giants Accused Over Doctors' Perks
Free trips for UK docs Guardian

More Controversy with Viagra ‘Advergaming’
Promotion for ED or recreational use? BNET

Merck's Marketing Project Passed Off As Research, Physicians Say
ADVANTAGE study seeded Vioxx Rxs LA Times (Annals study)

Drug Makers’ Push Leads to Cancer Vaccines’ Fast Rise
Is HPV vaccine worth its cost? NYT

Sales Reps, Doctors & ‘Emotional Connections’
Friendship sells Pharmalot

ACCME Proposes Restrictions on CME Presenters
Those who profit can’t control content CSPI (ACCME statement)

UK Health Chief: ‘Perverse Incentives’ Raise Prices
NICE fights back Pharmalot

New Therapy for Sepsis Raises Hope but Many Questions
O2 Monitor and conflicts of interest WSJ Blog

Justice Investigating Biliary Stent Sales, Marketing Practices
Abbott subpoenaed FDANews

Girls at Risk: Unparalleled Rise in Adolescent Girls Using Rx Drugs
Alliance for Human Protection (Medco press release)

Sigmund Who? Psychiatrists Writing More Scrips
Psychotherapy wanes Pharmalot

NEJM Editors File Brief Against Wyeth
Preemption case to be heard in November Bloomberg News

Why Not the Best?
U.S. Health System Scores 65 out of 100 The Commonwealth Fund (article in WP)

A Call for a Warning System on Artificial Joints
National registry needed NYT

Drugmaker Sponsors Journalism Group Seminar
Journalists get lunch from Novo and Lilly Pharmalot

Are Vaccine Defenders For Sale?
COIs in vaccine experts Pharmalot

FDA Staffers Start Dissident Website
Concerns about drug safety expressed Thoreau-FDA

Medicare Part D Was A ‘Windfall’ For Pharma
Shift from Medicaid jacks drug prices 30% Pharmalot

The Real War on Drugs
Compared to U.K., Americans pay double for drugs Pharmagossip

More Fallout for Bristol-Myers on Drug Pricing Investigation
Millions for NY, MA, other states WSJ Blog

The Pfizer Exec and the $300K Helicopter Bill
Reimbursement requested Pharmalot

NIH Researcher at Center of New Conflict Controversy
Non-disclosure on blood substitutes article WSJ

Massachusetts Gift Ban is Removed from Bill
Disclosure of payments to docs also dropped Pharmalot

Note to Pharma: 'Your House Is On Fire, and You're Still Smoking in Bed'
Tough love from PhRMA's Tauzin WSJ Blog

Merck to Begin Paying $4.85B in Vioxx Settlements
Resolves 50,000 lawsuits AP

Docs: We’ll See A Rep Any Old Time Of Day
83% see reps Pharmalot

Drugs to Build Bones May Weaken Them
Long-term bisphosphonates associated with transverse fracture NYT

Grassley Targets Brown’s Keller Over Grants
Advocated Paxil for adolescents Pharmalot

Drug Industry to Announce Revised Code on Marketing
Bans the pens, keeps the food NYT (read PhRMA press release; WSJ blog)

Psychiatric Group Faces Scrutiny Over Drug Industry Ties
30% of APA's funding from pharma NYT

Follow-up Drug Studies are Becoming More Routine
Postmarketing studies required for 75% of new drugs Boston Globe

Brazil Launches Cheap New Malaria Pill
Patent-free treatment Windsor Star

Pill-popping Pets
Reconcile, Clonicalm, and other drugs NYT

Eli Lilly Most Esteemed Pharma Company for Psychiatrists
Verispan finds Pfizer most esteemed overall MM&M

Drugmakers Offer Aid To People 'On the Edge'
Needymeds site underutilized WP

Scientific Fraud May Be More Widespread Than Thought
Poll finds few cases reported Bloomberg

Pfizer Ends Direct Funding of Courses
Nonprofit CME unaffected WSJ

Drug Makers Say FDA Safety Focus Is Slowing New-Medicine Pipeline
Pulling the plug on “big-sellers” WSJ

Senator Slaps GSK Med Ed in Letter to ACCME
Prenatal herpes testing promoted against guidelines MM&M

Glaxo Boosts Marketing of Smoking Aids Amid Pfizer Pill's Woes
Free samples go to pilots Bloomberg

Weighing the Costs of a CT Scan's Look Inside the Heart
Docs profit from overused test NYT

Implant Firms Pay Doctors Millions
51 docs paid a million each Philadelphia Inquirer

Doctors Under the Influence?
Chantix KOLs compare nicotine use to diabetes Businessweek

What Recession? Big Bonuses For FDA Brass
Some make more than $200,000 Pharmalot

Biogenerics Would Save How Much?
Try 25 billion Pharmalot

Down on the Cape
Pfizer study finds depression common BostonGlobe

Pharma to Sit on DTC Ads
Voluntary 6 month moratorium PharmExec

Generics Grab Big Share Of Medicare Part D: Study
Filling the “donut-hole” Pharmalot

Vanda Shares Slip on Sleep Drug Results
Tasimelteon no better than placebo WP

Doctors Say Medication Is Overused in Dementia
Antipsychotics do not work NYT

AMA CME Measure Goes Nowhere
Industry-free proposal tanks MM&M

KOLs: Independent Experts or Drug Representatives in Disguise?
Doctors used as product champions BMJ

Pfizer Sales Reps Downplay Chantix Side Effects
Suicide risk not mentioned Pharmalot

Amgen's Enbrel in Kids 'Concerning'-FDA Staff
Seven cancer cases, severe infections reported Reuters (article on advisory committee; FDA briefing material and other documents)

FDA Contradicts Genentech on Eye Drug
Feds not to blame for imitations on Avastin distribution WSJ

Lawsuit Over Right to DTC in Canada
Competitive disadvantage invoked DTC Perspectives

Warning on Epilepsy Drugs Nears
Suicide risk will go on label of 11 drugs WSJ

Child Experts Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay
Harvard psychiatrist made $1.6M from drug makers NYT

New Labeling Changes for Regranex
Topical treatment for skin ulcers increases cancer mortality FDA

FDA Bars Docs From Conducting Clinical Trials
Seven this year Pharmalot

Merck's Movie "Script" For Advertising Gardasil
Vaccine ads run before “Sex in the City” CNBC

Survey of Medical Schools Is Critical of Perks
7 of 150 schools get an "A" NYT (AMSA Scorecard; press release)

FDA Panel Backs Glaxo’s Platelet Booster
Short-term ITP treatment does not affect bleeding risk Pharmalot

Sanofi-Aventis Diet Pill Linked To Deaths
Rimonabant approved in U.K., not U.S. Pharmalot

Epilepsy Drugs Draw Industry Defense
May cause suicidal tendencies WSJ

FDA: TNF Blockers May Cause Lymphoma In Kids
30 cases reported Pharmalot (read FDA investigation)

Product Placements Require New FDA Regs
Rx drugs mentioned 462 times in 2006 Pharmalot

Medicare May OK Drug Guide
Corporate ties to compendia not disclosed CSPI (read AHRQ review)

FDA to Mine Big Databases for Safety
Sentinel Initiative will do active surveillance for ADRs Pharmalot (read FDA announcement)

Report Links Pfizer Drug To Accidents, Heart Trouble
ISMP reviews Chantix ADRs WSJ

Warning Over Drug Trial’s Effects on Testing
Non-pharma Lucentis/Avastin trial worries pharma Financial Times

British Columbia's ‘Bizarre’ Task Force Report
Therapeutics Initiative threatened Pharmalot

Top 17 Paychecks in Big Pharma

Glaxo 'Downplayed' Warning
Abacavir doubles MI risk Independent

Physician, Reveal Thyself
Heart stent studies don't disclose funding Businessweek (PLoS One study)

Protecting Human Subjects
US clinical trials no longer required Center for Science in the Public

FDA Slow To Issue DTCA Warnings
Ads discontinued before letters received Pharmalot (read GAO report)

Celebrex Doesn't Prevent Memory Loss
Nor does naproxen Bloomberg (Archives of Neurology study)

Pfizer to Disclose Grants
With Lilly, supports revised Sunshine Act Pharmatimes

Migraine Medicines Problematic
Associated with serotonin syndrome Bloomberg (NEJM study)

Stealth Marketers
Shilling for pharma on NPR Slate

Psychiatry Handbook Linked to Drug Industry
COIs in over half of new working group members NYT (read Center for Science in the Public Interest article)

Legislators: Glaxo Letter on Gift Ban May Backfire
Does MA have a “strong anti-biopharmaceutical streak?” Boston Herald (read additional article)

Glaxo Tries to Corner Weight Loss Market
Tells FDA to deny dietary supplement claims Pharmalot

Merck Wrote Drug Studies for Doctors
Trial deaths underreported NYT (read ghostwriting study; mortality study; JAMA editorial)

Drugmakers Didn't Begin 1,044 Promised U.S. Studies
62% of postmarketing studies Bloomberg

Many Ads For Psych Meds Are Unsubstantiated
Half of drug claims unsupported Pharmalot (read study)

Antipsychotics and Pneumonia in Elderly
60% increase; more risk with atypicals Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

AstraZeneca in Pact With Rival to Delay Generic
Ranbaxy will formulate Nexium NYT

Panel’s Bipartisan View: F.D.A. Is Underfinanced
Congress considers more funding NYT

Organon Allegedly Covered Up Raplon ADRs
Whistleblower says risks withheld from FDA Pharmalot

Heart Risk in ADHD Drugs?
AHA recommends EKGs Philadelphia Inquirer

Benefit Managers Profit by Specialty Drug Rights
PBMs build lucrative side businesses NYT

More States Consider Bans on Gifts to Physicians
Connecticut is latest Medical Marketing & Media

Device Maker Vows New Ethical Practices
Zimmer reforms Pharmalot

Global Rx Sales Grew 6.4 Percent In 2007
$178B increase over past 5 years Pharmalot

Cancer Drug Trials "Being Stopped Too Soon"
Benefits exaggerated Telegraph

Pfizer Warns of Lung Cancer with Inhaled Insulin
Warning added to Exubera label Reuters

Drug Makers Near Old Goal: A Legal Shield
Ortho-Evra and estrogen levels NYT

The Vytorin Saga Continues: Krumholz Strikes Back
“No new support for a widely prescribed drug” Pharmalot

Glaxo Angers the FDA
Ph 4 safety studies reported only to EME Motley Fool

Glaxo And Pfizer Win Preemption Cases
Federal court rules in SSRI case Pharmalot

Novartis Further Curbs Zelnorm Use in U.S.
No reason given Reuters

FDA Raises Estimate of Deaths Linked to Blood Thinner
62 deaths possible WP

Bitter Pill
Portland doc flips on pharma Willamette Week

TV Rx Ads Should Include A/E Reporting Info
One in six consumers polled experienced ADR Consumers Union (read poll results)

The Enhance Study & Slides
ACC presentation on Vytorin Pharmalot

Who Is Excluded From Clinical Trials?
Minorities, elders, disabled Pharmalot

Judge Sides With NEJM in Peer-Review Dispute
Reviewer anonymity upheld Chron Higher Ed

Do Free Gifts Dictate Your Medical Care?
Influencing docs ABCNews

Dig Deep: Those Free Samples May Cost You
“Free” samples cost patients more Pharmalot (read study)

Pfizer Is Denied Access to JAMA Files
Peer reviewers remain anonymous WSJ (read editorial; press release)

Pfizer, Glaxo Raise Prices as Drug Growth Declines
US wholesale prices up 9% Bloomberg (read AARP Rx Watchdog Report)

Cephalon CEO Tops in Pay
$13.5m; Pfizer CEO made $9.5m WSJBlog

Union Shills For Pfizer And Lipitor
IAEP sends letter to docs Pharmalot

FDA Identifies Contaminant in Heparin
Over-sulfated chondroitin adulterant WSJ

Cutting Dosage of Costly Drug Spurs a Debate
Could be effective, save $200,000 a year NYT

Drug Maker Stays Close to Doctors and Patients
Influences treatment of rare disease NYT

Corporate Influences on Epidemiology
Pushing “junk science?” International Journal of Epidemiology

CVS Settles Whistleblower Case Over Switching
Will pay $37m in Medicaid fraud lawsuit Pharmalot

Biotech Leader Charged with Fraud
Actimmune promoted off-label SF Chronicle

Generics: Just As Good?
64% of filled scripts LA Times
related stories: Keeping Generic Drugs off the Market
FDA Standards for Generics are Questioned
For Some, Generics May be More Costly

Ex-Drug Sales Rep Tells All
Befriending docs to sell drugs ABCNews

FDA Panel Backs Curbs on Anemia Drugs
FDA to reconsider ESA labeling WSJ

Senate Wants ‘49 Plan’ Papers
Zetia reps to wine and dine docs Pharmalot

Dermatologists' Seal-for-Sale Program
Is AAD a “$5 hooker”? MedPage Today

Pricey Pills Work Better Even When They're Fake
Placebo effect extends to price MSNBC (read study)

Flu Drug Makers Change Labels
750 psych AE, 25 peds deaths with Tamiflu Reuters

Novartis Opens Non-profit R&D Vaccine Center
Will have global health focus Fierce Vaccines

Inside Drugmakers' War on Fat
Race for a miracle weight-loss pill Businessweek

Oregon Docs Ban CME Funding
2nd AAFP chapter to go Pharma-free Pharmalot

Prozac Doesn't Work
Only severely depressed benefit Guardian (PLoS study)

Death Risk From Anemia Drugs
Cancer deaths up 10% with ESAs NYT

NIH Starts Lucentis, Avastin Trial
Compares drugs for AMD WSJ

FDA Approves Avastin For Breast Cancer
Lowering the bar: no survival benefit Pharmalot

FDA to Boost Oversight of Drugs
New database will list side effects WSJ

Doctors' Education
Invisible Influence by Drug Companies BMJ

Drugmakers Asked to Reveal Grants to Docs
Grassley sends letter to 15 firms USA Today

Lobbying Overview
PhRMA spends $22.7M, AMA $10.4M, Pfizer $7.2M Center for Responsive Politics (comment in Pharmagossip)

Journal Publications Are Nothing But Marketing
Half of drug firms fund articles from marketing Pharmalot

Drugmakers Could Promote Articles for Unapproved Uses
FDA softens stance Bloomberg News (FDA draft guidance and press release)

Big Pharma's Patent Headache
10 drugs to go off-patent BusinessWeek

Painkiller Patches Recalled
Duragesic leaks Boston Globe

Sloan-Kettering Booted CME To Be ‘Squeaky Clean’
No commercial support Pharmalot

Study: More Using Rx Drugs
Rates vary by state USA Today

Generics Capture 65% of U.S. Market
Branded drugs 80% of costs Bloomberg News

Did GSK Trial Data Mask Paxil Suicide Risk?
Internal memos revealing NewScientist

Soft Targets: Nurses and the Pharmaceutical Industry
Influencing nurses PLoS Med

Merck to Pay $650M in Medicaid Settlement
Overbilled for drugs WP

FDA Receives Modest Budget Boost
$2.4 billion proposed for 2009 USA Today

Diabetes Health Goes Beyond Blood Sugar
Treat hypertension and cholesterol NYT (NEJM study)

Committee Investigates Ad Tactics for Lipitor
Jarvik ads misleading? NYT

Doctors Paid to Prescribe Generic Drugs
Up to $100 per switch WSJ

Doctor Accused of Leak to Drug Maker
Pre-publication Avandia study given to GSK NYT

Building Up Docs' Marketing Resistance
Training docs to “just say no” BusinessWeek

NitroMed Halts Marketing of Drug
Bidil sales disappointing WSJ

EU Raids Drug Makers
Blocking generics Reuters UK

Drug Has No Benefit in Trial
Zetia/Vytorin flunks NYT

Bias Toward Upbeat Findings on Antidepressants
One of 3 trials not published NYT

Drug Approved. Is Disease Real?
Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia NYT

Thimerosal Not Linked to Autism
Mercury in retrograde Pharmalot (Arch Gen Psych study)

Medicare Part D Fueled By Drug Spending
18.7% increase in 2006 Pharmalot (Health Affairs abstract)

Drugs Don't Help Aggression
Attention as good as antipsychotics NYT

Is Your Doctor Giving You Placebos?
Almost half of docs admit it WSJ Blog

Surgeon Pleads Guilty to Kickbacks
Device company implicated WSJ Blog

D.C. Council Passes SafeRx Act
Drug reps must be licensed DC Council

Commentary (back to menu)

Nobel Laureate Calls for Public Funding of Drug Trials
Head-to-head comparisons urged WSJ Health Blog (read article in Health Affairs)

Absence of Evidence
Positive studies more likely to be published Economist

Deceptive Market Practices in the Marketplace of Ideas
“Think tanks” distorting health care debate Bioethics Forum

You Have Now Been Sampled
Drug rep statements are misleading Pharmagossip

FDA Puts Medical Test Subjects in Danger
Helsinki declaration abandoned The Nation

Prescription Tracking and Public Health
AMA’s PDRP inadequate JGIM

Countering the Drug Salesmen
Academic detailing bill NYT

Confidential Review--or Not?
Pfizer demands NEJM peer reviews Science

A Line Between Docs and Drugs
U Mass Memorial to ban gifts Boston Globe

Defining Pharmaceutical Innovation
Better or just newer? Open Medicine

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