Tuesday 29 May 2012

Hormone Replacement Therapy-Risk For Breast Cancer-Breast Cancer Risk-Danish Researchers

HRT Update: Therapy May Reduce Fractures, Boost Some Risks

MONDAY, May 28 -- Updated evidence on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women presents good news for those at risk of osteoporosis, but a mixed bag of results regarding breast cancer and other chronic diseases.While estrogen-only and... read more..

Night Shift Might Boost Women's Breast Cancer Risk: Study

MONDAY, May 28 -- Women who work the night shift more than twice a week might be increasing their risk for breast cancer, Danish researchers find.Moreover, the risk appears to be cumulative and highest among women who describe themselves as... read more..

Monday 28 May 2012

Strict Definitions-Metabolic Diseases-Body Mass Index-Phentermine-Sitting

Phentermine or Qnexa: Reasonable Options for Weight Loss?

A number of patients who want to lose a few extra pounds often inquire about the use of phentermine which has been traditionally advocated for patients who are significantly overweight or obese. Using body mass index (BMI) which uses weight and height to define obesity (BMI >30 is considered obese; 25-29.9 as overweight) or a waist -to- hip ratio (WHR) >.8 in women, or 0.9 to 1.0 in men, the majority of people who want to use phentermine may not truly qualify for use under these strict definitions of obesity. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

Why Sitting At Work Can Be So Deadly

If you sit all day at work, you may want to pay attention to recent research which demonstrates that prolonged sitting at work raises the risk of dying from cardiac and metabolic diseases, as well as the risk of dying from all causes, even if you work out or exercise. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

American Association Of Clinical Endocrinologists-American Council On Exercise-Metabolic Diseases

Health Tip: Keep Off the Weight You've Lost

-- Maintaining weight loss can be more difficult than losing it in the first place.The American Council on Exercise suggests how to help maintain weight loss:Weigh yourself every week.Move as much as possible, walking frequently, watching less... read more..

Managing Osteoporosis: Has Clinical Science Adequately Translated into Daily Treatment?

Managing Osteoporosis: Has Clinical Science Adequately Translated into Daily Treatment?
Women and men are not receiving effecti...
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists read more..

Sitting at Work Increases Your Chance of Dying

If you sit all day at work, you may want to pay attention to recent research which demonstrates that prolonged sitting at work raises the risk of dying from cardiac and metabolic diseases, as well as the risk of dying from all causes, even if you work out or exercise. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

Saturday 26 May 2012

American Association Of Clinical Endocrinologists-Vascular Reactivity-Aerobic Exercise

Regular Aerobic Exercise Improves Vascular Reactivity for Patients at Risk of Developing Diabetes

Regular Aerobic Exercise Improves Vascular Reactivity for Patients at Risk of Developing Diabetes
Pre-diabetic patients who eng...
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists read more..

Research And Development-Central Nervous System-Women In Business-Medicines-Lisa

Women to Watch: Lisa Shafer

See all the Women in Business honoreesSomeday, in the not-too-distant future, Alzheimer’s disease may be treated by medicines that are directed to the area of the brain where they’re most needed. If that day arrives, patients may have Medtronic Inc.’s Lisa Shafer to thank.As director of central nervous system (CNS) drug therapy research and development, Shafer leads a team of scientists focused on this exciting area of medicine. She and her colleagues envision treatments that can stop the... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines) read more..

Advanced Breast Cancer-Pregnant Women-Preterm Birth-Older Adults

Fewer Stillbirths Among Pregnant Women Vaccinated Against Flu

FRIDAY, May 25 -- Pregnant women who received a flu shot to protect them against the H1N1 swine flu virus had a significantly reduced risk of stillbirth, preterm birth and of having a baby small for gestational age, according to a new study.The... read more..

Fitness May Boost Survival for Women With Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, May 25 -- Women with advanced breast cancer who have higher levels of fitness during treatment tend to live longer than women with lower levels of fitness during treatment, new research finds.Treatments for breast cancer can weaken women's... read more..

Exercise Helps Older Adults Stay Fit

SATURDAY, May 26 -- People tend to exercise less as they grow older, but keeping physically active is essential for remaining healthy and independent, an expert says."Exercise is important for almost everyone. There are very few medical conditions... read more..

Department Of Labor-Young Adults-Women-Awee

AWEE wins $1.2M grant to help ex-offenders find work

Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Inc. received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help fund its program designed to help women, men and young adults find work after serving time in prison.The $1.2 million grant is part of the $20.5 million allocated by the department to programs nationwide to help ex-offenders transition back into their communities after serving time in prison. Eighteen nonprofit organizations received grant money for this purpose. AWEE was the... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines) read more..

Friday 25 May 2012

American Council On Exercise-Health Tip

Health Tip: Walk at Work

-- There are plenty of ways to squeeze in exercise and some social time at work without sacrificing productivity.The American Council on Exercise mentions these suggestions:Skip the coffee/smoke break and ask a co-worker to join you for a... read more..

United States Armed Forces-Memorial Day Weekend-Homer Simpson-Walgreens

Walgreens Rx for Growth: Beer! (rerun)

In advance of Memorial Day weekend, I'm rerunning one of my favorite posts, originally published in February 2011. Amid our festivities, let's all raise a glass for the brave men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces."Ah, beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life's problems."—Homer Simpson.Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) has expanded the definition of "medicine" once again with the introduction of its own private label beer called Big Flats 1901. A six-pack sells for $2.99—less than the cost of a $4 prescription!The beer's tagline: "It’s the water that makes it." (Legal disclaimer: It does not say "...makes it good.")Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, provides his review of this important industry development in the video clip below.Question: Could this be revenge for CVS Caremark's (NYSE:CVS) first-mover advantage in the drugstore industry's Chia Obama wars?Read more »Copyright © 2006-2012 Pembroke Consulting, Inc. and Copyright © 2006-2012 Drug Channels. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. read more..

Thursday 24 May 2012

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd-Medical Device Company-Cancer Pharmaceuticals

InspireMD Announces Enrollment Completion In Master Trial

TEL AVIV, Israel, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- InspireMD, Inc. (OTC BB: NSPR) (the "Company" or "InspireMD"), a medical device company focusing on the development and commercialization of its proprietary stent platform technology for use in patients with Acute Myocardial... read more..

Nanosmart(R) Pharmaceuticals Welcomes New Vice President Of R&D

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. James Smith, President of NanoSmart Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a California corporation developing a novel drug-delivery platform for cancer pharmaceuticals, announced today that the company has added Dr. Paul Glidden as Vice... read more..

Teva Jumps as New CEO Jeremy Levin Set to Give Guidance Update

Teva Jumps as New CEO Jeremy Levin Set to Give Guidance Update
Bloomberg - 15 minutes ago
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) rose the most in almost two months before new Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Levin gives an update on financial guidance. read more..

Field Research Corporation-Merck Company Foundation-Unitedhealthcare-Support Families

Feature Story: Sesame Workshop

The Merck Company Foundation and UnitedHealthcare, was designed to help support families who have children, between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. According to a recent study by The Field Research Corporation, this bilingual, multimedia initiative has been successful in a number of ways. read more..

Celldex Therapeutics-Breast Cancer Drug-Cosmetic Treatment-Dynamic Results

Celldex Therapeutics Breast Cancer Drug Shows Strong Results, But Only In Some Patients

An experimental breast cancer drug being developed by tiny Celldex Therapeutics of Needham., Mass., appeared to show a potent tumor-shrinking effect in four women who had both an especially hard-to-treat form of breast cancer and whose tumors had high levels of the protein targeted by the drug. But the results of the overall study in 122 patients were less impressive. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

Dermataloge, Now Offering the Latest Photodynamic Cosmetic Treatment,...

Dermataloge is thrilled to be offering Allumera as the latest photodynamic cosmetic treatment that produces dynamic results for timeless skin and offers a new way for women & men to look their...(PRWeb May 23, 2012)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9530797.htm (Source: PRWeb: Medical Pharmaceuticals) read more..

Celldex Therapeutics Breast Cancer Drug Shows Strong Results In Some Patients

The drug helps 36% of women with triple negative breast cancer. The problem is that's only 4 women in a 121 patient trial. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

Commercial Sponsorship-Cme Registration-The Pentagon-Cme Programs

Topping the Pentagon's $500 Hammer, or, Back to the Basement of the YMCA

Many moons ago, there was a flap about a cost study that showed that the Pentagon had paid $500 for a hammer, and this was widely quoted as an example of bloated government spending and waste. Now we discover that whoever ordered that hammer quit working at the Pentagon and is instead in the CME business.
Still catching op on older articles, I come to the study by Dr. Jeffrey Tabas and colleagues at UCSF: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/171/9/840
--looking at physicians' attitudes toward commercial funding of continuing medical education. The main take home message is that these docs, surveyed as they attended CME programs, agreed that when companies paid for CME, they introduced bias into the program, and that was not good. But the docs also shied away from paying any more themselves for CME registration and basically shrugged and said that CME could not survive without commercial sponsorship.
What most grabbed me, however, about the article was their observation that docs tended to way underestimate the actual cost of running a CME program. As an addendum the authors checked out the costs of various stuff at different cites in the US, presumably looking at big hotels or convention centers where CME events are often held. Taking Atlanta as a mid-range example, the costs per cup of coffee worked out to $7.47 and of a bagel, $5.05. If you wanted to splurge for lunch it would be $49.41. On the non-food side, the cost of getting a room set up with a screen, laptop, projector, and cables was $1520, not counting the cost of the technician.
So this led to a train of thought. We have to recognize (as was of course the case with the infamous hammer) that all these numbers reflect not the actual costs of the specific items, but what other charges and profits the business decides to tack onto that part of the tab; if we insisted on paying no more than $3 for coffee, the place would surely oblige, but simply add on the equivalent cost someplace else on the total bill. That being understood, I still have to wonder--if docs saw these figures, would they still agree that CME should proceed in the same way it always has, and that commercial sponsorship, while perhaps unfortunate, is nevertheless essential? Or would the light dawn that as long as a sugar daddy has been willing to pay the freight, others decided to take advantage, and so there's been an unjustified cost escalation in CME?
One of the quotes I most cherished when I was working on HOOKED was from a top dog at the American Psychiatric Association, who when asked by a reporter writing about their 2002 annual convention why they took so much Pharma money, protested that without Pharma bucks, they'd "be sitting in the basement of the YMCA." (Since then APA has made considerable strides in ridding their meetings of commercial money.) I had to wonder--has anyone asked the YMCA lately what they charge for a cup of coffee? read more..

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,-American Society Of Clinical Oncology-Initial Chemotherapy

Tesetaxel Results as Initial Chemotherapy for Women With Recurrent Breast Cancer to be Highlighted at ASCO

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J., May 22, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Genta Incorporated (GNTA) today announced results from the Company's Phase 2 clinical trial using tesetaxel as initial, single-agent chemotherapy in women with advanced breast cancer. The data will be formally presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, IL. Tesetaxel is the leading oral taxane in clinical development. The trial is lead by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, in collaboration with three other U.S. centers. (Source: Medical News (via PRIMEZONE)) read more..

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit-Memorial Hermann Hospital-Information Technology-Viruses

Is 'Women's Work' Rehumanizing Men?

Here's a quote that speaks volumes about what kind of work has become associated with men:?I.T. is just killing viruses and clearing paper jams all day,? said Scott Kearney, 43, who tried information technology and other fields before becoming a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children?s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.The New York Times reports on the growing phenomenon of men entering into traditionally women's jobs, like dental assistant, nurse, or schoolteacher. It's an eye-opening, if narrow, slice of the broader cultural and economic picture. But the insight behind Scott Kearney's anecdote deserves far more attention than it receives. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

Baptist Health System-Workplace Recognition-San Antonio Business-Fitness Council

San Antonio companies recognized for wellness efforts

The San Antonio Business Group on the Health, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Fitness Council, honored 31 employers Tuesday as part of the 2012 Healthy Workplace Recognition Program.Employers were recognized for their efforts to improve employees’ health via work-site wellness initiatives.Employers were ranked in three categories bronze, silver and gold.• Access Quality Therapy Services (silver)• Argo Group U.S. (bronze)• Baptist Health System (gold)• Bexar County (silver)•... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines) read more..

American College Of Sports Medicine-American Council On Exercise-Fruits And Vegetables

Health Tip: Take a Walk!

-- Walking is a great form of exercise and amusement. But the American Council on Exercise warns new walkers to start slowly and not to overdo it.Here are the council's recommendations:Start out with a short walk of about five minutes. Then... read more..

Sacramento ranks No. 6 on healthy cities index

The Sacramento region landed on one list residents can be proud of: It's ranked as one of the healthiest cities.A new study released by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Fitness Index, ranked Sacramento No. 6 out of 50 major metro areas.It rated so highly, in part, because more people get exercise, eat their fruits and vegetables, and because fewer people smoke. The Sacramento region also has more farmers markets than average, more people biking to work as well as more ball... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines) read more..

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Eligibility Criteria-Medical Literature-Jerry Hoffman-Pap Test

Yet More Ways the Literature Can Mislead Us

I'm back to pearls from recent issues of the "Primary Care Medical Abstract" program run by Drs. Rick Bukata and Jerry Hoffman, this time to touch upon some articles that add depth to our understanding of how the published medical literature can give a misleading impression of the world of human health. You may detect a certain for-profit industry footprint in some of these techniques for obfuscation.

  • A group at Freiburg, Germany compared the original research protocols of 52 randomized controlled trials with 78 journal articles reporting the trial results. Their concern was with eligibility criteria--which types of patients were included in the study or not. They found that only about half the time, the eligibility criteria reported in the final paper actually matched the original protocol; in the other instances the criteria were either not mentioned or were modified. The net result was often to make it appear that a treatment good for a small segment of the population was useful for a much wider group of patients. However, in their sample, this did not vary according to who funded the study, so non-industry researchers seem to be just as guilty as industry-sponsored folks. (http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d1828?view=long&pmid=21467104)

  • John Ioannidis, a frequent flyer in this blog with numerous highly revealing statistical analyses to his credit, who has now apparently forsaken Greece and gone to Stanford, reports with his colleagues on biomarkers--measures that purportedly signal level of disease risk or severity. As they note, new biomarkers are constantly being discovered and tested but relatively few ever end up influencing clinical practice. They looked at biomarker studies that appeared in high-impact journals like New England Journal, JAMA and Lancet that are most frequently read and cited, studies in less known journals, and meta-analyses of all known studies. They discovered that if you only read the articles in the high-impacty journals, you'd conclude that biomarkers were much more useful than they turned out to be according to the total mass of data. More suspiciously, the articles published in the high-impact journals, that showed the most favorable pictures of the biomarkers, were often not the largest studies in terms of numbers of subjects; the larger studies often showed less favorable outcomes. It looked very much like cherry-picking--either be sure to get your best-looking study in the highest impact journal and bury the less-good studies elsewhere; or else the editors of the highest-impact journals accept only the most favorable papers and turn down the others. But the bottom line for physicians is don't believe it just because you read it in a major journal. (http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/21/2200.long).

  • Another group of authors with John Ioannidis among them looked at cost-effectiveness analyses of various versions of the Pap test for cervical cancer, with many new (and of course much more expensive) variations being promoted by industry as superior to the standard Pap test. By the merest coincidence, in looking at costs and benefits of the newer test vs. the old Pap, not a single industry-sponsored study found that the old Pap was better. Also, the assumptions used in the industry-sponsored studies, in order to prove the superiority of the newer test, estimated the sensitivity of the old Pap test at an average of 10% lower than the assumptions employed in non-industry-sponsored research. Jerry Hoffman likes to say that we should simply throw out any industry-sponsored cost-effectiveness analysis without bothering to read it because you can fudge the assumptions any which way you please, and no one has yet discovered an industry-sponsored CEA study that did not conclude that even though the treatment or test promoted by industry is much more expensive up front, in the end it actually saves money (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071415/?tool=pub read more..

  • Harvard University Researchers-Vigorous Exercise-Vigorous Activity-Immune Disorder

    Vigorous Exercise Might Keep Psoriasis at Bay

    MONDAY, May 21 -- Women who exercise vigorously may be reducing their risk of psoriasis, Harvard University researchers report.Psoriasis is an immune disorder that causes inflammation and scaly patches on the skin.Vigorous activity for up to... read more..

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease-Birth Control Pills-Oral Contraceptives-Overweight Women

    Birth Control Pills, HRT Tied to Digestive Ills

    MONDAY, May 21 -- The use of oral contraceptives by younger women or hormone therapy by older women may be linked with inflammatory bowel disease, new research indicates.Birth control pills are associated with a higher risk for Crohn's disease,... read more..

    Dieting May Lower Hormone Levels Tied to Breast Cancer

    MONDAY, May 21 -- New research suggests that weight loss through exercise and dieting helps overweight women lower the levels of certain hormones in their blood, potentially raising the odds that they'll avoid developing breast cancer.The findings... read more..

    Study Finds Gout Significantly Impacts Lives of Women and Their Loved Ones

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J., May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An online survey conducted by Red Hot Mamas North America, Inc. found that women and their loved ones are significantly affected by very painful bouts of gout, which they consider to be chronic and severe. Respondents... read more..

    Monday 21 May 2012

    Diabetes Opinion Leaders Paid By Roche-Pharmaceutical Companies-Diabetes Community

    Diabetes Opinion Leaders Paid by Roche to Curate Content on New Twitter-based Social Media Site

    Diabetes Nest, according to its "About" statement, "is a Twitter-based diabetes network designed to help people discover the best conversations from the most meaningful voices. The Nest was created by Ignite Health and sponsored by Roche Diabetes Care, makers of ACCU-CHEK® products and services."
    Ignite Health, an InVentiv Health agency, maintains the site. Fabio Gratton, chief experience officer at Ignite Health, said:
    "Few argue that social media has transformed how patients and their caregivers share healthcare information and find support. But the sheer volume of content can be overwhelming. "So we asked ourselves how we could best help the diabetes community find and engage in the most timely, relevant and important conversations. The result is a simple, intuitive, compelling and ultimately self-sustaining diabetes social media community.”Diabetes Nest aggregates, sorts and ranks tweets from a curated list of diabetes experts" (read more here: "Roche Sponsors Diabetes Nest Twitter-Based Social Media Site").All five of those "diabetes experts" are long-time patient bloggers who are "compensated for their time, effort and invaluable guidance." Caretakers include:

    • Amy Tenderich (Diabetes Mine blogger)
    • Gina Capone ("gina - your diabetes BFF" blogger)
    • Kerri Sparling ("six until me" blogger)
    • George Simmons (co-host of DSMA Live on BlogTalkRadio)
    • Scott K. Johnson (co-host of DSMA Live on BlogTalkRadio and blogger at Scott's Diabetes)
    Roche "has no control or influence over the content or frequency of the Caretakers' tweets."
    Roche Diabetes Care has long been wining and dining diabetes bloggers at yearly "Roche Social Media Summits" held in nice places like resorts in Orlando, Florida. When I learned of the first summit held in 2010, I blogged that "Some Social Media Patient Opinion Leaders Want to be Paid Pharma Professionals." Diabetes Nest is, to my knowledge, the first such time that bloggers have been paid to be "consumer opinion leaders" in a manner similar to how pharma often pays physicians to be "key opinion leaders."
    At a patient panel discussion during a 2010 conference, Allison Blass (Patient Blogger, Diabetes Activist, Lemonade Life), said "You need to pay some one's full time salary," referring to the desire of some pharma companies to interact with patients in online communities. "The only way to sustain growth and involvement in a [online] community," said Allison, "is to have someone who actually does it [manage social media interactions with patients] as their job... to become the person who is known and loved by the community."
    Not that there is anything wrong with being compensated for your time, but pharmaceutical companies have to be careful how they provide compensation. In the case of Diabetes Nest, Roche probably supplies an "unrestricted grant," which is supposed to specify that the grantor (Roche) has no control over the content created by the grantee. The "grantee" in this case is probably Ignite Health, which owns Diabetes Nest (see NOTE below). Ignite Health is an advertising agency that works with pharmaceutical companies.
    NOTE: Doing some WHOIS snooping, I learn that the domain diabetesnest.com is registered to "TWTCLK" and the administrative contact is Fabio Gratton, both located at the same address in San Clemente, CA. A pharmaceutical company providing unrestricted grants or other funds to an advertising agency in support of a patient site related to a product line is a bit controversial, IMHO, especially if there intends to be a "Chinese" wall between the funding and advertising interests. This kind of thing got pharma companies into trouble with the likes of Senator Grassley when "unrestricted grants" were provided to ad agencies to run independent accredited CME programs for physicians. ACCME, which accredits CME, now requires that CME providers to be independent of ad agencies to avoid conflicts of interest read more..

    Health Tip

    Health Tip: Use Proper Form When Running

    -- Using proper running form can help prevent injuries and make running a little easier and more comfortable.The American Council on Exercise mentions these suggestions:Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and keep them close to your body, with... read more..

    Sunday 20 May 2012

    Bristol-Myers Squibb-Rheumatoid Arthritis-Biologic Processes-Company Release-Mass High Tech

    Bristol-Myers starts Orencia manufacturing at new plant

    Five years in the making and a year in testing, Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) has now been given the go-ahead by the FDA to begin manufacturing at a new plant in Devens, MA.The company is beginning with production of its injectable rheumatoid arthritis treatment Orencia, one of its best-selling drugs, but intends to expand the complex to accommodate a second biologic, reports Mass High Tech. The company in August received approval for a subcutaneous form of the pricey arthritis drug, which has been available since 2005 in IV form.The 400,000-square-foot, 6-building complex has 300 employees and is looking to hire another 50, Bristol-Myers spokesman Ken Dominski told Mass High Tech.Ground was broken on the project in 2007 and construction completed two years later, Dominski said. For a year, the company has been running equipment and testing the biologic processes for making Orencia. In March of last year, it began manufacturing a drug substance to demonstrate the processes to the FDA, the publication says.The entire complex has LEED silver certification, indicating that it meets certain standards for energy efficiency, while the lab and office building have met LEED gold certification levels, according to a company release.Bristol-Myers has a plant in Syracuse, NY, where it manufactures its biologics, and also uses contract manufacturers. It finishes and packages them in Puerto Rico at a facility that a couple of years ago received a warning letter from the FDA. Syracuse will continue to be used for development and early product launches for Bristol-Myers biologics, the release says."The increased manufacturing capacity from the Devens site will support market demand for Orencia and positions us well for future production of additional biologic medicines," says Lou Schmukler, president of global manufacturing and supply for Bristol-Myers Squibb. - read the Mass High Tech story
    - the press releaseRelated Articles:
    BMS sales up 8%, thanks to drugs new and old
    NICE nixes Bristol's arthritis med for NHS use
    BMS aims for new inspection of troubled plant read more..

    Children's Online Privacy Protection Act-Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation-Personally Identifiable Information

    Have You Met Turbo "Scott? FTC May Want to Meet this eBook for Children Sponsored by Novartis

    I just found this tweet from @Novartis:
    "US only: Have you met Turbo & Scott? Visit http://t.co/yJDtSvhQ to read the TSC eBook or download Barks and Crafts"At first, I thought this would be some kind of Rx branded Web site because it was for "US only," which usually means there's some direct-to-consumer (DTC) Rx product information on the site or closely linked to it. But there isn't any hint of a drug mentioned anywhere that I can find.
    It's really a site designed for young children who have TSC, "which stands for three big and hard-to-pronounce words, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex."
    NOTE: Novartis probably markets the only drug approved by the FDA for treatment of TSC (see press release). Hence, even though the drug is not referenced on this site, FDA may regulate the site as if it were marketing that drug. European regulators also may feel that the TSC site violates their regulations regarding DTC communications.The eBook is beautifully illustrated and written in the simple language that a child would use. In fact, it's a story told by Turbo, the stuffed dog friend of Scott who is "a real boy and [Turbo's] best friend." Scott has TSC.
    I've never heard of TSC before, but apparently, it is a pretty serious hereditary condition that can cause seizures and may require Scott and other kids with TSC to be examined and treated by as many as SEVEN different specialists: Neurologist, Ophthalmologist, Pulmonologist, Nephrologists, Psychiatrist, Cardiologist, and Dermatologist. That's a lot of "gists!" The ebook does a good job explaining to kids what these doctors do.
    But what the site does NOT do well is comply with the U.S. Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA "applies to operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children." Such sites may not collect personally-identifiable information from children without the consent of parents (see COPPA FAQs).
    The URL in the tweet above resolves to this URL: http://www.tuberous-sclerosis.com/patient/ebook/ebookhome.jsp which displays this page:
    There is a notice from Novartis at the bottom of the screen, which states "Use of this website is governed by the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. Copyright ©2012 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. All rights reserved."
    The privacy statement clearly states that "Novartis will not knowingly collect, use or disclose personally identifiable information from a minor under the age of 13, without obtaining prior consent from a person with parental responsibility (parent or guardian)." However, any child (including me) can click on the "Send to Friend" tab and enter his/her name and email address as well as the email address of a friend:
    Novartis says "The email addresses you furnish will be used solely to notify the recipient of the link to this page and that you have requested it to be sent. The addresses will not be retained or reused." Since the information is not "retained of reused," this "Send to Friend" feature may be eligible for the "one-time exclusion" allowed by COPPA.
    However, another feature of the site allows children to send an email message directly to TSC.Story@novartis.com.
    On that page Novartis says: "TSC.Story@novartis.com is to be used to show your interest in further information. We look forward to receiving your email. The personal email information you submit will be used to deliver information about TSC and the TSC eBook program only. By submitting your information you agree to receive information via emails. Please be assured that although we share your information with third parties who work for us on these activities, neither Novartis nor third parties working on our behalf will sell or rent your personal email information. You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking here and specifying Unsubscribe in the subject of the email."
    This is clearly an attempt t read more..

    Saturday 19 May 2012

    Harvard University Researchers-Obstetric Complications-Excessive Weight Gain-Monounsaturated Fat

    'Bad' Fat May Hurt Brain Function Over Time

    FRIDAY, May 18 -- Women who eat a lot of "bad" saturated fat may hurt their overall brain function and memory over time, Harvard University researchers report.In contrast, eating more "good" monounsaturated fat improved brain function and memory,... read more..

    Healthy Dieting in Pregnancy May Be Helpful

    FRIDAY, May 18 -- Eating a healthy, calorie-controlled diet during pregnancy can helps prevent excessive weight gain and cut the risk of obstetric complications, researchers report.In Europe and the United States, up to 40 percent of women gain... read more..

    Breast Cancer In Women-Anderson Cancer Center-Breast Cancer Vaccine-Houston Chronicle

    New M.D. Anderson breast cancer vaccine shows promise

    Researchers at Houston-based M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reported promising results from an experimental new breast cancer vaccine.The vaccine, one of many now in testing, significantly decreased the recurrence rate of breast cancer in women who had been treated for a common tumor type, according to a study led by The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the Houston Chronicle reports.The new vaccine triggers the patient's immunity against a tumor protein, known as HER2, present to... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines) read more..

    Friday 18 May 2012

    Endometriosis-Study Hints-Sunscreens

    Being Obese May Make Job Search Tougher

    THURSDAY, May 17 -- It was the small square photo clipped to an applicant's resume that most influenced whether a woman would be hired. But there was a hidden catch: The pictures showed the same six women both before and after weight-loss... read more..

    Early Study Hints at Link Between Certain Sunscreens, Endometriosis

    THURSDAY, May 17 -- A preliminary study links chemicals found in certain sunscreens to a higher risk of endometriosis, but it's too soon to say whether there's any reason for women to change their habits."This is way too early for prime time,"... read more..

    Prescription Drugs-Heart Disease-Heart Attack-Percentage

    Drugs are Losing the Battle Against Heart Disease. Here's Why.

    The percentage of the U.S. population taking at least one prescription drug during the past 30 days increased from 38% in 1988–1994 to 48% in 2005–2008. During the same period, the percentage taking three or more prescription drugs nearly doubled, from 11% to 21%, and the percentage taking five or more drugs increased from 4% to 11%. These data come from the CDC "Health, Unites States, 2011" report (find it here).
    Meanwhile, the prevalence of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S., remained steady from 1999–2000 to 2009–2010 among adult women in all age groups, and among men 45–74 years of age. Among men 75 years of age and over, prevalence rose from 39% in 1999–2000 to 45% in 2009–2010.
    There goes my rationale for taking statins to lower my risk of heart attack! It seems that the drug industry is not as successful in improving our health as it claims to be.
    And new drugs aimed at lowering the risk for heart disease currently being developed may be effective in achieving "surrogate endpoints" in clinical trials but not effective in reducing risk.
    That was the takeaway from a new study published online recently in The Lancet. That study provided evidence that increasing the level of HDL ("good cholesterol") does not lead to less risk for heart disease (see "HDL hypothesis is on the ropes right now").
    That's not good news for companies that are actively developing and testing drugs that raise HDL -- even if these drugs succeed in that goal they are not likely to help prevent heart disease.
    There's lots of other interesting data in the CDC report. I've gathered my favorite charts into the infographic shown here (click here for an enlarged view). read more..

    Thursday 17 May 2012

    Hormone Replacement Therapies-Estrogen Treatments-Brandon, Manitoba-Hormone Therapy

    Pfizer making deep cuts at estrogen extraction plant

    Pfizer ($PFE), which faces thousands of lawsuits over hormone replacement therapies, will cut about 40% of the workforce at a Canadian plant where one of them is made.The company says that by the end of next year it will eliminate 50 of 130 jobs at a plant in Brandon, Manitoba, where it processes conjugated estrogen from pregnant mares' urine (PMU), reports the Alberta Farmer Express. It uses the product to manufacture Premarin, a hormone replacement treatment originally developed by Wyeth, which Pfizer acquired in 2009.Pfizer told the publication that it must always be looking for "efficiencies and cost reductions by using our resources and technology more effectively." It says the restructuring will not affect its network of about 25 horse ranchers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, from which it buys the raw PMU.According to Pfizer's website, Premarin is shipped globally and accounts for more than two-thirds of all estrogen prescriptions in the U.S. It says more Premarin is exported from Canada "than any other single pharmaceutical product." It doesn't mention the 10,000 lawsuits it has been fighting by women who claim that estrogen treatments were tied to their breast cancer.The company in December said it had settled about 5,000 of 10,000 lawsuits brought on behalf of women who had taken its hormone therapy drugs Premarin, Provera and Prempro. It said in a financial filing that it had set aside about $840 million to help settle claims. That disclosure came on the heels of a settlement it reached with three women who had been awarded more than $70 million from a jury who agreed that Pfizer's estrogen treatments contributed to their getting breast cancer.The Brandon plant was built in the 1960s and Pfizer inherited it as part of its 2009  acquisition of Wyeth. The Express says Wyeth reduced its network of PMU suppliers by half about 10 years ago after health studies identified the cancer risks associated with estrogen therapy and demand for the drugs fell off.- read the Alberta Farmer Express storyRelated Articles:
    Pfizer settles hormone-drug suit after $72.6M jury award
    For Pfizer, 5,000 lawsuits resolved, 5,000 to go read more..

    Immune Responses-Cancer Vaccines-Cancer Patients

    Existing drugs boost new cancer vax responses

    Cancer vaccines are becoming an increasingly attractive focus of study, but there are still perils and pitfalls along the way to success. Two recent studies have looked at ways to get around these, focusing on experimental cancer vaccines boosted by existing drugs.One of the issues that cancer vaccines face is that tumors can hide from the immune system, helped by the regulatory T cells or Tregs that normally turn off the immune system once it has finished fighting infection. These white blood cells have been co-opted by cancers to protect them from the normal immune response, also cutting the effectiveness of cancer vaccines that are designed to boost the immune responses against the tumors. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are looking at using daclizumab (Zenapax)--a monoclonal antibody used to prevent transplant rejection--to target the Tregs and convert them into normal T cells, and to therefore restore the immune response against the cancers.Ten women with metastatic breast cancer were treated with daclizumab and an experimental cancer vaccine developed at the university. Their Tregs converted to T cells, lasting for two months; the tumors in 6 patients stopped growing, and they survived around 30% longer than the women who had the cancer vaccine alone. The results were published in Science Translational Medicine. "Although we tested our approach in patients with breast cancer, we know that Tregs can block the immune response against most human cancers," says senior author Robert H. Vonderheide. "Drugs like daclizumab might be useful for most cancer patients, especially those receiving other types of immune therapy."This approach could work in other cancers, but this was a very small trial in patients with advanced disease, and more studies are needed--the team is planning a study in summer 2012 with the vaccine and another similar drug, as daclizumab is not currently available from its manufacturer.And in another story, adding the hormonal therapy letrozole to Oncothyreon's ($ONTY) Stimuvax lung cancer vaccine improved the responses in mice. Stimuvax is in Phase III trials, and results aren't expected until 2013.- read the press release about daclizumab
    - see the abstract from Science Translational Medicine
    - check out the press release about letrozole
    - see the abstract from Clinical Cancer ResearchRelated Articles:
    MUC1 cancer vaccine starts in the clinic
    Antigen Express vaccine cuts breast cancer recurrence
    Oncothyreon shares routed as Stimuvax PhIII trial soldiers on read more..

    Wednesday 16 May 2012

    The New England Journal Of Medicine-Fda Analysis-Fosamax-Prweb

    FDA Reports Fosamax May Not Help Women Long Term

    According to the FDA analysis published on May 9th, 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine, bone-strengthening drugs such as Fosamax may have little long-term benefit. Fosamax, manufactured by...(PRWeb May 15, 2012)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9502438.htm (Source: PRWeb: Medical Pharmaceuticals)MedWorm Sponsor Message: Please support the Doctors In Chains campaign for the medics tortured and sentenced for up to 15 years in Bahrain. #FreeDoctors read more..

    Doctor&Amp;#39;S Prescription-Southern Medical Association-American Council On Exercise

    Fitness Fights High Blood Pressure, Even With Family History

    TUESDAY, May 15 -- Although people with a family history of high blood pressure (hypertension) are at much greater risk of developing the condition themselves, regular exercise and physical fitness may significantly lower that risk, according to a... read more..

    Health Tip: When Physical Therapy Ends

    -- Don't become a couch potato just because your doctor's prescription for physical therapy has run out.The American Council on Exercise suggests how to transition from physical therapy to a regular exercise regimen:Make a commitment to staying... read more..

    Southern Medical Association Focuses on Women’s Health July 23-28,...

    Southern Medical Association (SMA) will hold two conferences focused on important women’s health issues this July at the Kiawah Island Conference Center on Kiawah Island (near Charleston), South...(PRWeb May 16, 2012)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9503952.htm (Source: PRWeb: Medical Pharmaceuticals) read more..

    Pro Football Coach Bill Cowher-Educational Campaign-Hispanic Americans-Advocacy Groups

    Blacks, Hispanics Have Higher Colon Polyp Risk Than Previously Thought

    TUESDAY, May 15 -- Black and Hispanic Americans are far more likely than whites to develop precancerous colorectal polyps, a new study finds.Researchers analyzed data from more than 5,000 men and women aged 50 and older who had a first-time... read more..

    Former Pro Football Coach Bill Cowher Teams Up With Leading Advocacy Groups to Launch Melanoma Exposed, an Educational Campaign to Raise Awareness of the Most Deadly Form of Skin Cancer

    Men are almost twice as likely todie from melanoma as women, but survey finds only 9percent of men consider melanoma a health concernCampaign to offer free skinscreenings for the public, including events with professionalfootball teams, the... (Source: Drugs.com - Pharma News) read more..

    Bayer Reports $142 Million over Yasmin Lawsuits: Adverse Events

    On April 27th, 2012 Bloomberg reported that Bayer settled lawsuits alleging that Yasmin range of pills caused blood clots in women to $142 million. Yasmin, and its sister drug Yaz, are oral...(PRWeb May 16, 2012)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9506870.htm (Source: PRWeb: Medical Pharmaceuticals) read more..

    Chief Executive-Dual Agency-Astrazeneca

    How much PR do AZ need?

    Troubled drugs giant AstraZeneca calls in dual agency support
    The UK’s second largest drug manufacturer is understood to have called in Tonic Life and Red Door Communications for its first UK list, following a seven-month procurement process.
    However, industry insiders have questioned whether the contracts will last, given the news regarding job cuts and the chief executive’s departure, which came just days after the roster was confirmed.
    A source said: ‘The future of AstraZeneca’s UK marketing operation is unclear. The whole exercise could be redundant.’
    AstraZeneca would not comment on these claims, and said the agency shift comes as part of regular reviews of supplier relationships.
    Simon Moore, the firm’s UK corporate comms director, said there were ‘no plans to change the UK comms team’ but would not be drawn on whether the firm’s global PR suppliers were to be reviewed.
    He added: ‘The announcement in February regarding potential role reductions was part of an ongoing global restructuring programme. The potential impact for any particular geography is not confirmed at this stage, but this is not a factor in the way we manage our UK PR agencies.’
    AstraZeneca, which is grappling with rising drug development costs, suffered a 19 per cent fall in profits in the period from January to March of this year.
    Chief executive David Brennan is standing down in June without a permanent replacement appointed.
    http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1131763/troubled-drugs-giant-astrazeneca-calls-dual-agency-support/? read more..

    American Council On Exercise-Educational Campaign-Advocacy Groups-Bill Cowher-Health Tip

    Health Tip: Exercising in the Heat

    -- You shouldn't stop exercising during the summer months, just because the mercury has jumped to uncomfortable heights. But you should take precautions to protect yourself against heat-related illness.The American Council on Exercise offers these... read more..

    Former Pro Football Coach Bill Cowher Teams Up with Leading Advocacy Groups to Launch Melanoma Exposed™, an Educational Campaign to Raise Awareness of the Most Deadly Form of Skin Cancer

    NEW YORK, May 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Men are almost twice as likely to die from melanoma as women, but according to a new survey, only 9 perc read more..

    Tuesday 15 May 2012

    American Heart Association-Barbara Roberts-Cholesterol-Statins

    Barbara Roberts, 'The Truth About Statins'

    I recently had the privilege of attending the very important conference in Boston called Avoiding Avoidable Care (about how to both improve quality and reduce costs by avoiding the use of nenbeneficial tests and treatments), and there met Dr. Barbara H. Roberts, a cardiologist who heads the Women's Cardiac Center at Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI. I therefore learned about her new book, The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs (New York: Pocket Books, 2012).
    I've not yet had time to read the entire book but zeroed in first on Chapter 7, which is titled, "Big Pharma, the FDA, and the Medical Profession: An Unholy, Very Lucrative Alliance" (for reasons readers of this blog can imagine). Dr. Roberts does a nice job of explaining her own personal experiences with the pharmaceutical industry (she did sponsored talks for a while until the managers decided she was actually telling the audience about the science rather than peddling drugs), and especially in revealing the extent to which organizations in her field, especially the American Heart Association, are in bed with industry and rolling in industry cash--and how that influences the supposedly objective guidelines and food approvals they issue.
    I also reviewed what Dr. Roberts had to say about the JUPITER trial, about which I blogged extensively (for a summary see http://brodyhooked.blogspot.com/2010/06/more-on-cholesterol-statins-and-jupiter.html). Her analysis to my inexpert eye is both detailed and cogent.
    In short this appears to be a great book for both physicians and patients about how statins for cholesterol have been way too aggressively marketed, and why old-fashioned lifestyle changes are probably a more potent and certainly safer way to reduce one's risk of heart disease. read more..

    Siddhartha Mukherjee-Depression Levels-Serotonin Levels

    Yet More on the Broken Serotonin Model of Depression

    A psychiatrist colleague sent me, with his endorsement, an article in the New York Times Magazine on the science of depression:
    --whose author is Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee of Columbia, whose recent book, Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer was very well reviewed.
    Since I have previously been dismissive of the serotonin theory of depression, Dr. Mukherjee's account of the history of the science of depression provides some potential balance. Dr. Mukherjee's basic hypothesis is that while it's clear that the idea that serotonin is a sort of magic bullet for depression is deeply flawed, two things are probably true--first, that serotonin plays an important role in at least some cases of depression in one way or another; and second, that drugs that change depression levels have been extremely helpful in our understanding of depression, not as cures, but as chemical probes that help us better understand what's going on in the brain--so long as we understand properly what the probes are telling us.
    So I recommend the article, but I did find myself hiccuping at two places where I thought the author deviated from the careful and balanced tone he had established. The first such passage that caught my attention was: "But such a line of inquiry can’t tell us whether the absence of serotonin causes depression. For that, we need to know if depressed men and women have measurably lower levels of serotonin or serotonin-metabolites (byproducts of serotonin breakdown), in their brains."
    Now, asking that question gets us a part of the way to an answer, but it's quite misleading if taken to represent the full answer. This is the old confusion between association and causation. Answering this question might reveal an association between serotonin levels and depression, but tells us nothing about whether that association plays a causal role, or whether some other thing is causing both the depression and the serotonin variations. Getting us messed up between association and causation is one of the primary ways that Pharma marketing manages to sell us a lot of ineffective and potentially harmful drugs.
    The other passage that disturbed me relates to the newer theory of depression that excites Dr. Mukherjee the most, though he admits that depression is still very complicated and there may be no single "answer." The new theory is that while in most of the adult brain, no new cells grow, there seems to be an exception and new cells can grow slowly in one portion of the hippocampus, which seems to be related to mood. Experiments in mice show that behavior changes that are depression-related can be caused by enhancing or blocking the growth of these cells; and in humans, brain scans seem to indicate some similar function for cell growth in this region. Dr. Mukherjee then states about this cell-growth theory: "Nor does the theory explain why “talk therapies” work in some patients and not in others, and why the combination of talk and antidepressants seems to work consistently better than either alone. It is very unlikely that we can “talk” our brains into growing cells."
    This passage seems a retreat back into another mode of flawed thinking that Pharma marketing exploits to mislead us--the old-fashioned mind/body dualism, which persists in treating the mind as foreign from the body and made up of different sorts of stuff, so that things that influence the body cannot affect the mind and vice versa. Dr. Mukherjee had just finished explaining to us that when mice are put in an enhanced environment with fun new stuff to explore, they become more adverturous and less depressed-seeming, and their brains also grow new cells in the hippocampus. He apparently forgets for a moment that if an enhanced environment can grow new brain cells in mice, then the enhanced environment provided by "talk therapy" in humans might have the sa read more..

    Monday 14 May 2012

    Drug Withdrawal Symptoms-Antidepressant Drugs-Moderate Depression-Clinical Trials

    60 Minutes Weighs In on Antidepressants

    I was just checking out on line yesterday's "60 Minutes" segment--
    --that features a friend, Dr. Irving Kirsch of Harvard, a psychologist whose work on placebo effect and expectancy I have long admired. But the segment is only peripherally about placebo effect; it's rather about Kirsch's now oft-repeated finding that except for severe depression, the difference between antidepressants and placebos in clinical trials is negligible.
    As seems typical, the news program featured as "gosh golly gee whiz" news stuff that we've been over in this blog many times before:

  • The serotonin theory of depression, on which most antidepressant therapy is based, is either only a part of the story or else dead wrong

  • The drug companies selectively publish the drug trials that show benefit and selectively hide the trials that don't

  • Several independent investigations have agreed with Kirsch's original work that in mild to moderate depression, there is hardly any difference between drug and placebo effects
  • What I personally found new was an interview with a British psychaitrist reporting that the UK National Health Service had independently replicated Kirsch's studies and found the same results. So they are now actively discouraging the use of antidepressant drugs for mild-to-moderate depression (the categories for which prescriptions in the US have exploded in the past 20 years) and are now busy working hard to implement--guess what--psychotherapy counseling and exercise programs which work just as well for those patients.
    If I had any major quibble with the program, it was that the magic words "side effects" were first mentioned at around 11:30 of the 13:40 segment (by the British psychiatrist). Those words tell the whole story. Placebos might be equivalent to drug in regards to benefits--but certainly not with regard to adverse reactions. We have been incredibly slow (aided by aggressive drug company marketing) to realize in medicine that most of these "nonaddictive" drugs actually have serious withdrawal syndromes, such that the worsening symptoms when patients go off their antidepressants--interpreted by the drug companies as sure proof that they work--might just as well be drug withdrawal symptoms as recurrence-of-depression symptoms.
    The other fun part of the program was watching the US psychiatrist (and of course, consultant for several drug firms) who was put on to defend the track record of these drugs. He naturally made no mention of side effects whatever, but he did insist that in his own independent studies, 14% of moderately depressed patients do better on drug than on placebo. (He admitted that it was a wash in mild depression.) In his mind this justified current practice. Can you believe it--14%??? For a condition where the drugs have serious side effects and where talk therapy or exercise work as well? And that's apparently the best rebuttal the drug industry can come up with?
    I must here repeat the usual disclaimer--don't try this at home--if you're depressed see your doctor and do what the doctor says, and above all don't discontinue any drug without the doctor's advice. read more..

    Cholesterol Levels-Health Connections-High Cholesterol-Corporate Blog-Astrazeneca

    AstraZeneca's Timely CRESTOR Branded Blog Post: Did It Violate Its Own Policy?

    It's unusual for a pharmaceutical company to mention a product by brand name on its corporate blog. But AstraZeneca (AZ) has done just that on its "AZ Health Connections" corporate blog. The majority of the post "New CDC data shows drop in number of adults with high cholesterol" submitted by Tom Hushen, AZ's External Communications Manager, talks about CRESTOR, AZ's anti-cholesterol drug. The post may have been ghostwritten for "Dr Philip de Vane, Executive Director of Clinical Development at AstraZeneca," whose name appears at the bottom.
    After briefly citing the results of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) study (see below) in the first paragraph, Hushen dedicates the most of the remaining 309 words of the 377-word post to CRESTOR as in:
    "AstraZeneca applauds this progress and we are proud that when diet and exercise alone aren’t enough, prescription medications like CRESTOR® (rosuvastatin calcium) are able to help patients reach their cholesterol goals. In adults, CRESTOR is prescribed along with diet to lower high cholesterol and to slow the buildup of plaque in arteries."Included in the post is the "fair balance" information required by law:
    "CRESTOR is not right for everyone-like people with liver disease or women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. Tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking. Call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain or weakness; feel unusually tired; have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellowing of skin or eyes-these could be signs of rare but serious side effects. See www.CRESTOR.com"Although this is not earth-shaking or in violation of any law that I know of, it nevertheless is the FIRST time a pharmaceutical company has promoted a prescription drug on its official corporate blog. It's even more interesting considering the AZ Health Connections "Comment Policy" seems to preclude any comments about specific products:
    "We want to make sure AZ Health Connections provides a good experience for all visitors. Therefore, we want to keep the content focused on the specific topics being addressed. Comments that don’t directly relate to AstraZeneca or the topics currently being discussed, or comments or questions about specific products (whether or not AstraZeneca products) or ongoing legal or regulatory matters may not be published or may be removed."Could it be that what's good for the "goose" (AZ) is not good for the "gander" (everyone else)? It seems that AZ has relaxed its comments policy, at least this one time. As proof of this, I submitted the following comment, which AZ published:
    "I am one of those U.S. adults with high cholesterol that is having problems controlling it with just diet and exercise, which I don’t even try to do :-). But I am worried about taking powerful medicines such as CRESTOR because of the side effects that you mention."AZ published that comment made by this "gander." It is the only comment published so far, so I have no idea if other people have submitted comments that were NOT published. Maybe Tony Jewell, Senior Director of External Communications at AstraZeneca US, will tell us. NOTE: Jewel received the coveted "Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award" in 2011 (see here).
    Note: In a personal email, Jewell said: "This post was reviewed, as are all others that mention medicines or disease states. There have been many on the blog, Twitter and Facebook." Also see his comment to this post.
    Why did AZ do this at this time? It seems to be very opportunistic considering that it coincides with the release of CDC data that shows improvement to cholesterol levels for many Americans. Also, Pfizer just announced it is no longer promoting Lipitor (see "Pfizer Throws In the Lipitor Marketing Towel" and "Lipitor R.I.P. Infographic").
    Obviously, now is a good time for AZ to ramp up the promotion of CRESTOR, as it is positioned to take over the number one (or virtually ONLY) statin TOP sales spot ( read more..

    Sunday 13 May 2012

    Clothing Sizes-Crash Diets

    Shape Up, Safely, for Summer

    SATURDAY, May 12 -- Being healthy and losing weight are not only about crash diets, clothing sizes and numbers on the scale, experts say.Incorporating fitness into your life can boost your confidence and make you feel better inside and out, said... read more..

    Pharmaceutical Companies-Research And Development-Pharmaceutical Company-Direct Marketing

    How the Placebo Effect "Marketing Can Improve Health "Increase Pharma Profits

    Big pharmaceutical companies are drastically cutting back on research and development. The economics just do not support the model that has been the driving force of the drug industry over the past 15 years.
    According to a Forbes analysis reported by Matthew Herper, "The average drug developed by a major pharmaceutical company costs at least $4 billion, and it can be as much as $11 billion" (see "The Truly Staggering Cost Of Inventing New Drugs").
    Some pundits suggest that lowering the cost of performing clinical trials will help get more drugs to market faster. Andrew von Eschenbach, former FDA Commissioner and now employed as chairman of conservative think tank Manhattan Institute's Project FDA initiative, suggested that instead of the FDA asking pharma companies to complete "laborious clinical trials proving efficacy, after proof of concept and safety testing, the product could be approved for marketing with every eligible patient entered in a registry so the company and the FDA can establish efficacy through post-market studies" (see here).
    However, Herper points out that the "main expense is failure. AstraZeneca (AZ) does badly by this measure because it has had so few new drugs hit the market." AZ spent about $59 billion on R&D between 1997 and 2011, but only managed to get 5 new drugs approved. According to simple arithmetic, that means each of these 5 drugs cost about $11.8 billion to develop.
    That's an interesting number. A very similar number came up during last night's 60 Minutes segment on "Treating Depression: Is there a placebo effect?" (see it here). It turns out that antidepressants sales in the U.S. bring in $11.3 billion a year to pharmaceutical companies that sell them -- including AstraZeneca!
    Could it be that the drug industry is merely "breaking even" in the anti-depressant market?
    I suspect they are probably making a pretty good profit -- but that profit may be diminishing as more and more anti-depressants go off patent. In fact, it has been suggested that 60 Minutes dared to air this expose -- four years after the research was first published -- because the "news" can no longer harm the drug companies that CBS depends upon for advertising -- most of the drugs mentioned are off patent (see “You’re telling me this now?” Why the news is suddenly critical of statins and antidepressants).
    I did a blog post about antidepressants and the placebo effect two years ago in January 2010 (read "A Common Goal of Research and Marketing: Fool the Doctor"). In that post, it was noted that clinical evidence suggests these drugs are not any more effective than a placebo in patients with less severe depression. But drug company marketing to physicians does not mention this. Thus, physicians are led to believe that the drugs ARE effective for all patients with depression.
    As pointed out in the 60 Minutes piece, "a clinician who cares, who takes the time, who listens to you, who asks questions about your condition and pays attention to what you say, that's the kind of care that can help facilitate a placebo effect." That goes double if the clinician actually believes what he or she is prescribing is a drug with proven efficacy.
    Consequently, marketing to physicians along with direct marketing to consumers can play a huge role in "facilitating" a placebo effect. Which leads me to this idea: pharmaceutical companies should be in the business of developing placebos rather than dangerous, ineffective chemical compounds. There would be no need for expensive clinical trials and it would be easy for FDA to adopt von Eschenbach's idea to approve these new "drugs" before they are proven effective. It will be up to marketing to make them effective by facilitating the placebo effect!
    Of course, to be successful, this new approach to drug development must be done surreptitiously and the FDA must conspire with the drug industry (not too much of a stretch there). After all, if everyone kn read more..

    Saturday 12 May 2012

    Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic-Risky Sexual Behavior-Women

    Women Exposed to Violence Might Have More Risky Sex

    FRIDAY, May 11 -- Women who've witnessed or been the victims of violence may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, according to new research.The study included 481 women being treated at a sexually transmitted disease clinic who were... read more..

    Johnson &Amp; Johnson-Skin Problems-Hysterectomy-Obese Women

    Is Combining Hysterectomy and a Tummy Tuck Safe?

    FRIDAY, May 11 -- New research suggests that combining two very different surgeries -- a hysterectomy and a tummy tuck -- is relatively safe, with no major complications seen in 65 women who had both procedures at the same time.The rate of... read more..

    Weight-Loss Surgery May Also Help Menstruation, Skin, Hair

    FRIDAY, May 11 -- Obese women often stop getting their periods, but new research suggests weight-loss surgery can help regulate their monthly cycles, while also stemming excessive hair growth and skin problems that often accompany significant weight... read more..

    Happy Mother’s Day from Johnson "Johnson

    As both a Johnson & Johnson employee and a mom (I’m the proud parent of a 12-year old daughter), I’m always interested in the work that our company has done and continues to do to improve the lives of women … Continue reading ? read more..

    Consent Decrees-Fda Compliance

    12-year-old consent decree lifted from Abbott

    Abbot Laboratories ($ABT) has shed the smell of a consent decree more than a decade after its imposition and just before it splits itself up for the public markets.The FDA compliance order dates to 1999 and was issued after its diagnostics division for 6 years came up short on manufacturing practices, reports Pharmalot. The FDA relented after Abbott demonstrated its ability to practice current good manufacturing practices, the FDA tells the website."Many consent decrees that FDA enters with firms allow the firms, under defined circumstances, to seek court termination of the decrees following extended periods of compliance. That is the case with this one," an FDA spokeswoman explains.The company paid a $100 million fine at the time the decree was ordered, but of course there are all of the expenses of upgrading facilities and paying consultants to help get facilities up to snuff and back in the good graces of the agency.There also is the need to continually report in financial filings that the company is operating under a consent decree. Now that language can be erased from financial disclosures, and now is the time for that, as the company divides itself. One piece, to be called AbbVie, will focus on the portfolio of existing drugs and those in the pipeline.  The other will be spun off to be a device- and diagnosticsmaker and will sell branded drugs outside the U.S.- read Pharmalot's storyRelated Articles:
    Abbott split creates an $18B biopharma deal-maker with deep pockets
    Abbott chief says biopharma ops not for sale (at bargain price) read more..

    Friday 11 May 2012


    Fitness in Middle Age Lowers Medical Costs Later: Study

    THURSDAY, May 10 -- Subsidizing exercise and fitness-related lifestyles in middle age could significantly reduce the ballooning cost of health care in later years, a new study of more than 20,000 people suggests.The study, slated for Thursday... read more..

    Danish Researchers Report-Hormonal Contraceptives-Birth Control Methods-Corporate Citizenship

    Many Women Still Smoke During Pregnancy

    THURSDAY, May 10 -- Too many American women still smoke during their pregnancies, a new report finds, and rates of such smoking vary widely depending on race.Researchers found that almost 22 percent of pregnant white women aged 15 to 44 smoked... read more..

    Blood Clot Risk Linked to Some Non-Pill Contraceptives

    THURSDAY, May 10 -- Some women using hormonal contraceptives other than birth control pills may have an increased risk for serious blood clots, Danish researchers report.These alternate hormone-releasing birth control methods include skin patches,... read more..

    New ennTV Episode: Sustainable Products and Improving Health for Women and Children

    The new episode of ennTV is out, and this one features some of the ways Johnson & Johnson companies are approaching corporate citizenship and caring for the world environmentally, economically and socially.  The first story is about the Earthwards™ … Continue reading ? read more..

    Glenmark Pharma-Couple Of Days

    Sukhani not upbeat on Glenmark Pharma

    Sukhani not upbeat on Glenmark Pharma
    Moneycontrol.com - 31 minutes ago
    Sukhani told CNBC-TV18, “KPIT Cummins has moved well. It had a very big day. It's consolidated for a couple of days and then continued its run. read more..

    Graham Walker-Pharma

    Walker walks the walk at IDEA Pharma

    Walker walks the walk at IDEA Pharma
    IDEA Pharma is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Graham Walker to its IDEAtion t...
    IDEA Pharma read more..

    Thursday 10 May 2012

    University Of Maryland School Of Medicine-University Of Maryland Medical School

    University of Maryland medical school wins $240K grant for breast cancer screening

    The University of Maryland School of Medicine said Tuesday it has received a $240,000 grant from the Avon Foundation to help conduct breast cancer screenings to underinsured women living in Baltimore City.The school’s Baltimore City Breast Cancer Program program provides screenings for low-income women. Nearly 9,000 free clinical breast exams and 10,000 mammograms have been conducted under the program since it was founded in 2001. Of the 27,000 women screened, 101 have been diagnosed with breast... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines)MedWorm Sponsor Message: Please support the Doctors In Chains campaign for the medics tortured and sentenced for up to 15 years in Bahrain. #FreeDoctors read more..

    Atrial Fibrillation-National Expansion-Elderly Women-Diagnostics-Elderly Men

    In AF, Women Have A Bigger Risk Of Stroke Than Men

    When compared to elderly men with atrial fibrillation, elderly women with AF have a significantly elevated risk for stroke. This increased risk occurs regardless of warfarin use, according to a new study published in JAMA. (Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News) read more..

    Plus Diagnostics opening lab in Houston

    Plus Diagnostics will open a new laboratory in Houston as part of the company’s national expansion.The new lab, located at 9150 S. Main St., is slated to open May 10.The new facility offers customized diagnostic testing and consultative services to the gastroenterology and urology specialties, with plans to expand into dermatology and women’s health.It will serve physicians and medical specialists across the Southwest region.In addition, the lab will offer molecular diagnostic services... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines) read more..

    Emergency Contraception-Emergency Contraceptive-Evolution Of Humans-Unwanted Pregnancy

    IUDs Work as Emergency Contraceptive: Review

    WEDNESDAY, May 9 -- Many women who need emergency contraception after unprotected sex are aware of the "morning-after" pill as an effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancy.Fewer may be aware that the intrauterine device (IUD) can also work as an... read more..

    Evolution May Explain 'Runner's High,' Study Says

    WEDNESDAY, May 9 -- The pleasurable feeling known as "runner's high" that's triggered by aerobic exercise may have played a role in the evolution of humans' ability to run long distances, a new study suggests.Runner's high is caused by the release... read more..

    Science Shows DHEA Must be Used as a Cream from Health2Go, Inc, Not a...

    DHEA is the most abundant pro-hormone in the body. In both men and women, levels of DHEA peak by about age 25 when we are “in our prime” and decline thereafter. New medical research shows benefits of...(PRWeb May 09, 2012)Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9482124.htm (Source: PRWeb: Medical Pharmaceuticals) read more..

    Preventive Services Task Force-Canadian Researchers-Substantial Evidence-Irregular Heartbeat

    Screening Women for Domestic Violence Could Help Prevent Abuse

    TUESDAY, May 8 -- Routine screening of women for domestic violence could reduce cases of abuse and injuries, a new analysis indicates.The review of recent studies, which was commissioned by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), also... read more..

    Irregular Heartbeat Poses Greater Stroke Risk for Women Than Men

    TUESDAY, May 8 -- Older women with the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation face a 14 percent greater risk of stroke than men with the same condition, Canadian researchers report.The raised risk remained higher even when women were... read more..

    Exercise May Boost Survival in Breast, Colon Cancer

    TUESDAY, May 8 -- Being physically active might lengthen the lives of people with breast and colon cancer, a new study suggests.Exercise may also benefit patients with other cancers, but there is no substantial evidence to make that claim, the... read more..

    Wednesday 9 May 2012

    Loss Of Interest-Scalp Infection-Side Effect-Hair Loss-Tsh

    Thyronorm 75 Side Effects

    If Taking Thyronorm has side effect and one has to take this medicine for life, do the side effect last forever?
    My TSH has dropped from 21 to 14 after taking thryronorm 50 for 2 months, and i am facing severe hair loss, plus scalp infection/ dandruff which led to swelling of lymph nodes, i cant live life like this i need to know will i face this tiredness and loss of interest to exercise all my life ? because even though i was at 21 TSH i was perfectly healthy, height,weight,skin,hair,activity level wise. why should i take the medicine, just tell me if the hairloss/ tiredness/musle pain will be in control after tsh is normal? please reply - Post a Reply read more..

    Scalp Infection-Side Effect-Hair Loss-Tsh

    Effects of taking Thyronorm

    If Taking Thyronorm has side effect and one has to take this medicine for life, do the side effect last forever?
    My TSH has dropped from 21 to 14 after taking thryronorm 50 for 2 months, and i am facing severe hair loss, plus scalp infection/ dandruff which led to swelling of lymph nodes, i cant live life like this i need to know will i face this tiredness and loss of interest to exercise all my life ? because even though i was at 21 TSH i was perfectly healthy, height,weight,skin,hair,activity level wise. why should i take the medicine, just tell me if the hairloss/ tiredness/musle pain will be in control after tsh is normal? please reply - Post a Reply read more..

    American Council On Exercise-Intrauterine Device-Correct Posture-Medical Records

    Health Tip: When Gardening Triggers Back Pain

    -- Gardening is a great form of exercise, but it can also leave you with a painful backache.The American Council on Exercise suggests how to garden without hurting yourself:Use correct posture and form.Warm up before you garden with a... read more..

    That Long Commute May Be Harming Your Health

    TUESDAY, May 8 -- Now there's another reason to hate your commute.New research has found that the longer your driving time between home and office, the less likely you are to exercise, the more your waistline widens and the worse your overall... read more..

    IUD Use Tied to Modest Weight Loss

    TUESDAY, May 8 -- Women who use an intrauterine device (IUD) as birth control may not have to worry about gaining weight after the device is implanted, new research suggests.Researchers compared the medical records of 223 women aged 15 to 44 who... read more..

    Metropolitan State College Of Denver-The Colorado Health Foundation-Medical Laboratory Science

    Denver’s Metro State to run Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science

    Backed by $1 million from the Colorado Health Foundation, Metropolitan State College of Denver is taking over the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science as of July 1.The program began in 1962, and the foundation has sponsored it since the 1990s. The foundation began to look for a new sponsor in 2007, and that’s culminated in Metro State taking charge in the summer.“We see this program, though outside of our focus, as important to meeting the state’s workforce needs,’ said Shepard Nevel, vice president for policy and evaluation at the foundation... (Source: bizjournals.com Health Care:Pharmaceuticals headlines)MedWorm Sponsor Message: Please support the Doctors In Chains campaign for the medics tortured and sentenced for up to 15 years in Bahrain. #FreeDoctors read more..