NEWS ABOUT: drug companies

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Diagnosed With ADHD? You May Have Been Sold a Lie

Drug companies target parents through false advertising: report

(Newser) - The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has itself become hyperactive, with doctors handing out too many pills, ads creating unrealistic expectations, and drug companies downplaying side effects like insomnia and mood swings, the New York Times reports. "The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it's... More »

Why Doctors Pick $2K Drug Over Its $50 Cousin

Pricey Lucentis, cheaper Avastin 'same damn molecule': ophthalmologist

(Newser) - The prescription drugs Avastin and Lucentis both fight blindness in the elderly, and they're both made by the same company, Genentech, at what experts say is a similar production cost. The key difference between them: While an Avastin injection costs $50, a shot of Lucentis goes for $2,000.... More »

Big Pharma Paid for Seat at FDA Advisory Table

Gave up to $25K per meeting on painkiller safety

(Newser) - Drug companies shelled out in a big way to get a seat at meetings between the FDA and an advisory panel, paying up to $25,000 per meeting, the Washington Post reports based on hundreds of emails. The panel, which was funded by the money, helped the FDA evaluate painkiller... More »

Drug Giant's Secret to Success Is Bribery: Cops

China says it busts scheme by Glaxo, travel agencies to bribe doctors

(Newser) - China says it knows how a few Shanghai travel agencies were managing huge revenues without many bookings, and the explanation isn't pretty: They were involved in an extensive bribery scheme with executives from drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, authorities say. The firms are accused of teaming up to bribe doctors and... More »

Doctors: Cancer Drug Prices 'Astronomical,' Unethical

More than 100 sign piece decrying costs to patients

(Newser) - More than 100 cancer specialists from more than 15 countries are joining together to call for lower drug prices, suggesting that the current prices—which can range as high as $138,000 a year—are unconscionably high, and could be seen as profiteering. "Advocating for lower drug prices is... More »

India Squashes Novartis Cancer Drug Patent

High court move likely to keep drugs cheap in developing world

(Newser) - A major Supreme Court decision in India could be good news for patients in developing countries, activists say. The court ruled that Novartis couldn't have a new patent for a tuneup to an existing cancer drug, since it's not a new medicine, the AP reports. "Patents will... More »

Critics Fume as Big Pharma Funds Drug Studies

'The evidence base has been perverted,' expert says

(Newser) - Think studies of new drugs in the New England Journal of Medicine are unassailable? Experts are beginning to wonder, because pharmaceutical companies pay academics to conduct many of those studies—and the approval of high-profile drugs like Vioxx, Avandia, and Celebrex has led to thousands of deaths, the Washington Post... More »

Drug Company Employee: Don't Believe Our Studies

Anonymous author in medical journal warns of bogus research

(Newser) - Bear this in mind the next time a drug company touts a serious study proclaiming the wonders of its product: A former employee of a "major" pharmaceutical company has written an essay in the British Medical Journal warning that the industry's scientific-sounding studies are sometimes rigged. “We... More »

Canada OKs World's 1st Stem Cell Therapy

Prochymal may ease complication from bone marrow transplants

(Newser) - Canada has approved the world's first stem cell treatment for a systemic disease, Reuters reports. This week, the nation's health regulators allowed doctors to use the drug Prochymal for children with graft-versus host disease (GvHD), a sometimes deadly side-effect from bone marrow transplants. GvHd kills up to 80%... More »

Doctors 'Hold Birth Control Hostage'

Stephanie Mencimer: Pap smear guidelines are a scam

(Newser) - A doctor had Stephanie Mencimer "over a barrel," she writes in Mother Jones : "Come in for a pelvic exam, or I won't refill your birth control pills." Mencimer not only refused to take another Pap smear—and risk "the ensuing misery" of a false... More »

Dangerous Counterfeit Cancer Drug Found in US

Fake Avastin missing active ingredient

(Newser) - A fake version of best-selling anti-cancer drug Avastin has been found in the US. Swiss drugmaker Roche has warned doctors and hospitals to be on the lookout for the counterfeit medication, which lacks the intravenous drug's active ingredient, the Wall Street Journal reports. Samples of the fake drug are... More »

US to Big Pharma: Disclose What You Pay Docs

New rules aim to increase transparency

(Newser) - Studies have found that when doctors accept payments from drug companies, it can influence their treatment decisions—so the Obama administration will soon require drug companies to disclose those payments. The New York Times reports that around 25% of doctors receive cash from drug companies for consulting, speaking engagements, and... More »

Scientists Debate Ending Chimp Research

Ethics, declining usefulness cited for the change

(Newser) - After years of using chimpanzees for scientific research—shooting them into space, testing hepatitis vaccines on them, using them for HIV studies—man's closest relative could be nearing retirement, reports the Washington Post . The European Union banned using chimps for scientific research last year, and now the Institute of... More »

Stung by a Scorpion? Mexico Will Save You

Despite 250 stings a year, US drug companies won't make anti-venom

(Newser) - With the United States having run out of scorpion anti-venom nearly 10 years ago, the FDA has just approved a Mexican-made treatment for scorpion stings, reports NPR . Although there are about 250 severe scorpion stings a year in the United States—mainly in the "Venom Belt" in the southwest—... More »

Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler Replaced in Surprise Move

Unexpected move likely ouster: analysts

(Newser) - Pfizer abruptly replaced its CEO and chairman yesterday, saying Jeffrey B. Kindler was retiring after 4.5 years leading the world's biggest drugmaker to "recharge." Analysts saw the unexpected departure as an ouster, however, coming amid repeated failures from Pfizer's labs to produce new, much-needed blockbuster drugs, multiple... More »

Disgraced Doctors Land at Big Pharma

Hundreds of pitchmen found to have blemished records

(Newser) - Pharmaceutical companies say they hire highly respected doctors as their white-coat sales force, peddling their drugs to other physicians. But a Pro Publica investigation has discovered that hundreds of these pitchmen have been accused of professional misconduct, been disciplined by state boards, or lacked credentials. Medical board records in the... More »

Drugmakers Hike Prices Ahead of Reform

9% rise, in a year of falling prices, will add $10B to drug spending

(Newser) - Bracing for health care reform, drug companies have been raising prices at the fastest rate in almost 20 years—even as they pledge to support Washington's goal of cutting the nation's drug bill. The pharmaceutical industry is scrambling to get the price base as high as possible before legislation to... More »

Big Pharma Flouts Laws on Off-Label Uses

Billions in fines don't stop illegal promotion

(Newser) - Back in 2004, a unit of drug giant Pfizer pleaded guilty to marketing a drug, Neurotonin, for unapproved uses, paid $430 million in fines, and promised to clean up its act—which it had no intention of doing. "At the very same time Pfizer was in our office negotiating... More »

Pfizer Pays Record $2.3B Fine for False Marketing

(Newser) - Pfizer will shell out $2.3 billion—a record for a health care fraud settlement—over deceptive marketing of its drugs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Pfizer and one of its subsidiaries marketed four drugs based on off-label uses specifically prohibited by the FDA. The settlement with the Justice Department... More »

Drug Giants Target Cancer

Scientific advances, potentially huge profits attract Big Pharma to cancer fight

(Newser) - Major drug companies are tying their fortunes to cancer like never before, the New York Times reports. The firms—inspired by advancements in science as well as the high prices cancer drugs command—are pouring unprecedented resources into the search for new cancer drugs. The drug giants hope cancer treatments... More »

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