Archive for Big Pharma

Study: Medical marijuana could reduce painkiller abuse

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legalize pot marijuana smaller

Hey, you know that whole marriage equality wave of support America has experienced recently? There appears to be a similar trend when it comes to legalizing marijuana. That's not only good news for my many friends who appreciate the effects of recreational pot, it's also great news for those who benefit from using medical marijuana.

But wait! The good news gets even better! There's a new study that shows that using medical marijuana could actually reduce the number of overdoses by those who use and/or abuse legal drug pushers' Big Pharma's vast array of painkillers. Per the Los Angeles Times:

The new research, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, finds that deaths associated with the use of opiate drugs fell in 13 states after they legalized medical marijuana. Compared to states with no formal access to marijuana, those that allowed certain patients legal access to cannabis saw a steady drop in opiate-related overdoses that reached 33%, on average, six years after the states' medical marijuana laws took effect. [...]

The results showed that after a state began to implement a medical marijuana law, the rate of its non-intentional opiate overdose fatalities fell compared to those of states without such laws.

And that comparative decline picked up steam over the first six years after the laws went into effect. On average, the statistical analysis showed, states passing medical marijuana laws saw annual reductions of roughly 25% in their opioid-related death rates compared to states with no such laws.

The other upside is economic. Doritos and Oreos sales will soar.

yummy stuff smaller

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Dep't. of Gaa! Annoyingly overused phrases in TV news

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cliches, phrases

The so-called "news" media (Hey, remember real news?) can get under one's skin on so many levels. Today, let's just concentrate on their delivery and vocabulary, because one can only take so much pet peevage in one sitting.  Journalists overuse several terms and phrases the way John Boehner overuses tanning beds and taverns. The way Republicans overuse Voter I.D. laws. The way Sunday talk shows overuse John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The way the GOP overuses the filibuster. The way Ferguson cops overuse tear gas. The way Sarah Palin overuses "You betcha!" "also, too," and Facebook.

Below are a few of the annoying phrases that cable news hosts, contributors, and guests insist on using over and over and over again, ad nauseam. And these are just off the top of my head.

And don't even get me started on the weirdly unnatural, singsong delivery and pauses used by most correspondents' in their "packaged" (pre-taped) segments. Or the inability of many hosts to read off their teleprompters. Or the way MSNBC guests and contributors are forced to clasp their hands in front of them like kindergarteners. Or the Oh, come on now! grammatical errors made by seasoned anchors, underscored by the You gotta be kidding me! spelling errors on the news crawl. Or the forced palsy-walsitude and effusive praise among cliquey hosts. Can you imagine Walter Cronkite doing any of that?

heavy sigh

Rant over.

Here's a partial list of news biz clichés. Some are irritating because they are meaningless. Some are unbearably stale. Some are painfully trite and/or cloying. Others simply make no sense. And all make me wonder why so many intelligent newscasters and editors rely on such hackneyed and/or poor verbiage. You are invited to pile on in Comments:

  • Take a listen
  • At the end of the day
  • The whole nine yards
  • All politics is local
  • A tempest in a teapot
  • Some say...
  • Game changer
  • Went missing
  • In the days and weeks to come (weeks and months, months and years)...
  • Thank you, my friend
  • On the ground
  • At this point in time
  • Folks
  • I just got off the phone with...
  • Journey
  • Journey
  • Did I mention journey?
  • We need to have a conversation
  • The homeland
  • That being said...
  • We'll leave it there

We'll leave it there.

For a satirical look at MSNBC hosts and their banter, link over to my Preen forward #OhButIKid post of a few months ago.

Now that I've gotten all that out of my system, can we move on to the most annoyingly overused commercials on TV?


frustrated41

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Big Pharma accused of fraudulently pushing painkillers to "a population of addicts"

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it's all about the money Big Pharma

Big Pharma is pushing deadly drugs and addicting my home state of California. Allegedly. Painkillers like OxyContin are involved in more than 16,000 deaths every year. Traffic accidents are now taking a back seat to meds when it comes to causes of deaths.  Per an article in the Los Angeles Times, two counties are now suing drugmakers for violating California laws against false advertising, unfair business practices and creating a public nuisance.

Big Pharma encourages patients, including veterans and the elderly, to request painkillers when they have everyday headaches, arthritis and back pain. Allegedly. The reason the headline includes the phrase "population of addicts" is that heroin use has also increased as a result of all the prescriptions, because it not only creates a similar high, but it's also cheaper, per the lawsuit.

The drug manufacturers say the narcotics they push are safer than they are.

not funny hahaha no

The L.A. Times:

Two California counties sued five of the world's largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation's prescription drug epidemic by waging a "campaign of deception" aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin. [...] The companies employed tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to "conceal their deceptive marketing and conspiratorial behavior," the suit states.

One such tactic involved the use of leading physicians — known within the companies as "key opinion leaders" — to spread the message to their peers, it says. The drug makers allegedly recruited and paid those physicians to give speeches and write policy papers.

Another marketing ploy was to create and co-opt patient advocacy organizations and medical specialty societies, the suit says. The companies used these front groups to promote narcotic painkillers and to write treatment guidelines that expanded the market, it says.

It was the drug makers' "marketing — and not any medical breakthrough — that rationalized prescribing opioids for chronic pain and opened the floodgates of opioid use and abuse," the suit says.

it's all about the money 2

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MSNBC: Preen forward #OhButIKid

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msnbc shows

Oh, but I kid MSNBC. I watch it every single day, and despite it being the only major cable news outlet I can tolerate (or appreciate), there are a few observations that I can no longer keep to myself. Gotta vent. Here's my (satirical) take on MSNBC daytime:

MSNBC Host 1: So welcome to my very own show. So, today's guests are Goldie Taylor, Howard Fineman, David Corn, Joan Walsh, Michael Steele, Jonathan Alter, Michael Eric Dyson, Nicolle Wallace, Mark Halperin, Michael Isikoff, Jonathan Capehart, Kasie Hunt, Eugene Robinson, Ezra Klein, Dave Weigel, Steve Schmidt, and all my fellow MSNBC hosts who are all here to talk about their very own shows! Every single one of them. So have I told you guys what a great job you do? GOD you're good. You all excel at your jobs! To call you stellar doesn't do you justice! I'm so proud to call you "colleagues."

Chuck Todd, Steve Kornacki, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Krystal Ball, Karen Finney, Melissa Harris-Perry, Ari Melber: So, thank you, my friend! So, congratulations to us! So, group hug to Camera Three!

MSNBC Host 2: So when we return, we'll explore why every MSNBC commentator begins each thought with, "So..." We'll be back in 15 minutes after these messages from Cialis, Cymbalta, Lipitor, Abilify, Celebrex, Humira, Nasonex, and Lyrica.

Chuck Todd, Steve Kornacki, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Krystal Ball, Karen Finney, Melissa Harris-Perry, Ari Melber: So you forgot AT&T, BP, Exxon, Citibank, catheters, vaginal dryness meds, and Christian Mingle!

One hour later...

MSNBC Host 2: So here to help us make some sense of our top story is the host of [insert any MSNBC daytime show here]. Thanks for being here, Other Host.

Other MSNBC Host: So I'm honored, my friend. You are awesome.

MSNBC Host 2: So no, YOU are, my friend.

Other MSNBC Host: No, YOU! So.

Luke Russert: Um, hello? So did somebody forget to intro Tim Russert's trying-to-fill-his-father's-big-shoes son over here on the monitor? So I've got an exclusive I'm dying to break right here on your very own show, MSNBC Host 2!

MSNBC Host 2: So we could never forget YOU, Luke, my friend, my brother. What's your scoop? You always have the BEST scoops! GOD you're good.

Luke: So, so are you. You are a FABULOUS host, as are you, Other MSNBC Host. You two are superb at everything you do. Nobody does it better. So I'm in tears. Seriously. So how cool is it that we're all such good friends? So who knew being this incestuous could pay so well?

MSNBC Host 2: So tell us your scoop, Amazingly Adept Luke, my brother, my friend, MSNBC's own Sage of Washington DC, Our Capitol Hill Crusader! So don't you just love these obvious displays of public camaraderie? It's like our own private little club! So whatcha got, my friend?

Luke: Well crap. I forgot.

MSNBC Host 2: So we'll be back right after these words from Cialis, Cymbalta, Lipitor, Abilify, Celebrex, Axiron, Humira, Nasonex, Lyrica,  AT&T, BP, Exxon, Citibank, catheters, vaginal dryness meds, Febreze, Aleve, Verizon, Samsung, Cliffside Malibu Rehab Center, Christian Mingle, GE, financial groups you've never heard of, and endless promos of other MSNBC programming and the new MSNBC website!

One hour later...

MSNBC Host 3: So now for more repetitive analysis, welcome back to the hosts of all of our other fantastic shows. You all do such great work. Nobody does it better than you, my friends. GREAT reporting! You all look GREAT! Our audiences should be tuning into each of your shows every single day and night, no matter what effect that much exposure to redundant political infotainment has on their personal relationships!

Chuck Todd, Steve Kornacki, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Krystal Ball, Karen Finney, Melissa Harris-Perry, Ari Melber: So Rachel has a very special Special coming up! Let's plug it! Over and over and over again!

MSNBC Host 3: I was just about to. But first, may I just say, you guys really set a high bar for journalistic standards. GREAT reporting, guys! But now it's time for the Tweet of the Day from Chris Matthews, MSNBC's very own god. But first: So when is Ezra Klein getting his own show already? He may put us to sleep in seconds, but he does such incredibly GREAT work! GREAT reporting! What a find! Am I right, my friends? Hey Farrow, stop giggling. So I'll get your responses to this and more on the other side of the commercial break. We have a new sponsor: ZzzKlein, er, Quil.

Fade out.

(Laffy Note: I didn't forget to include Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, or Rachel Maddow in the Long Host List. While they do pop in on election nights or to promote a special or a book occasionally, they rarely guest on other shows as commentators/panel members.)

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Rape Insurance? You Gotta Be Kidding Me

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michigan abortion law

If you're planning on getting raped in Michigan, you better have rape coverage first or it could bankrupt you.

Talking Points Memo DC:

Just after the Michigan state legislature passed a law banning private insurance companies to bundle abortion care coverage along with state-subsidized plans, the Democrat jockeying for the open seat vacated by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) was quick to slam the law as bad for women while the Republican candidate has yet to make a statement.

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), the lead Democratic candidate in the race, was quick to slam Republicans in the state legislature for passing a new "rape insurance bill" into law.

So the male Democratic candidate immediately spoke out against this law. The Republican candidate -- former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R), allegedly a woman, has stayed quiet on the issue.  How amazing, a male candidate sees all that's wrong with this bill and the Republican woman doesn't know yet. She hasn't been told by her party which way she should lean. Whichever way it is, she better keep her legs crossed. Talk about setting the women's equality movement back 50 years.

Let's boil it down. Recently, the latest way to get around the law regarding abortion is to try to exclude it from health insurance plans. These right wingers and religious zealots see an opening here. They want to deregulate the insurance industry pattern of providing coverage by making one part of normal covered procedures illegal to be covered. If that sounds convoluted, that's because it is.

Health insurance has always been bundled in order to give the consumer a lower cost. If you went with an ala carte menu of services, many of the things people are covered for would be avoided because they may cost too much or people don't think they'll ever need them. But of course, the one thing you leave off the coverage will come back to bite you and you won't be covered. So you'll go bankrupt or worse, the cost will be passed onto the taxpayers.

So here's the angle. If you make abortion coverage an elective, many people won't carry it. Perhaps they're single women who don't feel they'll need it. And most likely they won't.

According to the Department of Justice 1 in 6 US women will become victim's of a rape attack during their lifetime? Rape isn't planned by the victim. It's planned by the assailant.  But the Republicans in Michigan want women to be prescient and know ahead of time when they're going to be attacked so they can purchase insurance. I can just hear a woman's plea, "No, please don't attack me, attack her over there. She's got insurance. I don't have abortion coverage in case my system doesn't automatically shut down."

Is there total insanity in Michigan and the other six states planning this outrageous, cold and calloused law? What the hell are they thinking?

Putting rape aside, what if during a planned pregnancy a woman's health becomes an issue in seeing the pregnancy to term. She may die without an abortion. She didn't think she'd have any need for a D & C but it became necessary to save her life. Where's she supposed to get the money for that procedure? It would have been covered by her health policy if the state house boys didn't screw around with it.

This law in these states is bad on so many levels. But you don't have to drink all the poison in the glass to die. It might only take a sip. Michigan is drinking from that vessel right now. If there's a woman in Michigan who votes Republican after this, she deserves the results of the full glass of this potion.

You can follow  me on twitter: @linzack

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The FDA Is Afraid Of Home DNA Tests

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pregnancy test

One of the largest selling over the counter items to come along in the past ten years is the home pregnancy test. It's simple, safe and for the most part, accurate. Without doubt, there are false negatives and certainly false positives. Regardless of that fact, women who want the test can drop on down to the drug store and pick up a kit. And for many, when they discover that they are with child, they seek immediate medical attention. They leap right into healthy pre-natal care or address the pregnancy in other ways. But the simple point is that the home test started them on a path toward better care and attention.

USA today reports a startling story about another kind of home testing -- done with a simple swab. It's the home DNA test.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is ordering genetic test maker 23andMe to halt sales of its personalized DNA test kits, saying the company has failed to show that the technology is backed by science.

In a warning letter posted online, FDA regulators say the Silicon Valley company is violating federal law because its products claim to identify health risks for more than 250 diseases and health conditions.

23andme test kit

I can't say that I have ever found need for a DNA test. But I'm sure there are many who do -- it's almost a staple test on Jerry Springer, Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil, and Maury Povich. Yet seemingly there's a large number of people who are using these home tests.

 The proliferation of consumer-marketed genetic tests has troubled many public health officials and doctors who worry that the products are built on flimsy science.

So the FDA is claiming that DNA is flimsy science. Tell that to the people in jail or freed from it because of that flimsy science.

Here's where the wheels of doubt and suspicion start working like the cogs at an old steampunk factory. Who's really against this and why?

The FDA warning takes issue with a number of claims the company makes for its saliva-based test kit, particularly calling it a "first step in prevention" against diseases like diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer. Regulators worry that false results from the test could cause patients to receive inadequate or inappropriate medical care.

Let's look at that for a second. You test positive for a possible disease and you're not going to follow up on it? I would think not knowing you had an illness would contribute more to complications and lack of care than knowing. And now with Obamacare and more  people having health coverage, it's as important as ever to have an idea you may be carrying something that can be cured so you'll seek out medical attention.

23andMe says its test can identify women who carry the BRCA gene mutation that significantly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. But a false result could lead women to undergo unnecessary screening, chemotherapy and surgery.

Isn't no result (not being tested) worse than a false result? Early detection is key in curing. This FDA argument is a bogus one at best. What doctor is going to accept a home test result and operate on someone or give them radiation treatments without doing their own followups? If they do, they don't deserve to have a license.

The FDA's concern with 23andMe appears to center on its commercial approach, which sidesteps doctors and health professionals.

The test also claims to predict how patients will respond to popular drugs, including the ubiquitous blood thinner warfarin, which is used to prevent blood clots. The FDA warns that an inaccurate reading there could "have significant unreasonable risk of illness, injury, or death to the patient," if they don't receive the appropriate drug dose.

Once again, it's time to apply some common sense here. Sometimes one doctor prescribes something and another doctor prescribes something else which in combination could cause a conflict. Don't we as patients want to know that so we can contact our physicians and ask.

Center For Disease Control:

In 2011, drug misuse and abuse caused about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits. Of these, more than 1.4 million ED visits were related to pharmaceuticals.

An educated and cautious patient is a good thing. Just accepting meds on face value is the real danger. Doctors should welcome this potential heads up. At the very worst, the patient can call the doctor and tell him/her what their home test revealed. Lives could be saved, not lost.

Why doesn't the FDG have the same problem with home pregnancy tests? It seems perhaps the FDA is showing signs of corruption. If they don't get their bribe, their payoff, they don't give their approval. It might be time for an investigation, a home test, on the FDA and see what kind of maladies they're suffering from.

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Life-Saving Med Only Available In 1/3 Of US For Moral Reasons

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Death

HUFFPO:

The national drug overdose epidemic has been steadily on the rise for nearly 20 years. From 1999 to 2010, deaths surged a colossal 102 percent. And while overdoses kill more people each year than either cars or guns, the debate over what can be done to address the disturbing trend often gets overshadowed by noisier killers.

Opiate-based prescription drugs like Codeine, Morphine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Methadone, Fentanyl, Meperidine and heroin account for the vast majority of overdose deaths. All of these, except heroin, are legal and prescribed daily. Check your medicine cabinets and chances are you have many vials filled with these pills. Ever take a Vicodin, Tylenol #3, Norco, Lortab, percocet, percodan? You've taken opiate-based drugs.

And there's a medication which can save your life if you should accidentally overdose.

naloxone
NALOXONE

That's great news. Well, it would be great news if only it was available everywhere. So what's the hang-up?

Naloxone isn't controversial. It was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in 1971. It's non-addictive, non-toxic, fairly cheap and easy to administer through nasal or intravenous application. Studies have been found that naloxone is capable of reducing overdose deaths by as much as 50 percent when paired with proper training and distribution.

Sounds quite benign and safe, considering that not using it will most likely result in a 100% death rate for those in this mortal state. Keeping that in mind, what would be the sound reason for this medication not to be available everywhere? Why have only 15 states passed laws allowing for the usage of it?

The Fix, a website that covers addiction and recovery, explained opposition to naloxone as a "moral discomfort among drug warriors who apparently feel that the wages of drug use should be death." Many of the drug's critics claim that increasing access to naloxone will only encourage increasingly dangerous drug use, though studies have not been able to confirm this hypothesis. Proponents are quick to point out that any risks associated with naloxone would be minimal compared with the alternative -- death.

So my elderly mom accidentally takes too much of a prescribed medication and she's going to die because someone somewhere abuses that medication? Hey, that's my mom we're talking about. She deserves to live. She's not a druggie.

Wake up America. If we use that logic, we wouldn't have any medications because somewhere, someone might be using it to save an abuser's life.  Should we take away defibrillators too? How about oxygen tanks? Needles? Penicillin?

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