The Reasoned Review

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Posts Tagged ‘pharma

LASIK Carries Unacknowledged Risks

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Failure Magazine has a great report on the risks of LASIK eye surgery:

The estimated $2.5 billion industry has recently come under fire for its failure to acknowledge potential risks. Last spring, the FDA inspected approximately 50 LASIK facilities and found that 17 had “inadequate” systems in place for collecting and transmitting data to the FDA on patients’ reports of post-surgical complications (“adverse events”), which commonly include dry eye, blurry vision, double vision, and problems with glare and starbursts.

In August of last year, Consumer Reports Health released the results of a survey, which found that 55 percent of Americans who’ve had laser vision correction surgery still wear glasses or contacts some of the time. Fifty-three percent experienced at least one side effect within the first four weeks of surgery, and 22 percent of patients still experienced side effects six months after surgery.


Written by pavanvan

February 28, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Let Them Eat Prozac

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Apropos anti-depressants, I would like to draw attention to this sublime New York Review of Books article from two years ago:

Drug makers earn their enormous profits from a very few market-leading products for which new applications are continually sought. If those uses don’t turn up through experimentation or serendipity, they can be conjured by means of “condition branding”—that is, coaching the masses to believe that one of their usual if stressful states actually partakes of a disorder requiring medication. A closely related term is more poetical: “astroturfing,” or the priming of a faux-grassroots movement from which a spontaneous-looking demand for the company’s miracle cure will emanate.In this instance Cohn & Wolfe, whose other clients have included Coca-Cola, Chevron Texaco, and Taco Bell, was using an athlete to help create a belief that shyness, a common trait that some societies associate with good manners and virtue, constitutes a deplorably neglected illness.

Given the altruistic aura of the occasion, it would have been tasteless to have Ricky Williams display a vial of Paxil on the spot. But later (before he was suspended from the football league for ingesting quite different drugs), a GSK press release placed his name beneath this boilerplate declaration:

As someone who has suffered from social anxiety disorder, I am so happy that new treatment options, like Paxil CR, are available today to help people with this condition.

It would almost be funny, if it weren’t so tragic.

The corporate giants popularly known as Big Pharma spend annually, worldwide, some $25 billion on marketing, and they employ more Washington lobbyists than there are legislators. Their power, in relation to all of the forces that might oppose their will, is so disproportionately huge that they can dictate how they are to be (lightly) regulated, shape much of the medical research agenda, spin the findings in their favor, conceal incriminating data, co-opt their potential critics, and insidiously colonize both our doctors’ minds and our own.

You would do well to read the entire article.

Written by pavanvan

February 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

The Public Option: DOA

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The Times reports Big Pharma to spend up to $150 million advertising Max Baucus’ healthcare plan (the one without a public health insurance option).

So much for that, I guess. With the furor already raised over “big government”, a few velvety advertisements from the friendly (and seductive) makers of Lexapril should squelch public option discussion once and for all.

No wonder the Times also ran a front page analysis yesterday, effectively declaring the public option dead.

Corporate interests, for the win!

Written by pavanvan

September 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm