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Too Clever To Be Legal

For the past several months, Allergan has been fighting a take over by its competitor Valeant. While mergers and acquisitions are far from unusual in the pharma world, this may be the first time that a public corporation has combined efforts with an activist investor (Bill Ackman of Herbalife fame) in a bid to buy another company. Last week, Allergan sued both Valeant and Ackman, claiming their actions go beyond regulatory arbitrage and enter the realm of insider trading. At risk is Allergan's R&D operation- while Allergan spends roughly 17% or revenues on research (in line with the industry), Valeant, run by McKinsey alum Mike Pearson, spends under 3%. [more inside]
posted by exit on Aug 6, 2014 - 37 comments

Tamiflu, Roche and the Cochrane Collaboration

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian: "Today we found out that Tamiflu doesn't work so well after all. Roche, the drug company behind it, withheld vital information on its clinical trials for half a decade, but the Cochrane Collaboration, a global not-for-profit organisation of 14,000 academics, finally obtained all the information. Putting the evidence together, it has found that Tamiflu has little or no impact on complications of flu infection, such as pneumonia." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Apr 10, 2014 - 79 comments

Complex Things Explained

This Video Will Hurt
A detailed explanation of a fascinating field of science and medicine by the always interesting C.G.P. Grey.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 23, 2013 - 7 comments

Pharma and the Damage Done

Merchants of Meth: How Big Pharma Keeps the Cooks in Business (SLMJ).
posted by Cash4Lead on Sep 24, 2013 - 83 comments

Use Only as Directed

ProPublica.org and This American Life partnered for a special report on acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol), the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is also found in many other over-the-counter medications. The narrow therapeutic index of acetaminophen means that often, the difference between safe use and overdose can be as small as one gram. From ProPublica.org: "About 150 Americans die a year by accidentally taking too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, federal data from the CDC shows."
posted by fiercecupcake on Sep 23, 2013 - 76 comments

“It just got very, very old and all of us felt that we were whores."

More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2013 - 40 comments

Even better than the real thing?

Widespread fraud has been discovered in the case of an Indian generic drug manufacturer that makes generic Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) and many other drugs. Ranbaxy has "pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs with intent to defraud." [more inside]
posted by fiercecupcake on May 18, 2013 - 28 comments

We are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. Summary: Inside the Cover Story. Related video: The Exorbitant Prices of Health Care [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 21, 2013 - 85 comments

"medicine is broken" - Ben Goldacre, co-founder of AllTrials

Ben Goldacre has been talked about here before. This year, following on from his book Bad Pharma - where he described a culture of badly-done medical trials on unsuitable subjects (sometimes with horrific but, tragically, potentially preventable outcomes), where swathes of results that don't reflect well on the drug in question go unpublished and even, in some cases, hidden - he has co-founded the project AllTrials, which campaigns for all medical trials to be recorded and reported. [more inside]
posted by greenish on Feb 4, 2013 - 33 comments

Psychotropic medication efficacy and publication bias

Antipsychotics: "The magnitude of publication bias found for antipsychotics was less than that found previously for antidepressants, possibly because antipsychotics demonstrate superiority to placebo more consistently."
Antidepressants: "We found a bias toward the publication of positive results. Not only were positive results more likely to be published, but studies that were not positive, in our opinion, were often published in a way that conveyed a positive outcome. [...] Using both approaches, we found that the efficacy of this drug class is less than would be gleaned from an examination of the published literature alone. According to the published literature, the results of nearly all of the trials of antidepressants were positive. In contrast, FDA analysis of the trial data showed that roughly half of the trials had positive results." Previously [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Apr 3, 2012 - 34 comments

Avastin and the power of hope

Based on a lack of evidence for efficacy, "an FDA panel unanimously voted to revoke its approval of Avastin (bevacizumab) for breast cancer. The decision evoked cheers from some groups and jeers from others. At least one group derided the decision as the work of a 'death panel'". An interesting article on the withdrawal of a "miracle" drug from a section of the market, explaining the reasoning behind the decision and discussing the reaction from patients, many of whom believe -- despite the evidence -- that the drug was actually helping them. [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Jul 1, 2011 - 11 comments

Who would have ever thought that Gila monster saliva would be a good place to look for a type 2 diabetes drug?

Improving Peptides: Small firms develop better peptide drug candidates to expand this pharmaceutical class and attract big pharma partners
posted by Blasdelb on Jun 2, 2011 - 7 comments

master of information

The New Biology - Eric Schadt's quest to upend molecular biology and open source it. (via)
posted by kliuless on Apr 9, 2011 - 35 comments

Cancer

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers. That's the good news. The bad news is that because there's no patent and it's so cheap to make, researchers may not be able to get funding from the private sector for further research since the treatment wouldn't make a profit. [Via Hullabaloo.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 18, 2007 - 122 comments

Rare reaction to new drug during trial.

Newsfilter: The trial of a new drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis and leukaemia goes horribly wrong. 6 normally healthy volunteers have a freak reaction to the drug resulting in multiple organ failure. All 6 men are in intensive care. 4 are seriously ill while 2 remain in a critical condition. An eyewitness, fortunate to have taken only a placebo recalls the nightmare as the men around him begin to fall ill.
posted by piscatorius on Mar 16, 2006 - 98 comments

Race-based pharmaceuticals?

Pharmaceutical company seeks approval for controversial heart drug BiDil for blacks only, even though the connection of a nitric oxide deficiency to the genetic makeup of the African-American population is an unsubstantiated hunch, in the words of the drug's own developer — and the drug had already once been denied approval. Is the FDA doing good science or ignoring science under the pressure of big business wanting to sell BiDil to a US$1Bln demographic?
posted by Rothko on Jun 16, 2005 - 27 comments

2004 Captured in Song

Underwear Goes Inside The Pants (video) is a nice little ditty about the condition of the world in 2004.
posted by debralee on Nov 18, 2004 - 25 comments

A major advance in genetically modified foods.

A major advance in genetically modified foods. Developed with government funding, and intended eventually to be given away to farmers, there has been a major success in the use of salt water to irrigate crops. They've developed a tomato which grows fine in salt water or on salty soil. Thousands of lives will be saved in parts of the world where fresh water for irrigation is scarce, including up to one third of the arable land in India where salt has been accumulating. Interestingly, these tomatoes are so good at what they do that they remove salt from the soil, improving it. The genetic modification which was done to these tomatoes should be possible with many other crops, including especially rice (on which major effort in Egypt is underway now).
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jul 30, 2001 - 39 comments

Monsanto wins case against Canadian farmer. Percy Schmeiser, who has attained folk-hero status, was held liable for growing genetically modified canola without paying the royalty. The decision in a federal court in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was a significant setback for farmers who fear they will be held liable if pollen from neighboring farms blows onto their fields, transmitting patented genes to their crops without their knowledge or consent.
posted by gimli on Mar 30, 2001 - 6 comments

"GMO free" labelling set to become illegal in the US?

"GMO free" labelling set to become illegal in the US? "The U.S. regulatory system is a model around the world because it is grounded in science, not superstition or uninformed emotion." So says the president of a biotech lobby group. Ahem.
posted by holgate on Jan 18, 2001 - 20 comments

Concerned About Frankenfood?

Concerned About Frankenfood? Ralph Nader has some ideas.
posted by snakey on Jan 8, 2001 - 25 comments

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