S.1356 - Affordable Medicines Utilization Act of 2011
A bi-partisan proposal to reduce Medicaid costs by substituting generic drugs for patented drugs Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), and John McCain (R-Az) on July 13. The bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Wyden estimates the initial savings amounts to $300 million, and the bill includes measures for sharing costs with states. The pharmaceutical industry supports the bill and cites a pollconducted at the end of 2010 indicting that voters would prefer to reduce costs... []
Ghostwriting controversy at APA
. . .unanswered questions []
Key Judges Have Health Care Investment Conflicts
Conflicts-of-interest could affect judges whose investments might collide with cases they hear. The Center for Public Integrity examines three judges whose investments included mutual funds with holdings in pharmaceutical companies appearing before them. []
Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry, by Daniel Carlat, MD
Unhinged.jpg Once a specialty rich with the interactions between client and doctor which used to comprise a 50-minute hour, to one that has become a 15-minute, billable med check, psychiatry has become "unhinged" in the words of author Dr. Daniel Carlat. In a review of Unhinged, psychiatrist Richard Evans asks how to reconcile the pendulum swing for a professional with "an extremely challenging mandate." []
New psychiatric drugs in pipeline
PhRMA has released a report of more than 300 drugs in the pipeline for psychiatric medications. Many are in the initial stages. Some, such as Johnson and Johnson's . . . []
NAMI and pharma
. . .alas, a Faustian bargain []
Seroquel settlement at $520 million
Admitting no wrong doing, AstraZeneca is expected to settle charges about off-label marketing Seroquel, according to a report in the New York Times. The British pharmaceutical still faces 25,000 law suits. . . []
FDA says Pfizer study overdosed kids
Consistent overdosing of seven children in a clinical study conducted by Pfizer was described in a warning letter posted on the FDA's website. []
Jury favors AstraZeneca in Seroquel trial
A jury decided AstraZeneca provided adequate warnings about side effects of Seroquel causing diabetes. The month-long trial in New Jersey has been carefully watched by 26,000 people with similar claims. The 7-1 ruling left unanswered whether the drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder contributed to the onset of diabetes. . . []
Move over Zyprexa, Seroquel, trial on Risperdal
Bloomberg News obtained company documents in a Louisiana trial seeking reimbursement of public funds paid to Johnson and Johnson for Risperdal. The drug was initially marketed to treat schizophrenia but its reach expanded. . . []
Trial over Seroquel side effects continues
binocularsistock copy.jpg
Seroquel watchers have been reporting on the New Jersey trial of AstraZeneca, alleged to have had prior knowledge of side effects of Seroquel causing excessive weight gain leading to diabetes, and heart disease. Internet coverage includes. . . []
A trial, and an ad, featuring Seroquel
. . .evidence vs. spin []
Grassley widens pharma probe
grassley.jpegContinuing his drive for transparency in medicine, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking advocacy and professional associations to clarify how much funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. This is part of a larger set of questions about conflicts-of-interest, the independence of their respective organizations, and continuing medical education. []
Lilly beats back Mississippi over Zyprexa
A US District Court judge dismissed use of a statistical summary to prove Zyprexa's side effects boost Medicaid costs in Mississippi. []
Conflicts-of-interest halt ADHD guidelines in Australia
Conflicts-of-interest in a panel writing guidelines for ADHD in Australia led the government to halt distribution of the recommendations according to the Australian press. Seven of the nine doctors on the panel received a gift of some form -- meals, international travel, hotels -- from drug companies. []
Drug companies disclose
. . .But is that enough? []
Prescription drug prices rose nearly 9 percent in 2009.
Read more in the New York Times about the increase in the cost of drugs based on analysis by Credit Suisse and IMS Health which tracks the pharmaceutical industry. This amounts to $21 billion more than expected and the hikes anticipate changes in negotiation over drug pricing should health reform succeed.... []
Committee probes drug industry-education ties
Conflicts of interest between the drug industry and medicine left a breach in the firewall with research, education, clinical care vulnerable to bias, noted several witnesses at hearings of the Select Committee on Aging. . . []
Underused drug may be the safest for schizophrenia
A drug used to treat schizophrenia, and with a history unlike any other, is associated with longer life compared to more commonly used antipsychotic medications. . . . []
Good news-bad news for AstraZeneca
Between celebrating the Canadian approval of Seroquel to treat major depression, then learning the the Netherlands denied approval for the same, AstraZeneca has had quite a ride. In the courts a similar see-saw is taking place. A judge dismissed a case in Del. charging diabetes was the result of Seroquel This is the third case dismissed, and the only potential jury trial. They have drawn considerable attention and new cases are scheduled in New Jersey and New York. Documents have... []
Pfizer give away includes psychiatric meds
Restore independence to medicine says IOM
A blue-ribbon panel of the Institute of Medicine released "Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice" a stunning rebuke of how industry has crept into research, clinical practice, continuing education, professional guidelines, and government agencies. The report calls for an end to practices that have undermined confidence in medicine, saying disclosure is also needed to identify payments and gifts to all foundations, nonprofit advocacy groups, and disease specific organizations. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr.... []
More hospitals announce independence
The medical school at Johns Hopkins University announced a two-stage policy of banning gifts to doctors and ending drug samples for patients. The announcement acknowledged "Industry influence may be subtle, and health care providers often are not aware of the extent to which their judgment may be influenced when they depend on industry to support educational activities or provide drug samples.even small gifts imply reciprocity and that in recent years." Johns Hopkins joins Harvard, which announced a similar policy for... []
NAMI under Grassley microscope
Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Sen. Charles Grassley expanded his inquiry about drug company influence and asked the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) about its funding. The Beltway nonprofit representing families with a mental illness has been the subject of previous articles about ties to pharmaceutical companies. The annual reports prominently list companies (not amounts). Disclosure is not the biggest issue it faces as much as the influence of these companies on its policies.... []
Psychiatrists change meal policy
After a year of controversy, the American Psychiatric Association announced it will "phase out" the industry-sponsored events -- meals and banquets accompanying educational lectures or symposia -- that brought charges of conflicts-of-interest and federal investigations. ... []

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