September 23, 2010
So often I hear about alleged Big Pharma conspiracies that involve the highest levels of government and the entire mainstream media, etc. And when I challenge those claims, I’m always always accused to being a shill for Big Pharma.
But when Big Pharma really is involved in a conspiracy, I’m more than happy to report about their misbehavior, as are the appropriate government agencies and media. One such case has arrived once again. This time the FDA has caught Johnson & Johnson contracting people to go to specific stores to buy out specific boxes of defective Motrin rather than make it public and issue a recall. Now it’s not that the defective Mortin was dangerous; it was just ineffective. But the point is that Johnson & Johnson didn’t issue a recall and allowed customers to continue to buy a substandard product while they secretly attempted to buy up as many boxes as they could find.
This is disgraceful. But what I want to emphasize here is that this is an example of when the system works. The FDA did its job and mainstream media covered the story. Neither made any attempt to protect “Big Pharma.”
January 15, 2010
1. $cientology for a change decides to sue somebody – The cult has launched two separate lawsuits against Sandy Springs, Georgia for alleged discrimination because the city approved the rezoning of their building but denied the the cult’s request to add a fourth floor by enclosing a basement parking garage, saying there wasn’t enough parking.
2. Treating agony with ecstasy – Okay, I had to steal that headline because there was just no way I was going to top it. In the first FDA-approved trial evaluating the use of the street drug ecstasy for therapeutic applications, it proved very successful at treating PTSD.
3. Male chromosome’s rapid evolution – The Y chromosome, known for making men men, is evolving far faster than the rest of the human genetic code:
A new study comparing the Y chromosomes from humans and chimpanzees, our nearest living relatives, show that they are about 30 percent different. That is far greater than the 2 percent difference between the rest of the human genetic code and that of the chimp’s, according to a study appearing online Wednesday in the journal Nature.These changes occurred in the last 6 million years or so, relatively recently when it comes to evolution.
And for those keeping track, that’s 5,994,000 years before the existence of the whole universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.
4. Debunking creationism? There’s an app for that – A new smartphone app provides users with refutations to all the creationist arguments.
5. Pat Robertson finally getting heat from fellow Christians - It’s about damned time!
October 23, 2009
1. 800 Nigerian scam websites shut down –
In a statement EFCC, which has previously relied on raiding cyber cafes and complaints from the public to clampdown on the crime, said it has now adopted smart technology working in conjunction with Microsoft, to track down fraudulent emails.
When operating at full capacity, within the next six months, the scheme, dubbed “eagle claw” should be able to forewarn around a quarter of million potential victims.
2. Health insurance companies declare past rape a pre-existing condition - After 2 men slipped her a knockout drug, Christina Turner feared she’d been raped. As a precaution, her doctor prescribed a month’s worth of anti-AIDS medicine, which turns out to have made her virtually uninsurable. Several months later, she lost her health insurance. But although she never developed HIV, when considering whether or not to cover her, health insurance companies decided the HIV medication raised too many health questions and told her to come back in 3 years. Where’s the outrage, Sarah Palin?
3. Happy birthday, Creationist Earth –
. . .in 1658, Archbishop Ussher determined that the world was created precisely at 9am, 23 October, 4004 BC, making today the official creation day, and the earth 6012 years old.
4. FDA and FTC go after Andrew Weil – Weil is one of the most notorious “alternative” “medicine” conmen working today. Now the FDA and FTC have sent him a warning demanding he stop selling bogus herbal flu remedies containing astragalus on his website. And of course leading Quack Profiteer Mark Adams is very grumpy about this no doubt because he suspects he might be next.
5. Mumps epidemic in Brooklyn –
The outbreak was traced to a child who went to Britain – where the illness is more common because of lower levels of vaccination – and then attended a summer camp upstate, apparently infecting dozens of kids.
October 10, 2009
Mike Adams, Merchant of Death
Gary Null, Raving Psychotic
The last time I looked at the figures, 76 children and 28 pregnant women had been killed by H1N1. Apparently though, “alternative” “medicine” “gurus” Gary Null (who’s also an HIV denialist in addition to being an anti-vaccine quack) and Mike Adams (who’s probably also an HIV denialist) aren’t happy with such low figures, so now they’ve introduced a lawsuit against the FDA to remove the current H1N1 vaccine.
Given the mountains of evidence showing both the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, I doubt this lawsuit will get any real traction, but swift action should be taken to stop these psychopaths before it even gets the chance. Also against them is the sheer amount of money that our government has put into manufacturing these vaccines and getting them out there to the public. Unless there really were some seriously substantial evidence could be presented to prove something was wrong with the vaccine, too much money has been invested to just throw them all out now. And of course if these fools had such evidence, the scientific community would have already known about it.
Now I still can’t confirm this but as far as I know Mr. Null is still a faculty member at my local Fairleigh Dickinson University. Although I’m sure he tons of blood money selling snake oil and books that promote snake oil, I recommend possibly starting a campaign to get his ass fired.
June 25, 2009
For once, it’s great to see the FDA really stepping up to the plate and stopping the sale of dangerous products. Right on the heels of the Zicam and Hydroxycut bans, the latest product the FDA is pulling off the shelves is Stamina-Rx, a viagra-like pill marketed to increase sexual stamina and arousal.
But it also contained benzamidenafil, an unapproved drug in the same class as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.
If those drugs are taken by anyone using nitrates to treat high blood pressure the combined effect can be lethal.
Of course this is going to piss off the Alt. Med. community who will complain that this is an evil conspiracy by “Big Pharma” to bring down the poor, defenseless, mom and pop herbalist because for some incomprehensible imaginary reason that only makes sense in the minds of the self-deluded, the pharmaceutical companies couldn’t profit off of herbal products if they did really work. But in actuality, it’s not just Big Herbal that gets hurt by this measure but also the pharmaceutical companies:
The big losers in this push will not be consumers looking for herbal remedies. Rather, it will be the giant herbal companies and drug corporations with “nutritional” divisions. Check out the list of member companies that belong to the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Don’t see many hippies or mom-and-pop remedy makers, do you? The names include Bayer, Wyeth, Abbott, Dow Chemical, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, alongside Herbalife and Country Life.
June 18, 2009
Last week, I reported a series of epic fails for the “Alternative” “Medicine” industry. Well this week isn’t look much better for them. The big news story of course is the faux-homeopathic product, Zicam. It’s bad enough just being a real homeopathic product, which while having no benefits, is at least not dangerous. But Zicam, it turns out, is not a homeopathic product at all and is full of Zinc, which has now caused numerous people to lose their sense of smell. The FDA might have caught this and prevented this product from hitting the market if it fell under their jurisdiction, however, through an 90-year-old loophole in the legal system, the FDA do not require evidence of efficacy or safety for medicines labeled as homeopathic. And there are no similar protocols for ensuring efficacy and safety in the “Alternative” “Medicines” industry, many people were harmed.
And the AP reports that over 800 homeopathic ingredients were potentially implicated in health problems, ranging from vomiting to attempted suicide, just last year.
Then of course there’s the latest update on the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), which was fighting a major legal battle with Journalist Simon Singh. Apparently now the BCA is suddenly producing new evidence of the efficacy of their “treatments.” What is this evidence? Apparently their “evidence” includes poorly done studies with no control group, citing their own code of practice, and citing osteopathy, which is something completely different than chiropractic. If they’re seriously submitting this as their best evidence, they’re in bigger trouble than I thought.
I’m reminded of an interview I watched recently with the father and son team that authered the recent book, The China Study. Even though the interviewer mostly asked super softball questions, at one point she asked one really good question, what they felt was the strongest evidence for their claims. The father, T. Colin Campbell, answered by citing a study he’d apparently conducted that involved either 18 or 22 subjects. I forget which, but neither number is remotely compelling, and utterly absurd if they truly regard it as their best evidence.
May 15, 2009
On every box of Cheerios, General Mills makes the claim, “clinically proven to lower cholesterol.” Well, the FDA sent a letter to General Mills that says the labeling on Cheerios boxes is in “serious violation” of federal rules. And they go on to say:
Based on claims made on your product’s label, we have determined that your Cheerios® Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease. ”
. . .
“[Cheerios] may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application.”