Eideard

Posts Tagged ‘drugs

Glaxo says it will stop paying doctors to pimp their drugs

leave a comment »

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.

The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales…

Under the plan, which Glaxo said would be completed worldwide by 2016, the company will no longer pay health care professionals to speak on its behalf about its products or the diseases they treat “to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing,” it said in a statement. It will also stop providing financial support directly to doctors to attend medical conferences, a practice that is prohibited in the United States through an industry-imposed ethics code but that still occurs in other countries. In China, the authorities have said Glaxo compensated doctors for travel to conferences and lectures that never took place.

On one hand, what should we think of doctors who have been taking these bribes – for that is what they are – to influence which pharmaceuticals they prescribe?

On the other hand, perhaps we have simply come to a place and time where pharmaceutical companies are assured of a massive portion of public spending on drugs and medications by the number of politicians they own?

About these ads

Written by Ed Campbell

December 19, 2013 at 8:00 am

Drone choppers used to try to smuggle contraband into jails

with 2 comments

…Four people have been arrested after a remote-controlled helicopter was allegedly used to fly tobacco into Calhoun state prison, Georgia…

Prison guards at the Calhoun state jail spotted a drone hovering over the prison yard and alerted police who began a search of the local area.

Inside a nearby car they found a six-rotor remote-controlled helicopter, between 1lb and 2lb of tobacco and several mobile phones.

Four people were arrested and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempting to smuggle contraband into the prison.

“It is a surprise. I’ve never seen a helicopter,” Sheriff Josh Hilton told reporters.

It follows a similar attempt at the weekend in a prison in Canada.

A drone was spotted flying over the Gatineau jail in Quebec on Sunday. Guards there failed to find either the device, its payload or those flying it.

Remote-controlled flying devices are becoming the tool of choice for those determined to smuggle in contraband, Stephane Lemaire, president of Quebec’s correctional officers’ union, told the Ottawa Sun.

“Usually the drones are carrying small packages of drugs or other illicit substances,” he said…”Now that drones are relatively cheap to buy, they’ve become the best way to smuggle drugs inside,” he added.

Makes sense to me. Once again, our military demonstrated new and useful technology to civilian society. Why expect the criminal portion of our nations to avoid technological progress.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Suspended sentence for possibly the worst mom in America

with 2 comments

A Missouri woman who left a loaded rifle in her toddler’s crib has received a suspended sentence, officials said. Cheryl Darlene Dudley, 37, of St. Peters, pleaded guilty to eight counts of child endangerment…

St. Peters police were called to Dudley’s home in July after a witness reported seeing Dudley’s 22-month-old daughter tied to the garage with a rope.

While investigating the incident, police found drugs a dresser drawer within reach of the toddler and Dudley’s 7-year-old son.

Police also found a loaded rifle stashed in the toddler’s crib.

Dudley told the police that she put the rifle in the crib because she heard noises in her back yard and hadn’t put it away yet.

Dudley’s daughter also had flea bites and appeared to have been scratched by a dog. Five dogs were seized from Dudley’s home during the investigation.

Police further found dog feces, dirt, cigarettes and mold inside Dudley’s home.

Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider sentenced Dudley to five years of probation, during which she must meet 17 requirements, including mental health counseling, prosecutors said.

If Dudley does not meet the requirements, she will be forced to serve a 10-year prison sentence.

Who has custody of the kids? I read several articles – all pretty much the same as the original in the St.Louis POST-DISPATCH. Nothing about the kids life after mom’s release into probation.

Written by Ed Campbell

October 4, 2013 at 8:00 am

Big Pharma battling to continue to hide drugs trials data

with 3 comments

Drugs companies publish only a fraction of their results and keep much of the information to themselves, but regulators want to ban the practice. If companies published all of their clinical trials data, independent scientists could reanalyse their results and check companies’ claims about the safety and efficacy of drugs.

Under proposals being thrashed out in Europe, drugs companies would be compelled to release all of their data, including results that show drugs do not work or cause dangerous side-effects.

While some companies have agreed to share data more freely, the industry has broadly resisted the moves. The latest strategy shows how patient groups – many of which receive some or all of their funding from drugs companies – have been brought into the battle.

The strategy was drawn up by two large trade groups, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and outlined in a memo to senior industry figures this month, according to an email seen by the Guardian.

The memo, from Richard Bergström, director general of EFPIA, went to directors and legal counsel at Roche, Merck, Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis and many smaller companies. It was leaked by a drugs company employee.

The email describes a four-pronged campaign that starts with “mobilising patient groups to express concern about the risk to public health by non-scientific re-use of data”. Translated, that means patient groups go into bat for the industry by raising fears that if full results from drug trials are published, the information might be misinterpreted and cause a health scare…

A recent review of medical research estimated that only half of all clinical trials were published in full, and that positive results were twice as likely to be published than negative ones.

Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Like insurance companies, big banks, investment brokerages, any number of robber barons, pharmaceutical manufacturers fear transparency like a literal plague. Who knows? Honesty in marketing might be forced upon them next.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Gran gets prison time along with her sons – for drug trafficking

leave a comment »

A grandmother in Liverpool was sent to prison Friday…for helping her sons launder the proceeds from their heroin trafficking business.

Christine Fitzgibbon, 60, was given a two-year sentence at a hearing in Crown Court in Manchester, The Liverpool Echo reported. Her son, Jason, 40, got 16 years and his younger brother, Ian, 39, 14 years and six months.

The brothers were arrested in 2011 when police foiled a plan to import a large quantity of heroin from Turkey. Investigators said the drugs had a street value of 7 million pounds.

“The drug dealing involved huge quantities of both heroin and ecstasy,” Paul Mitchell, the prosecuting lawyer said. “It involved the importation of multi-kilogram quantities of the drugs into this country and then the onward supply of those drugs. The scope of the enterprise was truly breathtaking.”

Mitchell said investigators seized large amounts of cash, some of it found in Christine Fitzgibbon’s home, and described her as the family “banker.” The Department of Work and Pensions said she was collecting benefits while enjoying a large income from her sons’ business.

As the slogan so aptly states, “A family that preys together stays together”.

Written by Ed Campbell

June 17, 2013 at 2:00 am

Doctor in Brazil suspected of murdering patients to “make space”

leave a comment »

The Brazilian health ministry has begun a review of the medical records of 300 patients treated by a doctor suspected of killing seven terminally ill patients.

Prosecutors on Wednesday claimed Virginia Soares de Souza and her medical team administered muscle relaxing drugs to patients, then reduced their oxygen supply, causing them to die of asphyxia at the Evangelical Hospital…

Investigators are combing through 1,700 medical records of patients who died in the last seven years at the hospital, where De Souza headed the intensive care unit.

It is believed the deaths were a bid by the doctor and her staff to free up beds at the Curitiba hospital’s intensive care wing.

De Souza denies the charges. Her lawyer said investigators had misunderstood how an intensive care unit works and she would prove her innocence.

The 56-year-old widow was arrested in February and charged with seven counts of aggravated first degree murder.

Another three doctors, three nurses and a physiotherapist who worked under De Souza have also been charged with murder.

Yes, this could be politicians acting like they are medical experts. Could also be a new world record [yippee!] for a doctor eliminating patients taking up productive and profitable bed space.

Cripes.

Written by Ed Campbell

March 29, 2013 at 8:00 am

Priest in drug case may plead guilty – wasn’t telling the truth part of his job description all along?

leave a comment »


C’mon, give me bail. I can be trusted. I’m a priest.

A lawyer for a suspended Catholic priest charged in Connecticut with laundering drug money has filed a notice that his client intends to change his plea.

A hearing has been set for Monsignor Kevin Wallin next Tuesday in federal court in Hartford…

Wallin is currently being held without bail.

He was charged in January with selling methamphetamine and laundering drug proceeds through the Land of Oz, an adult entertainment store in Waterbury…

Investigators say Wallin bought methamphetamine from two Californians, Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente, and Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel. Two Connecticut men, Kenneth DeVries, 52, of Waterbury, and Michael Nelson, 40, of Manchester, are also charged.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

Hey – he can catch up on ethics courses inside the slammer.

Written by Ed Campbell

March 28, 2013 at 2:00 am

We whine when the world rejects our beef and pork – now they don’t even want our horsemeat!

with 2 comments

The post preceding this one is about 100 or so countries rejecting import of US beef and pork because of drugs contamination. Sort of fitting that I found this article, this morning, to follow on.


Horsemeat butcher shop in France

For decades, American horses, many of them retired or damaged racehorses, have been shipped to Canada and Mexico, where it is legal to slaughter horses, and then processed and sold for consumption in Europe and beyond.

Lately, however, European food safety officials have notified Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses of a growing concern: The meat of American racehorses may be too toxic to eat safely because the horses have been injected repeatedly with drugs.

Despite the fact that racehorses make up only a fraction of the trade in horse meat, the European officials have indicated that they may nonetheless require lifetime medication records for slaughter-bound horses from Canada and Mexico, and perhaps require them to be held on feedlots or some other holding area for six months before they are slaughtered…

In October, Stephan Giguere, the general manager of a major slaughterhouse in Quebec, said he turned away truckloads of horses coming from the United States because his clients were worried about potential drug issues. Mr. Giguere said he told his buyers to stay away from horses coming from American racetracks.

We don’t want them,” he said. “It’s too risky.”

The action is just the latest indication of the troubled state of American racing and its problems with the doping of horses. Some prominent trainers have been disciplined for using legal and illegal drugs, and horses loaded with painkillers have been breaking down in arresting numbers…

But for pure emotional effect, the alarm raised in the international horse-meat marketplace packs a distinctive punch.

RTFA for extensive details. I realize there is a cultural question about eating horsemeat in American minds to begin with. Still, the critical question – once again – comes down to our government doing little or nothing to guarantee either a safe lifespan for “cattle” or regulating and testing what becomes food for domestic and foreign consumers.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The Swedish serial killer who never was

leave a comment »

Sture Bergwall resides in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane three hours’ drive north of Stockholm. A high wire fence circles the building. CCTV cameras track the movements of the outside world. The narrow windows – some of them barred – are smudged with dirt and thick with double-glazed glass. In order to visit, you must enter through a succession of automatically locking doors and walk through an airport-style security gate. You must leave your mobile phone in a specially provided locker and hand over your passport in return for an ID tag and a panic alarm. Two members of staff, wearing plastic clogs that squeak across the linoleum, escort you through the corridors.

In the visitors’ room, Bergwall sits straight-backed on a small red chair, dim light glinting off rectangular-framed spectacles, his feet planted slightly apart in grey socks and Velcro-strapped sandals. He has been a patient in Säter hospital since 1991 and although he is 62, the flesh on his hands is still pink and unworn, the result, one imagines, of a lack of exposure to sunlight. His hair – what is left of it – is white…

Until relatively recently, Sture Bergwall was Sweden’s most notorious serial killer. He had confessed to more than 30 murders and been convicted of eight. He called himself Thomas Quick. Assuming this sinister alter ego, he claimed during a succession of therapy sessions at Säter over the years that he had maimed, raped and eaten the remains of his victims, the youngest of whom was a nine-year-old girl whose body has never been found.

But then, in 2001, he stopped co-operating with the police. He withdrew from public view and changed his name back to the one he was born with. In 2008, Hannes Råstam, one of Sweden’s most respected documentary-makers, became intrigued. He visited the former Thomas Quick, now known as Sture Bergwall, at Säter, trawled through the 50,000 pages of court documents, therapy notes and police interrogations and came to the startling conclusion that there was not a single shred of technical evidence for any of Bergwall’s convictions. There were no DNA traces, no murder weapons, no eyewitnesses – nothing apart from his confessions, many of which had been given when he was under the influence of narcotic-strength drugs. Confronted with Råstam’s discoveries, Bergwall admitted the unthinkable. He said he had fabricated the entire story.

The book recounting this extraordinary tale has just been posthumously published in Sweden – Råstam died aged 56 from cancer of the pancreas and the liver in January, the day after the manuscript was finished. In Thomas Quick: The Making of a Serial Killer, Råstam unpicks in painstaking detail the way in which the deeply troubled Quick was able to gain key information surrounding each case from psychiatrists, police officers and lawyers, before cobbling together the rambling and confused testimonies into a coherent narrative that could stand up in court.

RTFA. Fascinating stuff.

If you’re much of a cynic, if you’ve spent any reasonable portion of your life examining the lack of reason in most police-work, none of this will surprise you. But, it’s still a helluva read.

Written by Ed Campbell

October 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Are livestock antibiotics contributing to human obesity?

leave a comment »

By altering the fine balance of gut bacteria which influence our metabolism, even small amounts of the drugs entering the food chain could have caused obesity rates to rise, researchers claim.

Although the use of antibiotics on farms is now banned in the EU due to the risk of germs becoming drug-resistant, it was commonplace in the 1950s and is still permitted in the US…

Prof Martin Blaser of New York University, who led the study, said: “The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage…

For decades farmers in Britain and around the world fed low doses of antibiotics to cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens because the drug caused the animals to gain weight.

In the new study, researchers studied the effects of penicillin and other common antibiotics on weaning mice, using doses similar to the non-medical amounts used by farmers.

Their results, published in the Nature journal, showed that the drugs altered the balance of bacteria in their gut, causing metabolic changes which led them to gain 10 to 15 per cent more fat than untreated mice…

A related study published earlier this week by the same authors showed that young children who had taken small amounts of antibiotics were more likely to have higher amounts of body fat…

This study adds to the body of knowledge suggesting several mechanisms all of which tie antibiotics used to fatten animals to human weight gain – regardless of the lies rationales used by farmers to justify the drugs.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 23, 2012 at 6:00 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,805 other followers