Tag Archives: doctors

Marketed Drugs Have No Value

MDC says, The Most Marketed Drugs Have The Least Therapeutic Value !!!

The pharmaceutical industry spends a lot of money on getting doctors and patients to buy their products. Americans are probably most familiar with those TV and radio commercials that end with the long list of side effects narrated in super-speed, but may not realize that their doctors are getting their own special brand of marketing, too. If that sounds suspect, it should. Two studies from the U.S. and Canada show that the drugs that pharma companies spend the most time promoting to doctors have the leasttherapeutic value.

All The Better To Sell You With, My Dear

Here’s something that might feel a little weird: your doctor has probably gone to lunch with a pharmaceutical industry representative, and the rep probably picked up the check. Some hospitals and medical programs forbid the practice, but for those that don’t, doctors routinely receive free meals, drinks, and small gifts from pharma reps hoping to increase their sales. Companies in the U.S. are required to report every payment to doctors of $10 or more. According to Open Payments, the online database of those reports, pharmaceutical companies spent $8.2 billion in 2016 promoting drugs to more than half a million physicians. (You can use the tool yourselfto see what your own doctor has been paid.)

And this kind of promotion works. Studies show that doctors who are allowed to accept these gifts are more likely to prescribe brand-name drugs, even when cheaper generics are available. That’s why two studies, an American one published in the British Medical Journal in May 2017 and a Canadian one published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in September 2017, are so troubling. They found that the most-promoted drugs were the least likely to be therapeutically valuable — or, as the BMJ study defined it, “effective, safe, affordable, novel, and represent a genuine advance in treating a disease.”

What kinds of drugs are we talking? In the U.S., the top three most heavily promoted drugs were Eliquis, an anticoagulant that can reduce stroke risk in some patients, and Bydureon and Invokana, two drugs for type II diabetes that are formulated to lower blood sugar. Invokana was also among Canada’s most promoted drugs, along with the blood-pressure drug Coversyl and the asthma/COPD medication Breo Ellipta. All of them were rated as having little therapeutic value, and not representing anything new in the pharmaceutical market.

The Greater Good

Of course, this does make sense. A revolutionary, must-have drug sells itself. “If a genuinely innovative drug becomes available that significantly advances patient care … this information might be expected to spread rapidly among clinicians,” the authors of the BMJ study write. “Conversely, a ‘me-too’ drug with minimal benefit over previous treatments in a class with generic alternatives … might need robust promotion to facilitate its use.”

This doesn’t suggest that the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical reps is a sign of corruption. After all, many drugs are useful, and doctors don’t necessarily have time to constantly research every new drug out there. As a 2017 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association pointed out, “In the United States, there is no formal approach to educating physicians about new drugs. In the absence of such a system, physicians must either find information about new therapies from other sources, such as by reading or attending meetings, or accept information from pharmaceutical representatives.”

It does mean, however, that patients should be vigilant and educated about their own care. Research what pharmaceutical companies your doctor and doctor’s office have had contact with. When your doctor prescribes a drug, ask if there are effective generic alternatives. The more information you have, the better off you’ll be.

source: curiosity

Dollars for Doctors

(David Sleight/ProPublica)

This story was co-published with NPR’s Shots blog.

Few days went by last year when New Hampshire nephrologist Ana Stankovic didn’t receive a payment from a drug company.

All told, 29 different pharmaceutical companies paid her $594,363 in 2014, mostly for promotional speaking and consulting, but also for travel expenses and meals, according to data released Tuesday detailing payments by drug and device companies to U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals. (You can search for your doctor on ProPublica’s updated Dollars for Docs interactive database.)

Stankovic’s earnings were certainly high, ranking her about 250th among 606,000 doctors who received payments nationwide last year. What was more remarkable, though, was that she received payments on 242 different days — nearly every workday of last year.

Reached by telephone Tuesday, Stankovic declined to comment. On her LinkedIn page, Stankovic lists herself as vice chief of staff at Parkland Medical Center HCA Inc. in Derry, New Hampshire, and as medical director of peritoneal dialysis at DaVita Inc., also in Derry.

That doctors receive big money from the pharmaceutical industry is no surprise. The new data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that such interactions are widespread, with not only doctors, but thousands of dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors receiving at least one industry payment from August 2013 to December 2014.

What is being seen for the first time now is how ingrained pharmaceutical companies and their sales reps are in the lives of those who write prescriptions for their products. A ProPublica analysis found that 768 doctors received payments on more than half of the days in 2014. More than 14,600 doctors received payments on at least 100 days in 2014.

Take Juichih Hsu, a Maryland doctor whose specialty is family medicine. She received payments on 286 days of 365, more than anyone else. Sometimes, she received meals from several drug companies on the same day. Hsu’s payments totaled $5,959. She declined to comment when reached on Tuesday.

“There are physician practices which have very deep relationships with pharmaceutical representatives, where they are a very integral part of the practice,” said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who has written about industry relationships with doctors. “Every day it’s another drug company coming in for a lunch. Sometimes it may be some drug companies are bringing breakfast and some are bringing lunch and it’s just part of the culture of the practice.”

Sometimes there may be more at work than that.

A Packed Schedule

Maryland physician Juichih Hsu received payments — mostly food and beverages–from drug and device companies on 286 days in 2014, more than any other doctor in the country. 

The government initially released some data last fall, covering the period of August to December 2013, but it was significantly redacted because of data inconsistencies. The data released Tuesday covers the period of August 2013 to December 2014. The data inconsistencies have been resolved.

All told, 1,617 companies reported 15.7 million payments valued at $9.9 billion. Nearly all of those payments — 14.9 million — were classified as “general payments,” covering promotional speaking, consulting, meals, travel and royalties. They totaled $3.5 billion over the 17-month period.

Where Did the Payments Go in 2014?

A breakdown of general payments by category, not including research or payments to physician owners of a company.

Royalty or License
 
$803.5 million
Promotional Speaking
 
632.4
Consulting Fee
 
369.4
Gift
 
288.8
Nonaccredited Training
 
231.1
Food and Beverage
 
224.5
Travel and Lodging
 
179.1

There were far fewer research payments, 826,000, but they were valued at $4.8 billion. The remaining payments related to ownership or investment interests that doctors had in companies. Research and ownership payments are currently not shown in Dollars for Docs.

Open Payments does not include money spent on drug samples left at doctors’ offices and doesn’t include the bulk of the money companies spend on independently administered continuing medical education, which they support with unrestricted grants. The government has tightened the rules for reporting such continuing education in the future.

Genentech Inc., spent the most on general payments, $387.7 million, mostly royalties for its drugs Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin to City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. That was four times more than the second-ranked company, DePuy Synthes Products LLC, which spent $94.7 million, nearly all on royalties. Topera Inc., a small medical device company, came in third, with $93.1 million, almost exclusively acquisition payments to its physician founders from device maker Abbott Laboratories.

Among pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca spent the most on general payments ($90.9 million), followed by Pfizer ($82.1 million) and Allergan ($70.7 million). In a statement, AstraZeneca said that it believes “it is important to be open about the way we conduct our business and how we help people through our medicines and programs. We are committed to the highest standards of conduct in all of our operations, including how we partner with physicians and medical institutions.”

Royalty fees, though few in number, accounted for $803.5 million in general payment spending in 2014, more than any other category. They were followed by promotional speaking ($632.4 million) and consulting ($369.4 million). Food and beverages accounted for the highest number of payments by far, 9.4 million, but these had a relatively low value of $224.5 million.

ProPublica news application developers Mike Tigas and Lena Groeger and senior reporting fellow Annie Waldman contributed to this report.

Check Dollars for Docs to see whether your doctor has received payments from drug or medical device companies. Email us at drugs@propublica.org and tell us what you find.

MDC says , please check the below site. 

https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/




OverMedicated

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Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug and more than 50 percent take two, scholars writing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings say. Antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed, they found. 20 percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings.

MDC says, try and avoid the doctor and utilize natural remedies. Doctors are the drug dealer!

17 percent of those studied were prescribed antibiotics, 13 percent were taking antidepressants and 13 percent were on opioids. Drugs to lower lipids, such as cholesterol, came in fourth (11 percent) and vaccines were fifth (11 percent). Drugs were prescribed to both men and women across all age groups, except high blood pressure drugs, which were seldom used before age 30.

Overall, women and older adults receive more prescriptions. Vaccines, antibiotics and anti-asthma drugs are most commonly prescribed in people younger than 19. Antidepressants and opioids are most common among young and middle-aged adults. Cardiovascular drugs are most commonly prescribed in older adults.

Women receive more prescriptions than men across several drug groups, especially antidepressants: Nearly 25 percent of women ages 50-64 are on an antidepressant.
The statistics from the Rochester Epidemiology Project in Olmsted County, Minn. are comparable to those elsewhere in the United States, says study author Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., a member of the Mayo Clinic Population Health Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

“Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” St. Sauver says. “However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature.”

For several drug groups, use increases with advancing age.

“As you get older you tend to get more prescriptions, and women tend to get more prescriptions than men,” St. Sauver says.

Prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade. The percentage of people who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent in 1999-2000 to 48 percent in 2007-08. Spending on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009 the year studied, and accounted for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures.

Drug-related spending is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, the researchers say.

MDC says again, doctors are the drug dealers and Americans are OverMedicated!

Medical Devices for People

 

MDC says medical devices seem to get smaller every year. Think of something as simple as a pacemaker or hearing aid. Like their bretheren PCs, these gadgets that help enhance and extend our lives continue to shrink. Yet the size of a power source to drive the device cannot decrease in size at the same rate.

Like with solar power, what if power for medical devices could be generated by natural means – our bodies? There would truly be no limit as to how small an electronic medical device could get. And therefore replacement surgeries could be a thing of the past. Did you know our bodies maintain fluids in the ear that contain an electrochemical gradient?

A report in Nature Biotechology featured Boston scientists who harnessed power from this liquid in the inner ear of a guinea pig. Using a tiny circuit board implanted into the furry friend’s ear they measured electricity via radio waves. Though only a nano watt every 5 hours, it is a start. It certainly won’t power the world, but the important thing to know is the guinea pigs hearing was not harmed in the entire process – making the experiment a minimally invasive process with no damage.

So yes, perhaps a day will come when our bodies can be used as a power source and decrease the need for replacement surgeries on life saving devices.

5 Reasons American Healthcare is Trashed

 

MDC share Men’s Health and the seemingly endless debate about how best to fix healthcare in the United States, your head is likely full of facts—along with a few distortions—about what exactly the problem is with American medicine.

1. We live in a healthcare-based economy.

America spends $2.4 trillion each year on medical care, a figure that represents around 17 percent of our entire gross domestic product. It’s also been one of the few areas of the economy that continued to thrive during the latest recession. Projections by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimate that proportion will increase to 25 percent by 2025, and 50 percent by 2082, if current trends continue.

Your move: How much of your personal budget pays medical bills each year? While some healthcare expenses are sudden, most fall into the predictable category of prescription contact lenses and dentist checkups. When you’ve figured out your yearly costs, have that amount deducted from your annual salary and plunked into either a tax-free flexible spending account or health savings account, suggests certified financial planner Paula Boyer Kennedy, vice president of Cammack LaRhette Consulting in New York.

2. The United States does not have the best healthcare system in the world.

Despite the big price tag, we’re not even in the top 10 in terms of quality healthcare, or in the top 30 for that matter. A 2000 report by the World Health Organization put the United States in 37th place in healthcare outcomes—including mortality rates, immunization rates, and the number of people currently fighting disease—just behind Costa Rica. That’s because while well-off Americans can benefit from the truly outstanding medical facilities at, say, the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins, the rest of us simply can’t afford the top-quality treatments. “We basically have a third-world healthcare system for many people in our own country,” Epperly says.

Your move: Finding the best doctor for you takes a little research. When a doctor gives you a referral, ask for two to three specialists your doc likes, then ask who their favorite is and why, Epperly says. That way, you can tease out whether your doc is just sending business to his or her buddies. Before your first visit, look up your new doctor by name on your state medical board’s website to see if they’ve had any complaints. (Does your physician meet your standards?

3. American healthcare is focused on treating illness instead of preventing it.

You probably already knew that, but it’s staggering to see just how little cash goes into keeping the doctor away: Between 92 and 95 percent of all healthcare dollars are spent on surgeries, imaging, emergency room care, and intensive care, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. At the same time, 40 percent of deaths in the United States are due to entirely preventable factors like not exercising enough, smoking, and not wearing a seat belt. “There’s some pushback against a nanny state, but at a minimum we need to educate people with the right information about how their choices affect their lives, and they can make their own decisions,” Epperly says.

Your move: As if we don’t say it enough: Obesity has been linked to numerous medical conditions from heart disease to Alzheimer’s (not to mention erectile dysfunction), and it’s 100 percent preventable.

4. You’re already paying for someone else’s hospital bills.

Hospitals and insurance companies pass the cost of treating uninsured and under-insured patients on to everyone else. “When someone can’t pay, doctors raise prices on medical services for patients who can afford it, and then insurance companies raise their premiums to keep ahead,” says Epperly. But as insurance companies raise premiums, less people can afford coverage, or the high co-pays and deductibles. And that means more people can’t pay their bills, resulting in an upward spiraling cycle of increasing costs, Epperly says.

Your move: If you’re relatively healthy, you probably don’t need an expensive insurance plan. “Consider a high deductible insurance plan with a health savings account,” Kennedy says. Unlike a use-it-or-lose-it flex spending account, health savings lets you keep adding year after year until you need it. The only drawback: Your insurance plan must have at least a $1,250 deductible if you’re single or $2,500 on a family plan.

5. Insurance doesn’t protect you from bankruptcy.

In fact, a full 78 percent of people who file for medical bankruptcy had medical insurance, according to a 2009 Harvard University study. So what happened? “Most insurance plans in the United States have a yearly or lifetime cap, and it might be $10,000 or $1,000,000, but if you go over it, then you’re on the hook for the rest of your medical expenses,” says Epperly. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer set those caps, but before that the United States was the only industrialized nation that allowed its citizens to go broke just by trying to stay alive.

Your move: You know who wants your insurance company to pay the bill just as much as you do? Your doctor. “Choose a doctor who has a dedicated billing staff with plenty of expertise in dealing with insurance companies,” says Kennedy. They can explain the ins and outs of your cryptic hospital bills and point you in the right direction to get help if it seems like your insurer is trying to bail on their part of the deal.

MDC says, Good Luck out there with your health and never trust Doctors, use your gut.

 

Source = mens health & Dees

 

CHILDREN DRUGGIES

 

MDC mentions that a National disaster is happening: Millions of children prescribed antipsychotic drugs they don’t need.

Are doctors going crazy? US psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs to children in one third of all visits, which is a rate almost three times higher than during the 1990’s.

Roughly 90 percent of antipsychotic prescriptions written between 2005 and 2009 were prescribed for something other than what the US Food and Drug Administration approves them for.

Researchers say the increase in antipsychotic drug prescription is largely to treat disruptive behaviors, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – even though those disorders are not treatable by antipsychotics.

Medications such as Abilify and Risperdal, which are used primarily to treat patients with schizophrenia, are increasingly being prescribed “off label” to control youngsters with ADHD who have problems controlling their behavior.

Only a small proportion of antipsychotic treatment of children (6 percent) and adolescents (13 percent) is for FDA-approved clinical indications,” said Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, in an interview with Reuters.

Children with ADHD are most often taking drugs approved for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability with autism.

“People from all walks of life are taking medications for mental-health conditions,” psychiatrist David Muzina told the Wall Street Journal.

In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on antipsychotic drugs meant to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression.

But whether they are effective or not, the drugs have been known to cause other health problems, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, muscular tics and weight gain. A University of Massachusetts study found that kids taking antipsychotics were four times more likely to develop diabetes.

Between 1993 and 2008, 31 children died from taking Risperdal and more than 1,200 suffered serious health problems.

“We have a national catastrophe,” Dr. Peter Breggin told US News & World Report. “This is a situation where we have ruined the brains of millions of children.”

But in many cases, antipsychotic drug prescriptions are not even necessary to treat behavioral disorders. There are psychosocial interventions, such as parent management training, that are able to reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors in kids, Olfson said.

Instead of taking the time and money to gradually reduce their children’s behavioral problems, parents are opting for antipsychotic medications for an instant fix.

Drugged from a young age onward, many American children will grow up dependent on serious antipsychotic drugs they had no need for.

Source =rt

 

50 Million UNEMPLOYED

FIFTY MILLION AMERICANS ARE PROHIBITED FROM FINDING WORK

Today, a friend well educated, cannot pass the drug tests that are required by most corporations and all government jobs.  That leaves about fifty million people or more who either smoke pot, or take pills without scripts, or can’t take chemo, without the aid of a joint, unable to enter the work force.

People who want to work have to camouflage their smoking habits by staying clean two or so months, and then the THC levels will leave the body.  People will resume their favorite form of relaxation after acquiring the job.  Others have scripts from their Physicians.  Unless you have a clear paper trail from the medications taken, and given by Doctors’ prescription you will not get work when certain drugs show up in the tests.

Any legal outstanding issues, like prior encounters with the law, arrests and any criminal record will disqualify you from many job opportunities.  Bad credit through no fault of your own or due to circumstances beyond your control, there are no jobs available.

The conditions to work, required by corporations and government agencies today cannot match those people who have chosen for what ever reason to live in a different life style, and the underground economy or low paying jobs are all that is left.

What the lawmakers have done is create a criminal class out of ordinary citizens, and a Penal industry that has lobbyists in Washington representing their corporate interests using laws to keep their own jobs, while keeping many job hunters out of the workforce or forever stuck in low paying jobs.

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