Thursday, December 31, 2009
Read the snooty, high handed note the NHS sent the Institute.
The Institute returned NHS Far, far, FAR, ....... more civility, than NHS was deserving of.
None of those chemicals belong in Anyone, ... of Any Age, ... For Any GD reason.
Have another look, if you need it.
Americas Poor Children Likelier To Get Antipsychotics
A front page article in The New York Times raises the long-overdue alarms about the forced drugging of American children--in particular poor children who are condemned to ingest toxic neuroleptics (a.k.a. 'atypical antipsychotics) at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance.
Wikepedia definition of poison: "In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism."
These drugs' toxic debilitating effects are clinically measurable and demonstrable in children's impaired biological functions (cardiovascular, hormonal, metabolic, gastrointestinal) and damaged organs (liver, heart, and rain) not to speak of their adverse effects on children's mental and psychological well-being.
The only unknown factor is how long it will take for these drugs' toxic effects to cause a particular child severe, irreversible damage.
"Some experts say they are stunned by the disparity in prescribing patterns. But others say it reinforces previous indications, and their own experience, that children with diagnoses of mental or emotional problems in low-income families are more likely to be given drugs than receive family counseling or psychotherapy."
Of note, as the Times reports, "Part of the reason is insurance reimbursements, as Medicaid often pays much less for counseling and therapy than private insurers do."
This points to the (perhaps) unintended, but likely catastrophic consequences of a "public insurance option"--one that fails to rein in irresponsible clinicians who have financial ties to drug manufacturers. The FDA's failure to restrict the use of toxic, harm producing prescription drugs whose clinical efficacy is a matter of heated debate--coupled with the agency's recent irresponsible approval of these drugs for use in teens--without evidence of long-term safety usage--demonstrates a colossal disregard for America's vulnerable children who are relegated as sacrificial lambs.
The Times quotes one of the leading American child psychiatrists who suggests that children on Medicaid who are being prescribed poison at quadruple the rate that other American children are, "are getting better treatment."
"Maybe Medicaid kids are getting better treatment," said Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, a child psychiatrist and professor at the Stony Brook School of Medicine. "If it helps keep them in school, maybe it's not so bad."
That encapsulates the perverse culture of psychiatry. Its leading "experts" maintain that disastrous treatment produced (iatrogenic) outcomes-- such as, drug-induced diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperprolactemia / gynecomastia (male enlarged breasts) *-- are actually desirable outcomes from "better treatment."
What the Times did not disclose are Dr. Carlson's longtime financial ties to the manufacturers of psychotropic drugs:
Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D. Director, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
Consultant: Eli Lilly, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., Pfizer
Grants: Abbott Laboratories, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka
Speaker's Bureau: Abbott, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson
Advisory Board: Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), Eli Lilly, Otsuka, Shire.
Honorarium and Expenses: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Support: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Otsuka.
AHRP has the NYT piece, continue reading here
Thank You AHRP
Congressman Ron Paul has:
Last week on Christmas Eve, after many back room deals were made, the Senate passed the healthcare reform bill with a strictly partisan vote. I was pleased that my colleagues in the GOP are on the right side of this bill. Although this vote was a major step in healthcare reform becoming reality, they still have to reconcile the Senate bill with the House-passed version in conference committee. This could prove even more difficult and costly than the Senate vote.
There was a little bit of controversy surrounding one particular Senator who was initially against the bill, but then, coincidentally, a large amount of Medicare funding specifically for his state was tucked inside and he ended up voting for it. One wonders how much more of that will have to go on to achieve final passage.
But this is how politicians in Washington deal with problems: they throw your money at them. Healthcare reform is no different. The Senate version of the bill, at last count, will cost $871 billion. The House version tops $1 trillion. But they tell us this is for the health of Americans, and how dare we count the cost?
Such is the arrogance of politicians. There seems to be no end to the problems they feel capable and duty-bound to solve through legislative proclamation and plenty of your money. To hear them talk, one might think that a few words spoken on Capitol Hill would make problems just disappear. All it takes it good intentions.
But no good can come from 2400 pages of Washington’s good intentions.
I have observed quite the opposite throughout my political career in the House of Representatives, and fear that with this immense legislation, our healthcare problems are only just beginning. Over the last few decades, I have seen healthcare subjected to more and more creeping red tape that only creates bottlenecks and increases costs as new bureaucratic hurdles are put in place.
Politicians cannot solve the problems created by ever-increasing intervention by exponentially increasing their intervention. Similarly, they cannot improve the quality of healthcare and expand access to it for all Americans simply by legislative decree. If only it were that simple! The reality is the free market, when allowed to function, naturally increases access and drives prices down through competition. The free market keeps service providers accountable by allowing people to take their business elsewhere.
This government intervention will eventually create a near monopoly of providers in health insurance as smaller companies are squeezed out and innovation comes to a grinding halt due to formidable barriers to entry. The government will determine prices and levels of service that will apply to everyone, regardless of want or individual circumstances. The true insurance model of healthcare cost management, meaning major medical coverage only, will basically become illegal. Opting out of the system will incur heavy tax penalties.
Expanding government reach so deeply into this very sensitive area of our personal lives and such a major part of our economy means more opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse of the system. One need only remember the recent bailouts for an example of how government handles systemic waste, fraud and abuse.
So while the Senate patted itself on the back last week for delivering a Christmas gift to Americans, time will prove it was instead a great big lump of coal.
Thank You, Congressman Paul
Professor Walter Williams offers the analogy of a man scooping water out of the deep end of a swimming pool, to pour it back into the shallow end in the hope of making the pools depth uniform.
Govt, cannot Provide/Give/Grant you Anything, much less a Commodity as expensive as Healthcare: ..... which wouldn't Be as expensive as it is, if Govt hadn't already spent Decades, redistributing all the water in the pool.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Doctor Writes 97,000 Prescriptions In 18 Months
The article quotes Sen Grassley as saying:
"It's hard to believe this dramatic level of activity could go unnoticed."
And our Federal Government commandeering another Sixth of our economy is going to improve this situation How?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
UNITED STATES SENATE
ANTICOMPETITIVE PATENT SETTLEMENTS
IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY:
THE BENEFITS OF A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION
January 17, 2007
True, free markets, are the only solution to Healthcare Costs.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Note from the American People: at least those who've paid ANY attention to the complete Lack of ANY lawful authority, for You or Anyone to "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger," your National Socialist Hellcare, down America's Throat.
The Federal Hellcare Bill is over 2000 Pages long. Reading it aloud would take 34 hours.
"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what is will be tomorrow."
-- James Madison, Federalist no. 62, February 27, 1788
Monday, November 2, 2009
Mental Health is not Health care. It's Social Engineering through chemical & electrical brain/CNS damage.
Read the SFDPH Community Behavioral Health Services Directors (pg 2) report beneath Ms Iserbyt's piece.
Why an Un, convention?
THE DEVIL'S SEVEN-PRONG FORK
By Charlotte Iserbyt
January 13, 2007
This article explains why our formerly free country is in the 21st Century flying with only one wing.
The most devastating aspect of The Fork’s use is that we victims hadn’t the foggiest idea we were being victimized, but thought, to the contrary, that the government had our best interests at heart. The government, in partnership with the “usual suspects:” the elitist, internationalist corporate sector, the tax-exempt foundations, the Federal Reserve Bank, the educational system, the controlled media, and some important religious denominations, has year after year, consistently, worked to create an environment which keeps its citizens ignorant regarding what is really going on, thereby creating the necessary citizen apathy which allows “the usual suspects” to accomplish the dismantlement of the greatest, freest, most successful nation in the history of the world. If Americans do not understand how they have been victimized by “The Seven Prong Fork,” if they do not start asking questions, and demanding answers; if they do not take action to reverse our nation’s slide into world government, they will experience, in the very near future, what George Orwell described so well in his novel 1984:
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face—forever…and remember, that is forever.”
For the history of regional governance and subversion in the United States and abroad the reader can go to americandeception.com, a FREE website, which provides scanned primary research, and click on researcher/writer D. Niwa’s “hot-off-the-press” The Emerging North American Union (NAU), which includes a most useful Timeline (1921-2006); Maureen Heaton’s The Impossible Dream; and The Don Bell Reports. This website also makes available to the public, for the first time, the 4000-page transcript of the 1953 Reece and Cox Congressional Committee hearings related to the investigation of the subversive activities of the tax-exempt foundations, for which Norman Dodd served as Research Director. During a meeting in New York City in 1953 Dodd was told by Rowan Gaither, the President of the Ford Foundation, that the White House instructed the foundations “to use their grant-making power to so alter life in the United States that we can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.” The foundations, especially Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford, concerned that the American people, to whom they owed their tax exemption, would have access to the record of these hearings, scooped up all available copies immediately after the hearings were abruptly terminated in 1954. President Eisenhower, carrying out the above treasonous directive to the foundations, signed the first agreements with the Soviet Union in 1958 at the peak of the Cold War. (Had those hearings NOT been terminated, it is unlikely Americans would be looking at the demise of their nation under the NAU, or that the virtual merger of Russia’s and the United States’ basic political, economic, cultural, educational, and law enforcement systems would have taken place over the past 48 years.)
THE DEVIL’S SEVEN PRONG FORK consists of:
Prong One: Semantic Deception, covered by George Orwell in 1984, calls for lying through the deceitful use of words. Few Americans question the innocent-sounding words/phrases such as “regionalism,” “consolidation,” “democracy” “free trade,” “public/private partnerships,” “school choice,” “base closures” “faith-based,” “freedom,” “patriot,” “security,” “prosperity,” “peace” et al. Why has no one told the American people that regionalism, be it local, county, state, national or international, is COMMUNISM? The regionalization (consolidation) of the world is quite similar to the three-stage plan outlined by Stalin at the 1936 Communist International. At that meeting, the official program proclaimed: "Dictatorship can be established only by a victory of socialism in different countries or groups of countries, after which there would be federal unions of the various groupings of these socialist countries, and the third stage would be an amalgamation of these regional federal unions into a world union of socialist nations.” What Stalin called for is taking place in front of our very eyes, with the NAU and other emerging global regional groupings, following the model of the European Union. Regionalism erases constitutional, geographical borders and in so doing does away with locally-elected officials, creating larger and larger municipal units managed by faceless, highly-trained, socialist change agent bureaucrats. A communist writer, Morris Zeitlin, admits that regionalism is communism in an article entitled “Planning is Socialism’s Trademark” published in the Communist Party’s Daily World 11/8/75. Go to deliberatedumbingdown.com where the deliberate dumbing down of America…A Chronological Paper Trail can be downloaded FREE. Zeitlin’s article is found on Page 134.
More recently, former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev confirmed Zeitlin’s comments when he, during a visit to London on March 23, 2000, referred to the emerging European (regional) Union (EU) as “the new European Soviet.” Does this not make the NAU the New American Soviet?
Regionalism has been fostered not only by the left, as would be expected, but by mainstream conservative leadership as well. I recall, at a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the mid-seventies an exchange of views between the former editor of National Review, William Rusher, and myself. I asked “Why doesn’t the conservative media (Human Events, National Review, etc.) ever discuss regionalism? His response was: “I guess they just don’t think it’s very important.”
On December 28, 2006 Michael Medved, neoconservative writer and radio talk show host, wrote “Shame on Demagogues Exploiting ‘North American Union’”, an article which confirms what Rusher said but goes even further by actively supporting the NAU (regionalism). Medved’s article Townhall.com is a vitriolic diatribe in which he attacks concerned, well-informed and highly-respected Americans, including journalists, due to their opposition to the NAU and the highway through Texas and the Great Plains connecting the USA, Mexico, and Canada. He calls them “paranoid, lunatics, losers, crooks, cranks, demagogues and opportunists.” His hysterical ranting indicates that CNN’s Lou Dobbs and Jerome Corsi, amongst other writers, are succeeding in waking up Americans to the fact that their nation is on its way out as a Constitutional Republic unless they act quickly. Dobbs described the merger controversy this way in a recent CNN broadcast:
“For any American to think that it is acceptable for the president of the United States and…our government, to proceed without the approval of Congress or a dialogue and a debate and a public voice from the people of this country is absolutely unconscionable…What they’re doing is creating a brave new world, an Orwellian world, in which the will of the people is absolutely irrelevant.”
EARTH times.org reported 1/7/07 “’A U.S.-European economic partnership like NAFTA is critical to both regions’ economies’, new European Union President Angela Merkel of Germany says.” The late Andrew Carnegie, who, in 1886, called for “creating two nations out of one people” (return the United States to the ‘mother’ country—England) must be smiling from his grave!
Other examples (IN SOLID CAPS) of the use of deceptive words follow:
President Bush’s PATRIOT Act is probably the most unpatriotic, treasonous Act ever passed by the Congress.
President Bush’s FREEDOM (Mental Health) Initiative will eventually, if fully implemented, mandate mental health screening and services lifelong for all Americans. Anyone familiar with the history of the Soviet Union will immediately recognize this initiative’s resemblance to the Soviet Union’s use of the mental health system to incarcerate political dissidents. In 1948 Alger Hiss, Soviet agent, redefined “health” as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The international elite view those opposed to world government as “mentally sick.”
The President’s innocent-sounding FAITH-BASED Initiative is referred to in an article in The Washington Post as “communitarian.” Most dictionaries define communitarianism as a form of communism.
And one certainly could ask how the SECURITY and PROSPERITY Partnership (Canada, Mexico, and USA) is going to make us more secure or more prosperous, considering the freedom and security-destroying effects of the Real ID Act, NAFTA, CAFTA, the Office of Homeland Security and the prosperity and job-destroying (redistribution of wealth) effects of NAFTA and CAFTA.
Prong Two is the constant use of German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Hegel’s (1770-1831) Dialectic in moving persons toward predetermined goals and objectives. About thirty years ago, before I had the foggiest idea of education change agent manipulation of the community, including teachers, to get destructive immoral and non-academic programs initiated without too much flack, I unknowingly played out the dialectic method but this time in regard to doing laundry. I put my red woolen sweater in the laundry (hot water) with my husband’s white cotton shirts. The result: pink cotton shirts for my him and a red sweater the size of a wash cloth for me. The important result, as it relates to how the dialectic plays out, is that I never had to do laundry again, not for my husband, not for either of my two sons. The mandate was “Don’t give Mom your laundry!” Now, had I never wanted to do laundry again and had I understood how the use of the dialectic inevitably gets what one wants, I would have done exactly what I unknowingly did with such success.
Prong Three is the use of Gradualism (put the frog in cold water and gradually turn up the heat until the frog is dead, without having the faintest idea what happened to him.) For over 150 years we have had gradualism used on us. Richard Gardner, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to Italy, said in a 1968 speech “The Hard Road to World Order:” “In short, we are likely to do better by building our ‘house of world order’ from the bottom up rather than the top down. It will look like a great, ‘booming, buzzing confusion,’ to use William James’s famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, is likely to get us to world order faster than the old-fashioned frontal attack.”
Prong Four is Control of the Media. David Rockefeller, in Baden-Baden, Germany, 1991, thanked the major media for keeping secret the elitists’ plan for the world. He said:“… it would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government.”
Prong Five/Endless Money Supply depends on the unconstitutional, private Federal Reserve Bank’s ability to create hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, when necessary. The education “industry,” for example, has been a recipient of whatever it wanted to “deliberately dumb down” and “condition” future Americans so they don’t know what is happening to them or their country. If you haven’t been taught what economic/political system you have, why would you be upset if, as is the case today, the public/private partnerships implement the corporate fascist/socialist planned economy? Your neighbor’s glazed expression when asked if he approves of the NAU or, at the local level, the consolidation of all the cities in his county (regionalism) is a good example of the damage inflicted on their brains (cognitive dissonance) by the public education system.
Prong Six relates to control of agenda of Republican and Democrat Parties, allowing only those individuals with an international socialist philosophy to be nominated and, once elected, ensuring they vote the One Party (internationalist) Line.
Prong Seven is UN control of education lifelong under the umbrella of the school district (community re-education). The late Professor Benjamin Bloom, an internationalist closely associated with UNESCO, and the father of The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, in which all teachers have been trained, said in his book All Our Children Learning: “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.” The UN and the tax-exempt foundations have created a socialist America through Skinnerian/Pavlovian behavior modification programs (animal training which bypasses the brain) and the radical change from academics to the communist/fascist polytechnical (lifelong school- to- work job quota system) being implemented today under the controversial No Child Left Behind/ No American Left Alone Act.
This writer hopes the reader will copy The Devil’s Seven Prong Fork and get it into as many of his acquaintances’ hands as possible. Our elected officials might read it and develop a new perspective on why they are voting as they are voting. Understanding the use of The Devil’s Seven-Prong Fork is the major key to victory over those who are surreptitiously robbing our children and grandchildren of their God-given freedoms, freedoms guaranteed under the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Let us all work to restore freedom to our great nation; let us work to enable the United States of America to fly again with both wings, as does the Bald Eagle, our nation’s majestic symbol of freedom.
© 2007 Charlotte T. Iserbyt - All Rights Reserved
Charlotte Iserbyt is the consummate whistleblower! Iserbyt served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration, where she first blew the whistle on a major technology initiative which would control curriculum in America's classrooms. Iserbyt is a former school board director in Camden, Maine and was co-founder and research analyst of Guardians of Education for Maine (GEM) from 1978 to 2000. She has also served in the American Red Cross on Guam and Japan during the Korean War, and in the United States Foreign Service in Belgium and in the Republic of South Africa.
Iserbyt is a speaker and writer, best known for her 1985 booklet Back to Basics Reform or OBE: Skinnerian International Curriculum and her 1989 pamphlet Soviets in the Classroom: America's Latest Education Fad which covered the details of the U.S.-Soviet and Carnegie-Soviet Education Agreements which remain in effect to this day. She is a freelance writer and has had articles published in Human Events, The Washington Times, The Bangor Daily News, and included in the record of Congressional hearings.
Again, Why an "Un" convention?
Friday, October 30, 2009
Americans Hostage to Profit-Driven Healthcare System
America's profit-driven medical paradigm overdiagnoses illness and garners profits from unnecessary treatment.
Recent independent reports analyzing various barometers measuring the effect of American medical practice guidelines and consequent treatment outcomes confirm an inconvenient, but undeniable truth: America's for-profit model in healthcare has resulted in a highly profitable business for providers--but for consumers, it is a prescription for disaster.
The dirty secret that holds Americans hostage to a failed profit-focused healthcare system which leaves 50 million without insurance is the naive belief that healthcare providers are working to find and deliver medical cures. To do so, would simply present a conflict of interest.
The healthcare industry profits from overdiagnosing and selling treatments for illness and perceived illnesses--not from providing cures.
But, as Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention, National Institute of Health, acknowledges: "Overdiagnosis is pure, unadulterated harm."
Three recent articles encapsulate various aspects demonstrating what's wrong with America's market-based medicine:
1. Front page article, "Cancer Group Has Concerns On Screenings," by Gina Kolata, The New York Times (below) reports about an epidemiological analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association that should give pause to both the American public and public healthcare policy officials, about the cost and dubious value of medical screening guidelines.
The JAMA article focuses on breast cancer and prostate cancer screening results:
Since screening for breast cancer was introduced, "The researchers report a 40% increase in breast cancer diagnoses and a near doubling of early stage cancers, but just a 10% decline in cancers that have spread beyond the breast to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body."
The increase in diagnoses does not translate into fewer deaths. Instead, the researchers found, that innocuous cancers are being detected and aggressively treated without justification--as they pose no life-threatening risk.
Screening for prostate cancer and breast cancer have hugely increased the diagnosis of cancer but has done little to help those whose cancer is truly in need of treatment. "Both have a problem that runs counter to everything people have been told about cancer: They are finding cancers that do not need to be found because they would never spread and kill or even be noticed if left alone....At the same time, both screening tests are not making much of a dent in the number of cancers that are deadly."
"The very idea that some cancers are not dangerous and some might actually go away on their own can be hard to swallow, researchers say.
“It is so counterintuitive that it raises debate every time it comes up and every time it has been observed,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health.
Another reason the idea that a disease "might actually go away on their own can be hard to swallow" is that it collides with the profit-driven medical paradigm that holds Americans hostage.
2. "A Lifesaver Out of Reach, For Want Of a Profit," appeared in the Metropolitan section of Sunday's New York Times:
The reporter, Jim Dwyer, makes a most important observation about America's healthcare debacle that neither Republican or Democrat Administrations have dared to confront: "There is no easy way to make money from the cures of [ ] illnesses."
The Times article focuses on the failure to utilize therapeutic value of blood from the umbilical cord of some, four million new born babies: umbilical chord blood is acknowledged to be an effective a treatment for lymphoma (a cancer of the blood-- that affects, perhaps 40,000 people a year ).
But for lack of profit--"It's not a business"-- these therapeutically valuable, ethically uncontestable umbilical chords from newborn babies are discarded. Instead, bone marrow is sought from healthy donors who are asked to put themselves at risk...It makes absolutely no sense.
"The reason for this squander is simple. No one has figured out a way to make money by salvaging the blood and making it available for therapeutic use....For these life- saving therapies there is no business model."
3. A report by the Institute of Safe Medication Practices, QuarterWatch (October 8, 2009) found a 25% Increase in Serious Adverse Drug Event Reports to the FDA during the fourth Quarter of 2008. [Executive Summary below]
The key findings:
1. The largest ever increase in reported deaths and serious injuries (25% in a three month period).
2. The biggest single factor contributing to these deaths and injuries was defective generic drugs which were ultimately recalled AFTER they killed.
3. Increased reporting of injuries by consumers.
4. Two drugs, Pfizer's anti-smoking drug, Chantix, and Merck's antihistamine, Singulair, pose serious psychiatric risks--including violence, aggression, hallucinations, and suicide. The Department of Defense has banned Chantix from use by aircraft and missile crews. However, the authors of QuarterWatch call for a ban on Chantix to all active duty military personnel as well as police and emergency personnel. The FDA, by contrast has approved a Pfizer's defective MedGuide that underplays the risks posed by Chantix.
Whatever the risks posed by smoking, they do not include the risk of assaultive behavior toward others. That a drug such as Chantix is permitted to be marketed despite the danger it poses, is an illustration of business considerations trumping safety.
The fact is that no administration--Democrat or Republican-- has been willing to challenge the false premise that for-profit businesses were working to find and deliver medical cures.
As a former Pharma marketing executive observed: "Do you really believe that a drug manufacturer would bring to market a cure for cancer...or AIDS...or diabetes?”
To do so, would be contrary to their financial interest!
Indeed, one must confront the fact that there is NO INCENTIVE for those who make up the American healthcare academic-industrial consortium to find and sell a cure for disabling chronic diseases. Indeed, diagnosing and treating chronic illness is their source of greatest profit!
Healthcare reform requires a radical change or it will merely increase profits for the stakeholders.
By Vera Sharav
THE NEW YORK TIMES
October 21, 2009
In Shift, Cancer Society Has Concerns on Screenings
By GINA KOLATA
The American Cancer Society, which has long been a staunch defender of most cancer screening, is now saying that the benefits of detecting many cancers, especially breast and prostate, have been overstated.
It is quietly working on a message, to put on its Web site early next year, to emphasize that screening for breast and prostate cancer and certain other cancers can come with a real risk of overtreating many small cancers while missing cancers that are deadly.
“We don’t want people to panic,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the cancer society. “But I’m admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been exaggerated.”
Prostate cancer screening has long been problematic. The cancer society, which with more than two million volunteers is one of the nation’s largest voluntary health agencies, does not advocate testing for all men. And many researchers point out that the PSA prostate cancer screening test has not been shown to prevent prostate cancer deaths.
There has been much less public debate about mammograms. Studies from the 1960s to the 1980s found that they reduced the death rate from breast cancer by up to 20 percent.
The cancer society’s decision to reconsider its message about the risks as well as potential benefits of screening was spurred in part by an analysis published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Brawley said.
In it, researchers report a 40 percent increase in breast cancer diagnoses and a near doubling of early stage cancers, but just a 10 percent decline in cancers that have spread beyond the breast to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. With prostate cancer, the situation is similar, the researchers report.
If breast and prostate cancer screening really fulfilled their promise, the researchers note, cancers that once were found late, when they were often incurable, would now be found early, when they could be cured. A large increase in early cancers would be balanced by a commensurate decline in late-stage cancers. That is what happened with screening for colon and cervical cancers. But not with breast and prostate cancer.
Still, the researchers and others say, they do not think all screening will — or should — go away. Instead, they say that when people make a decision about being screened, they should understand what is known about the risks and benefits.
For now, those risks are not emphasized in the cancer society’s mammogram message which states that a mammogram is “one of the best things a woman can do to protect her health.”
Dr. Brawley says mammograms can prevent some cancer deaths. However, he says, “If a woman says, ‘I don’t want it,’ I would not think badly of her but I would like her to get it.”
But some, like Colin Begg, a biostatistician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, worry that the increased discussion of screening’s risks is going to confuse the public and make people turn away from screening, mammography in particular.
“I am concerned that the complex view of a changing landscape will be distilled by the public into yet another ‘screening does not work’ headline,” Dr. Begg said. “The fact that population screening is no panacea does not mean that it is useless,” he added.
The new analysis — by Dr. Laura Esserman, a professor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the Carol Frank Buck Breast Care Center there, and Dr. Ian Thompson, professor and chairman of the department of urology at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio — finds that prostate cancer screening and breast cancer screening are not so different.
Both have a problem that runs counter to everything people have been told about cancer: They are finding cancers that do not need to be found because they would never spread and kill or even be noticed if left alone. That has led to a huge increase in cancer diagnoses because, without screening, those innocuous cancers would go undetected.
At the same time, both screening tests are not making much of a dent in the number of cancers that are deadly. That may be because many lethal breast cancers grow so fast they spring up between mammograms. And the deadly prostate ones have already spread at the time of cancer screening. The dilemma for breast and prostate screening is that it is not usually clear which tumors need aggressive treatment and which can be left alone. And one reason that is not clear, some say, is that studying it has not been much of a priority.
“The issue here is, as we look at cancer medicine over the last 35 or 40 years, we have always worked to treat cancer or to find cancer early,” Dr. Brawley said. “And we never sat back and actually thought, ‘Are we treating the cancers that need to be treated?’
The very idea that some cancers are not dangerous and some might actually go away on their own can be hard to swallow, researchers say.
“It is so counterintuitive that it raises debate every time it comes up and every time it has been observed,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health.
It was first raised as a theoretical possibility in the 1970s, Dr. Kramer said. Then it was documented in a rare pediatric cancer, but was dismissed as something peculiar to that cancer. Then it was discovered in common cancers as well, but it is still not always accepted or appreciated, he said.
But finding those insignificant cancers is the reason the breast and prostate cancer rates soared when screening was introduced, Dr. Kramer said. And those cancers, he said, are the reason screening has the problem called overdiagnosis — labeling innocuous tumors cancer and treating them as though they could be lethal when in fact they are not dangerous.
“Overdiagnosis is pure, unadulterated harm,” he said.
Dr. Peter Albertsen, chief and program director of the urology division at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said that had not been an easy message to get across.
“Politically, it’s almost unacceptable,” Dr. Albertsen said. “If you question overdiagnosis in breast cancer, you are against women. If you question overdiagnosis in prostate cancer, you are against men.”
Dr. Esserman hopes that as research continues on how to advance beyond screening, distinguishing innocuous tumors from dangerous ones, people will be more realistic about what screening can do.
“Someone may say, ‘I don’t want to be screened’ ” she said. “Another person may say, ‘Of course I want to be screened.’ Just like everything in medicine, there is no free lunch. For every intervention, there are complications and problems.”
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
THE NEW YORK TIMES
October 18, 2009
About New York
A Lifesaver Out of Reach, for Want of a Profit
By JIM DWYER
Scrambling to get 60 seconds out of every minute, Katie Meacham finally got the boyfriend to take her for a carriage ride in Central Park. He hated it, she reports. “He said, ‘You know this is a pity ride, don’t you?’ ” she said, laughing.
Even though she is just 26, her days and time are at a premium. Ms. Meacham lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but she is also a citizen of another country: cancer land. She has a kind of aggressive lymphoma, a disease that ruins the blood.
Her journey is worth a moment or two of reflection. For Ms. Meacham and thousands of others with similar illnesses, the best chance for a cure would be a transplant of cells from the bone marrow of a living person, or from the umbilical cord blood of a newborn. One way to sign up as a possible donor for Ms. Meacham or others is through the Web site of the National Marrow Donor Program, at join.marrow.org/4katie.
Every few months, stories like Ms. Meacham’s are broadcast on television and radio, or appear in newspapers. This year, a drive was held to recruit potential donors for Jasmina Anema, a 6-year-old girl in Greenwich Village who has leukemia. Perhaps 40,000 people a year come down with blood cancers.
As much as their personal struggles engage us, they also tell us about the hard limits of market-based medicine.
There is no easy way to make money from the cures to these diseases. Millions of people are willing to donate cells from their bone marrow, but commercial blood banks are not interested in bearing the cost of figuring out who wants to do it or in tracking them down when they are needed.
“It’s not a business,” said Robert Baitty, the director of the blood stem cell transplantation program at the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Similarly, more than four million babies are born every year in the United States, each one with an umbilical cord containing blood that is highly prized because it is less likely to be rejected when cells are transplanted.
“Most of the cord blood is just thrown in the garbage,” Ms. Meacham said.
The reason for this squander is simple. No one has figured out a way to make money by salvaging the blood and making it available for therapeutic use. It is expensive to collect the names and tissue types of millions of people, or tens of thousands of units of umbilical cord blood. For these lifesaving therapies, there is no business model.
Over the last four years, the federal government has stepped into the vacuum and taken on greater responsibility for the blood transplant programs. It financed an expansion of the National Marrow Donor Program, which has a registry called Be the Match.
And for the first time, a coordinated program was started to collect cord blood. In the four years since it began, the federal program has collected a little more than 40,000 units of cord blood, at a time when 16 million babies were born.
The main obstacle, Mr. Baitty said, is cost. The collection and storage of each unit of cord blood costs $1,500 to $2,500.
None of that money can be recouped until the cells are provided to a patient for transplant. “You incur all the cost of recruiting donors, shipping it to the bank, putting it in the freezer,” Mr. Baitty said. “Then you wait for someone to need it. It’s not attractive to private companies.”
The federal appropriation for collecting cord blood is about $12 million annually, which covers the cost of about 10,000 new units. If the national banks had 400,000 units of cord blood, that inventory could provide matches for 90 percent of the people with dozens of serious blood diseases, Mr. Baitty said. It would be ideal. It would also cost 40 times as much as is now being spent.
In New York City, mothers can donate their newborn’s cord blood at many hospitals, although they are urged to make their wishes known by the eighth month of pregnancy.
And then there are the drives inspired by individuals like Ms. Meacham, who, besides taking a horse carriage ride through Central Park, ran five miles a few weeks ago and is known as a person of great verve. She works in public relations.
The bone marrow registry programs typically ask for contributions of $50 to $100 to cover the costs of listing a person as a possible donor.
But Ms. Meacham’s friends and relatives have raised money so that anyone who goes to the National Marrow Donor Program site will be able to sign up without paying. And the information about their cells will be available not only to Ms. Meacham but to anyone else who might be able to use it for a transplant.
“We don’t want any obstacles,” she said. “For me or anyone else.”
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
QuarterWatch: 2008 Quarter 4
October 8, 2009
Serious Adverse Drug Event Reports Increase 25% in 2008
Fatal, disabling and serious adverse drug events reported to the Food and Drug Administration increased by 25% for the full year of 2008, compared to the previous year.
The FDA received domestic reports of 100,789 cases of severe injury in 2008, compared to 80,598 reports in 2007. This was the largest one-year increase since the beginning of our historical data in 1998, although large increases were also reported in 200 and 2003.
The biggest identifiable safety factor behind the 2008 increase was reports associated with massive generic drug recalls in 2008 because of product quality assurance problems that according the FDA posed a “reasonable probability” of serious injury or death.
1 The consumer-level recalls included more than half of the nation’s supply of heparin in vial form, about 50% of the nation’s supply of the heart drug digoxin, and still undetermined quantities of morphine, isosorbide and propafenone.
A second major factor explaining the increase was more voluntary reporting both directly to the FDA for numerous drugs and, in specific cases by manufacturers who learned of more events through increased contact with patients. We estimate that approximately one-half of the 25% increase in 2008 was explained by more voluntary reporting.
In the 4th quarter of 2008 alone, we identified 24,609 reported cases of death, disability and other serious adverse drug events, a total of 18.6% higher than the same quarter one year earlier, and slightly less than the previous calendar quarter. In the quarter we saw warning flags about two drug safety problems.
Fentanyl, a narcotic 100 times more potent than morphine, was the suspect drug in more cases of preventable medication error than any other drug. Product recalls from KV Pharmaceutical of St. Louis for possibly over strength tablets of seven different generic drugs were associated with reports of death or serious injury in 458 cases in the 3rd and 4th quarters. We discuss these signals in the full report.
The ISMP QuarterWatch pilot monitoring program evaluates computer excerpts of all serious, disabling and fatal adverse drug events reported to the FDA for patients in the United States. The US system for postmarket safety surveillance relies on voluntary reports submitted by consumers, doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals. The submission of a report does not in itself prove that the suspect drug caused the event described. There are no reliable estimates of what fraction of serious adverse drug events are ever reported, and small studies and our own investigations show wide variation between drugs and among different types of adverse reactions. Although we have occasionally documented instances where injuries for a drug may be over reported, the events reported to the FDA are believed to be a relatively small fraction of the drug-related injuries actually occurring.
Varenicline (CHANTIX). In July 2009 the FDA and Pfizer greatly strengthened the warnings regarding the risks of violence to self and others associated with this aid to stopping smoking. But in a step backward, weak and potentially misleading language about the risk of accidents was added to the patient Medication Guide. Given the accumulating evidence that varenicline causes violent and aggressive behavior, its use should be further restricted in the military, as well as for police and other emergency workers.
Montelukast (SINGULAIR). We previously reported a large surge in adverse event reports of psychiatric side effects, apparently in response to an FDA advisory notice posted after Merck reported a small number of cases of suicidal behavior. In August 2009 the FDA and Merck added precautionary language to the prescribing information for doctors. Merck also provided a clear alert for patients on its SINGULAIR web site.
The alert was also expanded to include additional psychiatric side effects including aggression, abnormal dreams and hallucinations.
Adverse Event Reporting System
We observed substantial increases in the 4th quarter for two Biogen Idec products, interferon beta (AVONEX brand) and natalizumab (TYSABRI). The company said one factor in the increase was that it had begun submitting its reports electronically in the 4th quarter and because of software compatibility problems with the FDA, duplicate reports were being generated.
Although the dangers of fentanyl transdermal systems have been documented in numerous reports and subject to previous FDA regulatory action, the new data show that the risks of this high alert drug are not under adequate control. We believe measures are needed to insure that every patient receives education on the risks and safe use of this medication.
The FDA and Pfizer need to strengthen and clarify the accident warning for varenicline to make clear to all patients that severe adverse effects may occur when the drug is started, after a few weeks, or even on discontinuation. In addition, because the drug can cause violent behavior, interrupt muscle control and cause blackouts, we believe the Department of Defense should extend its ban from aircraft and missile crews to all active duty military personnel. Its use should also be limited in police and emergency personnel.
We continue to have concern about the massive recalls of generic drugs, mainly because defective quality assurance resulted in companies distributing potentially over strength tablets for drugs in which a small overdose can be life-threatening. We have also noted that neither the FDA nor the manufacturer will reveal the size of some large recalls, and that manufacturers are often left to handle any public announcement.
Thank you AHRP
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
"There were no outstanding issues, and no Plans of Correction. He actually clarified some of the past zealousness which we have been accustomed to from that office! He was actually apologetic when he heard of some of the excessive requirements which were enforced in previous visits."
"Mr. Griffith was very substantive and inquisitive during his reviews, but summarized his visit by saying these are the BEST county-run programs he has ever reviewed"
Considering the Independent Auditor's Report we had in our last post, on RAMS, if these facilities are the BEST Mr Griffith has reviewed, What the Hell does that say about the Other programs Mr Griffith has reviewed?
", ..... and all of the beleaguered Program Managers who directed and hand-held the program staff, especially those double-dutied as program directors."
Such a dramatic, City Wide Improvement in Re-Certifying for Medi-Cal reimbursement – in light of the Independent Auditors review of Richmond Area Multi Services Utter Inability to Diagnose Itself in a well lit room – invokes a credibility commensurate with the Virgin Mary intentionally revealing her image in a Chicken McNugget.
“managing an angry client while demonstrating the security of medical records”
Were those Medical Records needing security the records of that Angry Client?
What might have angered that Client involving the Security of those Medical Records?
If, the Program Staff were competent, Paid Adults engaged in the LAWFUL execution of their assigned functions, Why, did Staff need Hand Holding, when Medi-Cal reimbursement recertification had their work under inspection? Or was it just that Paid, Program Staff need Hand Holding all the time?
We gotta wonder what else those Program Staff might need to have held by their Program Managers and Directors if the next Medi-Cal Recertification inspection they receive is from the Office of the California State Attorney General?
Now we’re not implying that anybody DROVE OFF WITH A FREE TRUNKLOAD OF SINGLE MALT SCOTCH, here, but, it’s not as though, ahhem, ..... gratuities, are unheard of: by Greg Abbott, the State Attorney General of the State, excuse us, Republic, of Texas where the hustle known as TMAP took root.
Risperdal, The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.
California, like Michigan, adopted TMAP and craftily improved upon the original by replacing the letter T, with the letters Cal, for its own pointy headed little pharmaceutical profit packer called CalMAP.
What a shame it would be if California had to declare Bankruptcy, just because the stones in Medi-Cal philodendron pots were left unturned, as tens of thousands of California’s children continue to be crippled and turned into burnt out speed freaks by State licensed, drug pushing billing clerks playing at being Doctors.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Here are some numbers: from an Independent Auditors Report.
This San Francisco community mental health center wasted almost $9 Million Dollars in 2006.
It's on pages 4, 5, 9, & 10: especially the last paragraph on page 5.
This outfit (RAMS) passed 1, out of its 92 stated Performance Objectives.
Do you remember the 1st Aliens movie, with Sigourney Weaver: the scene where the Alien popped out of that guy’s chest at dinner? Well, hang on to your lunch. Here it comes again.
RAMS then met with Ca. State Officials, and Together, they LOWERED the standards even further.
If Ca. at the STATE Govt. level Lowered the numbers beneath 50% in San Francisco, are those STATE Govt. Officials Also Lowering the numbers for All of California’s Community, come on in and buy a Disability and Drug Addiction, Community Bio-$cience Shacks?
MORE of these REPORTS are lurking in City & County Govt. computers all across America. Find them, and send us those reports and their URL: anonymously if you wish, at:
People are being crippled and killed all across America by ‘Mental Health’ drugs, electrical transformers, and lock down snake pits calling themselves Health Care facilities.
Psych education has 1 in every 5 Americans targeted for Disability, Drug Addiction, Real Diseases, and Death, without ever producing a single cure for any of its 374 different DSM-IV-TR Insurance Carrier Billable, Non-Bio-Scientific, Gravy Train, Incurable, Opinions.
California used to be the world’s 7th largest economy, until decades of Vote Whores buying Trojan Horses herded the State itself, to the precipice of $69 Billion Dollars in Debt, bankruptcy.
1 out of 92?
Friday, October 2, 2009
The WSJ has:
New Side Gig For Pfizer CEO: Director Of The New York Fed
Psychiatry's Non Science can not survive without Govt funding. That Govt funding can not exist without the Federal Reserve printing junk IOUs wholesale which devalue every other dollar in circulation and savings.
And now this. Call your Senators and Congressmen. Demand the Fed be Audited and Ended.
Without the Fed, Psychiatry's 1 in 5 people need to be addicted to Pharma's drugs, will stave to death.
Cut off the funding, At The Source. Now. All of it.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Congressman Ron Paul has:
Last week I was very pleased that the Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR 1207. The bill has 295 cosponsors and there is also strong support for the companion bill in the Senate. This hearing was a major step forward in getting the bill passed.
I was pleased that the hearing was well-attended, especially considering that it was held on a Friday at nine o’clock in the morning! I have been talking about the immense, unchecked power of the Federal Reserve for many years, while the attention of Congress was always on other things. It was gratifying to see my colleagues asking probing questions and demonstrating genuine concern about this important issue as well.
The witness testifying in favor of HR 1207 made some very strong points, which was no surprise considering the bill is simply common sense. It was also no surprise that the witness testifying against the bill had no good arguments as to why a full audit should not be conducted promptly. He attempted to make the case that the fed is already sufficiently accountable to Congress and that the current auditing policy is adequate. The fact is that the Fed comes to Congress and talks about only what it wants to talk about, and the GAO audits only what the current laws allow to be audited. The really important things however, are off limits. There are no convincing arguments that it is in the best interests of the American people for anything the Fed does to be off limits.
It has been argued that full disclosure of details of funding facilities like TALF and PDCF that enabled massive bailouts of Wall Street would damage the financial position of those firms and destabilize the economy. In other words, if the American people knew how rotten the books were at those banks and how terribly they messed up, they would never willingly invest in them, and they would fail. Failure is not an option for friends of the Fed. Therefore, the funds must be stolen from the people in the dark of night. This is not how a free country works. This is not how free markets work. That is crony corporatism and instead of being a force for economic stabilization, it totally undermines it.
If the Fed gave its actual arguments against a full audit, they would not have mentioned anything about political independence or economic stability. Instead they would admit they don’t want to be audited because they enjoy their current situation too much. Under the guise of currency control, they are able to help out powerful allies on Wall Street, in exchange for lucrative jobs or who-knows-what favors later on. An audit would expose the Fed as a massive fraud perpetrated on this country, enriching a privileged few bankers at the top of our economic food chain, and leaving the rest of us with massively devalued dollars which we are forced to use by law. An audit would make people realize that, while Bernie Madoff defrauded a lot of investors for a lot of money, the Fed has defrauded every one of us by destroying the value of our money. An honest and full accounting of how the money system really works in this country would mean there is not much of a chance the American people would stand for it anymore.
Thank You Congressman/Dr. Paul
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Allen Jones Full Whistleblower Report is available free at the top of our sidebar.
Please take the time to read it if you haven't yet done so.
Psych Drugs are peddled under the Ruse of Suicide Prevention. In Investigative Reporter Ms. Evelyn Pringle's report, the actual numbers of Suicides tell us that those Drugs aren't getting the job done.
Suicide Prevention Drug Pushing Racket Part I
However, as we've previously noted, the Drugs Are getting a few Other jobs done.
Mental Health: Comes With FREE Suicide
And for even More of the wonders getting Drugged into Mental Health can bestow upon you:
Friday, September 25, 2009
Last Wednesday the nation was riveted to the President’s speech on healthcare reform before Congress. While the President’s concern for the uninsured is no doubt sincere, his plan amounts to a magnanimous gift to the health insurance industry, despite any implications to the contrary.
For decades the insurance industry has been lobbying for mandated coverage for everyone. Imagine if the cell phone industry or the cable TV industry received such a gift from government? If government were to fine individuals simply for not buying a corporation’s product, it would be an incredible and completely unfair boon to that industry, at the expense of freedom and the free market. Yet this is what the current healthcare reform plans intend to do for the very powerful health insurance industry.
The stipulation that pre-existing conditions would have to be covered seems a small price to pay for increasing their client pool to 100% of the American people. A big red flag, however, is that they would also have immunity from lawsuits, should they fail to actually cover what they are supposedly required to cover, so these requirements on them are probably meaningless. Mandates on all citizens to be customers of theirs, however, are enforceable with fines and taxes.
Insurance providers seem to have successfully equated health insurance with health care but this is a relatively new concept. There were doctors and medicine long before there was health insurance. Health insurance is not a bad thing, but it is not the only conceivable way to get health care. Instead, we seem to still rely on the creativity and competence of politicians to solve problems, which always somehow seem to be tied in with which lobby is the strongest in Washington.
It is sad to think of the many creative, free market solutions that government prohibits with all its interference. What if instead of joining a health insurance plan, you could buy a membership directly from a hospital or doctor? What if a doctor wanted to have a cash-only practice, or make house calls, or determine his or her own patient load, or otherwise practice medicine outside the constraints of the current bureaucratic system? Alternative healthcare delivery models will be at an even stronger competitive disadvantage if families are forced to buy into the insurance model. And yet, the reforms are sold to us as increasing competition.
What if just once Washington got out of the way and allowed the ingenuity of the American people to come up with a whole spectrum of alternatives to our broken system? Then the free market, not lobbyists and politicians, would decide which models work and which did not.
Unfortunately, the most broken aspect of our system is that Washington sees the need to act on every problem in society, rather than staying out of the way, or getting out of the way. The only tools the government has are force and favors. These are tools that many unscrupulous and lazy corporations would like to wield to their own advantage, rather than simply providing a better product that people will willingly buy. It seems the health insurance industry will get more of those advantages very soon.
Thank You Dr. Paul
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Medical Journal Editors To Crackdown On Ghostwriting_NYT
Monday, 21 September 2009
The New York Times reports (below) that:
This month PLoS editors called for a zero tolerance policy: calling upon journals to identify and retract ghostwritten articles and banish their authors from publishing in their journal. The New York Times reports (below) that:
"In medical journal circles, the exorcism of industry-financed editorial assistance even has its own name: ghostbusting."
Medical journal editors are FINALLY determined to do something meaningful to prevent company-crafted, ghostwritten articles from infiltrating their journals under the "authorship" of prominent academics who are engaging in research misconduct for cash. Those ghosted articles have corrupted the practice of medicine, leading to the use of ineffective, harmful therapies, and have largely undermined the integrity of the scientific literature.
Despite a continuing stream of revelations in U.S. courtrooms where company documents confirm the planting of promotional articles that masquerade as science, "leading medical journals have continued to rely largely on an honor system of disclosure to detect such potential bias, asking authors to voluntarily report any industry ties or contributors to their manuscripts." Journal editors, afraid of losing corporate ads and reprint income, have been duplicitous in turning a blind eye to the corruption.
The editors of PLoS Medicine--Virginia Barbour, Jocalyn Clark, Susan Jones, Larry Peiperl, Emma Veitch, and Gavin Yamey--have taken up the clarion call that Dr. Richard Smith, longtime editor of the British Medical Journal, had been championing without success. This month PLoS editors called for a zero tolerance policy : calling upon journals to identify and retract ghostwritten articles and banish their authors from publishing in their journal.
“Any papers where this breach is substantiated should be immediately retracted,” the editors wrote. “Authors found to have not declared such interest should be banned from any subsequent publication in the journal and their misconduct reported to their institutions.”
The power of persuasion, however, does not lie with the editors of PLoS--it lies with Congress.
The Times reports, "As Washington tries to revamp the health care system, concerns about ghostwriting are taking on new urgency. One of the underlying assumptions of the health care overhaul effort is that money can be saved and medical care improved by relying more heavily on research showing which drugs and procedures are the most effective. But experts fear that the process could be corrupted if research articles are skewed by the hidden influence of drug or medical device makers."
Senator Charles E. Grassley, the former chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which has taken a leading role in the health overhaul effort, is hot on the trail of ghostwriting. In July, Mr. Grassley sent letters to eight leading medical journals asking about their ghostwriting policies. He also asked whether in the last five years, the journals had taken action against any author who had failed to report the involvement of a third party in the development of a manuscript.
None of the editors reported taking action against an author for ghostwriting. Their replies to the senator, obtained by The New York Times, varied from assurances of editorial diligence to the equivalent of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” One editor in chief, for example, wrote that because his journal prohibited ghostwriting, the publication did not have a specific policy on the practice. Journals without explicit ghostwriting rules can expect to hear more from the senator...
Shame on medical journals and academia for demonstrating their inability / unwillingness to take action against the polluters of Medicine: not until the threat of Congressional tightening of the purse strings did journal editors consider cleansing the scientific literature of fraudulent articles.
Contact: Vera Sharav
THE NEW YORK TIMES
September 18, 2009
Medical Editors Push for Ghostwriting Crackdown
By NATASHA SINGER and DUFF WILSON
The scientific integrity of medical research has been clouded in recent years by articles that were drafted by drug company-sponsored ghostwriters and then passed off as the work of independent academic authors.
Yet the leading medical journals have continued to rely largely on an honor system of disclosure to detect such potential bias, asking authors to voluntarily report any industry ties or contributors to their manuscripts.
But now, in light of recently released evidence that some drug makers have gone to great lengths to turn scientific articles into marketing vehicles for their products, some influential medical editors are cracking down on industry-financed ghostwriting. And they are getting help from some members of Congress.
These editors are demanding that journals impose tougher disclosure policies for academic authors and that the journals enforce their own rules by actively investigating the provenance of manuscripts and by punishing authors who play down extensive contributions by ghostwriters.
In medical journal circles, the exorcism of industry-financed editorial assistance even has its own name: ghostbusting.
In an editorial last week calling for a zero tolerance policy, the editors of the medical journal PLoS Medicine, from the Public Library of Science, called for journals to identify and retract ghostwritten articles and banish their authors.
“Any papers where this breach is substantiated should be immediately retracted,” the editors wrote. “Authors found to have not declared such interest should be banned from any subsequent publication in the journal and their misconduct reported to their institutions.”
In the past, researchers have raised allegations of ghostwriting in articles about quality-of-life drugs like antidepressants, painkillers and diet pills. But the situation has become more serious this year after a few editors said they had discovered ghostwriting in manuscripts about life-and-death products like cancer and hematology drugs.
As Washington tries to revamp the health care system, concerns about ghostwriting are taking on new urgency. One of the underlying assumptions of the health care overhaul effort is that money can be saved and medical care improved by relying more heavily on research showing which drugs and procedures are the most effective. But experts fear that the process could be corrupted if research articles are skewed by the hidden influence of drug or medical device makers.
One senator on the trail of ghostwriting is Charles E. Grassley, a Republican of Iowa and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has taken a leading role in the health overhaul effort.
In July, Mr. Grassley wrote letters asking eight leading medical journals about their ghostwriting policies. He also asked whether, since 2004, the journals had taken action against any author who had failed to report the involvement of a third party in the development of a manuscript.
None of the editors reported taking action against an author for ghostwriting. Their replies to the senator, obtained by The New York Times, varied from assurances of editorial diligence to the equivalent of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” One editor in chief, for example, wrote that because his journal prohibited ghostwriting, the publication did not have a specific policy on the practice.
Journals without explicit ghostwriting rules can expect to hear more from the senator.
“Objective research is really at the heart of public trust in medicine,” Mr. Grassley wrote in an e-mail message to a reporter last Friday.
Allegations of ghostwriting first surfaced several years ago in the promotion of the diet drug combination fen-phen, which was taken off the market because of safety concerns in 1997, and the painkiller Vioxx, withdrawn in 2004. And last month, documents made public in litigation against the pharmaceutical giant Wyeth showed that the company had paid a medical writing firm to draft articles, published through 2005, favorable to its Premarin family of hormone drugs even as evidence mounted that certain hormone drugs could increase the risk of breast cancer.
Some researchers say industry ghostwriting is widespread and continuing. Even with disclosure policies already in effect at many publications, unnamed authors played a role in more than 40 articles published last year at six major medical journals, according to a study made public last week. That study, conducted by an editorial team at The Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, defined ghostwriting broadly as any uncredited significant contribution to research or writing, regardless of whether it was financed by industry.
Over the last few years, international associations of medical journal editors have developed stricter disclosure criteria for authors of and contributors to scientific manuscripts. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, for example, defines an author as a person who makes a substantial contribution to developing a study or analyzing its results and in drafting a manuscript, and who approves the final version of an article. Authors should identify other contributors to an article and their financing sources, according to the group.
Drug companies say they are about to put these publication principles into effect for clinical trials.
“The pharmaceutical industry is moving in lock step with the editors of medical journals,” Jeffrey K. Francer, assistant general counsel of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry trade group for drug makers, said in an interview last week. The new standards are to take effect in October, he said.
But even though disclosure policies are already in place at many journals, the new JAMA study found a ghostwriting rate of more than 7 percent at JAMA and PLoS Medicine, and nearly 11 percent at the New England Journal of Medicine. Joseph S. Wislar, who led the study, said in an interview last week that The New England Journal of Medicine may have had a higher rate because the journal did not require lead authors to list all other contributors.
Editors of The New England Journal of Medicine said that they were puzzled by and skeptical of the JAMA data, but confirmed that the publication left such disclosures to the discretion of authors.
Experts who study disclosure said authorship policies might be inadequate in part because they asked for incomplete information, but also because they typically had no teeth.
“Requiring someone to write a retraction or barring them from publishing in academic journals for some period of time — that would be an effective deterrent,” said George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who has conducted research on the effect of conflict-of-interest disclosures in medicine.
A few editors said they were already taking tougher stances after discovering their disclosure policies had allowed authors to acknowledge writers financed by drug companies without explaining that the paid writers played primary roles in creating the manuscripts.
The problem of incomplete disclosure is particularly worrisome for opinion pieces like review articles, in which an author brings a personal perspective to a wide body of research, according to an editorial in The Oncologist.
“These articles are likely to influence the direction of new investigation as well as the practice of oncology,” wrote Dr. Bruce A. Chabner, the clinical director of the cancer center at Massachusetts General Hospital and the editor in chief of The Oncologist. “It is critical that such articles represent the unbiased views of the authors, and not those of a ghostwriter or a drug’s sponsor.”
The Oncologist plans to continue publishing clinical trials sponsored by drug companies, Dr. Chabner wrote. But the journal no longer accepts opinion pieces that involve writers with ties to companies that have a commercial interest in an article’s content — nor will its editors correspond with hired writers who are not named as the authors of manuscripts.
Mr. Francer, of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said such measures could be detrimental because they could “chill research and chill support for research.”
But the trend may be too far along to deter.
In January, editors at Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, discovered that an unsolicited manuscript submitted by a prominent researcher involved significant contributions from a pharmaceutical company employee named in the acknowledgments — a major role in the manuscript that should have qualified the employee to be listed as an author of the paper. Further detective work quickly turned up two other ghostwritten manuscripts.
Editors decided to make their discoveries public in an editorial titled “ ‘Ghostbusting’ at Blood” in which they wrote that the journal would henceforth reject opinion pieces that had industry ties.
In an interview last month, Dr. Cynthia E. Dunbar, the editor in chief of Blood, said that, in the future, the journal would consider a ban of several years for authors caught lying about ghostwriting, in addition to retracting their ghosted articles.
But, said Dr. Dunbar, who is a hematologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, “I hope we don’t have to do that.”
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
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Thank You AHRP
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Britain's Government-Run Health-Care System Under Fire
Go Read It, and hope that British Citizens can Get Rid of this Obnoxious, Inhumane, Cost Cutting, Socialist Dysfunction before it finishes off any More of their family members.
And ask yourself; Why, would we want the Same Disaster here in the States?
There's One, Huge, and very Visible, 100% Incompetent, Disease Mongering Drain on America's Health Care Resources which we could get Rid of Right Now.
Cut the GD Funding Off. All of it.