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Posts tagged ‘phrma’

Why the downfall of the U.S. healthcare industry is to be welcomed

I must say I was quite surprised to hear Wendell Potter quote the current CEO of Aetna saying, “the system doesn’t work. It’s broke today.” “The end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here.”

We can only hope that their downfall is close at hand. Although it probably won’t happen for years, it seems the process has begun.

Ever since the health insurance industry came to be dominated in recent years by a handful of big for-profit corporations, insurers have actually been driving away customers and shrinking the universe of people they were willing to cover, because of the return on investment and the profit demands of the large institutional investors that own most of the corporations’ shares. It is because of those demands that insurers price their premiums beyond the reach of millions of Americans. It is because of those demands that insurers reject on average a third or more of all applicants because of “preexisting conditions.” And it is because of those demands that insurers have routinely canceled the coverage of thousands of policyholders when they got sick. Now you know why more than 50 million of us are uninsured. It is not because most of those people are being irresponsible. Most of them either can’t afford to buy coverage or can’t buy it at any price.

The problem for the health care industry then becomes one of a shrinking marketplace. When you deny all these people coverage for whatever reason—you are limiting yourself. Whether you like it or not healthcare will eventually be managed by nonprofits and the government. It’s becoming unprofitable for the corporate killers.

Congrats to the Senate Judiciary Committee on S. 369

On October 15th, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out S. 369 (here is the bill), the ban on pay-for-delay settlements between brand-name pharmaceutical manufacturers and generic-drug companies.  The purpose and result of these settlements is that the generic drugs come to market later.  This means that patients and insurers must wait to have access to the drugs they need at the much lower generic price. This bill would pave the way for cost savings, since generic drugs would come to market faster.  The FTC has estimated the savings at $35 billion to consumers and $12 million to the federal government over ten years.

via Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) Project » Blog Archive » Generic bill moves in the Senate.

I always thought the pay-for-delay practice was one of the most sinister things the Phrma cabal were allowed to get away with. I would always choose a generic over a brand name if given the option.

Shark Week: When Cigna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield et al. attack

The Real on Realage.com aka The Matrix

I’ve seen these ads for realage.com plastered all over websites for at least a year if not more now. In some ads they’ve featured the “real age” of people like Barack Obama and John McCain even. I was surprised to learn from Stepahine Clifford writing in the NY Times and reposted on CorpWatch that Real Age is a lucrative avenue for Big Phrma.

According to RealAge, more than 27 million people have taken the test, which asks 150 or so questions about lifestyle and family history to assign a “biological age,” how young or old your habits make you. Then, RealAge makes recommendations on how to get “younger,” like taking multivitamins, eating breakfast and flossing your teeth. Nine million of those people have signed up to become RealAge members.

But while RealAge promotes better living through nonmedical solutions, the site makes its money by selling better living through drugs.

How does it do this I wonder?

Pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to compile test results of RealAge members and send them marketing messages by e-mail. The drug companies can even use RealAge answers to find people who show symptoms of a disease — and begin sending them messages about it even before the people have received a diagnosis from their doctors.

IAO-logo-facebook Wow. Join Pointdexter and his dreams that temporarily resulted in the Information Awareness Office, where most of the programs are now continued in the DOD somewhere I’d imagine, would be proud of Real Age and Big Phrma. It also turns out that this site even has a doctor promoting it on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

And it has become something of a sensation in the marketing world. Many marketers, online and off, segment potential consumers within broad categories. But RealAge gathers very specific information and, unlike some sites, it gives its consumers an incentive to tell the truth, namely, a chance to live longer.

So is this going to be the new marketing trend? Are we going to see similar websites springing up to engage us and convince us to give up all of our information so that we can be better marketed to? For example I can totally see some “green lifestyle” website being created where it gathers information from environmentally concerned netizens and then sells that information to corporations.

RealAge allows drug companies to send e-mail messages based on those test results. It acts as a clearinghouse for drug companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, allowing them to use almost any combination of answers from the test to find people to market to, including whether someone is taking antidepressants, how sexually active they are and even if their marriage is happy.

This is rather depressing to read. However I do have to say that this is a great article by Ms. Clifford. This is the kind of reporting I’d like to see more of in the New York Times.

Americans not taking medications due to cost – blame Phrma

They can put Montell Williams in a bus and drive him all over the country, but they cannot escape their complicity in this disgrace.

Sticker shock is taking a toll on Americans when they fill their prescriptions: 66% of those polled by Consumer Reports said they found out the cost of a drug when they picked it up at the pharmacy counter, while just 4% said they had a conversation with their doctor about the cost of a drug.  And 28% of Americans told Consumer Reports they’d taken potentially dangerous actions to save money, such as not filling prescriptions, skipping dosages, and cutting pills in half without the approval of their doctor.

Another problem are these pharmacy chains who charge different prices in different areas. Shame!  Also, pharmaceutical corporations have spent tons of money to slow or prevent the sale of generic versions of their drugs.

At least Americans are not fools and do realize what Big Phrma is doing to them.

Consumers perceive the undue influence of pharmaceutical companies on their doctors.   Those practices raising the greatest concern among consumers were rewarding doctors who write a lot of prescriptions (82%); receiving fully paid trips (77%) or gifts worth more than $50 (76%); and paying for doctors’ attendance at meetings (67%).

Do we have to start organizing more bus trips to Canada to get drugs now?

Wyeth paying people to write favorable journal articles

Pharma: Drug Maker Accused Of Paying Ghostwriters To Pen Journal Articles

A drug company is accused of paying ghostwriters to write favorable articles about their drugs — even after one drug was shown to raise the risk of cancer.

Drug maker Wyeth paid ghostwriters to write medical journal articles that were favorable to its female hormone replacement therapy drug, according to Congressional letters referenced in an article in the NYT.

Besides the health insurance industry the other industry I truly disdain is Big Phrma (why Naomi Judd? why appear on their website?).

Back to Wyeth:

One article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended a hormone replacement therapy drug that now carries a cancer risk warning. The article claimed that there was “no definitive evidence” that the drug caused breast cancer.

According to the NYT, the documents show that the drug company executives came up with ideas for the articles, titled them, paid writers to write the manuscripts, “recruited academic authors and identified publications to run the articles — all without disclosing the companies’ roles to journal editors or readers.”

This is right in league with the video news releases that have been done. Unfortunatley this news may not be enough to hurt Wyeth’s profits or its stock price but I sure hope it will.

Wyeth v. Levine: Wyeth should be made to financially bleed

I think that a patient should have the right to sue pharmaceutical corporations for personal injuries stemming from prescription drugs approved by the FDA. If the drug hurts you in any way and it was approved by the FDA I think it’s pretty clear. You’re taking a drug assuming that it’s safe if you follow the labeling correctly. When that proves to be horribly false then you need justice.

The court battle is over whether or not Wyeth Pharmaceuticals sufficiently warned against the dangers of IV push on its packaging for Phenergan — packaging that had been approved by the FDA. The drug’s labeling did warn that it was preferable to give Phenergan through IV drip, and warned that “inadvertent intra-arterial injection” — accidentally injecting the drug into an artery — could cause “gangrene requiring amputation.” But nowhere on the Phenergan label was there an express warning that the method of IV push is extremely risky for this very reason.

Why they (Wyeth) did not clearly state that IV pushing should be prohibited I have no idea. CEO Bernard J. Poussot and gang were reckless.

Help CNA protest the health insurance industry

You can learn more about their efforts by reading this PDF file. It is indeed the health insurance industry and it’s lobbying tentacle AHIP, that stands in the way of single payer or any universal healthcare plan. I’d probably throw Big Pharma and it’s thugs over at Phrma in this as well. In addition to protesting at AHIP’s love fest, the nurses will also be protesting at the offices of Cigna, Humana, Blue Cross/Blue Shiled and GHI to name a few.

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