Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking Zetia, Vytorin, Aranesp and others?

While recognizing that the pharmaceutical industry in this State and country employ thousands and around the world hundreds of thousands of people, more and more we read about the effectiveness, cost and benefits of drugs made to offer relief to a basically lazy and unhealthy society. We all want instant relief for our illnesses that have emerged primarily because of our eating and drinking habits. The risk assessed in using drugs that are alleged to help us are determined by clinical trials. These trials are often not long enough and as we now know, fraught with doctors who write fictitious outcomes about the risk, are influenced by huge unethical kick backs from drug makers and even lie about the effectivness.

From the Globe we read today about three very popular drugs that many are taking, on advise from their physicians. And while they (Senate) continue to fight over health care reform and how to pay for it, the big question of the day is why are we paying for drugs that are not doing anything more than the placebo effect and even causing more health problems in patients who are told to take them.

Aranesp and drugs like it, prescribed for type 2 diabetes, for decades, has just gone through a 4,000 patient clinical trial in 24 countries and the result published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the drug is no better than a placebo. Amgen the manufacture of Aranesp, took in 5 billion from Medicare between 2003 and 2008 for this drug.

And while many readers may not know all the details about clinical studies done on the drugs they take now, it's painfully clear that many companies have not tested thoroughly their drugs over the long haul. Zeita and Vytorin, very popular cholesterol lowering drugs have been shown to in Zetia's case, not shrink buildups in artery walls and even increases heart attacks.

Some 20% of our economy goes to medical treatments and one has to wonder, would we be better off at 5%. Take time to investigate what the experts say will help you live a better life, it may surprise you what you find out.


At November 17, 2009 at 9:27 AM , Blogger new to blogging said...

Clinical trial information is not something I ever think about when taking a new medication. Guess maybe I should look into that a little more. But honestly, where do I go to get honest information? My doc gives me the drug, so he is not going to be a good source of unbiased information. You say some of these drugs have been in use for years and years and they are just reporting now that they are useless. So how would I have found out 5 yrs ago when I started on this stuff if no one said it was bad until now?

At November 17, 2009 at 12:10 PM , Blogger 6th Middlesex constituent said...

Interesting stuff here but a bit out of the realm of what we come here for. I look for stuff on the local level. Understanding the ins and outs on the federal level is not something I am likely to ever achieve. Keep it simple here Jim, that is what we are looking for, at least me.

At November 17, 2009 at 12:27 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


Digging for the truth about drug safety or effectiveness is truly a part time job. There are reams of information, some true, some not, on the web. Hard for any laymen to despiser what is reality and what is just marketing, but if we are aware and cognizant of the past history, like the drug that mothers were given to prevent miscarriages so many years ago, that later turned out to have caused birth defects and other health problems. We cannot ignore the past performance of drug companies, the huge fines and penalties that many have paid and will continue to be paid, for deceiving the world about safety and effectiveness, all in the name of profits.

Try this... google, "bad news about Zetia" .... 39 pages of information. Try doing the same for any drug you may be taking now or recommended to take from your doctor. Then have a frank chat with your doctor... and see what they say.

As someone who has spent many years in medical research and the pharmaceutical industry, in different capacities, one thing I learned was that it was ALL about the money and less to do with improving the quality of life. And later in life, I realized that only I could make the right choices in whether I will be healthy on not. That is part our problem.. live the unhealthy life style and expect to live a long life with drugs, tests and procedures, that really do us more harm than good. We've become addicted to a health care system that promotes an unhealthy life style.

It boils down to... do we trust them or not with our lives? For me, the latest revelations only serve to raise my level of mistrust.

At November 17, 2009 at 12:27 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Point well taken 6th...

At November 17, 2009 at 7:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit too deep for me here. Guess this stuff is important, but who understands it enough to know what it all means?

At November 18, 2009 at 10:21 AM , Blogger Derek said...

It sure does surprise me to find this type of thing out. WHere the hell do we get this information when a doctor tells up to take these drugs? What happened to trusting your doc to know what was best for your health? If I have to figure this stuff out myself, what am I paying him for? Seems there are more issues with the health care system than they are disussing in DC. When will we ever get back to the way things should be, where people are responsible for doing their job well and honestly?

At November 18, 2009 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Excellent point Derek... and today we learn that if you are taking blood thinner Plavix and taking Prilosec or Nexium heartburn medications, the effectiveness of Plavix is cut in half. 8.6 BILLION dollars was spent on this drug world wide and is the world's second best selling drug behind lipator.

This news continues to show that we all need to do as much as we can to protect ourselves from harmful interactions between drugs, over the counter or prescribed.


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