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.