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Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

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Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby Scepcop » 25 Nov 2009, 07:33

Skeptics,
Here's your chance to prove your honesty, fairness and objectivity.

Below is an analysis by Ray Sahelian, M.D. of Stephen Barrett's Quackwatch site. Like me, he notices that Barrett has ZERO skepticism or criticism on the pharmaceutical industry, not even citing its scandals, goof ups, or the deaths that prescription drugs cause each year. Barrett only has criticism toward alternative treatments, which kill far less people than prescription drugs do.

Here is your chance to prove that you are not merely defenders of establishment. Read below and address Dr. Sahelian's questions to Barrett. I await your criticism of the pharmaceutical companies, if you dare.

http://www.raysahelian.com/quackwatch.html

Is Dr. Stephen Barrett fair in his analysis of nutrition research and those involved in the nutrition industry?

I have not read every single page on Quackwatch but the ones I read give me the impression that in many cases Stephen Barrett, M.D. has done good research on many of the people involved in the alternative health industry, and has pointed out several instances of inaccuracies and scams (for instance, Hulda Clark and her pitiful book "The Cure for all Cancers"). However, I hardly came across reports on his website regarding some of the scams or inaccurate promotion and marketing practices by the pharmaceutical industry. Why is this? Why has Stephen Barrett, M.D. focused almost all of his attention on the nutritional industry and has hardly spent time pointing out the billions of dollars wasted each year by consumers on certain prescription and non-prescription pharmaceutical drugs? If he truly claims to be a true consumer advocate, isn't it his responsibility to make sure the big scams are addressed first before focusing on the smaller scams? It's like the government putting all of its efforts going after the poor misusing food stamps while certain big companies cheat billions of dollars from consumers with hardly any governmental oversight.

Why is there no review of Vioxx on Quackwatch? Why is there no mention on quackwatch.org of the worthless cold and cough medicines sold by pharmaceutical companies and drug stores? Hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted each year by consumers on these worthless and potentially harmful decongestants and cough syrups. Why is there no mention on quackwatch of the dangers of acetaminophen use, including liver damage? There are more people who die and are injured from Tylenol use each year than there probably have been in the last decade or more of supplement use. If Dr. Barrett had focused his career on educating people in reducing the use of useless and dangerous prescription and nonprescription drugs (even just one, acetaminophen) he would have helped many more people than attempting to scare people from the use of supplements.

Another point I would like to make regarding Quackwatch is that Dr. Barrett often, if not the majority of the time, seems to point out the negative outcome of studies with supplements (you can sense his glee and relish when he points out these negative outcomes), and rarely mentions the benefits they provide. A true scientist takes a fair approach, and I don't see this in my review of the Quackwatch website. I subscribe to the Quackwatch newsletter (which often has interesting information) but there is hardly any mention of the benefits of supplements. As an example, see a paragraph from the August, 2006 Quackwatch newsletter mentioned a few paragraphs below.

Bottom line: Overall, Dr. Barrett does some good in pointing out scams in the alternative health field, but, in my opinion, he is not fair and balanced, and he is not a true objective scientist as he claims to be. Someone who has a website specifically tailored for criticism needs to have a higher and more objective scientific standard, and Barrett fails in this regard.

Could Stephen Barrett, M.D. post his thoughts on Quackwatch regarding these two topics:

The first is on the billions of dollars spent on worthless and dangerous Alzheimer's drugs as noted in The New York Times: "Alzheimer’s Drugs Offer No Help, Study Finds" By Benedict Carey, October 12, 2006. The article begins, "The drugs most commonly used to soothe agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimer's disease are no more effective than placebos for most patients, and put them at risk of serious side effects, including confusion, sleepiness and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms."

The second is on drug company charlatanism by Robert Bazell, a medical correspondent for NBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14348176/


So how about it skeptics? What do you have to say about this one?

The New York Times: "Alzheimer’s Drugs Offer No Help, Study Finds" By Benedict Carey, October 12, 2006. The article begins, "The drugs most commonly used to soothe agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimer's disease are no more effective than placebos for most patients, and put them at risk of serious side effects, including confusion, sleepiness and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms."


I love this. Asking skeptics to criticize the pharmaceutical establishment is like asking robots to go against their core programming! A sci fi dream! lol
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ciscop » 25 Nov 2009, 08:16

man.. your metaphor skill sucks
why dont you try this example.
is like asking a __fill up yourself_ to stay away from 3rd world whores


hahaha by the way
i dont protect big pharma
skeptics are humans, and they hate when big pharma screw it up.. but they are doing medicine that end up working
is not like shaking water and then calling it a remedy for anything that just stupid
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby Nostradamus » 25 Nov 2009, 10:36

Barrett has ZERO skepticism or criticism on the pharmaceutical industry, not even citing its scandals, goof ups, or the deaths that prescription drugs cause each year. Barrett only has criticism toward alternative treatments, which kill far less people than prescription drugs do.


I guess it all depends on what you want to count. If you want to count deaths from people receiving tradition medicines, then you'd get a huge total. Between China and Indian you have over 2.4 billion people. of these the bulk get traditional medicines and die from simple things that meds could cure.

So before I read the rest of your cut and paste I have to point out that your opening paragraph is wrong.
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby Nostradamus » 25 Nov 2009, 11:08

There are more people who die and are injured from Tylenol use each year than there probably have been in the last decade or more of supplement use.


This is an unsubstantiated claim. It is a claim that follows a correct statement that acetaminophen can be dangerous to the liver if taken in large dosages. It says so right on the container. It has to say that since that is a government requirement.

From WebMD
The FDA predicts 458 deaths per year in the U.S. from acetaminophen-related acute liver failure, note Larsen and colleagues.


From the American Assoc for the Study of Liver Disease
An estimated 500 deaths per year are attributed to suicidal or unintentional overdoses of acetaminophen as well as more than 50,000 emergency room visits. This is the most common form of acute liver failure observed in the United States today. While some are intentional at least 50% of these are unintentional, that is, the patient is consuming more than one preparation of acetaminophen or simply using doses more than suggested by the package insert.


The manufacturer has set a maximum dose of 4 grams of acetaminophen (the equivalent of eight extra-strength tablets or capsules, 500 mg each) per day, but a number of authors recommend a maximum of 2-3 grams per 24 hours for those who regularly consume three or more alcoholic beverages daily. Newly-released tablets of 750 mg each and the appearance of mint-flavored acetaminophen are also of concern. Particular caution is need in dosing infants with acetaminophen to ensure that the correct dose is given.


The deaths due to dietary supplements as these unregulated drugs are euphemistically called is difficult to ascertain due to the unregulated nature of the items.

We do learn from a study at the Cochrane Collaboration
A couple of hundred thousand people participated in the studies, which, the new analysis concluded, "found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention" of death. Taking vitamins A, E and beta carotene "may increase mortality," the study also found. The research team urged that future studies involving those and other antioxidants "be closely monitored for potential harmful effects."


Before ephedra was banned there were over 50 deaths.

So-called natural herbals and dietary supplements also inflict danger to people taking prescription meds. When the patient dies or is injured the herbals are overlooked due to the patients not reporting the use of herbals. Lobelia, comfrey, germander, and willow bark have been identified as the causative agents in many deaths and injuries.

Here is a case where the distributors of these dangerous products was sued and lost and paid a million bucks.
http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/read/10210
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby Nostradamus » 25 Nov 2009, 11:29

Did you read the article Scepcop or did you cut and paste? I'll bet it was the latter.

This has already been posted:
The New York Times: "Alzheimer’s Drugs Offer No Help, Study Finds" By Benedict Carey, October 12, 2006. The article begins, "The drugs most commonly used to soothe agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimer's disease are no more effective than placebos for most patients, and put them at risk of serious side effects, including confusion, sleepiness and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms."


The 5th paragraph fro the article is:
Spokesmen for Lilly, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which owns Janssen, noted that the drugs were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in Alzheimer’s patients, and that the companies did not market them for that purpose.


Later on in the article:
Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which financed the research, said, “What this study shows is that these drugs are clearly not the answer; they may be helpful for a minority of patients but we need to come up with better medications.”


The article concludes with:
The report is the third large study in the last year to conclude that atypical antipsychotics are not as effective or as safe as initially portrayed. Last year, government researchers found that three of four drugs tested were no more effective than an older, far less expensive drug in treating schizophrenia — the disorder for which the medications were originally approved.

And last week, English researchers published a study that found that schizophrenia patients did as well on older medications — or better — than on newer, atypical drugs.


It looks to me like new drugs are being tried and tested and in this case the drugs were not as good as older drugs. This article was from 2006. I would hope by now that these drugs are being used less and targeting the people that do find these drugs effective.
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ProfWag » 26 Nov 2009, 06:11

Another thorough, informative, and refreshing post Nostradamus. Thanks for your effort in wanting to post accurate information.
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 26 Nov 2009, 06:50

Nostradamus wrote:It looks to me like new drugs are being tried and tested and in this case the drugs were not as good as older drugs. This article was from 2006. I would hope by now that these drugs are being used less and targeting the people that do find these drugs effective.

It's a conspiracy (I use that word in jest but it fits) between big pharma, the docs and the insurance companies.

A person has a medical malady and they go to the doctor. The doc has a choice of different meds that he can prescribe from assorted drug companies for the malady. Drug companies offer different incentives to the docs for them to use their product rather than the competition's. The doc writes up the script, you take it to the pharmacy and lo and behold, your insurance company refuses to pay the high price for that exact prescription and issues you a generic equivalent.

The doc gets a 'freebie' from the drug company for prescribing their drug, the insurance company saves money by changing that order and you wind up with a less than perfect medication for your malady. If the doc had prescribed an older, less expensive or simpler drug for the malady, none of this would have happened.

I'd like to use blood pressure pills as an example, since it's something I have had decades of experience with personally. There are many different types of BP pills on the market from just about every drug manufacturer out there. Some people respond to furosemide, a simple water pill. Delone, Detue & Lasix are three different names for furosemide. It seems that Lasix is the most common. It's used in many other BP drug combinations as well. Sometimes as a separate pill and sometimes it's automatically added with another drug in a single pill. Lasix is dirt cheap to the consumer compared to the new and improved diuretics or in the combination pills.

Now since Lasix is a sulfonamide, I can't take it as I have a sulfa allergy. Of course I knew this and noted this on my medical history but since most docs are not quite as in tune as pharmacists when it comes to the specific ingredients of prescriptions, I usually wind up with something that causes more problems than it cures. After two decades of different doctors and feeling like some poorly treated test subject, a perfect combination of BP meds have been found. Enter my prescription company and they won't pay for one of the brand name drugs and insist on giving me the generic which doesn't work at all.

I have no idea how this all fits into what you gentlemen are discussing here but that's my $.02.
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ciscop » 26 Nov 2009, 07:43

hahahaha sounds like the script of Mission Impossible:2

but i do think what ninjapuppy says could happen
i remember at least reading a magazine article or newspaper article
about big pharma companies offering pay holidays and stuff to doctors that recommended their products
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 26 Nov 2009, 19:41

ciscop wrote:hahahaha sounds like the script of Mission Impossible:2

but i do think what ninjapuppy says could happen
i remember at least reading a magazine article or newspaper article
about big pharma companies offering pay holidays and stuff to doctors that recommended their products


The heavy hitters get golf trips and office perks like new equipment, fax machines, computers, software etc.
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ProfWag » 26 Nov 2009, 21:32

Sooo, just what are we saying here? That Big Pharmas are in it for a profit? C'mon! A company in business to make a profit? No way!
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 27 Nov 2009, 05:56

ProfWag wrote:Sooo, just what are we saying here? That Big Pharmas are in it for a profit? C'mon! A company in business to make a profit? No way!

No... These are companies in business to make mega profits regardless of the quality of the product. Considering that the product affects the quality of human life, I tend to be a bit more critical of their motives.
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ciscop » 27 Nov 2009, 07:39

regardless of the quality of the product.

this were i disagree since from this point everything turns into a big conspiracy

i think you need to spend over a BILLION (with a B) dollars to put a medicine in the market
(so i heard i could be completely wrong) and years and years of research and development
is not like they said ¨i enhaced this water with my psychic crystals and now it cures cancer¨

progress costs, sometimes even lifes.

“Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first base.”
Frederick Wilcox
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 27 Nov 2009, 08:36

Ciscop wrote:i think you need to spend over a BILLION (with a B) dollars to put a medicine in the market
(so i heard i could be completely wrong) and years and years of research and development
is not like they said ¨i enhaced this water with my psychic crystals and now it cures cancer

We are talking about large comapny pharmaeutical faults, not homeopathy.
Yes, it might cost Billions of dollars to put a NEW medicine on the market but it costs pennies to make some of them look 'new' when they are in fact the same old stuff that has fallen out of favor. Not to mention they wind up with plenty of failures and decide to use them for other medical maladies. Would you like me to give you the details of the one med they put me on to stop the bad side effects of the sulfa based BP med rather than put me on a tried and true older, very inexpensive med???

¨
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ciscop » 27 Nov 2009, 09:06

so you think your doctor was medicating you that in order to get some prize from big pharma?
or was a true human mistake?

not every dr. is dr. house after all
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Why r skeptics NEVER critical of pharmaceutical co's faults?

Postby ProfWag » 27 Nov 2009, 23:21

Of course, there's always the alternative to pharmaceutical companies. We could still be living in an age where medicine consisted of bleed-outs and eating the bark from certain types of trees. Noooo thanks. I'll happily take whatever my Doctor prescribes and trust his/her recommendations for vaccinations. My Dad did and he lived 10 years longer than he should have.
I'm not saying that these companies don't have their faults. They do, they are many, and there should be some changes to their business. But thanks to them, millions of people have a better quality of life now than they would have 20, 30, 40, 100 years ago.
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