Friday, October 05, 2007

Bad Drugs Getting Bad Press

The press is catching on about Prozac and other psychiatric drugs and their ill effects. Here are some examples of recent articles:

. The New York Times ran an article entitled "Senators Seek Public Listing of Payments to Doctors" regarding the bill introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) that require the makers of drugs and medical devices to report publicly nearly all payments and gifts to doctors. The bill results from growing concerns that free meals and consulting payments-which in some cases have exceeded $100,000 annually-lead doctors to prescribe more expensive drugs and devices, increasing the costs of health care and sometimes endangering patients. Companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues would have to make quarterly disclosures of gifts or payments that exceed $25, and the reports would be posted on a website. "Right now, the public has no way to know whether a doctor's been given money that might affect prescribing habits," said Senator Charles E.
Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and one of the bill's authors.

. The Chicago Tribune published an article entitled, "Drug-related deaths, injuries reported to FDA surged between 1998-2005, study finds:
Report expected to add momentum to push in Washington to reform the federal government's monitoring of prescription drugs." A new study in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine found that the number of serious drug injuries and deaths reported to the FDA have already more than doubled between 1998 and 2005. This information adds to a growing momentum for Congress to enact strong monitoring of prescription drugs by the FDA.
Senator Charles Grassley stated, "This report is another indication that the FDA's post-market review of drugs must be rigorous and timely. The FDA needs to commit itself to considering and acting on the additional data gathered from more adverse events being reported considering the deaths associated with these adverse drug events.",0,1014894.story

. ran an article entitled "Antidepressant Use and Conflicts of Interest" about the controversy over the financial conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries. The journalist, Ed Silverman, points out that (at least) two of the authors of a recent pro-psych study have ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

. RxPG News ran an article entitled "Depression: SSRI anti-depressants may cause stillbirth" about how women who take antidepressants during pregnancy face the risk of a stillborn baby, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa compared the health of babies born to
972 women taking SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) with that of babies born to mothers who did not use anti-depressants. They found that women using the drugs were twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and were twice as likely to have a low birth weight baby and also more likely to have seizures. depressants_may_cause_stillbirth_3965_3965.shtml

. FOX News ran an article on its website entitled "Anna Nicole Smith Psychiatrist Forced to Close Office Amid Financial Woes" regarding how Dr.
Khristine Eroshevic, who wrote 11 different prescriptions for Smith, has already closed one of her offices due to a current Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation. The psychiatrist blames it on bad press and the fallout from being accused of filling a medicine cabinet on behalf of Smith.,2933,295785,00.html

. ran an article entitled "Food Additives Could Fuel Hyperactivity in Kids-Study makes first link between colorings, preservatives and behavioral woes" that covers how British researchers found some common food colorings and preservatives appear to increase the risk of hyperactive behavior among children. The link between food additives and hyperactivity has long been suspected, but this is the first study to show a direct connection. In the study, published in the Sept. 6 issue of The Lancet, researchers gave drinks containing additives to 297 children. The children were in two groups: 3 year olds and 8 and 9 year olds. The drinks contained artificial food coloring and additives such as sodium benzoate, a preservative. As a control, some children were given drinks without additives. Over the six weeks of the trial, researchers found that children in both age groups who drank the drinks containing additives displayed significantly more hyperactive behavior. These children also had shorter attention spans.

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