Sunday, 10 October 2010
What's New ? Yet another Drug withdrawn?
What Now Brown Cow?
Medications can’t cure Illnesses caused by Society
The Case in Point
The agency determined that the CV risks outweighed the marginal benefits associated with the drugs and requested that the manufacturer of sibutramine (Meridia, Abbott Laboratories) voluntarily withdraw the product from the market in the U.S. Abbott Laboratories agreed to the request.
The withdraw came after new data from the approximately 10,000-patient Sibutramine Cardiovascular Outcomes (SCOUT) trial indicated a 16% increased risk for major adverse CV events (a composite of nonfatal MI, nonfatal stroke, resuscitation after MI and CV death) in patients taking sibutramine vs. placebo
When these drugs come out, the companies that manufacture them and the doctors who are their spokespeople put such great pressure on harried General Practitioners that you can see a spike in prescriptions. Whenever poor Indians go to the nearest White City to see a doctor, you can be sure he comes back with a prescription for the newest of the medications, much of which we have low opinion of: Byetta, Januvia, Onglyzia etc etc….
What these purveyors fail to point out is the price of meddling with natural processes within the body, which invariably shows up. Meridia, which was touted as the cure for Obesity now comes with a price tag: Death from Cardiovascular Diseases.
In the past few years, I have seen drugs promoted as panaceas withdrawn when the side effects were too numerous to hide or ignore.
You remember, Vioxx? 80 million people took it, prescribed by god fearing, kindhearted medical personnel, before the heart attack and stroke rate became unacceptable.
Lately, there has been a lot of drugs hastily put into market and withdrawn without much fanfare when they were actually killing the patients with other conditions than the ones they were prescribed for. Avandia Rosiglitazone is banned in the European Union and millions of patients are taking them! The death from cardiovascular disease was unacceptable. This is the second in that class category to be withdrawn and the attention centers on Pioglitazone or Actos. I am certain it would be withdrawn in the future.
The hurry to market widely is driven not by scientific evidence or public health priorities. But Profit.
There is no point in pushing Lantus Insulin in Vietnam someone told me, because they wont be able to afford the 30-euro price tag. In the USA, the same insulin is sold for 140 usd, for those poor people who don't have medical insurance. Detemir is another insulin, which promises to be long acting but is definitely short acting very similar to NPH in its action but not in its price. Lantus has been linked to breast cancer and won’t be long before some more abnormalities discovered. What happened to the old fashioned Insulin? They disappear completely to make room for the expensive alternative, which does have only marginal value.
The case in point is the new drugs in the Incretin Mimetics and DPP4 categories. Not a day goes by without some form or another of pharmaceutically backed thinly disguised as academic material, appears in the mailbox, touting their supremacy. But those who practice medicine in real situations know that these medications have an extremely limited value and of course there are complications, including Pancreatitis and now Lung cancer. Makes you wonder, whatever happened to good old-fashioned NPH and Regular Insulin?
It is not the new medications that we require, but a belief that these diseases are caused by the society and the way we are prodded to live, the so-called Life Style. How can we change when we are asked to follow that path? Drink Soft Drinks, movie stars command from their large posters on roadsides in Asia; high fructose corn syrup which is nothing but poison, little girls are sprouting breasts because of Plastics and other chemicals, hypothyroidism is in on the increase because of pesticides containing peroxidase inhibitors…
Please give me a Good Nurse who has the skill of talking and touching and has the desire to take care of her patients, and just Metformin and the old fashioned NPH and Regular Insulin PLUS enough time to talk to patients (minimum of thirty minutes), I can show you better results than any of these multimillion dollar studies….