invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

Harvard medical students rebel April 22, 2009

Filed under: big pharma,corrupt doctors — clementine @ 1:45 pm
Tags: ,

Thanks to a friend for passing this along.

Click here to read the entire article.

Two hundred Harvard Medical School students are confronting the school’s administration, demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry influence in the classroom.

The students worry that pharmaceutical industry scandals in recent years, including criminal convictions, billions of dollars in fines, proof of bias in research and publishing and false marketing claims, have cast a bad light on the medical profession. The students have criticized Harvard as being less vigilant than other leading medical schools in monitoring potential financial conflicts by faculty members.

Harvard received the lowest possible grade, an “F,” from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools monitor and control drug industry money.

 

The FDA on drug ads April 20, 2009

Filed under: big pharma,FDA — clementine @ 5:42 pm
Tags: , ,

This story at the NY Times just infuriates me. The FDA should not be warning Big Pharma that their online ads must start including risk information about each drug. This is ridiculous. The solution is much simpler: BAN THE ADS COMPLETELY.

A quick note to the FDA: Wake up! Whose side are you on? The patients or Big Pharma? I think we know the answer.

WHEN the Food and Drug Administration sent letters to 14 major pharmaceutical companies late last month, the warning was strong. The companies’ search advertisements — the short text ads that run beside Google results — had to start including risk information about each drug or else be rewritten or removed.

Just how the companies were supposed to comply was not so clear. In the 95 characters that Google allowed for search ads, there was no way to include all the required information, the companies argued.

Now, as the companies change their search ads to comply with the letters, industry executives say the solution is worse than the problem: their ads are even more confusing and misleading now, they say. And they worry that regulators will enforce standards that were created for magazines and television, rather than making new rules that acknowledge how Internet ads have evolved.

The letters were sent to almost all of the major pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Merck and Eli Lilly. The letters said ads for widely prescribed drugs, including Celebrex, Propecia and Yaz, did not include the paragraphs of precautions the agency required.

Though the texts of the ads varied, the agency’s objections to each ad were similar. One such ad was for Merck’s allergy drug Singulair. The ad read, “Allergy Medication Relief of Allergy Symptoms: Learn About a Treatment Option. http://www.SINGULAIR.com.”

The ad omitted “the most serious and frequently occurring risks associated with the drugs promoted in the links above,” the agency wrote in its letter to Merck, and the links “misleadingly suggest” that the drug was “safer than has been demonstrated.”

Until these letters were sent, pharmaceutical and media companies had assumed that there was a one-click rule, said Arnie Friede, counsel at the corporate law firm McDermott, Will & Emery: as long as pharmaceutical companies provided risk information within one click of their search ads — on the page that the ad linked to — they assumed they were in compliance. These letters made clear that was not the case.

click here to continue reading….

 

the road to recovery April 18, 2009

This past week (via email) I was accused of being “ALWAYS UNHAPPY” with my life. Yes, the always unhappy was in caps and it came from a someone that has said things like this before who no longer wants to be mentioned in my blog. She feels I’m living in a “cyber world” and not the “real world”. I beg to differ on all accounts and I told her so. She also seemed to fear for her life by saying, “It’s scary to me, how do you know someone won’t come after us?” I did not respond to that-she said this after reading an article in Readers Digest on Myspace. This is a) not Myspace and b) the people who read my blog are not the types to “go after” this person or anyone for that matter. It’s completely beyond belief and yet I will say she did admit to being “computer illiterate” and so I must believe that she is simply misinformed and that is fine.

The simply truth is, yes, I get the majority of my support from the cyber world. And here’s the simple reason: the real world has failed me for more than twenty years. Psychiatrists, therapists, people who stigmatize, etc. When you spend tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills in the real world-the outcome for me was, well, I am pretty much back to square one except for severe memory loss, other problems from the many medications I have taken over the past 15 plus years and lastly, massive debt thanks to the lack of mental health parity. I’m trying to recall a specific doctor that has really helped me-there have been two or three out of more than thirty. The ones that did help-well, at the time, when I still chose the path of medication (the quick fix), I told them what I wanted to be on. I told them I was there for med management only. I cannot think of one therapist that helped me or gave me tools that actually worked in the real world. Scratch that-I had a sexual abuse therapist many years ago tell me, “my mind may never fully remember my entire rape-my mind will only allow me to remember what it can handle” or something to that effect. And she was right. I do believe that. I have not had one doctor suggest dealing with trauma from my past (my rape, etc) instead they’ve always labeled me, threw pills at me which made me sicker and certainly did not deal with the true issue at hand.

So, a few years ago I started this blog because I was feeling very alone and misunderstood in the “real” world and over the past three years I have met so many wonderful, amazing human beings in the cyber world-you all know who you are. But, hey, lets make you REAL just for fun: Gianna, Stephany,Duane, Van, Ana, Stan, Susan, Alex, Susan, Jon, Denise and so many others. Kidding aside-you are all real. You are all amazing, compassionate, strong and wise people that have helped me along my journey and I will never be able to properly thank you-because there are no words as to how much your support and your personal stories have meant to me. Now that I have opted to travel a different road to recovery, one without meds, I will need support more than ever. There are reasons some of us have at one point traveled the different road: the medication quick fix road. I won’t get into those reasons here because they are varied and some are very sad (ie. forced treatment, forced drugging, etc.) Some of us, well, me…I chose that road simply because it was the ONLY road I knew until I began my venture into the cyber alternative healing world. It reminds me of something recently posted at the great website/resource: Beyond Meds-Alternatives to psychiatry.

“Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of psychiatric disability.” ~ Dr. William Anthony, Director, Center for Psych Rehab

and:

Dr. Lori Ashcroft suggests that we can experience “moments of recovery” by choosing new ways to respond and breaking old patterns.

– Developing a series of wellness tools
– Recognizing our triggers and learning how to best deal with trauma
– Learning our personal bill of rights
– Setting short and long-term goals and determining actions for change
– Finding our sense of purpose and ridding ourselves of negative self-talk

The above is exactly what I plan to do-it will be part of my new road to recovery. It is part of the reason behind this post. Another being the email I received and I felt I needed to write about it here. And lastly, I just read my sister-in-law’s blog and it reminded me of so many things. She has three children (my nieces) two of whom are in their teens and have cystic fibrosis. It would take forever to properly describe my sister-in-law: strong, loving, intelligent, spiritual, patient and giving. Those are just a few adjectives but there are many more. I will strive to be more like her-I want to attempt yoga, meditation and well, just live in the moment. That is not at all easy for someone like me and I commend those that are able to do so. But anything is possible and I hope to someday live in the moment and find true peace and a calmness in my heart. It will be a long, difficult road as so many of you know-but it will be worth it in the end.

Oh, I just realized the time-I have to end this. I must venture out into the real world, which is not easy for so many of us and only WE seem to know the reasons why, unfortunately due to stigma. I am going to pick up a 40s vintage jacket that a friend of mine altered for me yesterday after trying it on. (It was a twisted scene from Pretty Woman-imagine me trying on numerous outfits-many of which didn’t fit thanks to weight gain from psych meds and I didn’t have the unlimited credit card!) This jacket is part of what I’m wearing to tonight’s screening of a film I worked on and I will be, yes, amongst thousands of people in the real world. Not here on my laptop. I spent 6 weeks in the real world working on this film, giving my all for a story/film that I truly loved. The creative outlet is an important one for me. I personally believe it has saved my life. peace to you all.

 

Oh Jesus H. Joe… March 21, 2009

I’m pretty much speechless here. Actually, I’m also quite tired and simply cannot find the words. Sooo….

From the IN VIVO blog:

Do you remember Joseph Biederman?

He’s the Harvard University psychiatrist who is one of several prominent academics being investigated by the US Senate Finance Committee for allegedly failing to properly disclose payments from the pharmaceutical industry, while also conducting grants for the National Institutes of Health (see background).

In Biederman’s case, he allegedly failed to fully report approximately $1.6 million in consulting fees from various drugmakers between 2000 and 2007, according to the committee. And court documents released late last year suggested he also pushed Johnson & Johnson to fund a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital that would advance J&J’s commercial goals (take a look).

As a result, Biederman is currently enmeshed in litigation in the Superior Court of New Jersey, where three drugmakers – AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and J&J’s Janssen unit -are being sued in connection with risks associated with their antipsychotic medications. Attorneys for the families who filed suit fought to interview Biederman under oath because his work has been crucial to the widespread acceptance of the pediatric usage of antipsychotics.

Now, though, Biederman is hoping Superior Court Judge Jamie Happas will agree to have his deposition sealed, because he doesn’t want the extent of his involvement with the companies publicized. However, we understand The New York Times is already gearing up for a story, which prompted Biederman’s attorneys to write this letter to Happas.

What’s in the deposition? Dozens and dozens of pages of detail relating to Biederman’s activities, but we encourage you to peruse both sections of the document.

Please visit the IN VIVO blog to download the deposition.

When Biederman is quizzed about his professional ranking at Harvard, well, here is his response:

Lawyer: “What does that mean?”

Biederman: “To move in the ranks from one rank, for example, at Harvard, there is instructor, from instructor you move to assistant professor, from assistant professor you move to associate professor, from associate professsor you move to full professor.”

Lawyer: “Full professor?”

Biederman: “Hm…mmm.”

Lawyer: “What rank are you?”

Biederman: “Full professor.”

Lawyer: “What’s after that?”

Biederman: “God”

Lawyer: “Did you say God?”

Biederman: “Yeah.”

yeah. you read that correctly.

and then there’s this:

Q. And do you agree that you are one of the most forceful advocates of the aggressive treatment of preschoolers?

A.(Biederman)It is her statement about me.

Q.I didn’t ask you if it was her statement about you.I’m asking you if you agree that you are one of the most forceful advocates of the aggressive treatment of preschoolers.

A.(Biederman) I am.

lock this guy up now for the love of, um, GOD…

opinions of this story are all over the place. here’s the NY Times piece, Furious Seasons, Beyond Meds, soulful sepulcher, The Carlat Psychiatry Blog and the Boston Globe to name a few.

 

AstraZeneca, you’re back! March 18, 2009

Dear AstraZeneca,

So, you’ve decided to visit three times between and 10:40am and 11:35am. And that was before I posted the link on the story at the Washington Post airing your dirty laundry. Here’s another link, just for fun, from the LA Times where they too have the WP story. You guys can’t buy your way out of this press. It also looks like you noticed the link explaining how patients (we are human beings, not guinea pigs) can now testify in regards to your hearings on applications to have your antipsychotic Seroquel approved by the FDA for depression, anxiety and whatnot. Did you not like the Bob Dylan video in my previous post to you? Well, here’s another version, enjoy it while you can!!!

Domain Name (Unknown)
IP Address 156.70.222.# (Astra Zeneca)
ISP Astra Zeneca
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Pennsylvania
City : Concordville
Lat/Long : 39.8886, -75.5143 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Microsoft Win2000
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; SV1; @; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Javascript disabled
Time of Visit Mar 18 2009 11:34:15 am
Last Page View Mar 18 2009 11:35:29 am
Visit Length 1 minute 14 seconds
Page Views 2
Referring URL unknown
Visit Entry Page http://invinciblesum…you-johnson-johnson/
Visit Exit Page http://invinciblesum…seroquel-experience/
Out Click
Time Zone unknown
Visitor’s Time Unknown

 

Hello AstraZeneca, here’s a little Bob Dylan for you. March 17, 2009

Hello there. You guys are always here and I think you know my story. What is your name? What is your story? Until you’d like to share, please stop visiting. Or did my last message to you piss you off so much that it left you speechless and you simply couldn’t comment? Or maybe you were sitting at your desk snickering and thinking: another crazy girl who’s gone off her meds! No, I bet I know what it is, you’re taking Seroquel! Your speech is slurred and you can hardly type or put a sentence together! I’m surprised you’re even awake this early, it’s not easy, I know from previous experience! A few more questions for you, my dear reader:

Do you have a child or a friend or a loved one? Is he or she depressed? If so, have you suggested Seroquel for their depression? And lastly, if you are taking Seroquel, have you been to your doctor lately to check for diabetes?

Domain Name (Unknown)
IP Address 156.70.222.# (Astra Zeneca)
ISP Astra Zeneca
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Pennsylvania
City : Concordville
Lat/Long : 39.8886, -75.5143 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Microsoft Win2000
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; AZ US; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Javascript disabled
Time of Visit Mar 17 2009 9:43:57 am
Last Page View Mar 17 2009 9:43:57 am
Visit Length 0 seconds
Page Views 1
Referring URL unknown
Visit Entry Page http://invinciblesum…re-corrupt-everyday/
Visit Exit Page http://invinciblesum…re-corrupt-everyday/
Out Click
Time Zone unknown
Visitor’s Time Unknown

I’ll end this entry with the great Bob Dylan. Maybe you’ll hear his words over and over in your head today, tomorrow and the next….

 

AstraZeneca-more corrupt everyday March 16, 2009

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma — clementine @ 2:27 pm
Tags: , ,

Here’s the latest on the AstraZeneca/Seroquel drama:

In the court of public opinion, AstraZeneca is taking a beating over its handling of Seroquel, the blockbuster antipsychotic pill that’s the subject of thousands of consumer lawsuits claiming it caused their diabetes. In the court of law, though, the drug maker is fighting back.

A three-day hearing in Delaware Superior Court last week offered a preview of how AstraZeneca lawyers intend to thwart plaintiffs who blame Seroquel for their diabetes. The company faces lawsuits from more than 15,000 plaintiffs, including hundreds of cases in Delaware, where Seroquel was developed and where AstraZeneca has its U.S. headquarters.

During last week’s hearing — a pretrial proceeding in what could be the first Seroquel case in the country to go to trial — AstraZeneca’s attorneys tried to convince Judge Joseph Slights III to throw out testimony from three expert witnesses who connected Seroquel use to diabetes.

Attorneys and plaintiffs are now watching to see how Slights will rule. A win for AstraZeneca could avert a trial scheduled to start June 29.

now, here is the very interesting part:

The case was brought by Kansas resident Nina Scaife, 46, who started taking Seroquel in May 2003 and was diagnosed with diabetes a year later, according to testimony.

AstraZeneca, which has said that it will litigate each Seroquel case on its individual merits, argued that Scaife’s expert witnesses failed to examine the scientific issues rigorously enough to satisfy legal requirements.

Moreover, the drug maker’s attorneys said, Scaife — and all the other plaintiffs to date — have additional risk factors for diabetes that make it impossible to single out Seroquel as the cause of the disease. In the case of Scaife, for instance, lawyers argued that factors including her obesity and African-American ethnicity had already elevated her risk of diabetes before she took Seroquel.

“I can’t see how the plaintiffs can win,” said Michael Kelly, a Wilmington-based partner in the law firm McCarter & English, who’s slated to try the Scaife case for AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca is arguing the factors including this woman’s obesity and African-American ethnicity had already elevated her risk of diabetes before she took Seroquel. Really? Disgusting. Well, AstraZeneca, I gained 40 pounds in two months on your lovely drug, Seroquel. I am Caucasian. I was never overweight until I began my journey with psychiatric meds. My grandmother died entirely too young due to complications from diabetes and guess what- she was on psychiatric medications for many, many years.

A question for you, AstraZeneca: Tell me, how many years have you known (and hid the data) that your drug was linked to weight gain and diabetes???? Would you say, for nearly ten years??? And lastly, a note to you, AstraZeneca: excuse my language but, f**k off. you make me sick.

To read more on this story click here or here.