Do The Drugs You Take Really Work? And Are They Safe?

A picture of a variety of loose pillsWhen one visits the doctor and drugs are prescribed – one rightfully assumes those drugs are both effective and safe.

After all – we trust the physicians in our lives to make good choices for us.

Did you know that in 1997, Congress passed a law creating a website called clinicaltrials.gov overseen by the National Institutes of Health? The website was established to provide physicians and consumers easy access to information on public and private clinical trials.

In 2007, Congress also passed legislation that required medical researchers to release study findings to this website within one year of a study’s completion.

Soon thereafter, editors at many of the most prestigious medical journals decided to publish only study results that appeared on that website.

Well, in 2008, an FDA medical officer by the name of Turner led a research review looking to determine which research studies on antidepressants actually got published in medical journals.

To his surprise, Turner found that of all studies published on the topic, 94% of the time they reported positive results.

So that’s what all the research must have revealed – correct?

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Death from Medicine Back in the News…

Death from Medicine is way too common.For decades, medical researchers have been publishing data showing that conventional medicine is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. A paper recently published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) reconfirms this fact.

There are a number of very curious things about this issue.   First – why was this latest article not published in a prominent U.S. medical journal? Well – the author approached the NEJM (the New England Journal of Medicine) and was told “the study was not relevant to practicing physicians”. JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) also said no thanks.

Really?

No interest???

What’s more – how is it possible the medical community has made so little progress addressing these issues, particularly given that researchers have been reporting this data since the middle of the 20th century – over 50 years.

How can it be that the richest nation on earth, a nation that spends more on healthcare than any other major industrial nation, is now witnessing a dramatic increase in chronic disease and a drop in life expectancy compared to other industrialized nations?

Is it possible that business interests are trumping consumer interests?

Robert Kennedy Jr. (the son of the late Senator Robert Kennedy) recently had this to say about medicine in America…

“The pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. It is a trillion dollar industry. It is the number-one lobbyist in Washington D.C., and at state capitals around America. It gives $2.6 billion – twice what oil and gas give – to our elected officials. The pharmaceutical industry gives four-times to our politicians what defense and aeronautical contractors do. This is an industry that has complete control of our politicians on Capitol Hill.”

Our question is why would an industry so confident about the benefits of their system of therapy feel the need to buy state and federal legislative bodies? It’s a curious question isn’t it?

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What If Computer Hackers Could Attack Operating Room Equipment?

 

Computers are a true marvel of the modern world. Capable of performing billions of calculations per second – these machines continue to transform the world as we know it.

Marvels, however, can sometimes come with risks.   It’s something we’ve written a great deal about. In particular, we’ve written a lot about the potential dangers associated with computer guided cars in recent months.

Did you know that medical experts are now growing increasingly concerned about the potential for medical equipment to be hacked? This concern particularly applies to equipment that can “talk” to other machines within a health or hospital system and centers on the potential for “inappropriate access to devices.” There is also the problem that one device might be transmitting data in metric units only to be misinterpreted by another machine set to accept data in pounds and inches. Miscues like these could prove fatal to any patients involved.

But hacking into medical devices – really?

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Medicine and the Law. What You Must Know.

The Center for Justice and Democracy at the New York School of Law has just released a report on the state of medicine and the law called Medical Malpractice: By The Numbers (September, 2014).  It’s findings are enlightening and disturbing.

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