Best Selling Author Gerald Posner Discusses ‘Pharma: Greed Lies and Poisoning of America’

Gerald Posner on the podcast this week.
Gerald Posner latest work is “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.” This book describes something we here are all very interest in which is the history of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

In a special edition of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast best-selling author and investigative journalist Gerald Posner discusses the sordid history of the drug business from his most recent work, ‘Pharma: Greed Lies and the Poisoning of America.’ It reads like a ‘true crime’ novel, though everything in the volume is true. ‘Pharma: Greed Lies and the Poisoning of America’ is available at Amazon, just click here: ‘Pharma: Greed Lies and the Poisoning of America.’

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on SoundCloud, iTunes, iHeartRadio, LibSyn, Spotify, and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site. In the book and podcast Posner tells a compelling story that links the history of the pharmaceutical industry from the mid-19th century to the twenty first. It is not a flattering narrative. Many of the practices that were incorporated into marketing and selling heroin and cocaine in the early 20th century were and are still used today. And like they did before, the same companies are deliberately downplaying of the risk of modern-day medicines like opioids that have led to addiction and death for so many Americans.

Interests Intersect

Mr. Posner’s work and the interests of the Houston Healthcare Initiative coincide in several important ways. “The reform of the entire healthcare industry including the pharmaceutical business is our mission,” said Dr. Steven Goldstein who founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative. “We were very flattered he took time to talk with us and the audience about this important topic and we hope that everyone who reads his new book is inspired to act.”

Profits, Then Everything Else

Marketing, sales, advertising and abuse of patent law are all used against the American public to boost sales and stock prices of drug companies. This is part of the historic heritage that links the business’ past to today. “Only by knowing its history,” Mr. Posner writes, “is it possible to fully appreciate how the battle between noble ambitions and greed is a permanent conflict.” Mr. Posner tells many stories about the people behind the industry and the some of the ethically questionable things they did and still do.

Meet the Sacklers

The mindset of these and other actors id’ed in the book can be better understood with one of many informative stories Mr. Posner relates. According to Mr. Posner, eight people in a single family ‘made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic.’ The family in question is the Sacklers, notably Arthur, who “had some clever ideas of how to disguise product promotions as ‘news’ covered in consumer press.” According to media experts, the ad made to look like news or ‘advertorial’ is a really low rung on either the paid ad or public relations ladder.

Nazis? Really?

Mr. Posner detailed this during his interview on the podcast. “In 1947, defense attorneys for Nazi doctors charged with war crimes for human experimentation at concentration camps cited the malaria experiments in a failed effort for an acquittal. He went on, “when Nazi doctors are citing clinical trials from your industry as grounds for an acquittal in their own legal trials, you have erred.”

To learn more about Gerald Posner visit his web site at https://www.posner.com/.

About Houston Healthcare Initiative And Dr. Steven Goldstein

Dr. Steven Goldstein is a Houston based neurologist. He founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative and is an advocate for common sense solutions to the healthcare crisis that confronts the citizens and residents of the United States of America.

 

 

 

Pharma: Greed Lies and the Poisoning of America

Gerald Posner on the podcast this week.

On this special edition of the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast, author Gerald Posner discusses the history of the pharmaceutical industry and his new book “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.” This book describes the history of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry and how we and they got to the place we are now.

Among many shocking facts included are that many of the practices that were incorporated into marketing and selling heroin and cocaine in the early 20th century are still used today. And like before, those same companies are deliberately downplaying of the risk of modern-day medicines like opioids. Refer to www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org and www.posner.com. Be sure to read “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.”

Possible Remedy for the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Global Pandemic Invites Immediate Controversy

Blood Plasma
Possible Remedy for the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Global Pandemic Invites Immediate Controversy
Treatment with blood plasma from recovered patients is an accepted practice that goes back to the early 20th century.

Possible Remedy for the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Global Pandemic Invites Immediate Controversy.

On August 23, 2020 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a decision to grant blood plasma treatment for Coronavirus/Covid-19 patients with a fast-track authorization for its emergency use as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The next day, claims about the effectiveness of this treatment were retracted. Subsequent news coverage about this potential treatment did little to clarify blood plasmas’ usefulness or lack thereof. The idea that there could be a political motivation behind the fast track authorization for this potential treatment, other than looking for a useful therapeutic, is troubling.

Who Can Americans Believe?

On his regular ‘Houston Healthcare Initiative’ podcast, respected neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein defines how this decision triggered an outcry from scientists and doctors, who said the decision was not supported by adequate clinical evidence and criticized the FDA for what was perceived as bowing to ‘political pressure’.

Dr. Goldstein also reviews those who believed this approach was worthwhile. Generally, treatment with blood plasma from recovered patients is an accepted practice that goes back to the early 20th century. Many believe the possibility that blood plasma from recovered Coronavirus/Covid-19 patients could help people fight off the virus was worthy of further investigation.

Who is correct? Who should the American public rely on for the best information about treatment for this global health emergency?

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on: SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Listen Notes, iHeartRadio, and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site.

About Houston Healthcare Initiative And Dr. Steven Goldstein

Dr. Steven Goldstein is a Houston based neurologist. He founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative and is an advocate for common sense solutions to the healthcare crisis that confronts the citizens and residents of the United States of America. Blood plasma treatment for Covid-19 patients invites controversy.

Blood Plasma Covid Treatment and Pharmaceutical Industry Reform

Blood plasma covid treatment and pharmaceutical industry reform. On August 23, 2020 the Food and Drug Administration’s announced a decision to grant blood plasma treatment for Coronavirus/Covid-19 patients with a  fast-track authorization for its emergency use as a treatment for hospitalized COVID patients. This “emergency use authorization” triggered an outcry from scientists and doctors, who said the decision was not supported by adequate clinical evidence and criticized the FDA for what was perceived as bowing to political pressure.

Should Pharma choose people over profit?
Big Pharma has a big influence on the congress from multi-million dollar lobbying effort.

News coverage about this potential treatment has done little to clarify whether its useful or not. The idea that there could be a motivation behind the fast track authorization for this potential treatment other than looking for a useful therapeutic is troubling. More to the point, who should decide what patients receive in treatment for their illnesses? To help us make sense of how reforms for the pharmaceutical industry could potentially help separate facts from spin and who we should all listen to is respected neurologist, Dr. Steven Goldstein. Click below to listen.

To read more about this issue please click below: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/fda-s-green-light-treating-covid-19-plasma-critics-see-thin-evidence-and-politics.

The Reforms Big Pharmaceutical Companies Need

Reforms for the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Steven Goldstein has ideas that will make the pharmaceutical industry more responsive to the American public.

The Reforms Big Pharmaceutical Companies Need. On his regular podcast, Dr. Steven Goldstein advocated dramatic reforms for the pharmaceutical industry and with good reason. To hear the podcast go to: SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Backtracks, LibSyn, or the website at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org. Dr. Goldstein insists that for the health and welfare of the American public, the congress must pass reforms that limit the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and its lobby.

What Has To Change – Ban Pharmaceutical Lobbying

“Corporate lobbying by pharmaceutical companies should be illegal,” Dr. Goldstein told his audience. “It isn’t right.” The companies who make more expensive treatments for ailments that could be treated with generic medicines spend millions of dollars lobbying the congress. According to a study by Brigham Young University, the health sector lobby’s spending increased more than 10% in the first quarter of 2020 while the non-health lobby sector increased 1%. Meanwhile, the number of new lobbyists registered in the health sector increased a staggering 140% while non-health sector registrations increased 63%.

Patent Reform

Drug companies should not be permitted to obtain patents because of small modifications to already existing patented medication. “That is not what the spirit of patent protection was meant for,” Dr. Goldstein said. He also advocates that existing antitrust laws be enforced to stop price fixing. “An example is the predatory practice of larger drug companies paying off small generic manufacturers in order to eliminate competition,” Dr. Goldstein said.

Prescription Reform; Physicians Prescribe Not Pharmacists or Bureaucrats

Physicians should be free to prescribe drugs “off-label” without fear of lawsuit or sanctions from state or federal regulatory boards. “Full stop, no questions from non-physicians, pharmacists or government regulators,” Dr. Goldstein stated.

FDA Reform

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with making sure drugs are “safe and effective”. “If you think about it, there is no such thing as a drug that is 100% safe or 100% effective,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Even aspirin can cause gastritis and intestinal bleeding that in rare instances can cause death. Drugs used to treat epilepsy are only about 50% effective.  How then does the FDA decide what drugs to approve? After randomized controlled trials are performed, a panel of “experts” decides which drugs to approve.”

About Houston Healthcare Initiative and Dr. Steven Goldstein

Dr. Steven Goldstein is a Houston based neurologist. He founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative and is an advocate for common sense solutions to the healthcare crisis that confronts the citizens and residents of the United States of America. The Reforms Big Pharmaceutical Companies Need.

 

 

The Source of the Misunderstanding: Retracted Article Mischaracterizes Hydroxychloroquine

Like un-ringing a bell.

Retracted Article Mischaracterizes Hydroxychloroquine. No one can un-ring a bell. No article can be ‘un-read’ or any eventual retraction definitely seen and understood. There are few more illustrative examples lately than when respected medical journals published information about the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the Coronavirus/Covid-19 virus they later retracted.

HCN
Large French Real World Observational Study Reveals Hydroxychloroquine Azithromycin-Associated with Reduction in Hospitalization-Death for COVID 19 Patients.

On his podcast, respected, Houston based neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein describes how the well-established, inexpensive drug Hydroxychloroquine was mischaracterized. To listen to the podcast please visit: SoundCloud, Libsyn,iHeart, and the Houston Healthcare Initiative web site.

Article Retracted But Damage Done

Early in the pandemic, Hydroxychloroquine looked like it could be a possible treatment for Coronavirus/Covid-19 ,but use of and studies about the drug quickly lost favor after articles in the Lancet and New England Journal of Medicinecast doubt. The later retracted study and reporting about it had an immediate impact. The World Health Organization (WHO) stopped their research into hydroxychloroquine. Multiple news web sites carried the message that Hydroxychloroquine was not effective, citing the New England Journal of Medicine as its source. One example was from the NBC News web site read, “Hydroxychloroquine fails to prevent COVID-19, large study finds.”

Damage Done

While the articles were retracted the information originally published, could not be ‘unseen.’ “The news media touted these articles, that falsely claimed there was no evidence that treatment with Hydroxychloroquine was effective,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners.  “A French study published March 20, 2020 suggested the drug helped people with coronavirus, reporting it “is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in patients with COVID-19.”

The article and its author, French physician and scientist, Dr. Didier Raoult, who authored papers showing favorable results, were personally and professionally attacked (The New York Times) among others. Suffice to say that way more people saw and continue to see these refuted articles, even though they were retracted. But the harm from them remains.

About The Houston Healthcare Initiative

Houston Healthcare Initiative is a group of physicians and health conscious patients that have joined together in a Healthcare cooperative to maintain and improve the physical and mental health of each member of the group. Visit online at https://houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

Sources and Links

“Retraction: Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19.” N Engl J Med. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2007621. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2021225.

June 25, 2020 N Engl J Med 2020; 382:2582. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2021225

“Retraction—Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis.” Published: June 05, 2020.

By: Mandeep R Mehra,   Frank RuschitzkaAmit N Patel.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31324-6/fulltext

“Two elite medical journals retract coronavirus papers over data integrity questions”

By: Charles PillerKelly Servick Jun. 4, 2020 , 5:30 PM

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31324-6/fulltext

“He Was a Science Star. Then He Promoted a Questionable Cure for Covid-19.” The New York Times By Scott Sayare. Published May 12, 2020 Updated May 21, 2020

“French Doctor Leads Charge for Treating Coronavirus With Antimalarial Drug”

Health authorities say evidence is inconclusive that the treatment, which President Trump has backed, is effective. By Nick Kostov and David Gauthier-Villars

Updated April 11, 2020 7:52 pm ET

https://www.wsj.com/articles/french-doctor-leads-charge-for-treating-coronavirus-with-antimalarial-drug-11586629801

Retracted Article Mischaracterizes Hydroxychloroquine.

Retracted Article Mischaracterizes Hydroxychloroquine.

A Retracted Article Drove Misunderstanding of Hydroxychloroquine

A Retracted Article Drove Misunderstanding Hydroxychloroquine

A Retracted Article Drove Misunderstanding of Hydroxychloroquine. No one can unring a bell. When articles published in the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine published and then retracted an article critical about the possible use of hydroxychloriquine as a treatment for Coronavirus/Covid-19 they may have shown good faith with the retractions but the damage was done. On his regular podcast, Dr. Steven Goldstein discusses how and why the use of an inexpensive drug was widely criticized. An article from Tablet magazine (Hydroxychloroquine: A Morality Tale) describes the issue in detail.

The criticisms were based on the retracted articles, but there was more to it. Political agendas and money both added to the manufactured confusion about a drug that was used to treat malaria, lupus and others without controversy. Dr. Goldstein believes that reforms for government and the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry were never more obvious than in this example. A Retracted Article Drove Misunderstanding of Hydroxychloroquine.

Was There Ever A Better Time To Reform Drug Prices?

US & Canadian Drug Prices

In the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic Age Come Ideas for Drug Price Reform

In the coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic age drug reform is topical.

According to Dr. Steven Goldstein on his podcast, “without meaningful modification, drug prices and pressure on patient’s ability to pay and manufacturers resources for discovery will reach a tipping point.” Dr. Steven Goldstein lists the reasons for the discrepancy and how the U.S. could reform the laws that govern the ways therapeutic medicine gets from the lab bench all the way to the patient for whom it is intended.

Some of these include:

  • Reform drug patent law. The patent system for drugs needs to be reformed so that drug development costs can be recouped along with a profit. Once this occurs, the patent should expire.
  • Streamline approval. The FDA needs reform so that drug authorizations are more efficient. Possibly, an international FDA funded by a consortium of countries could approve drugs.
  • Eliminate monetary incentives from drug companies for writing prescriptions.
  • Drug discounts to insurance companies and Medicare should be illegal.
  • Enforce the laws already passed. Antitrust laws for price collusion need to be enforced.

    US & Canadian Drug Prices
    In the coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic age drug reform is topical. For U.S. drug prices to be affordable and provide enough resources for continued research serious reform is needed. 

To hear Dr. Goldstein’s podcast listen on SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, and the website at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

 

Why Are Prescription Drugs Cheaper in Canada?

Why Are Prescription Drugs Cheaper in Canada?

Even those with private, employer funded health insurance gasp at the price of some prescription medications. Learning that the same medicine is available north of the border at a substantially reduced price often produces other emotional reactions from surprise to anger. There are plenty of reasons those drugs are priced differently.

drug prices in Canada are lower because the Canadian government regulates the price.
Why Are Prescription Drugs Cheaper in Canada? Prices in Canada are lower because the Canadian government regulates the price.

Listeners to the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast will learn why as respected neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein explains how the combination of foreign government requirements and U.S. government non-regulation combined to give the American public sticker shock at the drug store.

The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, and the website at www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.

Canadian Government Declares Prices

In short, drug prices in Canada are lower because the Canadian government regulates the price. In Canada, a review board decides on pricing and what they believe are reasonable or excessive prices. If they decide a drug is priced too high, they will not allow it on the drug formulary. This board, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, is described in Canada as a quasi-judicial agency.

Before a prescription drug can be sold in Canada it is scientifically reviewed to make certain that it can do what it is supposed to do. A committee of experts known as the Human Drug Advisory Panel will make recommendations about other valid drugs on which to make comparison, in addition to recommendations for the categorization of new drugs. The level of therapeutic improvement of an existing patented drug is used to determine a ceiling price, known as the Maximum Average Potential Price, at its introduction.

U.S. Prices Set by Industry

The U.S. government is prohibited by law from negotiating prices for Medicare and other government programs. “Obviously, the drug company needs to recoup the cost of research, manufacture, advertising and the cost of getting the drug approved by the FDA,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “The people in this country essentially pay for all of this work as countries like Canada do not allow their citizens to share the cost.” New drugs are issued a patent giving the drug company a monopoly on sale of the drug for 20 years. The drug company is free to set whatever price it likes for prescription drugs. Prices are then negotiated between insurance companies and the manufacturers.

Needed Drug Price Reforms

The U.S. and Canadian systems each present two very different models for drug pricing, neither of which is reasonable. The Canadian system does not allow enough incentive for new drugs to be created. The American system results in unaffordable prices. “There are several needed reforms,” Dr. Goldstein said. “We are not able to flip a switch and adopt the prices charged in Canada, though that would be nice.”

The reforms Dr. Goldstein recommends are:

  • Reform drug patent law. The patent system for drugs needs to be reformed so that drug development costs can be recouped along with a profit. Once this occurs, the patent should expire.
  • Streamline approval. The FDA needs reform so that drug authorizations are more efficient. Possibly, an international FDA funded by a consortium of countries could approve drugs.
  • Eliminate monetary incentives for writing prescriptions.
  • Drug discounts to insurance companies and Medicare should be illegal.
  • Enforce the laws already passed. Antitrust laws for price collusion need to be enforced.

“If these reforms were enacted, prices for drugs would be determined more by supply and demand,” Dr. Goldstein said. “This would ensure an adequate supply at the lowest price. For high priced drugs of marginal benefit, demand would be low and would tend to cause the price to drop. For new orphan drugs, the government could provide subsidies.”

About Houston Healthcare Initiative

Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI) was founded by Dr. Steven Goldstein. Like many Americans, Dr. Goldstein is concerned about the state of the U.S healthcare system as well as the sorry state of the public’s health. The Houston Healthcare Initiative web site is an aggregator of news, healthcare pricing information, and resources for those who want to help drive reform for the healthcare industry. HHI’s emphasis for reform is on free market innovation and personal responsibility.

 

Why Canadian Drug Prices Are Lower Than US Drug Prices

US & Canadian Drug Prices

What are the reasons prices for prescribed medicine here are far higher than they are in Canada? Is there a good reason or any reason? Add to this the recent federal government action to bring U.S. drug prices close to or on par with their costs in Canada. To make sense of this, please listen to the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast. Listen here to find out Why Canadian Drug Prices Are Lower Than US Drug Prices.

Listen for more here at https://soundcloud.com/you/tracks.