The Media Buries the Message: Tobacco Prevention vs. High-Cost Drugs

StatinsCholesterol-reducing drugs called statins have been in the news lately following the release of a major medical study that found that statins can prevent heart disease and stroke in people with no previous history of heart disease.

Statins are among the biggest-selling family of drugs of all time. Many articles about the study mentioned above, including one on the credible web site WebMD, also mention the specific drug used in the study: Crestor.

The study has generated hundreds of articles, most of which repeat the same basic framing of the issue: if heart disease is the problem, a drug is the answer.

Industry Tries to Sell Congress on Drugs

A $13.2 million ad campaign thanks 28 members of Congress, 25 of whom are Democrats, "for supporting a children's health-care bill vetoed twice by President George W. Bush in 2007." The ads are by America's Agenda: Health Care for Kids, a new non-profit group whose sole funder is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).


Pfizer Turns Failure into Success

"Documents and emails released this week ... suggest Pfizer's marketers influenced" research on the drug Neurontin "by declining to release or altering the conclusions of studies that found no beneficial effect from Neurontin for various off-label conditions," reports Keith Winstein.


Eli Lilly: Yet Again, One Small Step Ahead of Congress

Cartoon doctorThe pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has announced that it will begin reporting its payments to doctors in late 2009, using an online database. But the disclosure is limited to payments of more than $500 made for giving talks or advice to the company; payments for other services or gifts will not be included. Payments made before 2009 will also not be disclosed.



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