Thursday, December 23, 2004

Michael Moore attacks; and first Archive Holiday Assignment!

Rotton Tomato news has a story about Michael Moore's forthcoming film "Sicko" which will be about American Health Care, possibly focusing specifically on our wonderful industry. The story notes that some companies sent out a warning to employees concerning the film, and to watch out for Michael Moore ambushes at the gates. We can attest that this is true - our company made such a warning earlier this Fall. My opinion about Michael Moore's films can be found in the comments beneath the article, and I won't repeat them here. Look for the Pharmablogger comment.

Little other news today, except for the bitch-slapping warning letter to AstraZeneca concerning their face-saving adverts for Crestor that appeared shortly after David Graham fingered the drug as one of five potential Vioxx cases. Here's the New York Times take on the letter, where they pull no punches in listing other AstraZeneca woes of the recent past.

We are not sure how often we will post in the coming few days, due to Christmas. For your holiday reading pleasure, I am assigning an article that appeared in the Times in March, 2001. The article is about the development of Claritin by Schering Plough, and their attempt to prolong the brand patent. Normally, the Times charges for access to articles over 7 days old. But for special features like this or Magazine articles, free access appears to be indefinite. The crux of the article is that so much money has been spent, and so much litigation has taken place over a drug that barely beat placebos in the efficacy trials. We just take a little piece of a Benadryl when we need something for our Spring allergies. Remember - there's no such thing as a non-sedating anti-histamine. By definition, any drugs that block histamine receptors (including many neuroleptics) cause drowsiness. Claritin, Allegra et al are simple weak anti-histamines. And our allergies laugh at them.

Update 2 hours later: Check out this article in Editor & Publisher about the Michael Moore film. Hidden cameras in doctor's offices? This could get ugly. We once had a discussion about doctors with a sales rep, who insisted that "establishing a relationship" with a doctor by providing dinner and other goodies was good for everyone, including patients. These Kool-Aid drinkers cannot ever see their role as corrupters of good medical practice. When our wife (first-person plural gets difficult sometimes) was diagnosed with post-partum hypertension, and the doctor's first choice for a prescription was a Calcium Channel Blocker, we "fired" that doctor immediately. Sometimes, it's hard to tell who is worse - the doctor whore, or the sales rep pimp.

Merry Christmas and good health to all!

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