Unproven alternative medicines recommended by third of Australian pharmacists

The Guardian, 13 February 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Nearly one third of pharmacists are recommending complementary and alternative medicines with little-to-no evidence for their efficacy, including useless homeopathic products and potentially harmful herbal products.”
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Sen. Grassley Launches Inquiry Into Orphan Drug Law’s Effect On Prices

NPR, 10 February 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble
“Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.”
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Drug Makers Accused of Fixing Prices on Insulin

NYT, 30 January 2017
Author: Katie Thomas
“A lawsuit filed Monday accused three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills. The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.”
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Exclusive: Canada seeks warnings on prescription painkillers amid rising deaths

Reuters, 23 January 2017
Author: Anna Mehler Paperny
“As deaths from powerful painkillers continue to rise, Canada is pursuing unprecedented measures to curb their use, including requiring cigarette-style warning stickers on every prescription, Health Minister Jane Philpott told Reuters.”
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Drugmakers Manipulate Orphan Drug Rules To Create Prized Monopolies

Kaiser Health News, 17 January 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin
“A Kaiser Health News investigation shows that the system intended to help desperate patients is being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines already being taken by millions. The companies aren’t breaking the law but they are using the Orphan Drug Act to their advantage in ways that its architects say they didn’t foresee or intend. Today, many orphan medicines, originally developed to treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people, come with astronomical price tags.”
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From Twitter To Treatment Guidelines, Industry Influence Permeates Medicine

NPR, 17 January 2017
Author: Charles Ornstein
“The long arm of the pharmaceutical industry continues to pervade practically every area of medicine, reaching those who write guidelines that shape doctors’ practices, patient advocacy organizations, letter writers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and even oncologists on Twitter, according to a series of papers on money and influence published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.”
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Industry money may taint advice from patient groups, regulators

Reuters, 17 January 2017
Author: Ronnie Cohen
“As a social worker, Susannah Rose referred clients with cancer to patient advocacy groups she trusted to dispense unbiased advice – until she heard the groups might be taking money from pharmaceutical companies.Her research was published today online in JAMA Internal Medicine along with other studies showing a host of ways pharmaceutical manufacturers appear to pay for influence.”
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Novartis is under investigation for allegedly bribing thousands of Greek doctors

BMJ 2017; 356:j130
Author: Owen Dyer
“Greece’s financial police have raided the Athens headquarters of Novartis, and a team of agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation have flown in to study seized company records, as part of an expanding probe into claims that the drug company has bribed over 4000 Greek doctors to prescribe or support the reimbursement of its drugs.”
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Could Amgen’s Patent Victory Be Bad For Medicine?

Forbes, 6 January 2017
Author: Matthew Herper
“Last night, in a nearly unprecedented move, a federal judge ordered a cholesterol medicine that is on the market and used by patients to be withdrawn because it infringes on the patents of a competitor. Some patent attorneys reacted with shock.”
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