Links 9/2/09

Astronomers Find World’s Best Astronomical Observing Site Space Fellowship (hat tip reader John D)

Lies, damned lies and health care ABC (the Australian one, hat tip reader Skippy)

A Drug Maker’s Strategy Revealed New York Times (hat tip reader DoctoRx)

Bartiromo Asks 44 y/o Congressman “If Medicare’s So Good, Why Aren’t You On It?!” Talking Points Memo (hat tip reader Marshall). Oh boy.

AIG CEO Benmosche Says He Wants To Halve Wall Street’s IPO Fees Bloomberg. His PR guy must have told him to bash banks to burnish his image.

Deutsche Bank scraps oil notes Financial Times (hat tip reader Michael)

Bailout Propaganda Begins Matt Taibbi (hat tip reader Reid)

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Barbara):

An adult cheetah and a cub stand together at Kenya’s large park reserve, Masai Mara

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  1. fresno dan

    “A Drug Maker’s Strategy Revealed New York Times (hat tip reader DoctoRx)”
    The reason one can’t just buy prescription drugs is because of the doctrine of “learned intermediary.” Just like the efficient market hypothesis, it is another fairy tale. As someone who has had cancer and a heart attack, and working as a medical microbiolgist, I have seen doctors from both sides. Although most doctors are conscientious, the fact remains that they learn about most drugs, not by reading review articles in the NEJM, but by advertising (its direct one on one advertising, called detailing, but it is advertising). Read any testimony in lawsuites against drug makers, and only 1 in a 100 doctors will testify that they have read the drug labeling for that drug. So what did they base the prescription upon? Hallway chatter.

    Add that doctors are time pressed, clinical trials are conducted by the drug manufacturers, and designed to compare apples to oranges, to bananas, and that the price of drugs are opaque to doctors as well as patients, and its actually amazing that drugs are not more expensive. One interesting tidbit – generic drugs are actually cheaper in the US than in Canada.
    And one final point – my doctor (GP) wants me to take plavix – a drug I think (and my cardiologist) is of dubious utility compared to aspirin and fish oil, and MUCH, MUCH more expensive. But I really don’t want to fight my GP on the matter.

  2. Apprenant

    Je visite de lire vos informations financières, mais envoyer les photos pour mon conjoint. Merci pour les deux. . .

  3. DoctoRx

    Fresno Dan 8:29: The topic of this linked-to NYT article is especially egregious. Forest insisted shortly before the copycat’s approval that Lexapro would be shown superior to the older one, Celexa. They were aggressive on that. That went pffft.

    IMO the FDA needs to approve copycat drugs only if there is a benefit over the older or in a situation wherein its marketing exclusivity rules are changed so that the copycat goes generic when the parent does if there are no improvements.

    A similar situation arose with Prilosec, then the U.S.’s and world’s largest-selling drug product. It was followed by the appropriately-named Nexium, with proven benefits for only a small percentage of Prilosec users.

    The country has wasted literally tens of billions of dollars on this sort of stuff.

  4. pepster

    Fresno Dan states that doctors base their prescription decisions on marketing rather than reading primary literature like NEJM. I second that, although my story is a bit different. I have a friend who recently had appendicitis and didn’t recover quickly, and to find out why his doctor wanted to prescribe a course of treatment that the literature clearly showed had a chance to be harmful and would not be beneficial. My friend told the doctor about the findings in the literature, but the doctor just wouldn’t believe him. They ended up arguing for a good long while before the doctor relented and got a second opinion. Lo and behold, my friend was right.

    There are certainly very good doctors out there, but I question where many of them get their information. “Hallway chatter,” as Fresno Dan claims, is probably not too far from the truth.

  5. Keenan

    RE: Times pharma marketing:

    For collateral reading on the corruption of the medical-pharma complex see:

    Dr. Jerome Kassirer’s “On the Take”(2005). The author is past editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Dr. John Abramson’s “Overdosed America”. Abramson teaches at Harvard.

  6. Keenan

    Skippy – PDR 2009: 3000 pages, more than 3000 drugs, 1800 color pics of the pills, weight 7.6 lbs.

    I’m surprised it’s still in print edition rather than just in CD

  7. skippy

    MOMA MIA…thats out of control, but it does say something about this hole issue, eh.

    Thanks for the reply mate.



  8. Keenan

    You’re welcome Skippy:

    So far I’ve managed to avoid needing any of those 3000 compounds described in that massive volume and I hope that you are similarly blessed.

    cheers also to you,


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