Jhoanna Robinson | Natural News | Nov. 29, 2017

The National Health Service is eyeing the cessation of the incessant prescription of Liothyronine, a drug that is used to treat thyroid disorders, after its manufacturer, Oakville, Canada-based pharmaceutical company Concordia International, increased its retail price by 5,662 percent to 9.22 British pounds from 16 p per tablet.

Liothyronine is used to treat hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid, which affects 15 in every 1,000 women and one in every 1,000 men in the United Kingdom. Hypothyroidism is characterized by a poor ability to tolerate cold, constipation, a feeling of tiredness, depression, and weight gain.

An underactive thyroid means your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone, and can be caused by many things, including lifestyle. In more severe cases, it can occur when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and damages it, or when the thyroid sustains damage that was caused by treatments for an overactive thyroid or thyroid cancer.

As there is only one supplier of Liothyronine, patients could be forced to go all the way to Europe, where a packet costs only around a few euros.

According to TheTimes.co.uk, Liothyronine, which is a synthetic version of the hormone triiodothyronine or T3 (hormone produced by the thyroid gland), is “clinically effective but…has been subject to excessive price inflation,” noting that some health trusts have already stopped funding it.

NHS reported that it prescribed liothyronine to around 13,000 patients in 2016. Prescriptions of the medicine by the NHS reached costs that were around 30.6 million British Pounds in 2016, up from 3.7 million British Pounds in 2011.

Thyroid U.K. chief executive Lyn Mynott said she had been besieged with phone calls from panicking thyroid patients. “I think it’s going to be devastating for some. They are afraid they are going to be stopped and are expecting to become ill again.”

A spokeswoman for Concordia International said the price hike was necessary as the medicine was “incredibly difficult to manufacture.” (Related: The dirty history of Big Pharma’s scientific censorship, oppression and destruction of human knowledge.)

Higher levels of thyroid hormone associated with increased risk of heart disease

A recent study showed that older adults with a higher level of free thyroxin (FT4, which is a hormone that is produced by the thyroid gland) have incredibly high chances of developing coronary artery calcification scores, which is a key indicator of atherosclerosis.

“We expected that thyroid function would influence the risk of developing atherosclerosis by affecting cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure. However, our results remained very similar after accounting for several cardiovascular risk factors,” said lead author Arjola Bano, from the University of Erasmus in the Netherlands.

“Our findings suggest that thyroid hormone FT4 measurement can help identify individuals at increased risk of atherosclerosis,” Bano added.

For more stories on the activities of big pharmaceutical companies, whether they are unscrupulous or not, visit BigPharmaNews.com today.


SOURCE: Natural News


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Jake Anderson | AntiMedia | Nov. 27, 2017

It’s been a controversial month for the FDA. They drew the ire of kratom community by seeking to ban imports of the popular, safe pain reliever. During that same week, the agency approved the use of pills with sensors for the first time. The drugs, dubbed “smart pills,” are the first medication to be approved with a “digital ingestion tracking system.” While the ostensible purpose of “smart pills” is improved compliance and enhanced medical data, some critics are viewing the move as an Orwellian overture.

The “digital ingestion tracking system” will first be integrated into the atypical antipsychotic drug Abilify MyCite; it will record whether the drug was actually ingested.

In a press release, the FDA announced:

“The product is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder and for use as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.”

The pill’s internal sensor contains copper, magnesium, and silicon. Upon exposure to stomach acid, it generates an electrical signal that is transmitted to a “wearable patch.” The information is forwarded from the patch to a smartphone app or physicians and caregivers associated with the patient.

In another press release, Mitchell Mathis, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said that “[b]eing able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients.”

Others are not so optimistic. “There’s an irony in it being given to people with mental disorders than can include delusions. It’s like a biomedical Big Brother,”  said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

In a statement to the Anti-Media, Jamie Williams, Press Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), raised concerns over privacy and patient understanding:

“There’s certainly privacy issues with these devices, just like with any devices that collect and transmit data about us, especially when the data is highly sensitive medical information. Information about exactly when you took exactly how much of a drug is not information thatcurrently exists right now. Its highly invasive and personal information about what is happening inside your body, which is what I think is drawing the ‘bio-medical Big Brother’ analogy. Instead of being able to read what’s going on inside your brain/thoughts, it can read what’s going on inside your stomach.

“Anyone who volunteers to swallow one of these pills needs to understand what that means, in terms of what data is collected, how it’s being used, and where it’s being stored? Are there situations in which law enforcement may want to access data about how much of a drug you had in your system at any given time, and what are the restrictions on their access?”

Some have noted the benefits of reining in medical costs, as experts say the healthcare industry spends $100 billion a year on ‘nonadherence or noncompliance.’

“This data is supposedly being collected to help patients and save the system money, but what are the limitations on making sure it’s not used to surveil everything they are putting into their stomach?” Williams asks. “The potential for surveillance and data mining will all depend on the limitations on collection, use, and storage of this data. New technologies are usually misused and abused first against the most powerless groups.”

We likely haven’t heard the end of the issue, and this is probably just the opening salvo of a “smart drugs” debate that could rage on for decades. As anxiety about government and corporate surveillance grows, will a line be drawn or will the public continue to acquiesce to invasive technology?


Originally Published @ Anti-Media


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President Trump has nominated a former lobbyist and executive of a major pharmaceutical company to be U.S. Health Secretary. 

Derrick Broze | Activist Post | Nov. 15, 2017

On Monday, Trump announced his pick for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices,” Trump tweeted. The nominee immediately came under scrutiny for his former connections to the pharmaceutical industry.

Azar formerly served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. In June 2007, Azar began working as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company. Azar also served as Eli Lilly’s spokesman as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. Beginning January 1, 2012, Azar was promoted to President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest division of Eli Lilly and Company – a position which put him in charge of Eli Lilly’s entire U.S. operation.

During his tenure at Eli Lilly, prices for drugs were repeatedly raised, including doubling the top-selling insulin. Eli Lilly has also previously come under investigation for “systematic and illegal off-label sales” of a powerful psychiatric drug called Zyprexa. As the result of an investigation into Eli Lilly’s activities between 1999 and 2005, the company plead guilty and agreed to a $1.415 billion fine for promoting uses of the drug which were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although Alex Azar was not yet in charge of the company during this investigation it is indicative of the type of actions Eli Lilly has taken.

Reuters reported that Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings said the nomination of Alex Azar to Health Secretary was “like a fox guarding the hen house.” The nominee must be approved by the U.S. Senate before it becomes official.

If Alex Azar is approved as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services he would be responsible for oversight of the U.S. FDA, the agency responsible for regulating the drug industry. Azar will be joined by Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s equally controversial appointment to Commissioner of the FDA. During Gottlieb’s confirmation hearings, Senator Ed Markey called attention to Gottlieb’s close ties to pharmaceutical companies that sell and promote opioids. “We need FDA to be a tough cop on the beat, not a rubber stamp approving the latest big pharma painkillers,” Markey said at the time.  With Alex Azar and Scott Gottlieb in control of the FDA regulatory process it is likely the U.S. can expect an increase in support for opioids.

Interestingly, until recently Alex Azar was also a member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a pharmaceutical lobby. As the organization’s name implies, they support the advancement of biotechnology, including the use of genetically engineered or modified organisms in food. A statement on BIO’s site repeats the myth that “plants and animals derived from biotechnology, so-called GMOs, are needed to help feed the world safe, healthful and affordable food in a more environmentally sound and sustainable way.”

supported the federal GMO “labeling” bill which opponents referred to as the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act, because the bill actually prevents local governments and states from being able to set their own labeling laws. Instead, the bill puts the federal government in charge of the process. The signing of the bill caused concern among proponents of transparency and safety due to the U.S. governments revolving door with executives from Big Pharma and Biotech companies such as Monsanto.

One final note on Alex Azar’s history which may be interesting to our readers is the fact that on August 3, 2001, Azar was confirmed to be the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Azar is reported to have played an important role in responding to the 2001 anthrax attacks which have been proven to be a false flag. Azar is said to have been involved preparing a vaccine in response to these false flags.

The Swamp Is Not Being Drained

If you have been paying attention (or reading Activist Post) you would have seen this coming. In late January, Trump held a private meeting in the Oval Office with Big Pharma execs. At the beginning of the meeting Trump was quoted “We have to get prices down. We have no choice.” After the meeting Trump seemed to be singing a different tune. In February Newsweek reported:

Trump said he will be “streamlining the process” so that companies do not have to wait years for a new product to be approved. Although he did not provide details, he hinted that his yet-to-be-named chief of the Food and Drug Administration has some plans. (This would turn out to be the Big Pharma friend Scott Gottlieb)

The president has repeatedly vowed to curtail government regulation in general, most recently with an executive order requiring the removal of two regulations for every new one introduced. And although granting Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices was one of the president’s major campaign promises, he has abandoned it. Without the power to limit pricing or more restrictive patent laws it is unclear how the federal government could have any impact on drug costs.

The Executive Orders mentioned were touted as removing harmful regulations from hard working Americans, but in reality these EOs further entrenched the power of Big Pharma. Business Insider wrote that “Trump just sold us all out on drug pricing,” while The Hill wrote:

Another policy that is under discussion would instruct agencies to pursue trade policies that would strengthen the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies.

Such industry-friendly policies would be a dramatic departure from what President Trump promised on the campaign trail.

In conclusion, Trump’s appointment to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is the same as his appointment to the head of the FDA – he is an establishment insider who is closely connected to (and formerly employed by) a major pharmaceutical company. His close ties to this industry – as well as opioid makers – does not fare well for the future of America’s opiate crisis or the general health of all Americans. We should expect to see the reliance on pharmaceuticals increase as these corporations become further enmeshed with the U.S. government.


Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2


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Ohio is Suing Big Pharma Over the Prescription Drug Overdose Epidemic

 

(ANTIMEDIA) Ohio — Joining other states battling a growing epidemic of addictions to prescription painkillers, it was announced Wednesday that Ohio is suing five pharmaceutical corporations for, as reported by the Associated Press, intentionally misleading patients about the dangers of painkillers and promoting benefits of the drugs not backed by science.”

In announcing the lawsuit, Attorney General Mike DeWine said he hopes the legal action will “compel these companies” — Johnson and Johnson, Allergan, Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries — to “clean up this mess” they helped create.



“In 2014 alone, pharmaceutical companies spent $168 million through sales reps peddling prescription opioids to win over doctors with smooth pitches and glossy brochures that downplayed the risks of the medicines,” DeWine said at a press conference, adding that a fifth of his state’s population was prescribed opioids last year.

The state’s injunction, if successful, would bring a halt to what it considers the pharmaceutical corporations’ “continued deception and misrepresentation in marketing,as well as to allow for monetary awards for both the Ohio government — repayment for taxpayer money spent combatting the epidemic — and citizens who were unnecessarily prescribed painkillers.

In reporting on the news, Reuters highlighted the severity of the backlash now facing the pharmaceutical industry:

“Drug companies including Purdue and Johnson & Johnson have been fighting lawsuits by two California counties, the city of Chicago, four counties in New York and the state of Mississippi over their opioid marketing practices.”

Pharmaceutical companies are also facing a lawsuit from the Cherokee Nation over the opioid crisis.

In 2015, the state of Kentucky was awarded $24 million as part of a settlement from a lawsuit accusing Purdue Pharma of deliberately misleading the public about the addictiveness of the powerful drug OxyContin.

That same year, a record 3,050 Ohioans died from drug overdoses. That figure is expected to rise when the numbers for 2016 are tallied. Attorney General DeWine says it’s a problem that can no longer be ignored, even if the forces against them are mighty.

“We understand what we’re taking on: five huge drug companies,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t want to look back 10 years from now and say we should have had the guts to file…It’s something we have to do.”

 

This article originally published at 

Anti-Media

Scientists Identify 28,000 Medicinal Plants That Treat Ailments from Cancer to Diabetes

 

(ANTIMEDIA) In recent years, the term “plant medicine” has come to be associated with psychedelics like mushrooms and ayahuasca, which are increasingly documented to provide mental and emotional relief to users. But according to a recent analysis from Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom, there are over 28,000 other plants currently being used as medicine throughout the world.

The second annual report from Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, located in London, is the result of the research and analysis of 128 scientists from 12 countries around across the globe.

According to their findings, there are 28,187 plants “currently recorded as being of medicinal use.

The report [pdf] explains:

In many regions of the world, people still rely on traditional plant-based medicines for their primary healthcare. This is especially true for many rural communities in Africa, parts of Asia, and Central and South America, where plants and knowledge of their traditional use are accessible and affordable. In other countries, many of these traditional plant-based medicines are being integrated through regulations into mainstream health systems.”

Though plant medicines are making their way into the mainstream, the researchers note that currently, just “16% (4,478) of the species used in plant-based medicines are cited in a medicinal regulatory publication.” Even so, they note data on drugs approved by the FDA and similar agencies:

Since 1981, 1,130 new therapeutic agents have been approved for use as pharmaceutical drugs, of which 593 are based on compounds from natural sources. Thirty-eight are derived from medicinal plants. Fifteen of the 56 natural drugs registered for the treatment of cancer since 1980 are derived from medicinal plants with a long history of traditional use.”

They note, for example, that “The anti-cancerous drugs vincristine and vinblastine are derived from the Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus in the Apocynaceae family.”

Additionally:

For example drugs based on Paclitaxel have been isolated from the yew tree (Taxus spp.), Camptothecin from the happy tree, (Camptotheca acuminata) and Podophyllotoxin from the May apple (Podophyllum hexandrum and P. peltatum).”

Further, researchers have discovered over 1,000 species of beneficial plants since their survey last year. As Yahoo News summarized, “new plants discovered over the past year include nine species of a climbing vine used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

The report said two plants, artemisinin and quinine, are ‘among the most important weapons’ against malaria, which killed over 400,000 people in 2015,” Yahoo summarized.

According to Monique Simmonds, deputy director of science at Kew, “The report is highlighting the huge potential that there is for plants, in areas like diabetes and malaria,” Yahoo reported. “One study documents 656 flowering plant species used traditionally for diabetes, representing 437 genera and 111 families,” the report explains.

It also points out that of “only five drugs developed specifically for the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, two are derived from plants.”

Some particularly powerful species of plants include Fabaceae (pea and bean), Lamiaceae (mint), Euphorbiaceae (spurge), Apocynaceae (dogbane), Malvaceae (mallow), Apiaceae (parsley or carrot), and Ranunculaceae (buttercup). Their key classes of compounds are alkaloids (Fabaceae), terpenes (Lamiaceae),  diterpenoids (Euphorbiaceae), cardiac-glycosides (Apocynaceae), organic acids (Malvaceae), coumarins (Apiaceae), and alkaloids (Ranunculaceae). Another highly useful plant documented in the report is Moraceae, which is used in the treatment of diabetes.

Though their report offers great promise, they highlight some pitfalls. Stressing that correct labeling of plant medicines is vital, they explain:

Product labeling is frequently misleading, with the trade name ‘ginseng’, for example, referring to 15 different species of plant, each with its own particular chemistry and therapeutic properties[10]. Substitution by a Belgian clinic of one Chinese medicinal herb (‘Fang Ji’) with another sharing the same name, led to over 100 patients requiring kidney dialysis for the remainder of their lives.”

They also point out the threat to the plants themselves.

Increasing demand for herbal medicines (particularly for species covered by pharmacopoeias) threatens wild populations of many of these plants,” they note, adding that “ the focus of world trade on relatively few species of medicinal plants leads to sustainability and conservation issues, which ultimately lead to other plants being substituted, with potential risks to human health.”

They advocate more precise scientific labeling of plants and more “clarity on which plants have or have not been studied in drug discovery programmes.”

Such approaches,” they contend, “will be hugely important in improving our ability to realise current and future medicinal benefits from plants.”

As pharmaceutical drugs continue to wreak hazardous consequences, the healing power of natural plants appears to hold great promise for humans seeking treatment without the chemical side effects of current popular medicines.