Tag Archives: Suicide

Truth In Media: How Big Pharma Avoids Accountability With ‘Off Label’ Drugs

The Truth In Media Project has released the last segment of of its newest series Truth In Media: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda. Part 4, titled How Big Pharma Uses Off-Label Drugs, illustrates how pharmaceutical companies have made massive profits in spite of being ordered to pay enormous settlements related to harmful side effects of certain drugs.

Truth In Media’s Ben Swann first discussed the case of Peggy Ryan, a pharmaceutical sales representative for Endo Pharmaceuticals, who spent a decade undercover gathering information and ultimately blowing the whistle on corruption within the company.

Ryan, described as a rising star at Endo, said that she had been directed to push a product called Lidoderm, which was initially created to treat a specific condition called post-herpetic neuralgia. Since Lidoderm was approved to be prescribed only for this condition, the drug was classified as an “orphan drug,” which qualifies a drug to be subsidized by taxpayer dollars in its approval and production process to offset low profits related to producing a product that is prescribed to a limited number of patients.

Swann pointed out that the FDA does not monitor orphan drugs for side effects after their approval.

Ryan said she was instructed to sell the drug “off-label,” which means to sell the drug to be used for conditions outside of its intended use. Lidoderm ended up being prescribed for a plethora of health issues including back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Many of these prescriptions were covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

“She had access to a lot of information, and she provided that to the government. But then they asked her to wear a wire and obtain audiotapes of the people that she reported to telling her and other employees to essentially to break the law,” Judy Hoyer, a whistleblower attorney whose firm represented Ryan, told Swann.

Endo was ordered to pay $193 million in penalties in a settlement; $21 million was allocated to settle criminal charges, and $172 million was paid out under the False Claims Act. While $193 million is certainly a large sum of money to be paid, Endo made at least $1 billion selling the drug off-label; the penalty paled in comparison to the profits made.

In a separate case that also involved massive drug sale profits in light of little government oversight, highly-cited researcher, doctor and Emory University Professor Doug Bremner discussed the acne drug Accutane with Swann. Bremner, who has spent a great deal of time researching PTSD and depression and the brain, served as an expert witness in litigation proceedings associating depression and suicide with Accutane.

Bremner was asked by a concerned parent to research Accutane. “I was doing research on depression and the brain so I was working in a similar area. So the question was whether the same kind of changes that we see in the brain in depression would be seen in kids taking this medication. So the idea was if the same brain areas are affected, then that could explain why some teenagers were developing depression and even some of them killed themselves,” Bremner told Swann.

Hundreds of reports of depression while using Accutane were seen between 1982 and 2000, and included 37 suicides. Accutane ended up being recalled in 11 countries and at least 7,000 lawsuits were filed against Roche, the manufacturer of Accutane. Millions of dollars were paid out in settlements, yet the sales of Accutane had reached nearly $800 million and the FDA never pulled the drug or classify it as deadly.

During discussion of FDA oversight on drugs such as Accutane, Bremner told Swann that “in all fairness to the FDA, they have a budget to approve drugs and there’s a lot of political pressure for them to approve as many medications as possible, as quickly as possible,” and there is a limited budget for continued surveillance and oversight regarding medications after they’re approved.

Despite the challenges presented to the FDA regarding the costs and time spent on the drug approval process, Swann pointed out that when the agency “only studies cherry-picked information, has agents who are promised future jobs with big pharmaceutical companies, and doesn’t seal with a drug after it’s been approved— even then that drug is causing birth defects or even death— then, quite candidly, what good is the FDA in the first place?”

 

 

A California police officer has been fired for not using violence

A California State University Monterey Bay police officer has been fired from the force after he chose not to use his Taser on a student threatening suicide in February.

The officer, a 20 year veteran of the force who has not been named, was reportedly the first officer on the scene when a CSUMB student was threatening to kill himself in a dorm room.  The student in question was holding a knife, hammer, and was threatening to light himself on fire, according to the Free Thought Project.

Rather then using his Taser on the student, the officer began to talk to the student which resulted in a deescalation of the situation.  The officer then went to get the student a glass of water when officers from the local Marina Police Department showed up and began to use their Tasers on the suicidal student.

Marina Police Chief Edmundo Rodriguez said, according to the Monetery Herald, when his officers arrived on the scene, they found blood in the student’s dorm, and the student’s sweater appeared to be singed. The knife and hammer were also in the room, but the weapons were not in the student’s hands.

Rodriguez then said, the student “was clearly a danger to himself and he was in crisis… We were trying to keep him from accessing the weapons or leave, to get him medical attention.”

After the incident, Rodriguez’s department issued a “failure to act” complaint against the campus police officer because he did not engage in the situation as the other officers had done.  “He just stood there,” said Rodriguez.

The president of the Statewide University Police Association (SUPA), Jeff Solomon, said according to the Raw Story, “Our officer said and felt that there was no need for the level of force that was applied.”

Solomon then said, “The other officers started yelling and screaming to get down, Tased him multiple times, and from what we understand (told the university officer) to Tase him again.”

Later, the father of the suicidal student told reporters, “It defies logic and is extremely disappointing that, at a time when law enforcement is under fire for using more force than necessary, an officer is being terminated for attempting to use civilized methods to resolve a situation,”

University officials did not comment on the details of the case, but they did say the situation “is much more complex than was conveyed.”

Breaking: Tea Party leader conspiring to photograph Senator Chochran’s wife in scandal found dead

MISSISSIPPI, June 27, 2014– Mark Mayfield, a prominent leader of the Mississippi Tea Party, has been found dead. He and three others were accused of  conspiring to photograph Mississippi U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home.

The four individuals believed there was a scandal involving Cochran and his ailing wife. The photos would eventually be used in an anti-Cochran video campaign.

Although many tried to connect the photographs to Cochran’s Tea Party primary challenger State Senator Chris McDaniel (R), the McDaniel campaign continuously refuted any link.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) issued the following statement:

“Deborah and I are saddened to hear of the loss of Mark Mayfield. He was a long-time friend, and he will be missed. Our prayers go out to his family in this tragic moment.”

Mayfield was arrested on May 22 and charged with conspiracy. Madison County district attorney alleges that Mayfield gave advice on how to get into the nursing home where Rose Cochran, suffering from Alzheimer’s, lives. According to the DA, Mayfield refused to take the picture himself, but his mother had lived in the facility so he knew the best way to gain admission.

Officials have ruled Mayfield’s death a suicide, but say an autopsy will still be conducted to rule out foul play.

Follow Michael Lotfi On Facebook & Twitter.

Breaking: Virginia Senator Stabbed By Son Who Then Commits Suicide

Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds (D) was reportedly stabbed by his son Gus multiple times in the back and head this morning. Gus Deeds, 24-years-old, turned a gun on himself after stabbing his father in the bath. Gus was found dead at the scene. Senator Deeds is in critical condition and undergoing extensive surgery at the moment. Senator Deeds ran against former Governor Bob McDonnell (R) in 2009.

Follow Michael Lotfi On Twitter: @MichaelLotfi