The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding hearings on "waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars"; topics include Iraq reconstruction, Homeland Security contracting, and prescription drug pricing. Companies called to testify are "scrambling to hire lobbyists with Democratic ties," reports Bloomberg.
A new study "funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in the Jan. 29 Annals of Family Medicine, claims the $4.5 billion" direct-to-consumer drug ad (DTC) industry "produces ads that are more emotional than informational, and may be convincing Americans that they're sicker than they really are," reports Advertising Age.
A University of Pittsburgh child psychiatrist who conducted company-sponsored clinical trials on adolescent use of the antidepressant Paxil also conferred with the company on how to respond to press inquiries challenging the safety of the drug for adolescents, reports the BBC investigative program, Panorama. The psychiatrist, Dr. Neal Ryan, sent emails to GlaxoSmithKline dating to 2002 requesting media advice.
Medical researchers at George Washington University have launched a new website, PharmedOut, which is designed to help doctors "identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices." It also provides links to over 100 continuing medical education (CME) courses that have been developed without drug industry funding.
Federal district Judge Jack B.
A survey of 39,090 patients and 335 primary-care physicians reveals the power of direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs.
Three doctors warn of an epidemic of medical diagnoses fostered by the "medicalization of everyday life", improvements in medical technology and an increasing emphasis on identifying those at 'risk' of a disease. "Perhaps most worrisome is the medicalization of childhood. If children cough after exercising, they have asthma; if they have trouble reading, they are dyslexic; if they are unhappy, they are depressed; and if they alternate between unhappiness and liveliness, they have bipolar disorder.