For years, a trio of anemia drugs known as Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp ranked among the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States, generating more than $8 billion a year for two companies, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. Even compared with other pharmaceutical successes, they were superstars. For several years, Epogen ranked as the single costliest medicine under Medicare: U.S. taxpayers put up as much as $3 billion a year for the drugs.
The trouble, as a growing body of research has shown, is that for about two decades, the benefits of the drug — including “life satisfaction and happiness” according to the FDA-approved label — were wildly overstated, and potentially lethal side effects, such as cancer and strokes, were overlooked.
Last year, Medicare researchers issued an 84-page study declaring that among most kidney patients, the original and largest market for the drugs, there was no solid evidence that they made people feel better, improved their survival or had any “clinical benefit” besides elevating a statistic for red blood cell count.
“It was just so easy to do — you put this stuff in the patient’s arm, and you made thousands of dollars,” said Charles Bennett, endowed chair at the Medication Safety and Efficacy Center of Economic Excellence at the University of South Carolina and one of the critics of the use of the drug in cancer patients. “An oncologist could make anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 a year from this alone. And all the while they were told that it was good for the patient.”
For those who have lost relatives who had been given the drugs, only doubts remain: What killed their loved ones — the disease or the drugs they took to treat it?
The confidential document from November 2011, obtained by The New York Times, suggests that Glaxo’s problems may go beyond the sales practices that are currently at the center of a bribery and corruption scandal in China. They may extend to its Shanghai research and development center, which develops neurology drugs for Glaxo.
Glaxo’s research and development center opened in 2007 with lofty ambitions not only to help the company’s drugs get approved in China, but also to serve as one of its primary research hubs.
Friday, September 19, 2014
China has fined the British pharmaceuticals giantGlaxoSmithKline (GSK) $488.8 million (3 billion Yuan) for a “massive bribery network” to get doctors and hospitals to use its products. Five former employees were sentenced to two to four years in jail, but ordered deported instead of imprisoned, according to state news agency Xinhua today.
- by Grant Lewis
- 6 years ago
- 395,837 views
Do You Honestly Need More Evidence
I couldn’t hide it. My grimace gave it away. “Looks like a torn rotator cuff,” my neighbor said to me last Friday.
I’d reached out to pet his dog, but pain had stopped me before I could raise my arm even an inch.
At that moment, although I didn’t have a physician’s diagnosis, I knew it was time to receive treatment. So, I made a call. I phoned a friend, a fellow Christian Science practitioner, and asked for prayerful help.
“You did what?” You might ask, “What about the needed treatment? Where’s the research and scientific data showing the effectiveness of prayer?”
Interestingly, just days before the shoulder/arm pain began, I sat next to a physician on a plane ride from Houston to Boston. During the flight, we talked about our different approaches to health care. He is a trauma care physician and I am a Christian Science practitioner.
While we talked about scientific studies, the physician confided, “The data we have been relying on in evidence-based medicine is, now, not so clear cut.”
The physician’s sentiment echoed an article I had just read by Dr. Des Spence in The British Medical Journal. Spence, a Glasgow general practitioner, writes in Evidence based medicine is broken about “corruption in clinical research,” “sham diagnosis,” “poor regulation,” “questionnaires that can’t be validated,” and “predetermined agendas.”
With suspicion surrounding some medical research, experiences of healings through prayer are beginning to be considered as credible evidence in health care planning. What were previously waved off and labeled as merely anecdotal, as if there wasn’t anything scientific about them, are now being thought of as vital.
I mentioned to the physician on the flight, “Evidence shows from my thirty-two year prayerful healing practice, that although I still have a lot to learn, people’s lives have been made better.”
But, you might also ask, “Where’s the science? Why haven’t there been studies regarding the effectiveness of prayer?”
Actually, there have been, yet, they are inconclusive. Most indicate that prayer is beneficial. Other studies suggest otherwise.
Why the discrepancy? Just as not all medications in a study are the same, not all prayers are the same. Equally, each test healer participating in a study of prayer’s effectiveness may not be spiritually prepared to apply the full might of divine power.
For instance, compare how difficult it would be to grasp the complete driving ability of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe if the test-drivers were fifteen-year-olds from your neighborhood driver’s education class rather than experienced test drivers.
I had called this particular Christian Science practitioner for prayerful help, because I knew of his record of demonstrating the adaptability of divine power to meet human needs.
Every Christian Science practitioner utilizes a model practiced by the founder of Christianity, Christ Jesus. And even though the healing outcomes in every practice pale in comparison to the master healer, each practitioner has learned that a patient advances in matters of health not by concentrating so much on material conditions, but by understanding, being receptive to, and applying the spiritual laws that govern mankind’s wellbeing.
An analogy might help.
If you insert a straight stick into a pool of water, you might believe the illusion that the stick bends at the point it enters the water. However, if you are better informed, you rely on scientific knowledge regarding the refraction of light and realize that the stick never changed. At any time, you can lift the stick out of the water and prove your correctness. Although the stick appears restored, it has always been unchanged.
Healing in Christian Science could be thought of similarly. Prayerful treatment attempts to look past temporary physical evidence and rely on scientific knowledge regarding the divine harmony and order of spiritual existence. To the degree in which one is convinced that health is based in spiritual law, to that degree can its unchangeable nature be demonstrated. Just as with the stick, a patient’s changeless wellbeing appears to human experience as restoration.
After my first call for prayerful treatment, the painful condition remained the same for most of the day. But then, I noticed a shift in thought. Fear of pain and disability disappeared and I felt a gentle peace. These were indications that healing was taking place.
By Sunday morning, I had the full use of the arm. Only a slight soreness in one spot of the shoulder remained. At noon, there was no trace of the problem. And while the physical change that took place was profound, and I am happy to be free, I am even more grateful for the deeper spiritual understanding that this experience provided.
Once you experience physical freedom and helpful glimpses of your spiritual identity, do you honestly need more evidence?
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). All of Keith’s columns can be found at: KeithWommack.com