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Week 34

Health Tip Of The Week...

New Drugs Pose Health Risks
The HUGELY HYPED new drug launches coming from the major drug makers (also known as Big Pharma) are often based on clinical trials that were designed to minimize evidence of harm and are published in the medical literature to only emphasize a drug's advantages.
-Dr. Donald Light


Be Aware:  85% of New Drugs are "Lemons"

Dr. Donald Light is a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey.  On August 17th, 2010, he delivered a professional paper at the 105th meeting of the American Sociological Association.
His paper, entitled, "Pharmaceuticals:  A Two-Tier Market for Producing 'Lemons' and Serious Harm" is an analysis and indictment of the drug industry and how it works. 
According to Dr. Light, "Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs' benefits."
He also said in a press statement, "Then, they spend two to three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs.  Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug.  It's really a two-tier market for lemons."
Dr. Light is also editing a soon to be released book entitled, "The Risk of Prescription Drugs", which is due to be released this fall by Columbia University Press.
In both his paper and his book, Dr. Light emphasizes "Risk Proliferation Syndrome" which refers to the way the big drug makers have grossly maximized the number of people exposed to new drugs with relatively low effectiveness but a heightened risk of adverse and often severe side effects.  In other words, many new drugs come on the market with far more risk with far less benefit.

The Bottom Line…The Bottom Line…The Bottom Line…

According to Dr. Light, the big drug companies are successful in getting away with selling their "lemon" drugs for three main reasons:
#1-Big Pharma is in charge of testing their own new drugs.  #2-Drug makers have invested millions in legal protection to hide information about a drug's dangers or lack of effectiveness.  #3-The effectiveness bar is set fairly low to make it easier to get a new drug approved.

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