NEWS, Some New, Some Old:
GlaxoSmithKline Settles Largest Health Care Fraud Case In U.S. History
WASHINGTON (AP) — “GlaxoSmithKline LLC will pay $3 billion and plead guilty to promoting two popular drugs for unapproved uses and to failing to disclose important safety information on a third in the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history, the Justice Department said Monday.
The $3 billion fine also will be the largest penalty ever paid by a drug company, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. The corporation also agreed to be monitored by government officials for five years to attempt to ensure the company's compliance, Cole said.
"Let me be clear, we will not tolerate health care fraud," Cole told a news conference at the Justice Department. He would not say whether any company executives were under investigation. The company's guilty plea and sentence have to be approved by a federal court in Massachusetts.
"For far too long, we have heard that the pharmaceutical industry views these settlements merely as the cost of doing business," Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery, head of Justice's civil division, said at the news conference. "That is why this administration is committed to using every available tool to defeat health care fraud.
The drug corporation also agreed to resolve civil liability for promoting the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal and Zofran for off-label, non-covered uses. The company also resolved accusations that it paid kickbacks to doctors to prescribe those drugs as well as the drugs Imitrex, Lotronex, Flovent and Valtrex.
"GSK's sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations to paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours to a European pheasant hunt to tickets to Madonna concerts, and this is just to name a few," said Carmin M. Ortiz, U.S. attorney in Massachusetts.” More at :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/gsk-fraud_n_1643186.html
Glaxo Whistle-Blower Lawsuit: Bad Medicine
“Eckard worked in Glaxo quality control and over ten years she had risen to become a manager of global quality assurance. Her job was to inspect plants to make sure that the drugs had the right ingredients, the right potency and met government standards for purity.
In 2002, Eckard was assigned to help lead a quality assurance team to evaluate one of Glaxo's most important plants, in Cidra, Puerto Rico. Nine hundred people worked there, making 20 drugs for patients in the U.S. But Eckard says that when she saw what was happening to some of the company's most popular drugs, she couldn't believe it.
"All the systems were broken, the facility was broken, the equipment was broken, the processes were broken. It was the worst thing I had run across in my career," she told "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley.
The worst, because so many things behind the walls of the plant were going wrong at once: Eckard says water used to make tablets was tainted with bacteria; failures on production lines made some drugs too strong, some not strong enough; and the employees were contaminating products, including the anti-bacterial ointment Bactroban, which was made in a sealed tank to prevent contamination.
"They were opening up the lid and then they were sticking their body into the tank and scraping it with like a paddle," Eckard said.
"But this product is supposed to be free of bacteria. Why would they do that?" Pelley asked. "It saved money," Eckard replied.
As her team continued its evaluation of the plant, Eckard says she discovered something much worse than contamination: because of failures on various production lines, she says that powerful medications were getting mixed up. "Are you saying that different kinds of drugs were packed into the same bottle?" Pelley asked. "Yes. And that's shocking," she replied.
Eckard says a chart that she produced for company executives shows the kinds of mix-ups that were happening at Cidra, Puerto Rico. She identified nine, including Avandia diabetes pills mixed in packages with over-the-counter Tagamet antacids and Paxil antidepressants, mixed with the Avandia diabetes drug.
"When you saw these mix-ups happening, what did you do?" Pelley asked. "I contacted the vice president of quality for North America and I told him that he needed to shut down the factory and call the FDA," Eckard said. "I urged him to stop the trucks that were leaving the dock that day."
Asked what happened then, she told Pelley, "I went back to work and waited for the news that they had called the FDA or that they had stopped shipments, and it didn't happen."
Ask Your Doctor if This Big Pharma Scam Is Right for You: The Dangers of a Drugged Up America
“In medicated America, the fix for every problem is just a prescription away. Except that it's not.
Butterflies waft across a beautiful field of spring flowers. A delightful young family bicycles joyously down a country lane. A couple on a park bench lean sensually into each other. A 40-something woman's face radiates with both perfect beauty and internal happiness. "All's right with the world," is the message... as long as you've taken your dosages of Lunesta, Celebrex, Cialis, and Botox.
Welcome to medicated America, where the fix for every problem--from incontinence to erectile dysfunction, stiff joints to mood swings, weight gain to wrinkles-- is just a prescription away. Thus the beautiful images, stirring music, attractive actors, and soothing words in the omnipresent, multibillion-dollar kaleidoscope of drug advertising by Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, and other giants of Big Pharma--all pitching their particular brand-name nostrum directly at us hoi polloi (the industry spends a fourth of its income on ads and other promotions, nearly double its expenditures on research and development). The corporate come-ons typically conclude with a phrase that has achieved cliche status in America's vernacular: "Ask your doctor if 'Suprema Wundercure' is right for you."
The better question, though, is one that cartoonist Dan Piraro expressed in one of his "Bizarro" panels: "Ask your doctor if playing into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry is right for you."
One would assume that in a rich, medically advanced, health-conscious nation like ours, dicey decisions about whether to allow a particular pharmaceutical product into our bodies would be among the most rational we make--as determined by (1) the best science available, (2) the strict moral duty of medical purveyors to "First, do no harm," (3) good government regulation, and (4) the profession's fear of public reproach and legal punishment. One would, however, be wrong on all counts……”
Italian Court Reignites MMR Vaccine Debate After Award Over Child with Autism
“Many parents don't think twice about taking their children in for routine vaccinations, as they are an integral and heavily promoted part of the conventional medical system. But this decision has had life altering, and sometimes life-ending, ramifications for more children than you might expect.”
“The Italian Health Ministry recently conceded that the MMR vaccine caused autism in a now nine-year-old boy. The Bocca family has subsequently been awarded a 15-year annuity totaling 174,000 Euros (just under $220,000), plus reimbursement for court costs. The judge ruled the boy “has been damaged by irreversible complications due to vaccination (prophylaxis trivalent MMR”
- A documented serious side effect of vaccination, including smallpox, rabies, pertussis and MMR vaccine, is encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can lead to permanent brain damage and also result in regressive behavior
- Dozens of studies have confirmed the hotly contested findings of Dr. Wakefield, whose 1998 study suggested a link between the MMR vaccine, chronic bowel inflammation, and symptoms of regressive autism. This is in contrast to the many vaccine industry-sponsored studies that refuted this association, which were widely picked up by the media
- The work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains how chronic bowel inflammation resulting from abnormal gut flora can lead to symptoms of autism, as well as many other neurological- and behavioral problems. Children with abnormal gut flora are at increased risk for vaccine damage, and parents should seriously consider postponing vaccinations until gut flora has been normalized to minimize health risks
- A simple and inexpensive strategy to help minimize vaccine damage is to analyze the stool of the child to determine the state of her gut flora, followed by a urine test to check for metabolites, which can give you a picture of the state of your child's immune system. These tests are available in most laboratories around the world at a cost of about $80-100 per test.” Complete article at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/25/mmr-vaccine-caused-autism.aspx?e_cid=20120701_WNL_art_2
“The vast majority of moms doesn't think twice about vaccinating their kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics and most family physicians recommend a specific schedule of immunizations starting at birth to stave off potentially life-threatening illnesses. However, some moms feel passionately that the risk of diseases like the mumps is minor, but that even a disproved link between vaccinations and autism spectrum disorder is too disturbing to ignore. Coupled with the potential for other harmful side effects from routine immunizations, a minority of moms chooses to abstain from those shots entirely.”
Iran Test Fires Long-Range Missiles
(TEHRAN, IRAN) — “Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards test fired several ballistic missiles on Tuesday, including a long-range variety capable of hitting U.S. bases in the region as well as Israel, Iranian media reported.
The official IRNA news agency said the surface-to-surface missiles successfully hit their targets, while semi-official Fars said the salvos included the so-called Shahab-3 missile. It quoted a leading officer as saying the missiles travelled distances of up to 1,300 kilometers, or 800 miles.
“So far, we have launched missiles from 300 to 1,300 kilometers in the maneuver,” said Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Guard’s aerospace division. He hinted that some missiles had an even longer range. Iran has tested a variety of missiles in previous war games, including a Shahab-3 variant with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles). Israel is about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away from Iran’s western borders, while the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Iranian shores in the Persian Gulf.
On Sunday, a European Union oil embargo meant to pressure Iran over its nuclear program came into effect. The West suspects the Islamic Republic wants to build nuclear weapons, and Israel has hinted at an attack if diplomatic efforts and sanctions fail to eliminate what it sees as a direct threat. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and cancer treatment.
The commander quoted by Fars said Iran also plans to use both unmanned and manned bombers in the war games. He said Iran is testing a variety of other missiles in the exercises, which Tehran says aim to assess the accuracy and effectiveness of its warheads and weapons systems.” Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/07/03/iran-test-fires-long-range-missiles/#ixzz1zsKGFAN6
On This Day:
Building of Hoover Dam begins, Jul 7, 1930:
“On this day in 1930, construction of the Hoover Dam begins. Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest manmade structures in the world.
Although the dam would take only five years to build, its construction was nearly 30 years in the making. Arthur Powell Davis, an engineer from the Bureau of Reclamation, originally had his vision for the Hoover Dam back in 1902, and his engineering report on the topic became the guiding document when plans were finally made to begin the dam in 1922.
Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States and a committed conservationist, played a crucial role in making Davis’ vision a reality. As secretary of commerce in 1921, Hoover devoted himself to the erection of a high dam in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. The dam would provide essential flood control, which would prevent damage to downstream farming communities that suffered each year when snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and joined the Colorado River. Further, the dam would allow the expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and would provide a dependable supply of water for Los Angeles and other southern California communities.
Even with Hoover's exuberant backing and a regional consensus around the need to build the dam, Congressional approval and individual state cooperation were slow in coming. For many years, water rights had been a source of contention among the western states that had claims on the Colorado River. To address this issue, Hoover negotiated the Colorado River Compact, which broke the river basin into two regions with the water divided between them. Hoover then had to introduce and re-introduce the bill to build the dam several times over the next few years before the House and Senate finally approved the bill in 1928.
In 1929, Hoover, now president, signed the Colorado River Compact into law, claiming it was "the most extensive action ever taken by a group of states under the provisions of the Constitution permitting compacts between states."
Once preparations were made, the Hoover Dam's construction sprinted forward: The contractors finished their work two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Today, the Hoover Dam is the second highest dam in the country and the 18th highest in the world. It generates enough energy each year to serve over a million people, and stands, in Hoover Dam artist Oskar Hansen's words, as "a monument to collective genius exerting itself in community efforts around a common need or ideal."”
First U.S. troops withdrawn from South Vietnam, Jul 7, 1969:
“A battalion of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division leaves Saigon in the initial withdrawal of U.S. troops. The 814 soldiers were the first of 25,000 troops that were withdrawn in the first stage of the U.S. disengagement from the war. There would be 14 more increments in the withdrawal, but the last U.S. troops did not leave until after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in January 1973.”
The day went all too fast, with not much to show for it, except I managed to get about 30-40 emails tended to. Still have a lot more to do.
Then I was taken to cut the nails on a very fat, strong, wiggly 130 lb pit-bull. He was alright about his back ones, except one dew claw nail, then he had had enough and there was no way I could cut that one dew claw nail. He would lick my hand and then gently put his teeth on it, as if to warn me. But he was wagging his tail all the time, and loving the attention. His pads were very dry and chapped, so I know his feet were sore. He is never taken for walks, as he is so difficult to handle. When I found out what they feed him, I wasn’t surprised he is overweight and drying out. When will people understand that corn-based food is not good for pets. His front nails didn’t need clipping, he must be a ‘front wheel drive’ dog.
I talked to Claudia for quite a while, and she didn’t have a diagnosis or prognosis as to what had made her car overheat. The day before while we were shopping, Jay was all perturbed because he had let his son, daughter in law and their 6 children stay in his house. He is very persnickety about his house, and was upset about crumbs being on the floor. So that led to him over indulging, and he was sleeping it off at his mother’s house. There was no way he could work yesterday.