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American Pravda: Mass Deaths and Morning Newspapers
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To recast a famous philosophical conundrum, what would happen if hundreds of thousands of Americans died, but the media never reported that calamity?

I spend hours each morning closely reading the print editions of my daily newspapers, and for over a decade that question has seemed real rather than merely hypothetical. The reason may be summarized in one word: “Vioxx.”

Vioxx? What’s Vioxx? I suspect that the overwhelming majority of Americans today would have only the vaguest recollection of that name, and if forced to guess, the largest number might respond: “Vioxx—Is that a new Pokemon character?”

Actually, no. The Vioxx Scandal of the mid-2000s represented one of the greatest medical health disasters of modern times, almost entirely due to corporate greed. An ocean of Americans perished, tens of thousands by official government estimate, but with the true figure more likely ranging into the hundreds of thousands. Yet despite that huge body-count, no one was ever punished, and the entire affair was quickly shoved down the memory hole by our national media, perhaps because the media itself had been a major financial participant.

The story is a simple one. At the end of the 1990s, pharmaceutical giant Merck introduced a patented, vastly more expensive substitute for simple aspirin, which it marketed as a painkiller to the elderly by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on direct-to-consumer advertising through television and other media outlets. The advertising did the trick, and twenty-five million Americans were eventually prescribed Vioxx, generating over $2 billion in annual revenue.

The media benefited from the advertising, Merck benefited from the sales, and many millions of Americans benefited from an effective arthritis remedy that supposedly had fewer side-effects than old-fashioned aspirin. Unfortunately, one of these side-effects turned out to be a huge increase in the risk of strokes and heart attacks, many of them fatal.

Some of initial media reports indicated that Merck had desperately fought behind the scenes to suppress the FDA study demonstrating that their extremely lucrative drug had already killed at least 35,000 Americans, but then “voluntarily” recalled that drug just days before the research report was finally scheduled for release.

And there was a striking epilogue to this scandal, ignored by the media, but which I discussed in an article published a few years ago. Since the historical facts haven’t changed, I quote a few of my crucial paragraphs:

This story of serious corporate malfeasance largely forgiven and forgotten by government and media is depressing enough, but it leaves out a crucial factual detail that seems to have almost totally escaped public notice. The year after Vioxx had been pulled from the market, the New York Times and other major media outlets published a minor news item, generally buried near the bottom of their back pages, which noted that American death rates had suddenly undergone a striking and completely unexpected decline.

The headline of the short article that ran in the April 19, 2005 edition of USA Today was typical: “USA Records Largest Drop in Annual Deaths in at Least 60 Years.” During that one year, American deaths had fallen by 50,000 despite the growth in both the size and the age of the nation’s population. Government health experts were quoted as being greatly “surprised” and “scratching [their] heads” over this strange anomaly, which was led by a sharp drop in fatal heart attacks.

On April 24, 2005, the New York Times ran another of its long stories about the continuing Vioxx controversy, disclosing that Merck officials had knowingly concealed evidence that their drug greatly increased the risk of heart-related fatalities. But the Times journalist made no mention of the seemingly inexplicable drop in national mortality rates that had occurred once the drug was taken off the market, although the news had been reported in his own paper just a few days earlier.

A cursory examination of the most recent 15 years worth of national mortality data provided on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers some intriguing clues to this mystery. We find the largest rise in American mortality rates occurred in 1999, the year Vioxx was introduced, while the largest drop occurred in 2004, the year it was withdrawn. Vioxx was almost entirely marketed to the elderly, and these substantial changes in national death-rate were completely concentrated within the 65-plus population. The FDA studies had proven that use of Vioxx led to deaths from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, and these were exactly the factors driving the changes in national mortality rates.

The impact of these shifts was not small. After a decade of remaining roughly constant, the overall American death rate began a substantial decline in 2004, soon falling by approximately 5 percent, despite the continued aging of the population. This drop corresponds to roughly 100,000 fewer deaths per year. The age-adjusted decline in death rates was considerably greater.

Back in college I had a strong interest in the old Soviet Union, and was always amused when experts explained that some of the most important news developments were often tucked away as small items in the back pages of Pravda or Izvestia. I find it distressful that the same situation now seems true in our own society.

 

I was prompted to resurrect this old story after I attended a rare dinner party a few days ago with a group of Republican political activists. One of the individuals was quite agitated at the supposedly dangerous nature of our Chinese imports, and launched into a lengthy diatribe against that totally corrupt foreign government. He angrily reminded his listeners about the Melamine Scandal, in which baby food products sold in China were adulterated by a potentially harmful plastic chemical compound, leading to the illness of hundreds of thousands of infants and the death of six. Although I was too polite to interrupt his monologue, I knew those details quite well since I had directly contrasted that case—and the reaction of the Chinese government—with how America had handled the Vioxx disaster:

ORDER IT NOW

China’s leaders may not be democratically elected, but they pay close attention to strong popular sentiment. Once pressed, they quickly launched a national police investigation which led to a series of arrests and uncovered evidence that this widespread system of food adulteration had been protected by bribe-taking government officials. Long prison sentences were freely handed out and a couple of the guiltiest culprits were eventually tried and executed for their role, measures that gradually assuaged popular anger. Indeed, the former head of the Chinese FDA had been executed for corruption in late 2007 under similar circumstances.

Obviously, the two situations were not exactly parallel, but consider the different reactions by the national government and media, and what it implies about the realities of popular control in the two societies. In China, a wave of illness culminating in the deaths of six infants became a gigantic national scandal, leading to prison sentences and even executions for the corrupt businessmen responsible and the government officials who facilitated their crimes.

Meanwhile, in the United States a somewhat similar medical scandal producing a body-count perhaps fifty thousand times larger was quickly hushed up and forgotten by the media, with no serious government investigation or significant punishment for any of the guilty parties. The Merck CEO was forced to resign and replaced by one of his top lieutenants, but allowed to keep his $50 million in past bonuses, greatly boosted by lucrative Vioxx sales. A lengthy class-action lawsuit was eventually settled, with the trial lawyers splitting almost $2 billion among themselves, while payouts to the actual victims amounted to roughly $100 per Vioxx user or perhaps $10,000 per American fatality. Given these facts, is it China or is it America that seemingly possesses a free and vigorous media, with a government responsive to the will of the people and protective of their best interests?

Nearly a half century ago, China was in the throes of Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and its government behaved very oddly, leading to all sorts of long-term problems for Chinese society. These days, China seems like a perfectly normal country with a perfectly normal government, and instead it is our own political leadership whose bad behavior may inspire much hand-wringing among future historians.

When ruling elites have little concern for the best interests of the populations they govern, the results can be dire. Under the drunken and totally corrupt Yeltsin Regime of the 1990s, Russia’s national wealth was looted by its financial Oligarchs, who siphoned off vast quantities to their overseas holdings while reducing much of the Russian population to penury. As a direct consequence, Russia suffered one of the greatest peacetime demographic collapses in modern world history, a collapse that was quickly ended and gradually reversed once a patriotic nationalist such as Vladimir Putin came to power and implemented different policies.

Late last year a pair of prominent scholars revealed a stunning rise in the death rates of white Americans over the last dozen years, and some have noted the intriguing parallel between Russia of the Yeltsin years and the situation in our own country. The rapid growth in the highly lucrative prescription drug industry seems a major contributor to this dire health situation, which is heavily concentrated among the non-affluent, whose real wages have stagnated or declined for most of the last 40 years. When large population groups gradually notice that their mortality rates are rising and their financial well-being is falling, they may grow dissatisfied with their existing national elites, and the widespread popularity of Donald Trump in such circles should hardly come as a great surprise.

In his most recent book, Prof. Michael Hudson, a distinguished international economist, has correctly emphasized the strong structural similarities between biological and economic systems. Based on this useful correspondence, he suggests that many of America’s current problems may be best understood once we recognize that our society has been very heavily parasitized by its extractive elites. He further notes that parasites typically attempt to seize control of the sensory organs and central nervous system of their unfortunate host, thereby disorienting their victim or even convincing it that they represent an integral and necessary part of the organism’s own tissue.

Since the mainstream media constitute the sensory organs of our body politic, Hudson’s words often ring true as I read my morning newspapers.

 

 
• Category: Economics, History • Tags: American Media, American Pravda, Poverty, Vioxx 
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  1. Yet another example of the pervasive loss of integrity in American institutions.
    No wonder Mr. Trump doesn’t fear the virtually universal strident opposition of media – many, if not most , Americans assume those very highly paid “personalities” will happily say exactly what they are told to say.
    This particular example cries out for a major investigation. Lethal effects that massively present had to make it through the FDA approval process by having wildly inappropriate subject selection ( e.g. healthy 20 year olds in a drug that would be marketed to the elderly ) or the trial results were massaged to conceal adverse findings.
    Class action suits are just a cost of doing business for Big Pharma- some folks should be wearing orange suits for this one.

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  2. When we were younger and more optimistic I recall a passage of cheerful correspondence when you first got on to this double scandal. Inspired by the memory of getting a distinguished anti-tobacco lobbyist to admit that non-smokers were voting against their financial interests as taxpayers if they voted to reduce tobacco smoking I pointed to the happy fact (obvious to you of course) that Merck had boosted American governments’ budgetary health enormously (and I doubt that I had included all the savings and extra revenue: no wonder George W Bush thought he could afford some wars). So, now, ball park figures maestro: what do think Merck’s delinquency’s contribution to budget health has been?

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    • Replies: @Grace Jones
    Meanwhile, the anti-smokers have gotten away with scientific fraud for six decades. They falsely blame smoking for diseases that are really caused by infection. Less wealthy people are more often exposed to those infections, and smokers are more often less wealthy. So, their studies are cynically designed to cast false blame. Every Surgeon General report is proof of this fraud.
    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGlies.html
    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGHDlies.html
    That's how they bloat the supposed death toll from smoking. And the mass media make sure that nobody is ever allowed to point out the obvious.
  3. Is the photo at the top of the article of a German military cemetery? The dark thick crosses are, as I recall, characteristic of such cemeteries.

    Insofar as the gist of the article is concerned, for-profit medicine does have its downside, and the recent mortality statistics showing whites dying at younger ages and in increasing numbers, and as a result of non-natural causes, ought to be the subject of a major national debate along the lines of “what the hell is going on here!”

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    • Replies: @Whoever

    Is the photo at the top of the article of a German military cemetery?
     
    It might be the German military cemetery at La Cambe in Normandy. It's popular with photographers. Kind of an odd choice to illustrate this article.
    , @Stephen R. Diamond

    for-profit medicine does have its downside
     
    When you consider it, for-profit medicine is an absurdity.
  4. The contemporary version of Merck is the Sackler family, who have pushed OxyContin to America and the world. The Sacklers seem to target the white working class. Part of the reason they have evaded scrutiny is that they have wormed their way into the largely left liberal art world. In the UK, they have a foothold in nearly every major gallery. In Washington DC, they have a gallery near the Holocaust Memorial Museum. If there was justice, each of their galleries would be turned into memorials for those they had murdered.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    Not just OxyContin--also Valium and Librium.

    I read (and fact checked) that psychiatrist Arthur Sackler brought the patent rights for Valium from Europe to the US. He was named to the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for having come up with enough ways for doctors to prescribe Valium that it became the first drug to make $100 million in sales, and later $1 billion. Redefining doctors as pushers in the process, which was the real lucrative development (monetarizing information relationships with doctors).

    Not that Sackler was alone in this type of endeavor:

    http://www.mmm-online.com/features/40-mvps/article/35472/

    Mr. Unz's argument regarding the newsmedia's ignoring of Vioxx is parallel to there never having been a good investigative study of how many lives were ruined by Valium addiction, either directly or through gateway or parallel other addictions. Nor other benzodiazepenes. I seem to recall Stevie Nicks getting interviewed about this a few years ago--that she came off cocaine to get addicted to Klonopin afterwards, because she let her friends talk her into going to a shrink, who drugged her.

    But this also all fits with the melding of "news" and public relations in the past 50 or so years.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/pr-industry-fills-vacuum-left-by-shrinking-newsrooms/single

    (Note how in the comments to that article Jack O'Dwyer argues that lobbyists, not PR people, are controlling information flow.)

    It would be interesting to dig behind the corporate facades of the relatively small cadre of pharmagarch families who make these decisions and skim hundreds of billions in profits.

    When I worked as a civil servant, every last move I made, every last dollar I spent or signed off on, every last memo I wrote was subject to public oversight. With the proliferation of (often malicious) FOIA requests, a lot of that was daylighted, though not necessarily used...and mere pittances were involved, to my knowledge harming no one.

    There are no similar mechanisms to daylight the doings of these private families and corporations as they gamble with millions of lives for profit, and mass death is considered an acceptable cost of doing business.

  5. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “Vioxx—Is that a new Pokemon character?”

    It is a new Pokèmon, also. You really don’t know, Mr. Unz?

    Actually, no. The Vioxx Scandal of the mid-2000s represented one of the greatest medical health disasters of modern times, almost entirely due to corporate greed.

    This is, to this day, one of the historical events one gets labeled a conspiracy theory believer when he makes mention of.

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  6. If we consider the Op/Ed parts of our media from broadcast outlets to fish wraps our “sensory organs and central nervous system”, that is, what informs and shapes opinion, we could do quite well without it. I certainly do. But even without the opinion “organs”, they still shape opinion by how they report, what they report and most importantly, what they don’t report. A little less emphasis here, a little more there and the mission of their political influence is done and all in the producer’s office, no reporters necessary, just a “reporter” twinkie on a microphone and camera. All that and we now know, they’re in consultation with the folks they are supposed to be reporting on. No Wikileaks, no enlightenment on the MSNBC/Wasserman Schultz, speaking of unholy alliances and corruptions and that’s just one. What in the press is to be trusted on any level? Nothing, really.

    Then there is the corruption. Being profit-based, they aren’t about to offend advertisers and Vioxx is a case in point. Most of these drugs, they dream up a nonsensical syndrome and invent, market and push out a drug for it and the media outlets make big dough on the adverts. Pharma shouldn’t be allowed to advertise to the public their drugs, period. These should be medical-industry transactions based on need and prescribed by doctors on pain of corruption charges and jail time for taking a dime or vacation from the pharmaceuticals in exchange for support for a drug beyond true need and benefit to the patient.. But these are powerful entities, they are likely bulletproof because anyone trying to stop it is not.

    As for cratering populations, think how disappointed liberal media and all their good liberal Democrat allies will be that enough white fellas didn’t die off before sufficient numbers of illegals could be commissioned to vote. If Trump makes it in November, he will truly be the last, our demographics simply won’t support another. If Mexicans were Republicans that wall would indeed be tall.

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  7. If you like Vioxx as a scandal, you will love the statins as a hidden gem of a scandal. The medical profession and insurers love them because they help reduce serum cholesterol, which sounds fine and good if they actually help reduce heart and circulatory problems (the jury was decided but may be out again), but in a non-trivial part of the population prescribed statins there are a number of side-effects that include rhabdomyalysis (destruction of muscle tissue and subsequently of the kidneys) which can be fatal and other side effects such as rapid onset of cataracts. Most doctors are unaware of these problems, especially the latter, and still tell their patients the benefits outweigh the risks.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I have taken statins for many years and the latest ensures (with exercise I suppose) that my high cheese and ice cream intake doesn't stop me having excellent LDL and HDL levels. But I had never heard of the cataract problem and would be pleased to be given good links to follow up though my own cataract in one eye was neatly fixed.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    As a senior official of the Ageing Hypochondriacs Support Association I should not have forgotten to pass on another item of information linked to the catalyst info. (I am treating this thread, without wishing to trivialise Ron's serious contribution, as an occasion for what those past a certain age are supposed to indulge in regularly, namely an "organ recital"). When I had a cataract fixed it disclosed a large druse (pl. drusen) in the middle of the macula. A druse, though I have discovered that most doctors haven't heard of it, is a fatty lump which the retina's drainage system has failed to deal with and is a likely precursor to AMD that is seriously bad news for a happy old age.

    The good news is that a company called Ellex Medical Lasers (ELX on the ASX) provides a treatment which is still subject to a full double blind trial but being used experimentally on some who are not in that trial - rather expensively by Australian standards - and I have been able to get into it. The principle is that multiple laser bursts around the retina stimulate whatever aspect of the immune system causes the retina's drainage system to unclog and flow. (Logically, and in practice, that can result in small incipient drusen in the other eye being reduced too).

    I have had to return at six month intervals and I am obviously not a quick responder but, judging by how well I could drive at night with only my druse affected eye open, I am clearly benefiting (confirmed by tests btw though my once non dominant eye continues to read and hit tennis balls. I look forward to resuming prime use of my once dominant eye as proof of cure).

    The long term good news is that much AMD (I gather there are different versions, e.g. wet and dry) should be at least postponed to the point where it becomes like prostate cancer: something you will die with if you live long enough but without it hurting you.

    The short term good news is that a young friend of mine with a business background in China has Ellex on his list of Australian companies to promote and the shares I bought at the beginning of my treatment have risen 300 per cent, no doubt because of recent news from China which may or may not be about this new treatment as Ellex is a long established exporter of anti glaucoma technology from sleepy little Adelaide to the US and Europe.

    I'm not selling my shares. If the IP is tight there should be many more multiples in its growth - and it could start making up for my huge overcommitment in what is now only a US company, Sunshine Heart Inc. that I have been investing in for 12 years as my way to becoming a 0.001 per center! But have a look at it (SSH on the Nasdaq and well written up by one Robert Honeywill on Seeking Alpha; subject to the fact that they are now saying it is neuro modulation which is SSH's future rather than the foundational C-Pulse which I judged to be a potential winner). Intellectually I would be interested in an explanation of the technological changes as senior management has not yet replied to my questions - probably because I added my complaints about their capital raising methods which threaten my ability to maintain my equity in a very expensive investment which I still hope to allow me to become a great philanthropist before I turn 100. There are bound to be people on this thread who have relevant expertise....
  8. Great article.

    Rather than “parasitic”, I think our society is better symbolised by the Goya painting “Saturn Eating His Children”.

    The Capitalists have seen big money available in selling sin to suckers, so they have pedalled every kind of pornographic violent trash, every senseless trinket and food which causes disease. Who cares if they destroy the dignity and spirit of whole sections of society, there is a buck to be made and they will make it.

    The politicians we have had over the last 40 odd years are probably a curse from God, they are so disgusting and spineless. They also have seen sin as a vote winner, all the biggest issues we should face they have ignored. The demographic disaster of the west, the millions of aborted babies, the debasement of our currency, the destruction of our industry and the moral decay of the people abetted and encouraged by their policies.

    These are the same maniacal progressives who led us into two world wars, they are simply wearing a suit now instead of a uniform. When will people realise that in rejecting God the faith they withdraw is given to something or someone else, usually liars and monsters.

    We brought it on ourselves, chugging thickshakes, smoking joints, watching garbage, eating crap and amusing ourselves to death. One day we will wake and realise the world looks on with contempt and hatred at our corrupt ways. Then the fat bloated depraved citizens of the western democracies might find the party has ended. One wonders how far our leaders will go to maintain their bleeding of the people. No doubt they consider themselves saints, the viciously evil always justify their evil ways.

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  9. Good article that gets right to the point and I am happy to see that finally, people seem to be getting a clue.

    …[Hudson] suggests that many of America’s current problems may be best understood once we recognize that our society has been very heavily parasitized by its extractive elites.

    Well, yes, although “extractive elite,” in an economic sense could often be considered redundant ala Balzac’s quip that behind every great fortune is a great crime. (Actually there is probably more often than not a series of crimes behind every great fortune…).

    There is another well written article with a similar message over at LRC today.

    “Even though the essence of the State is coercion, people have been taught to love and respect it. Most people think of the State in the quaint light of a grade school civics book. They think it has something to do with “We the People” electing a Jimmy Stewart character to represent them. That ideal has always been a pernicious fiction, because it idealizes, sanitizes, and legitimizes an intrinsically evil and destructive institution, which is based on force. As Mao once said, political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. But things have gone far beyond that. We’re now in the Deep State.”

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/08/no_author/deep-state/

    Then there’s this.:

    “The primitive state is the creation of warlike robbery; and only by warlike robbery can it be preserved.”
    - Franz Oppenheimer, The State [1919] , Chap II,(d) the primitive feudal state of higher grade

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1662&Itemid=99999999

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  10. ” . . . [V}ery heavily parasitized by its extractive elites.” Agree 100%. Big Medicine’s Iron Pyramid of the AMA, Big Pharma, AHIP, hospital associations, and medical equipment makers are masters of “parasitization”, too.

    This wreaks havoc on what, for want of a better phrase, I’d call the epistemology of citizen-sovereignty. A lot of people judge American health care as excellent because, well, a lot of money is being spent in their behalf through group health insurance, many treatments and procedures do result in good outcomes, they like their doctors, and that insurance card that turns a $5500 ER visit into a $100 out-of-pocket expense just seems like magic. Who wouldn’t want actuarial “white magic” to work in his behalf? There probably aren’t fifty people nationwide who can explain how costly that “magic” really is.

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  11. Vioxx might be gone, but we now have ‘Son of Vioxx’ stalking Americans in pain. The newer NSAID’s are similar to their parent, VIOXX in that they also cause heart attacks, strokes, spontaneous rupture of the stomach lining and massive GI tract bleeding, any of which could lead to death.

    But again Americans aren’t being told the full story by their doctors, who only seem capable of pushing pills or carving people up like a Thanksgiving Turkey.

    Taking NSAID’s that cause so many lethal side effects isn’t medicine, it’s a form of Russian Roulette.

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  12. “The story is a simple one. At the end of the 1990s, pharmaceutical giant Merck introduced a patented, vastly more expensive substitute for simple aspirin,”

    This statement is horribly misleading. I was on Vioxx, and was excited when it, and its cousin Celebrex, were released. For people with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, the stomach damage from aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is non-trivial. Vioxx was what was known as a COX2 inhibitor, and promised to reduce inflammation without tearing apart the stomach lining. If Vioxx hadn’t killed people, Merck would have been heroes.

    I don’t mean the last sentence glibly, the result was awful, but the premise was sound: it was much more than simple aspirin.

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  13. Under the drunken and totally corrupt Yeltsin Regime of the 1990s, Russia’s national wealth was looted by its (((financial Oligarchs,)))who siphoned off vast quantities to their overseas holdings while reducing much of the Russian population to penury.

    FTFY.

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  14. @The Alarmist
    If you like Vioxx as a scandal, you will love the statins as a hidden gem of a scandal. The medical profession and insurers love them because they help reduce serum cholesterol, which sounds fine and good if they actually help reduce heart and circulatory problems (the jury was decided but may be out again), but in a non-trivial part of the population prescribed statins there are a number of side-effects that include rhabdomyalysis (destruction of muscle tissue and subsequently of the kidneys) which can be fatal and other side effects such as rapid onset of cataracts. Most doctors are unaware of these problems, especially the latter, and still tell their patients the benefits outweigh the risks.

    I have taken statins for many years and the latest ensures (with exercise I suppose) that my high cheese and ice cream intake doesn’t stop me having excellent LDL and HDL levels. But I had never heard of the cataract problem and would be pleased to be given good links to follow up though my own cataract in one eye was neatly fixed.

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    • Replies: @Pandos
    Good luck.
    , @Willem
    You can find the evidence here: http://archopht.jamanetwork.com/mobile/article.aspx?articleid=1739520

    Please bear in mind, that authors found a relative increase of approximately 27% or 1.27 times the normal yearly occurence of cataract when using a statin (compared with non-statin use). And since the yearly occurence of cataract may not be high in the first place (caution: of this I am not sure...), the relative increase of 27% may be acceptable as a side effect since statins are able to prevent cardiovasculair disease. Which is a more severe disease (in terms of morbidity and mortality) than cataract. This is at least how the authors relate their finding of that statins increase the risk of cataract.

    Hope that this was a helpful comment. When not sure about the info: please ask your doctor.
  15. @Wizard of Oz
    I have taken statins for many years and the latest ensures (with exercise I suppose) that my high cheese and ice cream intake doesn't stop me having excellent LDL and HDL levels. But I had never heard of the cataract problem and would be pleased to be given good links to follow up though my own cataract in one eye was neatly fixed.

    Good luck.

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  16. A useful reminder of what globalization is about: all power, including legal immunity, to the corporate interests, and Hiliary for Pres.

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  17. Extractive elites, definitely yes and in plural. There is a packing order:
    1) banksters and other financial elite pillages the Western societies the most
    2) military industrial propaganda complex is the second (although boundaries between the two often blur)
    3) the medical pharma complex, the subject of this article, is good third most extractive.

    The Western propensity to point finger at other countries is an endless source of amusement, especially through MSM.

    As the gentleman above stated – good luck to the users of statins. Not everybody who popped Vioxx died, likewise every consumer of statins can hope to be the lucky one. As my mother, a doctor, used to say – nobody ever got health from a pill, the best a pill-popper could hope for is to stop a serious illness whilst not suffering any major (side) effect; for some the side-effects will exceed the desired effect, all the way to death. In other words, popping a pill is the last, almost desperate resort, not a first one. In other words, popping pills can only slow you down on the way out of this world.

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    • Replies: @Jon Claerbout
    Wikipedia "lobbying" points to Open Secrets that as for lobbying, military comes in 10th behind oil and a bunch of other sectors.
  18. I hate to report that once six of 12 members of Merck Board of Directors were Jewish.

    On July 2, 2014, Martha Rosenberg wrote at Intrepid Report….

    http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/13464

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  19. Wow, what a great article

    consider the different reactions by the national government and media, and what it implies about the realities of popular control in the two societies.

    very powerful

    I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that drug wasn’t specifically designed to work in exactly that way, causing useless old pensioners and tax/medical resource burdens to die before their time.

    Just think, it’s a win/win. All these old baby-boomers are retiring on Social Security, and costing the treasury mountains of money, while now they’re no longer paying taxes. Why wouldn’t they design drugs to kill them off?

    I’m absolutely convinced that the epidemic of US veterans offing themselves is by design. Those young men come back with massive scars for the atrocities they’ve been ordered to commit. They have huge psychological problems and are going to cost the government lots of money. Why not just set up their return in a way that’s designed to make them feel so hopeless and helpless that they just kill themselves? It’s a win/win!

    and thank you for bringing up the similarities to Russia’s desperate and forlorn and America’s middle aged white folks who are snuffing it in record numbers and way out of proportion to their percentages in the demographic.

    it’s spiritual

    These American whites, just like the Russians, feel there’s simply no hope for them. These Americans feel hated and despised and rejected by society, that holds up every kind of minority as a heroic victim, while all whites are supposed to genuflect in shame for their terrible crimes. (slavery, Holocaust, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc..)

    our media and media personalities even exhort specifically white people to just die, because they’re hopelessly white and therefor racist and vile

    listening to Oprah, is there really any doubt that our elites would design a drug that would kill off these old and useless white racists?

    great article!

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  20. I took Vioxx for about six weeks. The doctor wisely did not renew the prescription. It probably would not have been a problem if it was marketed to young and healthy people recovering from an accident or athletic injury. It reminds me of the heat wave of 2003 in France. Mortality was estimated at 10,000. This was based not on an actual body count but on a comparison of total mortality with previous time periods. The mortality was old and sick people dying months or a few years before their time.

    Read More
  21. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Pales into insignificance compared to the Oxycontin/black tar heroin scandal. Study that subject if you want a good picture of just how evil the white-hating, murderous bastards who control this society are.

    “In 1993, the DEA allowed pharmaceutical companies to manufacture 3,520 kilograms of oxycodone. In 2015, the DEA authorized production of 137,500 kilograms of oxycodone. That’s a 39-fold increase in 22 years, the equivalent of turning two Buicks into four Boeing 737s. Either Americans are in 39 times more pain than we were 20 years ago, or something else is wrong.” – John Temple

    Read More
  22. @Wizard of Oz
    I have taken statins for many years and the latest ensures (with exercise I suppose) that my high cheese and ice cream intake doesn't stop me having excellent LDL and HDL levels. But I had never heard of the cataract problem and would be pleased to be given good links to follow up though my own cataract in one eye was neatly fixed.

    You can find the evidence here: http://archopht.jamanetwork.com/mobile/article.aspx?articleid=1739520

    Please bear in mind, that authors found a relative increase of approximately 27% or 1.27 times the normal yearly occurence of cataract when using a statin (compared with non-statin use). And since the yearly occurence of cataract may not be high in the first place (caution: of this I am not sure…), the relative increase of 27% may be acceptable as a side effect since statins are able to prevent cardiovasculair disease. Which is a more severe disease (in terms of morbidity and mortality) than cataract. This is at least how the authors relate their finding of that statins increase the risk of cataract.

    Hope that this was a helpful comment. When not sure about the info: please ask your doctor.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    Yeah, I got new lenses. We'll see about the kidneys. As I mentioned, its not everyone at risk, but is not a trivial number who don't tolerate statins.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    Thanks. I tend to think of myself as one of the lucky beneficiaries of modern medicine and pharmaceutical research as I don't seem to suffer any of the side effects warned of, whether effects on one's stomach from aspirin or Tramadol or muscle problems with statins. Perhaps I am suffering deficiencies of cognition or perception which masks the symptoms but it doesn't stop me passing on my latest mixture that I carry with me when travelling to deal with the pain of the odd kidney stone which strikes every 8 to 10 years. It used to be Mersyndol Forte plus an Indocid suppositary but now I have substituted the quick acting 200mg Tramadol for the Mersyndol because it seems slightly less soporific. Either works like the pethidine you otherwise have to wait for. I also commend my practice of getting the doctor to prescribe the double size pills so I can cut or bite them in half and save money because of the way our pharmaceutical benefits scheme works. As I tell my local friendly pharmacist "If it's only to be one of us who dies very old and very rich A, I want it to be me".
  23. Ron Unz,

    Very fine exposé. Many thanks. Nothing to add. The comments are quite helpful and supportive.

    Ron Unz,

    Could you write your overview of the American Electoral Circus of 2016? I would be quite interested. And even if you do not believe it to be a circus, I would remain quite interested.

    Peter J. Antonsen

    Read More
  24. @Pat the Rat
    Great article.

    Rather than "parasitic", I think our society is better symbolised by the Goya painting "Saturn Eating His Children".

    The Capitalists have seen big money available in selling sin to suckers, so they have pedalled every kind of pornographic violent trash, every senseless trinket and food which causes disease. Who cares if they destroy the dignity and spirit of whole sections of society, there is a buck to be made and they will make it.

    The politicians we have had over the last 40 odd years are probably a curse from God, they are so disgusting and spineless. They also have seen sin as a vote winner, all the biggest issues we should face they have ignored. The demographic disaster of the west, the millions of aborted babies, the debasement of our currency, the destruction of our industry and the moral decay of the people abetted and encouraged by their policies.

    These are the same maniacal progressives who led us into two world wars, they are simply wearing a suit now instead of a uniform. When will people realise that in rejecting God the faith they withdraw is given to something or someone else, usually liars and monsters.

    We brought it on ourselves, chugging thickshakes, smoking joints, watching garbage, eating crap and amusing ourselves to death. One day we will wake and realise the world looks on with contempt and hatred at our corrupt ways. Then the fat bloated depraved citizens of the western democracies might find the party has ended. One wonders how far our leaders will go to maintain their bleeding of the people. No doubt they consider themselves saints, the viciously evil always justify their evil ways.

    Well said.

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  25. @Willem
    You can find the evidence here: http://archopht.jamanetwork.com/mobile/article.aspx?articleid=1739520

    Please bear in mind, that authors found a relative increase of approximately 27% or 1.27 times the normal yearly occurence of cataract when using a statin (compared with non-statin use). And since the yearly occurence of cataract may not be high in the first place (caution: of this I am not sure...), the relative increase of 27% may be acceptable as a side effect since statins are able to prevent cardiovasculair disease. Which is a more severe disease (in terms of morbidity and mortality) than cataract. This is at least how the authors relate their finding of that statins increase the risk of cataract.

    Hope that this was a helpful comment. When not sure about the info: please ask your doctor.

    Yeah, I got new lenses. We’ll see about the kidneys. As I mentioned, its not everyone at risk, but is not a trivial number who don’t tolerate statins.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bob who takes his statin
    The number of deaths from heart disease is not trivial either. Of four paternal and three maternal uncles 5 died young from heart disease. Dad had his first heart attack at 43, and one younger brother had his at 38. I think I will take my chances with the cataracts and other side effects.
  26. @Diversity Heretic
    Is the photo at the top of the article of a German military cemetery? The dark thick crosses are, as I recall, characteristic of such cemeteries.

    Insofar as the gist of the article is concerned, for-profit medicine does have its downside, and the recent mortality statistics showing whites dying at younger ages and in increasing numbers, and as a result of non-natural causes, ought to be the subject of a major national debate along the lines of "what the hell is going on here!"

    Is the photo at the top of the article of a German military cemetery?

    It might be the German military cemetery at La Cambe in Normandy. It’s popular with photographers. Kind of an odd choice to illustrate this article.

    Read More
  27. @Diversity Heretic
    Is the photo at the top of the article of a German military cemetery? The dark thick crosses are, as I recall, characteristic of such cemeteries.

    Insofar as the gist of the article is concerned, for-profit medicine does have its downside, and the recent mortality statistics showing whites dying at younger ages and in increasing numbers, and as a result of non-natural causes, ought to be the subject of a major national debate along the lines of "what the hell is going on here!"

    for-profit medicine does have its downside

    When you consider it, for-profit medicine is an absurdity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mark F.
    Yes, I prefer the great Cuban non-profit system.
  28. @RolfDan
    The contemporary version of Merck is the Sackler family, who have pushed OxyContin to America and the world. The Sacklers seem to target the white working class. Part of the reason they have evaded scrutiny is that they have wormed their way into the largely left liberal art world. In the UK, they have a foothold in nearly every major gallery. In Washington DC, they have a gallery near the Holocaust Memorial Museum. If there was justice, each of their galleries would be turned into memorials for those they had murdered.

    Not just OxyContin–also Valium and Librium.

    I read (and fact checked) that psychiatrist Arthur Sackler brought the patent rights for Valium from Europe to the US. He was named to the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for having come up with enough ways for doctors to prescribe Valium that it became the first drug to make $100 million in sales, and later $1 billion. Redefining doctors as pushers in the process, which was the real lucrative development (monetarizing information relationships with doctors).

    Not that Sackler was alone in this type of endeavor:

    http://www.mmm-online.com/features/40-mvps/article/35472/

    Mr. Unz’s argument regarding the newsmedia’s ignoring of Vioxx is parallel to there never having been a good investigative study of how many lives were ruined by Valium addiction, either directly or through gateway or parallel other addictions. Nor other benzodiazepenes. I seem to recall Stevie Nicks getting interviewed about this a few years ago–that she came off cocaine to get addicted to Klonopin afterwards, because she let her friends talk her into going to a shrink, who drugged her.

    But this also all fits with the melding of “news” and public relations in the past 50 or so years.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/pr-industry-fills-vacuum-left-by-shrinking-newsrooms/single

    (Note how in the comments to that article Jack O’Dwyer argues that lobbyists, not PR people, are controlling information flow.)

    It would be interesting to dig behind the corporate facades of the relatively small cadre of pharmagarch families who make these decisions and skim hundreds of billions in profits.

    When I worked as a civil servant, every last move I made, every last dollar I spent or signed off on, every last memo I wrote was subject to public oversight. With the proliferation of (often malicious) FOIA requests, a lot of that was daylighted, though not necessarily used…and mere pittances were involved, to my knowledge harming no one.

    There are no similar mechanisms to daylight the doings of these private families and corporations as they gamble with millions of lives for profit, and mass death is considered an acceptable cost of doing business.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JackOH
    "There are no similar mechanisms to daylight the doings of these private families and corporations . . .".

    The outed CIA operative Valerie Plame noted in her memoir something to the effect that journalists fear losing access to corporate and government decision-makers by publishing stories that offend those two. I don't recall the exact words, but I'm pretty sure I've got the sense right. If Plame is right, what's the point of journalism that prefers being an echo chamber for established interests?

    A decade ago in Ohio there was a big to-do over frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, with much jaw-jacking by the usual state lobbies. The public was sucked into broadly supporting restrictions on one of the few means by which a patient wrongfully injured by an incompetent medical provider could be compensated. If my memory's okay, a smaller southern Ohio newspaper investigated and discovered there hadn't been a single med mal suit unsupported by expert testimony that had ever reached trial or compelled a settlement pre-trial.
  29. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Blacks kill but we are supposed to see them as being killed by whites.

    Globalism is killing whites, but we are not supposed to notice.

    The Narrative says White Have Privilege, and that’s that.

    If the issue becomes ‘WHITES ARE SUFFERING’, then it means globalism is harmful and must be reversed so that white working class folks will do better.

    But the GLOB wants to go ahead with globalism. So, the idea of white Americans suffering and needing special attention is suppressed.

    When Narrative becomes fact, print the Narrative.

    Read More
  30. The Bush administration pushed the Medicare prescription benefit through in 2003, to the applause of big pharma. Does anyone smell a rat, or a payoff?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    It surely depends on the details. Most countries I guess compel trade offs on price in return for certification and tend to certify cheaper drugs only where that is reasonable. E.g Minipress for BPH rather than the slightly superior Flomaxtra/Phlomax which is more expensive.
  31. @Stephen R. Diamond

    for-profit medicine does have its downside
     
    When you consider it, for-profit medicine is an absurdity.

    Yes, I prefer the great Cuban non-profit system.

    Read More
  32. It’s a bad idea to bring up a foreign element into these discussions. The Murica loonies will violently dismiss it out right.

    Read More
  33. @Olorin
    Not just OxyContin--also Valium and Librium.

    I read (and fact checked) that psychiatrist Arthur Sackler brought the patent rights for Valium from Europe to the US. He was named to the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame for having come up with enough ways for doctors to prescribe Valium that it became the first drug to make $100 million in sales, and later $1 billion. Redefining doctors as pushers in the process, which was the real lucrative development (monetarizing information relationships with doctors).

    Not that Sackler was alone in this type of endeavor:

    http://www.mmm-online.com/features/40-mvps/article/35472/

    Mr. Unz's argument regarding the newsmedia's ignoring of Vioxx is parallel to there never having been a good investigative study of how many lives were ruined by Valium addiction, either directly or through gateway or parallel other addictions. Nor other benzodiazepenes. I seem to recall Stevie Nicks getting interviewed about this a few years ago--that she came off cocaine to get addicted to Klonopin afterwards, because she let her friends talk her into going to a shrink, who drugged her.

    But this also all fits with the melding of "news" and public relations in the past 50 or so years.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/pr-industry-fills-vacuum-left-by-shrinking-newsrooms/single

    (Note how in the comments to that article Jack O'Dwyer argues that lobbyists, not PR people, are controlling information flow.)

    It would be interesting to dig behind the corporate facades of the relatively small cadre of pharmagarch families who make these decisions and skim hundreds of billions in profits.

    When I worked as a civil servant, every last move I made, every last dollar I spent or signed off on, every last memo I wrote was subject to public oversight. With the proliferation of (often malicious) FOIA requests, a lot of that was daylighted, though not necessarily used...and mere pittances were involved, to my knowledge harming no one.

    There are no similar mechanisms to daylight the doings of these private families and corporations as they gamble with millions of lives for profit, and mass death is considered an acceptable cost of doing business.

    “There are no similar mechanisms to daylight the doings of these private families and corporations . . .”.

    The outed CIA operative Valerie Plame noted in her memoir something to the effect that journalists fear losing access to corporate and government decision-makers by publishing stories that offend those two. I don’t recall the exact words, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the sense right. If Plame is right, what’s the point of journalism that prefers being an echo chamber for established interests?

    A decade ago in Ohio there was a big to-do over frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, with much jaw-jacking by the usual state lobbies. The public was sucked into broadly supporting restrictions on one of the few means by which a patient wrongfully injured by an incompetent medical provider could be compensated. If my memory’s okay, a smaller southern Ohio newspaper investigated and discovered there hadn’t been a single med mal suit unsupported by expert testimony that had ever reached trial or compelled a settlement pre-trial.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    "I don’t recall the exact words, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the sense right. If Plame is right, what’s the point of journalism that prefers being an echo chamber for established interests?"

    It's the journo paradox. Journalists are supposed to spill beans on The Power, but in order to do so, they must have access to the Power. You have to kiss the ass to kick it. But the moment you kick it, you may no longer have access.

    It's like GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. In order for the salesmen to get the good leads, they must make sales with the bad leads. But it's near impossible to make sales with the bad ones.

    There is also the problem with The Cause over The Power.

    If Journos believed that their primary job was to go after The Power no matter its ideology or agenda, then they would spill the beans more often.
    But Journos are raised from cradle to worship the Cause and to believe in the Narrative. They are all about MLK cult, homomania, 'anti-racism', and etc.

    So, they see the world in terms of Good v Evil. If the Power is for the Good, its abuses are overlooked since exposing its corruption may give aid to the other side.
    So, the Truth takes a back seat to the Agenda.

    PC is all about hysteria. PC-tards see the world in the way that people used to see WWII and maybe Cold War. WWII was truly a war between Evil and better-than-evil. Hitler was so diabolical that it was understandable why a lot whole lot of lies were permitted to defeat his empire. The danger was so fearsome that the 'good guys' had to do anything --- even lie about the nature of Katyn Massacre --- to win the war.

    We are NOT living in a WWII-like scenario, but the world since end of WWII has been shaped by Jewish media and Judeo-centric Narrative. And it is in the hysterical mode of Good vs Evil. Also, the Civil Rights Movement became a holy crusade. Of course, the black cause was morally compelling, but it was not so simple as Liberals would make out. Whites had legit reasons to fear the Negro. But all that has been swept under the rug. There is just the Noble MLK vs evil white 'racists'. And this Narrative has been applied to homo agenda as well. So, if you oppose 'gay marriage', you must like a Nazi or KKK.

    This gives The Power great deal of leverage. Since journos have been raised to prefer Serving the Cause over Speaking Truth to Power, they will overlook the abuses of any Power as long as it is seen as Serving the Cause.
    Hillary was able to get away with so much bad stuff cuz she is a 'progressive'.

    If an average journo was given a choice between telling the truth and hurting a prog figure of power(and thereby undermining the prog agenda) AND withholding the truth and aiding the corrupt prog figure(and furthering the prog agenda), he or she will go with the former.

    Media are dominated by progs. But if conzos dominated it, they might act the same way. Some of the pro-Bush journos during the Iraq War did some shitty things to aid the GOP.
  34. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @JackOH
    "There are no similar mechanisms to daylight the doings of these private families and corporations . . .".

    The outed CIA operative Valerie Plame noted in her memoir something to the effect that journalists fear losing access to corporate and government decision-makers by publishing stories that offend those two. I don't recall the exact words, but I'm pretty sure I've got the sense right. If Plame is right, what's the point of journalism that prefers being an echo chamber for established interests?

    A decade ago in Ohio there was a big to-do over frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, with much jaw-jacking by the usual state lobbies. The public was sucked into broadly supporting restrictions on one of the few means by which a patient wrongfully injured by an incompetent medical provider could be compensated. If my memory's okay, a smaller southern Ohio newspaper investigated and discovered there hadn't been a single med mal suit unsupported by expert testimony that had ever reached trial or compelled a settlement pre-trial.

    “I don’t recall the exact words, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the sense right. If Plame is right, what’s the point of journalism that prefers being an echo chamber for established interests?”

    It’s the journo paradox. Journalists are supposed to spill beans on The Power, but in order to do so, they must have access to the Power. You have to kiss the ass to kick it. But the moment you kick it, you may no longer have access.

    It’s like GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. In order for the salesmen to get the good leads, they must make sales with the bad leads. But it’s near impossible to make sales with the bad ones.

    There is also the problem with The Cause over The Power.

    If Journos believed that their primary job was to go after The Power no matter its ideology or agenda, then they would spill the beans more often.
    But Journos are raised from cradle to worship the Cause and to believe in the Narrative. They are all about MLK cult, homomania, ‘anti-racism’, and etc.

    So, they see the world in terms of Good v Evil. If the Power is for the Good, its abuses are overlooked since exposing its corruption may give aid to the other side.
    So, the Truth takes a back seat to the Agenda.

    PC is all about hysteria. PC-tards see the world in the way that people used to see WWII and maybe Cold War. WWII was truly a war between Evil and better-than-evil. Hitler was so diabolical that it was understandable why a lot whole lot of lies were permitted to defeat his empire. The danger was so fearsome that the ‘good guys’ had to do anything — even lie about the nature of Katyn Massacre — to win the war.

    We are NOT living in a WWII-like scenario, but the world since end of WWII has been shaped by Jewish media and Judeo-centric Narrative. And it is in the hysterical mode of Good vs Evil. Also, the Civil Rights Movement became a holy crusade. Of course, the black cause was morally compelling, but it was not so simple as Liberals would make out. Whites had legit reasons to fear the Negro. But all that has been swept under the rug. There is just the Noble MLK vs evil white ‘racists’. And this Narrative has been applied to homo agenda as well. So, if you oppose ‘gay marriage’, you must like a Nazi or KKK.

    This gives The Power great deal of leverage. Since journos have been raised to prefer Serving the Cause over Speaking Truth to Power, they will overlook the abuses of any Power as long as it is seen as Serving the Cause.
    Hillary was able to get away with so much bad stuff cuz she is a ‘progressive’.

    If an average journo was given a choice between telling the truth and hurting a prog figure of power(and thereby undermining the prog agenda) AND withholding the truth and aiding the corrupt prog figure(and furthering the prog agenda), he or she will go with the former.

    Media are dominated by progs. But if conzos dominated it, they might act the same way. Some of the pro-Bush journos during the Iraq War did some shitty things to aid the GOP.

    Read More
  35. @Willem
    You can find the evidence here: http://archopht.jamanetwork.com/mobile/article.aspx?articleid=1739520

    Please bear in mind, that authors found a relative increase of approximately 27% or 1.27 times the normal yearly occurence of cataract when using a statin (compared with non-statin use). And since the yearly occurence of cataract may not be high in the first place (caution: of this I am not sure...), the relative increase of 27% may be acceptable as a side effect since statins are able to prevent cardiovasculair disease. Which is a more severe disease (in terms of morbidity and mortality) than cataract. This is at least how the authors relate their finding of that statins increase the risk of cataract.

    Hope that this was a helpful comment. When not sure about the info: please ask your doctor.

    Thanks. I tend to think of myself as one of the lucky beneficiaries of modern medicine and pharmaceutical research as I don’t seem to suffer any of the side effects warned of, whether effects on one’s stomach from aspirin or Tramadol or muscle problems with statins. Perhaps I am suffering deficiencies of cognition or perception which masks the symptoms but it doesn’t stop me passing on my latest mixture that I carry with me when travelling to deal with the pain of the odd kidney stone which strikes every 8 to 10 years. It used to be Mersyndol Forte plus an Indocid suppositary but now I have substituted the quick acting 200mg Tramadol for the Mersyndol because it seems slightly less soporific. Either works like the pethidine you otherwise have to wait for. I also commend my practice of getting the doctor to prescribe the double size pills so I can cut or bite them in half and save money because of the way our pharmaceutical benefits scheme works. As I tell my local friendly pharmacist “If it’s only to be one of us who dies very old and very rich A, I want it to be me”.

    Read More
  36. @DES
    The Bush administration pushed the Medicare prescription benefit through in 2003, to the applause of big pharma. Does anyone smell a rat, or a payoff?

    It surely depends on the details. Most countries I guess compel trade offs on price in return for certification and tend to certify cheaper drugs only where that is reasonable. E.g Minipress for BPH rather than the slightly superior Flomaxtra/Phlomax which is more expensive.

    Read More
    • Replies: @DES
    The details have nothing to do with it. What industry wouldn't be delighted to drop its prices in return for the government's handling out money to people to buy its products? This is especially true of the pharmaceutical industry, where the cost of getting FDA approval represents a large share of total costs. Once a drug is approved, these are in essence fixed costs that do not vary with output. A higher sales volume, stimulated by a government program like Medicare, allows them to spread these costs over more units. In other words, a large percentage of the price of each additional product they sell goes straight to their bottom line.
  37. @JosephB
    "The story is a simple one. At the end of the 1990s, pharmaceutical giant Merck introduced a patented, vastly more expensive substitute for simple aspirin,"

    This statement is horribly misleading. I was on Vioxx, and was excited when it, and its cousin Celebrex, were released. For people with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, the stomach damage from aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is non-trivial. Vioxx was what was known as a COX2 inhibitor, and promised to reduce inflammation without tearing apart the stomach lining. If Vioxx hadn't killed people, Merck would have been heroes.

    I don't mean the last sentence glibly, the result was awful, but the premise was sound: it was much more than simple aspirin.

    Is Celebrex still regarded as safe enough?

    Read More
    • Replies: @JosephB
    "Is Celebrex still regarded as safe enough?"

    I'm not sure. Celebrex didn't top out with enough pain relief to be of use to me, so I didn't really follow up on it over the years.

    I'm still horrified at the statement of Vioxx being a substitute for aspirin. Usually I read Ron Unz to learn something. In this article he's talking about a topic I know a fair amount about, and find it shocking. Unfortunately, that causes me to read other columns with much more skepticism.
  38. Don’t forger all the kids killed or permanently damaged by Ritalin. Night terrors. Insomnia. Nervous twitching, PTSD from the night terrors, heart attacks, strokes. anxiety. Big pharma sucks.

    Read More
  39. Lets not beat around the bush, we all know the same Russian parasites have one thing in common with America’s infestation, Zionist Jew Elites…They also are working on members of the EU.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    There is so much on UR in the comments that is such a waste of time that one has to assume commenters like Rehmat are paid syndicates or teams and much of the mouthing off is done by none too bright people with nothing better to do. (Why do I waste my obviously valuable time? Well I am predisposed to value the company of Ron, Steve Sailer, Fred Reed, John Derbyshire and Peter Frost from earlier times.)
    All that is preliminary to my saying that this totally non-Semitic philo-Semite has been fascinated by the anti-Semitism displayed on UR and, as ever, interested to tease out truths from overstatements and mistatements. So, for example, I have become much more aware and convinced of the part a minority of rich Israel First Jews play in American politics (not so much in other countries for various reasons and I think intellectual neo-cons are to be evaluated seperately wrt their motives and modus operandi).
    That being said my tentative understanding is that 19th century Zionism was easy to support for intelligent well informed decent people.

    Politically, geopolitically, ethnically, traditionally, Jewish immigrants could be settled in a sparsely populated underproductive land where there was no Palestinian people nor government of or for Arabs living in that part of the Ottoman empire (southern Syria I have seen quoted as the description by Arabs but hhaven't yet checked). The land could be and was legitimately bought from its often absentee owners under Ottoman law (and please don't start a side track about the Elgin Marbles). There were already Jews in the Holy Land part of the multicultural, multiethnic Ottoman empire - indeed they may have long been a majority in the sad remnants of old Jerusalem - and introducing Zionist farmers was nothing special.

    Of course the additional economic activity resulting from energetic Zionist developments (and I guess all the growing European tourism and archaeology) attracted many more Arabs to what the Romans had renamed Palestine in order to totally extinguish Jewish claims to nationhood (and I don't mean that to be tendentious in any way beyond recording that Palestine was originally just a Roman province with that name).

    So, like the case of Australian Aborigines (though their case is complicated by the questions of identity raised by most urban Aborigines having white ancestry and there being no unifying teligious or other common tradition other than vague references to land most have never identified with) there is no sense in looking for some ancient traditional people but maybe there is a Palestinian people created by Israel in the last three generations. And maybe - I am just now improvising my extrapolation - all those Palestinians (add Bedouins too?) multiplying in refugee camps, Gaza etc. are as much a "people" as the often illiterate multiplying Jewish, Ladino, Yiddish, Aramaic etc speakers of mixed genetic ancestry who remained undeniably a people for two millenia.

    What follows?

    A right of "return" to - well what and where? - for all those whose Arab ancestors farmed (leased at best: they rarely had titles of ownership) land in Palestine which is now Israel or lived in villages serving those farms plus those who had businesses in Haifa for example? Clearly impractical and anyway destructive of the Jewish democracy the Jewish Israelis want (and would not have been criticised for according to earlier fashions). So, clearly the two state solution is the only possible one that could survive in the long run. Or.... why not "several state solution". Like Taiwan,Hong Kong and Singapore? Who says there is a "Palestinian people" that must have a single state?

    Many Palestinian people are getting a very rough deal from msny Israelis and can't do much about it. But is all the settlement building and wall building across Palestinians' land an irreperable barrier to ultimate creation of viable Palestinian entities? Clearly all those Palestinians who, hypothetically, may wish to live as taxpaying cotizens of a Palestinian state are not going to be farmers and one or more Hong Kong or Songspore style city states seems more likely to be the answer.

    Netanyahu and his more thuggish supporters don't seem like the best negotiators of peace should the opportunity arise but the big question is what the preconditions must be for such negotiations. Can Israel be expected to come to the table for honest reasonable negotiation so long as major ME players like Iran call for its destruction and support Hezbollah on Israel's borders?

    I retain, just, an optimistic view that the intransigent settlement building by Israel is not necessarily a permanent land grab but, at least open to becoming the basis for tradeoffs. When one thinks of Ariel Sharon's ruthless (and perhaps fruitless) uprooting of Israeli settlers' from Gaza one cannot ignore the willingness of tough Israeli PMs to do what it takes.

    Apologies to Art and the league of the simple- minded who can't quite make their labels fit this, or me.
  40. @The Alarmist
    If you like Vioxx as a scandal, you will love the statins as a hidden gem of a scandal. The medical profession and insurers love them because they help reduce serum cholesterol, which sounds fine and good if they actually help reduce heart and circulatory problems (the jury was decided but may be out again), but in a non-trivial part of the population prescribed statins there are a number of side-effects that include rhabdomyalysis (destruction of muscle tissue and subsequently of the kidneys) which can be fatal and other side effects such as rapid onset of cataracts. Most doctors are unaware of these problems, especially the latter, and still tell their patients the benefits outweigh the risks.

    As a senior official of the Ageing Hypochondriacs Support Association I should not have forgotten to pass on another item of information linked to the catalyst info. (I am treating this thread, without wishing to trivialise Ron’s serious contribution, as an occasion for what those past a certain age are supposed to indulge in regularly, namely an “organ recital”). When I had a cataract fixed it disclosed a large druse (pl. drusen) in the middle of the macula. A druse, though I have discovered that most doctors haven’t heard of it, is a fatty lump which the retina’s drainage system has failed to deal with and is a likely precursor to AMD that is seriously bad news for a happy old age.

    The good news is that a company called Ellex Medical Lasers (ELX on the ASX) provides a treatment which is still subject to a full double blind trial but being used experimentally on some who are not in that trial – rather expensively by Australian standards – and I have been able to get into it. The principle is that multiple laser bursts around the retina stimulate whatever aspect of the immune system causes the retina’s drainage system to unclog and flow. (Logically, and in practice, that can result in small incipient drusen in the other eye being reduced too).

    I have had to return at six month intervals and I am obviously not a quick responder but, judging by how well I could drive at night with only my druse affected eye open, I am clearly benefiting (confirmed by tests btw though my once non dominant eye continues to read and hit tennis balls. I look forward to resuming prime use of my once dominant eye as proof of cure).

    The long term good news is that much AMD (I gather there are different versions, e.g. wet and dry) should be at least postponed to the point where it becomes like prostate cancer: something you will die with if you live long enough but without it hurting you.

    The short term good news is that a young friend of mine with a business background in China has Ellex on his list of Australian companies to promote and the shares I bought at the beginning of my treatment have risen 300 per cent, no doubt because of recent news from China which may or may not be about this new treatment as Ellex is a long established exporter of anti glaucoma technology from sleepy little Adelaide to the US and Europe.

    I’m not selling my shares. If the IP is tight there should be many more multiples in its growth – and it could start making up for my huge overcommitment in what is now only a US company, Sunshine Heart Inc. that I have been investing in for 12 years as my way to becoming a 0.001 per center! But have a look at it (SSH on the Nasdaq and well written up by one Robert Honeywill on Seeking Alpha; subject to the fact that they are now saying it is neuro modulation which is SSH’s future rather than the foundational C-Pulse which I judged to be a potential winner). Intellectually I would be interested in an explanation of the technological changes as senior management has not yet replied to my questions – probably because I added my complaints about their capital raising methods which threaten my ability to maintain my equity in a very expensive investment which I still hope to allow me to become a great philanthropist before I turn 100. There are bound to be people on this thread who have relevant expertise….

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    I don't think touting penny stocks is appropriate on this site.
  41. I should probably add a few important clarifications to my analysis.

    (1) The official FDA study estimated the total number of American Vioxx fatalities in the 35,000-50,000 range. Meanwhile, the evidence for my much higher estimate in the hundreds of thousands is entirely circumstantial, but I think reasonably persuasive. It would otherwise seem a remarkable coincidence that the death rate rose sharply the exact year Vioxx was introduced and dropped dramatically the exact year it was removed. And as I mention, those sharp changes in death rate were concentrated in exactly the elderly population targetted by Vioxx advertising, and the causes of death were exactly the ones the FDA found associated with Vioxx.

    (2) That being said, although the excess deaths seem closely associated with the Vioxx timing, the exact relationship is far from clear. For example, I think one or more other competing prescriptive painkiller drugs somewhat similar to Vioxx were introduced around the same time, and their use later plummetted amid all the terrible publicity surrounding the Vioxx withdrawal. So it’s very possible their users may actually have accounted for a substantial fraction of the changes in death rate.

    (3) In fact, I’m even far from certain whether Vioxx itself was the actual culprit. For example, there seems a great deal of evidence that regular use of simple aspirin may serve as a powerful protective agent against strokes and heart-attacks. Since Vioxx and those other prescription drugs were heavily marketed as a substitute for aspirin, perhaps it was the lack of aspirin rather than the use of Vioxx that accounted for all those extra fatalities from strokes and heart-attacks.

    (4) Regardless of these other points, it seems unconscionable that our media so quickly forgot the matter, and that our government never punished a single guilty party. Indeed, the government apparently made major efforts to suppress the FDA study, in which case Vioxx use might have continued down to this very day, with the fatalities now reaching a million or more. Furthermore, it’s outrageous that neither the government nor the media has apparently ever expressed any curiosity over the large shifts in national mortality rates so closely matching the introduction and withdrawal of Vioxx.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rurik

    it’s outrageous that neither the government nor the media has apparently ever expressed any curiosity over the large shifts in national mortality rates so closely matching the introduction and withdrawal of Vioxx.
     
    or, for that matter, that fact that GWB lied us into a disastrous war(s)

    - that now today, in hindsight, we all know was based on lies

    not mistakes, but lies

    if our media doesn't care about things like that, well then, drugs designed to kill off certain demographics are blasé at best

    http://www.slothsandmovies.com/images/cow_large.jpg
    , @CanSpeccy
    There seems a remarkable difference in the way that the US Government acted in relation to BP, which was held grossly negligent in the the death of 11 workers and the oiling of some birds and shorelines as a result of the Deep Water Horizon blowout, and Merck, which though aware of the deadly hazard, pursued profit from the sale of Vioxx at the cost of up to 400,000 lives.

    Was the difference that President Obama mistakenly believed BP to stand for British Petroleum, or what?
  42. @The Alarmist
    Yeah, I got new lenses. We'll see about the kidneys. As I mentioned, its not everyone at risk, but is not a trivial number who don't tolerate statins.

    The number of deaths from heart disease is not trivial either. Of four paternal and three maternal uncles 5 died young from heart disease. Dad had his first heart attack at 43, and one younger brother had his at 38. I think I will take my chances with the cataracts and other side effects.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    I think I will take my chances with the cataracts and other side effects.
     
    With a family history like that you are probably making the right choice. The issue I have with statin prescribing is creating the perception that the side effects are zero/minimal and it would be appropriate (only exaggerating slightly) to put them in the water supply. I am really tired of medical "one size fits all" and "if lower is good then zero must be better" thinking.

    P.S. As someone who has
    1. Taken Vioxx years ago (after an injury, it was very effective).
    2. Watched the FDA's endless persecution of supplement manufacturers and advocates.
    I have little patience with the way the FDA works in practice (the theory and occasional success stories are great) .
  43. @Wizard of Oz
    When we were younger and more optimistic I recall a passage of cheerful correspondence when you first got on to this double scandal. Inspired by the memory of getting a distinguished anti-tobacco lobbyist to admit that non-smokers were voting against their financial interests as taxpayers if they voted to reduce tobacco smoking I pointed to the happy fact (obvious to you of course) that Merck had boosted American governments' budgetary health enormously (and I doubt that I had included all the savings and extra revenue: no wonder George W Bush thought he could afford some wars). So, now, ball park figures maestro: what do think Merck's delinquency's contribution to budget health has been?

    Meanwhile, the anti-smokers have gotten away with scientific fraud for six decades. They falsely blame smoking for diseases that are really caused by infection. Less wealthy people are more often exposed to those infections, and smokers are more often less wealthy. So, their studies are cynically designed to cast false blame. Every Surgeon General report is proof of this fraud.

    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGlies.html

    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGHDlies.html

    That’s how they bloat the supposed death toll from smoking. And the mass media make sure that nobody is ever allowed to point out the obvious.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I didn't realise that there was still a question 60 years on as to whether statistical associations had been supported by pfysical evidence of causation. And I'm not going to give time to following that up as my view of smoking is somewhat less extreme that that of King James l but in line with those who created smoking rooms to keep the stale tobacco smell from contaminating other rooms. Still no reason to stop people killing themselves at an age when their pensions are likely to kick in and hip replacements become an expected expense to taxpayers. Second hand smoke? Dunno. But it can smell foul.
    , @Druid
    Sorry, but you're nuts!
  44. @TJM
    Lets not beat around the bush, we all know the same Russian parasites have one thing in common with America's infestation, Zionist Jew Elites...They also are working on members of the EU.

    There is so much on UR in the comments that is such a waste of time that one has to assume commenters like Rehmat are paid syndicates or teams and much of the mouthing off is done by none too bright people with nothing better to do. (Why do I waste my obviously valuable time? Well I am predisposed to value the company of Ron, Steve Sailer, Fred Reed, John Derbyshire and Peter Frost from earlier times.)
    All that is preliminary to my saying that this totally non-Semitic philo-Semite has been fascinated by the anti-Semitism displayed on UR and, as ever, interested to tease out truths from overstatements and mistatements. So, for example, I have become much more aware and convinced of the part a minority of rich Israel First Jews play in American politics (not so much in other countries for various reasons and I think intellectual neo-cons are to be evaluated seperately wrt their motives and modus operandi).
    That being said my tentative understanding is that 19th century Zionism was easy to support for intelligent well informed decent people.

    Politically, geopolitically, ethnically, traditionally, Jewish immigrants could be settled in a sparsely populated underproductive land where there was no Palestinian people nor government of or for Arabs living in that part of the Ottoman empire (southern Syria I have seen quoted as the description by Arabs but hhaven’t yet checked). The land could be and was legitimately bought from its often absentee owners under Ottoman law (and please don’t start a side track about the Elgin Marbles). There were already Jews in the Holy Land part of the multicultural, multiethnic Ottoman empire – indeed they may have long been a majority in the sad remnants of old Jerusalem – and introducing Zionist farmers was nothing special.

    Of course the additional economic activity resulting from energetic Zionist developments (and I guess all the growing European tourism and archaeology) attracted many more Arabs to what the Romans had renamed Palestine in order to totally extinguish Jewish claims to nationhood (and I don’t mean that to be tendentious in any way beyond recording that Palestine was originally just a Roman province with that name).

    [MORE]

    So, like the case of Australian Aborigines (though their case is complicated by the questions of identity raised by most urban Aborigines having white ancestry and there being no unifying teligious or other common tradition other than vague references to land most have never identified with) there is no sense in looking for some ancient traditional people but maybe there is a Palestinian people created by Israel in the last three generations. And maybe – I am just now improvising my extrapolation – all those Palestinians (add Bedouins too?) multiplying in refugee camps, Gaza etc. are as much a “people” as the often illiterate multiplying Jewish, Ladino, Yiddish, Aramaic etc speakers of mixed genetic ancestry who remained undeniably a people for two millenia.

    What follows?

    A right of “return” to – well what and where? – for all those whose Arab ancestors farmed (leased at best: they rarely had titles of ownership) land in Palestine which is now Israel or lived in villages serving those farms plus those who had businesses in Haifa for example? Clearly impractical and anyway destructive of the Jewish democracy the Jewish Israelis want (and would not have been criticised for according to earlier fashions). So, clearly the two state solution is the only possible one that could survive in the long run. Or…. why not “several state solution”. Like Taiwan,Hong Kong and Singapore? Who says there is a “Palestinian people” that must have a single state?

    Many Palestinian people are getting a very rough deal from msny Israelis and can’t do much about it. But is all the settlement building and wall building across Palestinians’ land an irreperable barrier to ultimate creation of viable Palestinian entities? Clearly all those Palestinians who, hypothetically, may wish to live as taxpaying cotizens of a Palestinian state are not going to be farmers and one or more Hong Kong or Songspore style city states seems more likely to be the answer.

    Netanyahu and his more thuggish supporters don’t seem like the best negotiators of peace should the opportunity arise but the big question is what the preconditions must be for such negotiations. Can Israel be expected to come to the table for honest reasonable negotiation so long as major ME players like Iran call for its destruction and support Hezbollah on Israel’s borders?

    I retain, just, an optimistic view that the intransigent settlement building by Israel is not necessarily a permanent land grab but, at least open to becoming the basis for tradeoffs. When one thinks of Ariel Sharon’s ruthless (and perhaps fruitless) uprooting of Israeli settlers’ from Gaza one cannot ignore the willingness of tough Israeli PMs to do what it takes.

    Apologies to Art and the league of the simple- minded who can’t quite make their labels fit this, or me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Druid
    Bunch of Ziofascist thieves and no amount of verbosity can whitewash that fact!
  45. @Grace Jones
    Meanwhile, the anti-smokers have gotten away with scientific fraud for six decades. They falsely blame smoking for diseases that are really caused by infection. Less wealthy people are more often exposed to those infections, and smokers are more often less wealthy. So, their studies are cynically designed to cast false blame. Every Surgeon General report is proof of this fraud.
    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGlies.html
    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGHDlies.html
    That's how they bloat the supposed death toll from smoking. And the mass media make sure that nobody is ever allowed to point out the obvious.

    I didn’t realise that there was still a question 60 years on as to whether statistical associations had been supported by pfysical evidence of causation. And I’m not going to give time to following that up as my view of smoking is somewhat less extreme that that of King James l but in line with those who created smoking rooms to keep the stale tobacco smell from contaminating other rooms. Still no reason to stop people killing themselves at an age when their pensions are likely to kick in and hip replacements become an expected expense to taxpayers. Second hand smoke? Dunno. But it can smell foul.

    Read More
  46. The CIA and the Jew are responsible for everything except walking my dog.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    You mean the dog which is carrying the electronic tag?
  47. @Wizard of Oz
    As a senior official of the Ageing Hypochondriacs Support Association I should not have forgotten to pass on another item of information linked to the catalyst info. (I am treating this thread, without wishing to trivialise Ron's serious contribution, as an occasion for what those past a certain age are supposed to indulge in regularly, namely an "organ recital"). When I had a cataract fixed it disclosed a large druse (pl. drusen) in the middle of the macula. A druse, though I have discovered that most doctors haven't heard of it, is a fatty lump which the retina's drainage system has failed to deal with and is a likely precursor to AMD that is seriously bad news for a happy old age.

    The good news is that a company called Ellex Medical Lasers (ELX on the ASX) provides a treatment which is still subject to a full double blind trial but being used experimentally on some who are not in that trial - rather expensively by Australian standards - and I have been able to get into it. The principle is that multiple laser bursts around the retina stimulate whatever aspect of the immune system causes the retina's drainage system to unclog and flow. (Logically, and in practice, that can result in small incipient drusen in the other eye being reduced too).

    I have had to return at six month intervals and I am obviously not a quick responder but, judging by how well I could drive at night with only my druse affected eye open, I am clearly benefiting (confirmed by tests btw though my once non dominant eye continues to read and hit tennis balls. I look forward to resuming prime use of my once dominant eye as proof of cure).

    The long term good news is that much AMD (I gather there are different versions, e.g. wet and dry) should be at least postponed to the point where it becomes like prostate cancer: something you will die with if you live long enough but without it hurting you.

    The short term good news is that a young friend of mine with a business background in China has Ellex on his list of Australian companies to promote and the shares I bought at the beginning of my treatment have risen 300 per cent, no doubt because of recent news from China which may or may not be about this new treatment as Ellex is a long established exporter of anti glaucoma technology from sleepy little Adelaide to the US and Europe.

    I'm not selling my shares. If the IP is tight there should be many more multiples in its growth - and it could start making up for my huge overcommitment in what is now only a US company, Sunshine Heart Inc. that I have been investing in for 12 years as my way to becoming a 0.001 per center! But have a look at it (SSH on the Nasdaq and well written up by one Robert Honeywill on Seeking Alpha; subject to the fact that they are now saying it is neuro modulation which is SSH's future rather than the foundational C-Pulse which I judged to be a potential winner). Intellectually I would be interested in an explanation of the technological changes as senior management has not yet replied to my questions - probably because I added my complaints about their capital raising methods which threaten my ability to maintain my equity in a very expensive investment which I still hope to allow me to become a great philanthropist before I turn 100. There are bound to be people on this thread who have relevant expertise....

    I don’t think touting penny stocks is appropriate on this site.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    No, not if you look at it that way. As the subject of cataracts as a side effect had come up I thought it an agreeable thing to do to let people who might (as many do and should) worry about AMD share the good news I could personally testify to about the new laser treatment. Consider my ambiguous gossip about the investment angle of Ellex as a kind of full disclosure (which is too rare in recommendations of medical devices and treatments).

    As to Sunshine Heart mentioned as an afterthought I think the technological/medical story is fascinating as is the history of the development of what was originally a New Zealand cardiac surgeon's invention, the C Pulse, and - though I am at a loss to explain it - the continuation of the company based on "neuro modulation" which seems to be something they discovered as an aspect of the C Pulse's operation.

    I don't think I need to apologise to The Alarmist or quite a few other commenters who are not enjoying the rude health of youth for providing the info and even for saying too much rather than too little. But I understand your point.
  48. @5371
    I don't think touting penny stocks is appropriate on this site.

    No, not if you look at it that way. As the subject of cataracts as a side effect had come up I thought it an agreeable thing to do to let people who might (as many do and should) worry about AMD share the good news I could personally testify to about the new laser treatment. Consider my ambiguous gossip about the investment angle of Ellex as a kind of full disclosure (which is too rare in recommendations of medical devices and treatments).

    As to Sunshine Heart mentioned as an afterthought I think the technological/medical story is fascinating as is the history of the development of what was originally a New Zealand cardiac surgeon’s invention, the C Pulse, and – though I am at a loss to explain it – the continuation of the company based on “neuro modulation” which seems to be something they discovered as an aspect of the C Pulse’s operation.

    I don’t think I need to apologise to The Alarmist or quite a few other commenters who are not enjoying the rude health of youth for providing the info and even for saying too much rather than too little. But I understand your point.

    Read More
  49. @Sean the Neon Caucasian
    The CIA and the Jew are responsible for everything except walking my dog.

    You mean the dog which is carrying the electronic tag?

    Read More
  50. Just an afterthought: I feel sorry for the naïve young journalist or academic whose working hypothesis is that the various iterations of American health care debate are about how best to get health care for Americans.

    The big players in health care debate do a masterful job of concealing their truly sordid motives from a sedated public, so that phenomena, such as the Vioxx scandal Ron talks about, appear as isolated instances in an otherwise sound health care system. The opposite, I think, is more the case. I’m very confident, for example, there is a memorandum within the AMA’s 1970s archives that argues that Congress will do little or nothing should medical doctors begin screening the new cash patient from practice, and that that memo was regarded approvingly by the majority of AMA-type practitioners. Who wouldn’t want a license to plow into potentially vast quantities of insurance money unhindered by pesky cash patients?

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  51. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    As a direct consequence, Russia suffered one of the greatest peacetime demographic collapses in modern world history,

    Something similar has been taking place in the US with white, older people in their fifties and early sixties dying prematurely at higher than expected numbers. The blame is put on their bad habits of smoking, drinking and pill-popping as well as obesity and lack of following a healthy lifestyle. However, behind it is a pattern of hopelessness and the realization that there is little prospect for improvement in their lives hence their just giving up and taking one more puff. Many have become redundant and have few job options, if any, and see just a life of meaningless poverty ahead of them. The political class has scorn for the lower level citizenry and will do nothing for them. It’s an extractive elite all right, one that covers it’s tracks very well. Sort of like a farmer who makes a living off of his animals but has them convinced he’s supporting them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @amicus curiae
    err?
    no a hell of a lot are on antidepressants..and adding to that is the huge statin push.
    both of which have some bad side effects suicide for antidepressants and stroke heart attacks for statins along with increased pain for arthritics or rhabdomylosis
  52. it didnt stop there..they then marketed heavily to VETs and millions of pets have been killed, sometimes in days heres a few links

    WARNING for Dog Owners Arthritis Pain Drug “PREVICOX” KILLS …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZLNA5WfaBM Proxy Highlight

    8 Sep 2013 … Arthritis Pain Drug “PREVICOX” KILLS The FDA has released … Previcox is the veterinary version of the Vioxx (prescribed for arthritis in …
    Side Effects of Previcox for Dogs – Vetinfo.com

    https://www.vetinfo.com/side-effects-previcox.html Proxy Highlight

    Previcox for dogs is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for canines that weigh over 7 lbs. to help control pain and inflammation caused by …
    Evidence Based Vet Forum • View topic – RIMADYL ZENECARP Carprofen …

    http://www.ebvet.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=194 Proxy Highlight

    Vioxx, the FDA benignly approved Previcox (firocoxib) for dogs. Previcox was developed by Merck, the developers of Vioxx, and is structurally …

    Read More
  53. @anonymous

    As a direct consequence, Russia suffered one of the greatest peacetime demographic collapses in modern world history,
     
    Something similar has been taking place in the US with white, older people in their fifties and early sixties dying prematurely at higher than expected numbers. The blame is put on their bad habits of smoking, drinking and pill-popping as well as obesity and lack of following a healthy lifestyle. However, behind it is a pattern of hopelessness and the realization that there is little prospect for improvement in their lives hence their just giving up and taking one more puff. Many have become redundant and have few job options, if any, and see just a life of meaningless poverty ahead of them. The political class has scorn for the lower level citizenry and will do nothing for them. It's an extractive elite all right, one that covers it's tracks very well. Sort of like a farmer who makes a living off of his animals but has them convinced he's supporting them.

    err?
    no a hell of a lot are on antidepressants..and adding to that is the huge statin push.
    both of which have some bad side effects suicide for antidepressants and stroke heart attacks for statins along with increased pain for arthritics or rhabdomylosis

    Read More
  54. @Bob who takes his statin
    The number of deaths from heart disease is not trivial either. Of four paternal and three maternal uncles 5 died young from heart disease. Dad had his first heart attack at 43, and one younger brother had his at 38. I think I will take my chances with the cataracts and other side effects.

    I think I will take my chances with the cataracts and other side effects.

    With a family history like that you are probably making the right choice. The issue I have with statin prescribing is creating the perception that the side effects are zero/minimal and it would be appropriate (only exaggerating slightly) to put them in the water supply. I am really tired of medical “one size fits all” and “if lower is good then zero must be better” thinking.

    P.S. As someone who has
    1. Taken Vioxx years ago (after an injury, it was very effective).
    2. Watched the FDA’s endless persecution of supplement manufacturers and advocates.
    I have little patience with the way the FDA works in practice (the theory and occasional success stories are great) .

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  55. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Hi Ron, there is a far uglier reality involved that was shared with me by an actuary with a defined benefit fund 13 years ago. Pharma has traditionally provided the highest ROI for the pension fund business. The pension fund business’s greatest liability is people living beyond their “best before dates” on average. In aggregate, the pension funds own the largest share of equities. Thus, in perilous/volatile economic times, the self-interest of pension funds combined with the broader market’s interest in economic survival make the economic calculation of culling the elderly an irresistible option. In my view Vioxx is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Related developments include “tinkering” with the International Classification of Disease Codes (ICD) and excluding the ICD codes for medically caused deaths from official mortality data sets. This file is ugly beyond normal human understanding.

    Hat tip to “The Saker” for introducing me to your excellent work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JackOH
    I wish I could disagree, but I can't. Sally Satel, a medical doctor who's done policy work, once suggested that the medically uninsured swap their organs in exchange for medical attention. Federal law would have to be changed to allow this diabolical idea, and, of course, there'd be legal safeguards against abuses. I don't recall any outrage, nor any response at all to her proposal. The idea that her proposal would valorize the accelerated death of uninsured people to favor the insured probably didn't strike her.
  56. @Anonymous
    Hi Ron, there is a far uglier reality involved that was shared with me by an actuary with a defined benefit fund 13 years ago. Pharma has traditionally provided the highest ROI for the pension fund business. The pension fund business's greatest liability is people living beyond their "best before dates" on average. In aggregate, the pension funds own the largest share of equities. Thus, in perilous/volatile economic times, the self-interest of pension funds combined with the broader market's interest in economic survival make the economic calculation of culling the elderly an irresistible option. In my view Vioxx is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Related developments include "tinkering" with the International Classification of Disease Codes (ICD) and excluding the ICD codes for medically caused deaths from official mortality data sets. This file is ugly beyond normal human understanding.

    Hat tip to "The Saker" for introducing me to your excellent work.

    I wish I could disagree, but I can’t. Sally Satel, a medical doctor who’s done policy work, once suggested that the medically uninsured swap their organs in exchange for medical attention. Federal law would have to be changed to allow this diabolical idea, and, of course, there’d be legal safeguards against abuses. I don’t recall any outrage, nor any response at all to her proposal. The idea that her proposal would valorize the accelerated death of uninsured people to favor the insured probably didn’t strike her.

    Read More
  57. @Wizard of Oz
    It surely depends on the details. Most countries I guess compel trade offs on price in return for certification and tend to certify cheaper drugs only where that is reasonable. E.g Minipress for BPH rather than the slightly superior Flomaxtra/Phlomax which is more expensive.

    The details have nothing to do with it. What industry wouldn’t be delighted to drop its prices in return for the government’s handling out money to people to buy its products? This is especially true of the pharmaceutical industry, where the cost of getting FDA approval represents a large share of total costs. Once a drug is approved, these are in essence fixed costs that do not vary with output. A higher sales volume, stimulated by a government program like Medicare, allows them to spread these costs over more units. In other words, a large percentage of the price of each additional product they sell goes straight to their bottom line.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    You say the details don't matter but avoid saying whether in fact the drugs are cheaper as a trade off for getting the benefit of Bush's 2003 measures. My understanding is that prescription drugs tend to be a lot more expensive in the US than in other English speaking countries where the details are that government bofies put pressure on the pharmaceutical companies (though not enough probably). If your point was that drug companies' support for the 2003 bonanza was somehow sinister I am puzzled that you wouldn't expect huge support and energetic lobbying in favour of the US doing what other countries had done just as a matter of course. It wouldn't hsve been just the industry. Every low rate taxpayer over 50 would have rationally supported it.
  58. “the non-affluent, whose real wages have stagnated or declined for most of the last 40 years”

    Median male earnings in 2014 were less in real terms than they were in 1973. An amazing stat, as amazing as your death stats.

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/09/17-male-us-worker-earned-less-in-2014-than-in-1973-wessel

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    Look over there! Trump said something bad about someone!
    , @CanSpeccy
    More amazing than the fact that, at $53, 294, the earnings of the median full-time male worker are less than those of his counterpart in the 1970's, is that the average income from employment of the lowest-paid half of the american workforce was only $12,681 in 2014, meaning that half of all American workers, all 81 million of them, are dirt poor. Then there are the unemployed, and those who have abandoned the workforce out of despair. No wonder the Money Power hates Trump.
  59. @Anonymous Nephew
    "the non-affluent, whose real wages have stagnated or declined for most of the last 40 years"

    Median male earnings in 2014 were less in real terms than they were in 1973. An amazing stat, as amazing as your death stats.

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/09/17-male-us-worker-earned-less-in-2014-than-in-1973-wessel

    Look over there! Trump said something bad about someone!

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  60. Maybe without the FDA monopoly on drug approval these scandals would be exposed earlier? And with all due respect to the Chinese, they seem to have plenty of bad government to go round, so I wouldn’t hope in some miraculous rise in public-spiritedness among our bureaucrats. Better to assume that they are all corrupt and minimize their power as much as possible.

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  61. @DES
    The details have nothing to do with it. What industry wouldn't be delighted to drop its prices in return for the government's handling out money to people to buy its products? This is especially true of the pharmaceutical industry, where the cost of getting FDA approval represents a large share of total costs. Once a drug is approved, these are in essence fixed costs that do not vary with output. A higher sales volume, stimulated by a government program like Medicare, allows them to spread these costs over more units. In other words, a large percentage of the price of each additional product they sell goes straight to their bottom line.

    You say the details don’t matter but avoid saying whether in fact the drugs are cheaper as a trade off for getting the benefit of Bush’s 2003 measures. My understanding is that prescription drugs tend to be a lot more expensive in the US than in other English speaking countries where the details are that government bofies put pressure on the pharmaceutical companies (though not enough probably). If your point was that drug companies’ support for the 2003 bonanza was somehow sinister I am puzzled that you wouldn’t expect huge support and energetic lobbying in favour of the US doing what other countries had done just as a matter of course. It wouldn’t hsve been just the industry. Every low rate taxpayer over 50 would have rationally supported it.

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  62. @Ron Unz
    I should probably add a few important clarifications to my analysis.

    (1) The official FDA study estimated the total number of American Vioxx fatalities in the 35,000-50,000 range. Meanwhile, the evidence for my much higher estimate in the hundreds of thousands is entirely circumstantial, but I think reasonably persuasive. It would otherwise seem a remarkable coincidence that the death rate rose sharply the exact year Vioxx was introduced and dropped dramatically the exact year it was removed. And as I mention, those sharp changes in death rate were concentrated in exactly the elderly population targetted by Vioxx advertising, and the causes of death were exactly the ones the FDA found associated with Vioxx.

    (2) That being said, although the excess deaths seem closely associated with the Vioxx timing, the exact relationship is far from clear. For example, I think one or more other competing prescriptive painkiller drugs somewhat similar to Vioxx were introduced around the same time, and their use later plummetted amid all the terrible publicity surrounding the Vioxx withdrawal. So it's very possible their users may actually have accounted for a substantial fraction of the changes in death rate.

    (3) In fact, I'm even far from certain whether Vioxx itself was the actual culprit. For example, there seems a great deal of evidence that regular use of simple aspirin may serve as a powerful protective agent against strokes and heart-attacks. Since Vioxx and those other prescription drugs were heavily marketed as a substitute for aspirin, perhaps it was the lack of aspirin rather than the use of Vioxx that accounted for all those extra fatalities from strokes and heart-attacks.

    (4) Regardless of these other points, it seems unconscionable that our media so quickly forgot the matter, and that our government never punished a single guilty party. Indeed, the government apparently made major efforts to suppress the FDA study, in which case Vioxx use might have continued down to this very day, with the fatalities now reaching a million or more. Furthermore, it's outrageous that neither the government nor the media has apparently ever expressed any curiosity over the large shifts in national mortality rates so closely matching the introduction and withdrawal of Vioxx.

    it’s outrageous that neither the government nor the media has apparently ever expressed any curiosity over the large shifts in national mortality rates so closely matching the introduction and withdrawal of Vioxx.

    or, for that matter, that fact that GWB lied us into a disastrous war(s)

    - that now today, in hindsight, we all know was based on lies

    not mistakes, but lies

    if our media doesn’t care about things like that, well then, drugs designed to kill off certain demographics are blasé at best

    http://www.slothsandmovies.com/images/cow_large.jpg

    Read More
    • Replies: @edNels


    Right, something reminds me of an underlying condition of the humans in the movie Matrix.

    They didn't get to know what their condition was, unless they got offered a ''Red Pill''.

    Then they got a hair raising experience, and no turning around.

    But in a situation where the MSM has become world wide and consolidated, and bent on producing propaganda, and keeping the lid on just about everything else, when does that start to be the Matrix for real?

    PS: thanks to Ron Unz for working to put in some truthiness into the vast void that the MSM, including TV and all that crapola they foists on the humans.

    Turn on the TV channels and see what's on, they have to bring the old timers out of retirement, (out of the geriatrics wards… ) to hawk reruns from the '60's for Money, and they don't look too pleased about it! Poor ole Carole Burnett and her crew looked disscusted.

    Even the old Sci-Fi stuff and other genres used to be imaginative, which is constructive and builds, so, can't have that, not in the… ''Mushroom Farm''!
  63. @Anonymous Nephew
    "the non-affluent, whose real wages have stagnated or declined for most of the last 40 years"

    Median male earnings in 2014 were less in real terms than they were in 1973. An amazing stat, as amazing as your death stats.

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/09/17-male-us-worker-earned-less-in-2014-than-in-1973-wessel

    More amazing than the fact that, at $53, 294, the earnings of the median full-time male worker are less than those of his counterpart in the 1970′s, is that the average income from employment of the lowest-paid half of the american workforce was only $12,681 in 2014, meaning that half of all American workers, all 81 million of them, are dirt poor. Then there are the unemployed, and those who have abandoned the workforce out of despair. No wonder the Money Power hates Trump.

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  64. @Ron Unz
    I should probably add a few important clarifications to my analysis.

    (1) The official FDA study estimated the total number of American Vioxx fatalities in the 35,000-50,000 range. Meanwhile, the evidence for my much higher estimate in the hundreds of thousands is entirely circumstantial, but I think reasonably persuasive. It would otherwise seem a remarkable coincidence that the death rate rose sharply the exact year Vioxx was introduced and dropped dramatically the exact year it was removed. And as I mention, those sharp changes in death rate were concentrated in exactly the elderly population targetted by Vioxx advertising, and the causes of death were exactly the ones the FDA found associated with Vioxx.

    (2) That being said, although the excess deaths seem closely associated with the Vioxx timing, the exact relationship is far from clear. For example, I think one or more other competing prescriptive painkiller drugs somewhat similar to Vioxx were introduced around the same time, and their use later plummetted amid all the terrible publicity surrounding the Vioxx withdrawal. So it's very possible their users may actually have accounted for a substantial fraction of the changes in death rate.

    (3) In fact, I'm even far from certain whether Vioxx itself was the actual culprit. For example, there seems a great deal of evidence that regular use of simple aspirin may serve as a powerful protective agent against strokes and heart-attacks. Since Vioxx and those other prescription drugs were heavily marketed as a substitute for aspirin, perhaps it was the lack of aspirin rather than the use of Vioxx that accounted for all those extra fatalities from strokes and heart-attacks.

    (4) Regardless of these other points, it seems unconscionable that our media so quickly forgot the matter, and that our government never punished a single guilty party. Indeed, the government apparently made major efforts to suppress the FDA study, in which case Vioxx use might have continued down to this very day, with the fatalities now reaching a million or more. Furthermore, it's outrageous that neither the government nor the media has apparently ever expressed any curiosity over the large shifts in national mortality rates so closely matching the introduction and withdrawal of Vioxx.

    There seems a remarkable difference in the way that the US Government acted in relation to BP, which was held grossly negligent in the the death of 11 workers and the oiling of some birds and shorelines as a result of the Deep Water Horizon blowout, and Merck, which though aware of the deadly hazard, pursued profit from the sale of Vioxx at the cost of up to 400,000 lives.

    Was the difference that President Obama mistakenly believed BP to stand for British Petroleum, or what?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    There seems a remarkable difference in the way that the US Government acted in relation to BP...
     
    Exactly. And another good example, which I'd considered mentioning in my column, is the ongoing Volkswagen diesel scandal, already reaching something like $20 billion in fines and penalties. And I'd think that the MSM coverage has already been vastly greater.

    At least according to Wikipedia, the likely number of total additional deaths has been estimated at 59, though other estimates are somewhat higher:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_emissions_scandal

    Offhand, 59 seems a lot smaller than hundreds of thousands, but what do I know...
    , @Ivan K.
    From what I've read in the wake of the oil spill (Greg Palast et al.), the Deep Water Horizon case was an outcome of malpractice, corruption, and awareness of deadly hazards. On the other hand liberal media are biased on many points, maybe BP plc was a victim of media lynching.
  65. @CanSpeccy
    There seems a remarkable difference in the way that the US Government acted in relation to BP, which was held grossly negligent in the the death of 11 workers and the oiling of some birds and shorelines as a result of the Deep Water Horizon blowout, and Merck, which though aware of the deadly hazard, pursued profit from the sale of Vioxx at the cost of up to 400,000 lives.

    Was the difference that President Obama mistakenly believed BP to stand for British Petroleum, or what?

    There seems a remarkable difference in the way that the US Government acted in relation to BP…

    Exactly. And another good example, which I’d considered mentioning in my column, is the ongoing Volkswagen diesel scandal, already reaching something like $20 billion in fines and penalties. And I’d think that the MSM coverage has already been vastly greater.

    At least according to Wikipedia, the likely number of total additional deaths has been estimated at 59, though other estimates are somewhat higher:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_emissions_scandal

    Offhand, 59 seems a lot smaller than hundreds of thousands, but what do I know…

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  66. @Grace Jones
    Meanwhile, the anti-smokers have gotten away with scientific fraud for six decades. They falsely blame smoking for diseases that are really caused by infection. Less wealthy people are more often exposed to those infections, and smokers are more often less wealthy. So, their studies are cynically designed to cast false blame. Every Surgeon General report is proof of this fraud.
    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGlies.html
    http://www.smokershistory.com/SGHDlies.html
    That's how they bloat the supposed death toll from smoking. And the mass media make sure that nobody is ever allowed to point out the obvious.

    Sorry, but you’re nuts!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Grace Jones
    And you appear to have difficulty with the simple concept that, if the only thing they ever look at is lifestyle, the only thing they'll ever blame is lifestyle.
  67. @Wizard of Oz
    There is so much on UR in the comments that is such a waste of time that one has to assume commenters like Rehmat are paid syndicates or teams and much of the mouthing off is done by none too bright people with nothing better to do. (Why do I waste my obviously valuable time? Well I am predisposed to value the company of Ron, Steve Sailer, Fred Reed, John Derbyshire and Peter Frost from earlier times.)
    All that is preliminary to my saying that this totally non-Semitic philo-Semite has been fascinated by the anti-Semitism displayed on UR and, as ever, interested to tease out truths from overstatements and mistatements. So, for example, I have become much more aware and convinced of the part a minority of rich Israel First Jews play in American politics (not so much in other countries for various reasons and I think intellectual neo-cons are to be evaluated seperately wrt their motives and modus operandi).
    That being said my tentative understanding is that 19th century Zionism was easy to support for intelligent well informed decent people.

    Politically, geopolitically, ethnically, traditionally, Jewish immigrants could be settled in a sparsely populated underproductive land where there was no Palestinian people nor government of or for Arabs living in that part of the Ottoman empire (southern Syria I have seen quoted as the description by Arabs but hhaven't yet checked). The land could be and was legitimately bought from its often absentee owners under Ottoman law (and please don't start a side track about the Elgin Marbles). There were already Jews in the Holy Land part of the multicultural, multiethnic Ottoman empire - indeed they may have long been a majority in the sad remnants of old Jerusalem - and introducing Zionist farmers was nothing special.

    Of course the additional economic activity resulting from energetic Zionist developments (and I guess all the growing European tourism and archaeology) attracted many more Arabs to what the Romans had renamed Palestine in order to totally extinguish Jewish claims to nationhood (and I don't mean that to be tendentious in any way beyond recording that Palestine was originally just a Roman province with that name).

    So, like the case of Australian Aborigines (though their case is complicated by the questions of identity raised by most urban Aborigines having white ancestry and there being no unifying teligious or other common tradition other than vague references to land most have never identified with) there is no sense in looking for some ancient traditional people but maybe there is a Palestinian people created by Israel in the last three generations. And maybe - I am just now improvising my extrapolation - all those Palestinians (add Bedouins too?) multiplying in refugee camps, Gaza etc. are as much a "people" as the often illiterate multiplying Jewish, Ladino, Yiddish, Aramaic etc speakers of mixed genetic ancestry who remained undeniably a people for two millenia.

    What follows?

    A right of "return" to - well what and where? - for all those whose Arab ancestors farmed (leased at best: they rarely had titles of ownership) land in Palestine which is now Israel or lived in villages serving those farms plus those who had businesses in Haifa for example? Clearly impractical and anyway destructive of the Jewish democracy the Jewish Israelis want (and would not have been criticised for according to earlier fashions). So, clearly the two state solution is the only possible one that could survive in the long run. Or.... why not "several state solution". Like Taiwan,Hong Kong and Singapore? Who says there is a "Palestinian people" that must have a single state?

    Many Palestinian people are getting a very rough deal from msny Israelis and can't do much about it. But is all the settlement building and wall building across Palestinians' land an irreperable barrier to ultimate creation of viable Palestinian entities? Clearly all those Palestinians who, hypothetically, may wish to live as taxpaying cotizens of a Palestinian state are not going to be farmers and one or more Hong Kong or Songspore style city states seems more likely to be the answer.

    Netanyahu and his more thuggish supporters don't seem like the best negotiators of peace should the opportunity arise but the big question is what the preconditions must be for such negotiations. Can Israel be expected to come to the table for honest reasonable negotiation so long as major ME players like Iran call for its destruction and support Hezbollah on Israel's borders?

    I retain, just, an optimistic view that the intransigent settlement building by Israel is not necessarily a permanent land grab but, at least open to becoming the basis for tradeoffs. When one thinks of Ariel Sharon's ruthless (and perhaps fruitless) uprooting of Israeli settlers' from Gaza one cannot ignore the willingness of tough Israeli PMs to do what it takes.

    Apologies to Art and the league of the simple- minded who can't quite make their labels fit this, or me.

    Bunch of Ziofascist thieves and no amount of verbosity can whitewash that fact!

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  68. @Druid
    Sorry, but you're nuts!

    And you appear to have difficulty with the simple concept that, if the only thing they ever look at is lifestyle, the only thing they’ll ever blame is lifestyle.

    Read More
  69. OT, @ron, a technical glitch: I tried to comment from my phone for a change, using the same nick but a different mail address (I didn’t know the right one at the moment). On posting I got this msg:

    theo the kraut was selected as commenter name and that is the name of an existing, established commenter. However, the entered email did not match that of the existing commenter. To avoid confusion of identity, please provide one of the regular emails for that commenter or select a different commenter name.
    RETURN TO COMMENTING BOX

    All fine and dandy but after clicking on the button my text was lost… Usually I copy entered text with CTRL-S (or store it elsewhere) to prevent this, but I didn’t do that on the phone where these things are a bit cumbersome.

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  70. edNels [AKA "geoshmoe"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Rurik

    it’s outrageous that neither the government nor the media has apparently ever expressed any curiosity over the large shifts in national mortality rates so closely matching the introduction and withdrawal of Vioxx.
     
    or, for that matter, that fact that GWB lied us into a disastrous war(s)

    - that now today, in hindsight, we all know was based on lies

    not mistakes, but lies

    if our media doesn't care about things like that, well then, drugs designed to kill off certain demographics are blasé at best

    http://www.slothsandmovies.com/images/cow_large.jpg

    Right, something reminds me of an underlying condition of the humans in the movie Matrix.

    They didn’t get to know what their condition was, unless they got offered a ”Red Pill”.

    Then they got a hair raising experience, and no turning around.

    But in a situation where the MSM has become world wide and consolidated, and bent on producing propaganda, and keeping the lid on just about everything else, when does that start to be the Matrix for real?

    PS: thanks to Ron Unz for working to put in some truthiness into the vast void that the MSM, including TV and all that crapola they foists on the humans.

    Turn on the TV channels and see what’s on, they have to bring the old timers out of retirement, (out of the geriatrics wards… ) to hawk reruns from the ’60′s for Money, and they don’t look too pleased about it! Poor ole Carole Burnett and her crew looked disscusted.

    Even the old Sci-Fi stuff and other genres used to be imaginative, which is constructive and builds, so, can’t have that, not in the… ”Mushroom Farm”!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rurik

    But in a situation where the MSM has become world wide and consolidated, and bent on producing propaganda, and keeping the lid on just about everything else, when does that start to be the Matrix for real?
     
    when the country considers a lying traitor a war hero?

    http://www.trunews.com/article/john-mccains-1969-tokyo-rose-propaganda-recording-released

    PS: thanks to Ron Unz for working to put in some truthiness into the vast void that the MSM, including TV and all that crapola they foists on the humans.
     
    I agree geoshmoe
  71. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Putin may be patriotic and nationalistic but all the reporting I have read points to a continuation of the looting.

    Read More
  72. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    One of my relatives was, before retirement, head of safety assessment at a major US drug company (but not Merck). This relative was in charge of all the studies that test the drugs, and the individual in question said to me, “You can test and test the drug all you want, but ultimately, when you release it to the general public, you just wait and see how many feet go up in the air.”

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  73. @Wizard of Oz
    Is Celebrex still regarded as safe enough?

    “Is Celebrex still regarded as safe enough?”

    I’m not sure. Celebrex didn’t top out with enough pain relief to be of use to me, so I didn’t really follow up on it over the years.

    I’m still horrified at the statement of Vioxx being a substitute for aspirin. Usually I read Ron Unz to learn something. In this article he’s talking about a topic I know a fair amount about, and find it shocking. Unfortunately, that causes me to read other columns with much more skepticism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    I’m still horrified at the statement of Vioxx being a substitute for aspirin.
     
    Well, I'll admit I'm no great expert on Vioxx, and my knowledge of its use was almost entirely derived from what I read in the NYT and various other media outlets at the time. The articles seems to strongly indicate that Vioxx was heavily marketed as a substitute with fewer side-effects for existing and inexpensive over-the-counter pain-remedies such as aspirin and Aleve, being especially aimed at elderly individuals suffering from arthritis and similar conditions. For example, here are a couple of NYT pieces:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/22/business/doubts-are-raised-on-the-safety-of-2-popular-arthritis-drugs.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/business/despite-warnings-drug-giant-took-long-path-to-vioxx-recall.html

    What is the correct story in your opinion?
  74. @JosephB
    "Is Celebrex still regarded as safe enough?"

    I'm not sure. Celebrex didn't top out with enough pain relief to be of use to me, so I didn't really follow up on it over the years.

    I'm still horrified at the statement of Vioxx being a substitute for aspirin. Usually I read Ron Unz to learn something. In this article he's talking about a topic I know a fair amount about, and find it shocking. Unfortunately, that causes me to read other columns with much more skepticism.

    I’m still horrified at the statement of Vioxx being a substitute for aspirin.

    Well, I’ll admit I’m no great expert on Vioxx, and my knowledge of its use was almost entirely derived from what I read in the NYT and various other media outlets at the time. The articles seems to strongly indicate that Vioxx was heavily marketed as a substitute with fewer side-effects for existing and inexpensive over-the-counter pain-remedies such as aspirin and Aleve, being especially aimed at elderly individuals suffering from arthritis and similar conditions. For example, here are a couple of NYT pieces:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/22/business/doubts-are-raised-on-the-safety-of-2-popular-arthritis-drugs.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/business/despite-warnings-drug-giant-took-long-path-to-vioxx-recall.html

    What is the correct story in your opinion?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    I followed it at the time -- and remember thinking that Vioxx and Celebrex were pretty much the same drug. And that it was (bad) luck that Merck's drug blew up while Pfizer scraped by.

    Plus, you don't give trial lawyers enough credit. If there were any way to directly link the drug with a victim -- or even any evidence that it caused blood clots -- it would have been a huge settlement.

    Creating a better aspirin is close to the Holy Grail of Pharma ..... the better mousetrap. People use a lot of it. And more or less for life.

    The trouble is that even though aspirin is hell on the stomach, people die from cardiovascular events. A lot. Especially compared to ulcers.

    It is getting old in the tooth -- although it was ranked #37 in 2014. A couple billion/year.

    http://www.fiercepharma.com/legal/pfizer-concedes-celebrex-to-actavis-teva-after-2015-patent-strike-down

    The 35,000? I find your hypothesis interesting and it sounds reasonable enough. That is a lot of dead bodies. But per the CDC, "About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.1"

    Maybe the individuals that were most sensitive to it got removed from the population during the first few years it was in widespread use.

    Overall, I agree with you -- that the change in death rates was due to heavy marketing of these drugs.
  75. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Ron Unz

    I’m still horrified at the statement of Vioxx being a substitute for aspirin.
     
    Well, I'll admit I'm no great expert on Vioxx, and my knowledge of its use was almost entirely derived from what I read in the NYT and various other media outlets at the time. The articles seems to strongly indicate that Vioxx was heavily marketed as a substitute with fewer side-effects for existing and inexpensive over-the-counter pain-remedies such as aspirin and Aleve, being especially aimed at elderly individuals suffering from arthritis and similar conditions. For example, here are a couple of NYT pieces:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/22/business/doubts-are-raised-on-the-safety-of-2-popular-arthritis-drugs.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/business/despite-warnings-drug-giant-took-long-path-to-vioxx-recall.html

    What is the correct story in your opinion?

    I followed it at the time — and remember thinking that Vioxx and Celebrex were pretty much the same drug. And that it was (bad) luck that Merck’s drug blew up while Pfizer scraped by.

    Plus, you don’t give trial lawyers enough credit. If there were any way to directly link the drug with a victim — or even any evidence that it caused blood clots — it would have been a huge settlement.

    Creating a better aspirin is close to the Holy Grail of Pharma ….. the better mousetrap. People use a lot of it. And more or less for life.

    The trouble is that even though aspirin is hell on the stomach, people die from cardiovascular events. A lot. Especially compared to ulcers.

    It is getting old in the tooth — although it was ranked #37 in 2014. A couple billion/year.

    http://www.fiercepharma.com/legal/pfizer-concedes-celebrex-to-actavis-teva-after-2015-patent-strike-down

    The 35,000? I find your hypothesis interesting and it sounds reasonable enough. That is a lot of dead bodies. But per the CDC, “About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.1″

    Maybe the individuals that were most sensitive to it got removed from the population during the first few years it was in widespread use.

    Overall, I agree with you — that the change in death rates was due to heavy marketing of these drugs.

    Read More
  76. @edNels


    Right, something reminds me of an underlying condition of the humans in the movie Matrix.

    They didn't get to know what their condition was, unless they got offered a ''Red Pill''.

    Then they got a hair raising experience, and no turning around.

    But in a situation where the MSM has become world wide and consolidated, and bent on producing propaganda, and keeping the lid on just about everything else, when does that start to be the Matrix for real?

    PS: thanks to Ron Unz for working to put in some truthiness into the vast void that the MSM, including TV and all that crapola they foists on the humans.

    Turn on the TV channels and see what's on, they have to bring the old timers out of retirement, (out of the geriatrics wards… ) to hawk reruns from the '60's for Money, and they don't look too pleased about it! Poor ole Carole Burnett and her crew looked disscusted.

    Even the old Sci-Fi stuff and other genres used to be imaginative, which is constructive and builds, so, can't have that, not in the… ''Mushroom Farm''!

    But in a situation where the MSM has become world wide and consolidated, and bent on producing propaganda, and keeping the lid on just about everything else, when does that start to be the Matrix for real?

    when the country considers a lying traitor a war hero?

    http://www.trunews.com/article/john-mccains-1969-tokyo-rose-propaganda-recording-released

    PS: thanks to Ron Unz for working to put in some truthiness into the vast void that the MSM, including TV and all that crapola they foists on the humans.

    I agree geoshmoe

    Read More
  77. Wow, a short earthquake of an article! Anyone interested in exploring and understanding the sources, links and overall grim facts of contemporary America’s broad socio/cultural decline can start with this brief, arresting analysis of festering neoliberal hypocrisy and social nihilism in our malformed pharma/med field.

    Publishing and re-publishing the hard facts of such egregious scandals and cover-ups won’t necessarily change this long and ongoing political situation, but will certainly help the drive for reform. On a personal level, such articles also help alleviate the psychic sense of political isolation felt by many politically frustrated citizens like me.

    However, there is something that can change political situations on a heavy scale: If Mr. Unz would employ what could be his riveting new TV channel to air a compelling documentary series on the subjects covered in this article, he would be on his way to sparking a sharp shift in the in the Nation’s political and social trajectory. And, my god, what a relief it would lend to my aging political frustration.

    In the meantime, lest readers assume the Vioxx case is an uncommon occurrence, recent research at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, among several confirming studies, shows that things in the American health care and medical world are bad and getting worse: There has been a high degree of tolerance in the American medical community and the mainstream media of medical blunders and safety errors in hospitals and other health care facilities that cause the deaths of 251,000 Americans every year —- 251,000 deaths — every year! Only heart disease and cancer kill more. This is truly a massive national crisis and scandal toward which political powers have lent nada and which gets pitifully small coverage in the mainstream media, only busy covering Orlando Bloom’s flagrant display of his penis.

    If Mr.Unz can go for the creation of Unz TV, then, along with the Vioxx story, he could air the related John Hopkins research story while firing-up public awareness and just outrage about how they are broadly linked to the decline of our common society.

    Read More
  78. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    One fundamental component of the Vioxx murders is the media ownership, and this crime was repeated in the recent financial disaster which followed the repeal of Glass-Stegall. As a journalist I learned not to direct my attention at the talking heads or the byline names, but the media ownership. It goes back more than a hundred years, and a prime example is the Bolshevik cheerleader Walter Duranty of the NY Times — the classic “useful idiot.” The same cast of characters is always behind the curtain and hidden from sight.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JackOH
    Phoenix, thanks. I did a lot of research on health care years ago. At one point I began wondering why the news media weren't doing stories about phenomena, especially those connected with the workings of group health insurance, that were extraordinary and painfully obvious. I made excuses: the media lacked time, specific expertise, subject matter lacked topicality, etc. After much work I concluded the media didn't want to do certain stories about health care for fear of offending medical and insurance advertisers, and the golfing buddies of senior media managers.

    The media will do health care horror stories, to be sure. I've read them. Just about all of them portray those horror stories as the result of inanimate, impersonal forces that can't quite be explained, or are too intractable to be worth addressing. Bullpuckey. Big Medicine, government, and the employers who bankroll group health insurance have articulable reasons for turning the distribution of medicine into a political tool. The good health of the polity isn't one of them. We never hear those "articulable reasons" from journalists and university intellectuals. That's just reality.

    Thanks again.
  79. @Anonymous
    One fundamental component of the Vioxx murders is the media ownership, and this crime was repeated in the recent financial disaster which followed the repeal of Glass-Stegall. As a journalist I learned not to direct my attention at the talking heads or the byline names, but the media ownership. It goes back more than a hundred years, and a prime example is the Bolshevik cheerleader Walter Duranty of the NY Times -- the classic "useful idiot." The same cast of characters is always behind the curtain and hidden from sight.

    Phoenix, thanks. I did a lot of research on health care years ago. At one point I began wondering why the news media weren’t doing stories about phenomena, especially those connected with the workings of group health insurance, that were extraordinary and painfully obvious. I made excuses: the media lacked time, specific expertise, subject matter lacked topicality, etc. After much work I concluded the media didn’t want to do certain stories about health care for fear of offending medical and insurance advertisers, and the golfing buddies of senior media managers.

    The media will do health care horror stories, to be sure. I’ve read them. Just about all of them portray those horror stories as the result of inanimate, impersonal forces that can’t quite be explained, or are too intractable to be worth addressing. Bullpuckey. Big Medicine, government, and the employers who bankroll group health insurance have articulable reasons for turning the distribution of medicine into a political tool. The good health of the polity isn’t one of them. We never hear those “articulable reasons” from journalists and university intellectuals. That’s just reality.

    Thanks again.

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  80. My parents said not to take medicine unless it has been on the market for 50 years.
    I should mention that modern medicine has two aspects. One is proved and tried techniques. The other is speculative and presented as true and tied but it is not. It is important to discern the difference.

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  81. @CanSpeccy
    There seems a remarkable difference in the way that the US Government acted in relation to BP, which was held grossly negligent in the the death of 11 workers and the oiling of some birds and shorelines as a result of the Deep Water Horizon blowout, and Merck, which though aware of the deadly hazard, pursued profit from the sale of Vioxx at the cost of up to 400,000 lives.

    Was the difference that President Obama mistakenly believed BP to stand for British Petroleum, or what?

    From what I’ve read in the wake of the oil spill (Greg Palast et al.), the Deep Water Horizon case was an outcome of malpractice, corruption, and awareness of deadly hazards. On the other hand liberal media are biased on many points, maybe BP plc was a victim of media lynching.

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  82. @Kiza
    Extractive elites, definitely yes and in plural. There is a packing order:
    1) banksters and other financial elite pillages the Western societies the most
    2) military industrial propaganda complex is the second (although boundaries between the two often blur)
    3) the medical pharma complex, the subject of this article, is good third most extractive.

    The Western propensity to point finger at other countries is an endless source of amusement, especially through MSM.

    As the gentleman above stated - good luck to the users of statins. Not everybody who popped Vioxx died, likewise every consumer of statins can hope to be the lucky one. As my mother, a doctor, used to say - nobody ever got health from a pill, the best a pill-popper could hope for is to stop a serious illness whilst not suffering any major (side) effect; for some the side-effects will exceed the desired effect, all the way to death. In other words, popping a pill is the last, almost desperate resort, not a first one. In other words, popping pills can only slow you down on the way out of this world.

    Wikipedia “lobbying” points to Open Secrets that as for lobbying, military comes in 10th behind oil and a bunch of other sectors.

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  83. The 251, 000 deaths from medical blunders I indicated above equates to 9.5% of all American deaths annually, 700 preventable deaths a day, twice as many as from all accidents!

    We should be also mindful that the 251,000 deaths figure does not include extremely severe injuries and harm suffered by patients as a result of preventable medical errors such as giving wrong drugs to patients or removing wrong body parts. Some estimates indicate the number of errors at 40 times the death rate!

    American medical care is clearly suffering an incompetence epidemic af crisis proportions, exacerbated by a malformed Pharma industry that has risen to be an omnipresent advertising monster in the main media, especially on TV, a juggernaut under the wheels of which our greed blinded main media throws itself for fat ad fees.

    The implications of the broad journalistic control this can give Pharma are enormous and should worry us all. By ignoring Pharma’s malformed ascendancy and the related scandal of incompetent medical care, the main media not only supports both, but also supports their linkages to much more that is grossly and obviously amiss in American socio/political culture within which every concept and corner is either dominated or thoroughly commoditized by neoliberal ideology.

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