Posts Tagged ‘side effects’

Big Pharma: Even Worse Than Used Cars as a Market for Lemons?

Big Pharma: Even Worse Than Used Cars as a Market for Lemons?

Courtesy of Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism 

Fruit at market

Some readers have wondered why this blog from time to time runs posts on the US health care system. Aside from the fact that it’s a major public policy problem in America, it is also a prime example of bad incentives, information asymmetry, and corporate predatory behavior. It thus makes for an important object lesson.

Reader Francois T pointed to an example, a commentary on a paper presented by Donald Light at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, “Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tiered Market for Producing ‘Lemons’ and Serious Harm.” It still appears to be embargoed, but Howard Brody provides an extensive summary on his blog.

Light uses George Akerlof “market for lemons” as a point of departure. For those not familiar with the famed Akerlof paper, a “market for lemons” can occur when consumers are unable to distinguish product quality. The used car market is the paradigm, since the dealer has a much better idea than the buyer of whether a particular car is any good. Unscrupulous operators can stick a lot of hapless chump customers with overpriced clunkers. However, as crooked vendors become more common, buyers wise up a tad and are not longer to pay as much for cars they cannot evaluate. So while the prices buyers are now willing to pay are probably still too high for rattletraps, they are too low for decent cars. People with good merchandise start to look for other channels. Akerlof posits that the market eventually falls apart.

Note that used cars dealers did not set out to create lemons; the cars were bad deals by being overpriced (presumably, if they had been presented, warts and all, they still would have found purchasers, presumably people who thought they could repair them and those who wanted them for parts and scrap). Light contends, by contrast, that major pharmaceutical companies create bad products:

[T]he pharmaceutical market for ‘lemons,’ differs from other markets for lemons in that companies develop and produce the lemons. Evidence in this paper indicates that the production of lemon-drugs with hidden dangers is widespread and results from the systematic exploitation of monopoly rights and the production of partial, biased information about the efficacy and safety of new drugs…Companies will design and run their clinical


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Who Should Take Statins? The Debate Continues

Who Should Take Statins? The Debate Continues

By Alice Park, courtesy of TIME 

It is well known that the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can reduce the risk of heart attack among people who already have heart disease. But whether the medications can prevent a heart attack from occurring in the first place is still a hotly contested question among health experts.

Two new studies published on Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine reignite the simmering debate.

One study revisits the merits of the controversial Jupiter trial (or Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention), which was published in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine. That trial concluded that the statin drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) lowered the combined risks of heart attack, stroke, other heart events or heart-related death by 47% in healthy patients with no history of heart problems or high cholesterol but high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation. The findings prompted the Food and Drug Administration in February to expand the eligible patient population for Crestor by millions.

Critics of the Jupiter trial have contended that the benefits of the cholesterol drug may have been exaggerated because the trial was stopped early — after two years, instead of the planned five. Had the trial been allowed to continue, critics say, the differences in benefit between the treatment and placebo groups may have disappeared. That is the argument raised again by the new study in the Archives, by an international group of scientists led by Dr. Michel de Lorgeril at the University Joseph Fourier and the National Center of Scientific Research in Grenoble, France.

Jupiter was stopped prematurely when an independent monitoring board gleaned an overwhelming treatment benefit in the statin group. Although the early termination of randomized and blinded control studies is common — to ensure the safety of patients, study leaders frequently monitor the accruing data and stop the trial when one group shows a predetermined amount of benefit over the other — in Jupiter’s case, de Lorgeril’s group argues, the study never made clear what the predetermined benefit was.

What the data did show, however, is that when certain hard clinical endpoints — such as heart-related death — were considered, the difference between the two groups was not significant enough to warrant stopping the trial. Among the entire study population of more than 17,000, there was a total of only 240…
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Double-Edged Sword: Swine Flu and Vaccines

By guest author Terry Doherty and Ilene, your editor

Terry Doherty is the Research Program Coordinator in the Depts of Biomedical Sciences and Academic Affairs at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles, California.

Double-Edged Sword: Swine Flu and Vaccines

There’s plenty that is unknown about the swine flu and the swine flu vaccine.  If searches on the internet are any indication, deciding whether or not to be vaccinated may be a tough, emotionally charged decision for many people.  So how – without having the background to write a swine flu grant proposal, conduct the research, and get the thing published in the New England Journal of Medicine – do we decide whether or not to get a swine flu shot?  

One way is to attempt to evaluate and weigh the risks of the vaccine against the risks of the flu.  That is how I approach the subject, but it’s easier said than done.  As is often the case with medical interventions, the risks are not fully known. And even if we could carefully assess the risks, our underlying assumptions may be wrong.  Percent risks are averages collected by studying large populations.  We may not be one of the statistical average.  Then there are the gaps in the available data, and own biases and belief systems.  Our view of the world affects our analysis and often we are not even aware of how large of an effect those biases may play.   

In Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science, TIME, Maia Szalavitz discusses how emotion and biases play a large part in our risk-benefit assessments:

Just in time for the national roll-out of the new H1N1 flu vaccine, Wired Magazine and the Atlantic have weighed in on the ongoing vaccine war: Wired has a profile of Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher and pediatrician who has consistently spoken out in favor of vaccination and pointed to the lack of evidence linking vaccines and autism; the Atlantic checks in with a piece questioning the science suggesting that flu vaccines and antiviral drugs prevent people from dying.

Both articles have elicited heated debate all over the Web: Amy Wallace, who wrote Wired’s piece, excerpted below, has received vitriolic criticism and attacks from vaccine opponents, setting records for page views…

This debate over vaccination doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon. For critics, vaccines…
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Swine Flu Vaccine: Watching For Side Effects

The decision regarding whether or not to get vaccinated for swine flu, or have your kids vaccinated, may be easy for some, but is not for others. It depends on how you perceive and value the risks. As is often the case with medical interventions, the risks are not fully known or understood. Even if you’re lucky enough to believe you’ve obtained valid risk percentages to compare, you cannot truly know whether your assumptions accurately reflect reality. And your numbers certainly don’t factor in the unknown.

So as the swine flu vaccine program gets underway, several government-sponsored projects will attempt to determine how safe the vaccine really is. We have a rather unique opportunity to learn a lot more while serving as subjects in this grand experiment.

Go ahead, leave comments and share your thoughts… – Ilene

Swine Flu Vaccine: Watching For Side Effects

(WASHINGTON) — More than 3,000 people a day have a heart attack. If you’re one of them the day after your swine flu shot, will you worry the vaccine was to blame and not the more likely culprit, all those burgers and fries?

The government is starting an unprecedented system to track possible side effects as mass flu vaccinations begin next month. The idea is to detect any rare but real problems quickly, and explain the inevitable coincidences that are sure to cause some false alarms.

"Every day, bad things happen to people. When you vaccinate a lot of people in a short period of time, some of those things are going to happen to some people by chance alone," said Dr. Daniel Salmon, a vaccine safety specialist at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Health authorities hope to vaccinate well over half the population in just a few months against swine flu, which doctors call the 2009 H1N1 strain. That would be a feat. No more than 100 million Americans usually get vaccinated against regular winter flu, and never in such a short period.

How many will race for the vaccine depends partly on confidence in its safety. The last mass inoculations against a different swine flu, in 1976, were marred by reports of a rare paralyzing condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome.

"The recurring question is, ‘How…
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Phil's Favorites

Momentum Monday - Digital Dominance...This Week Semiconductors and 5G

 

Momentum Monday – Digital Dominance…This Week Semiconductors and 5G

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

Good Monday morning everyone.

As always here is this weeks Momentum Monday from Ivanhoff and I.

I walk through the Apple explosion to new highs and what that means for my stops and area where I would get defensive.

Google is the weakest of the FAANG stocks.

I shared some fresh ideas with Ivanhoff in the software and 5G sector which include $ESTC $SWKS $QRVO and $QCOM.

I hope you enjoy it.

I also wanted...



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Biotech/COVID-19

There aren't enough batteries to electrify all cars - focus on trucks and buses instead

 

There aren't enough batteries to electrify all cars — focus on trucks and buses instead

Garbage trucks, buses and the van that delivers your Amazon purchases are all prime candidates for electrification. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Cameron Roberts, Carleton University

We need to change our transportation system, and we need to do it quickly.

Road transportation is a major consumer of fossil fuels, contributing 16 per cent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, which warm up the Earth’s atmosphere and cause changes to the climate. It also ...



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ValueWalk

SEC's Pathetic Agreement With Bausch Health Companies

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing SEC’s pathetic agreement with Bausch Health Companies Inc (NYSE:BHC) (formerly Valeant); Insys documentary; Opioids, Bribery, and Wall Street; Novartis bribery settlement; Kodak.

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

SEC's Pathetic Agreement With Bausch Health Companies

1) On Friday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") announced a totally pathetic ...



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Zero Hedge

"August Snoozer" On Deck With Dealers Back In "Long Gamma" But Everything Changes In September

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Charlie McElligott's prediction from last week that the Nasdaq could suffer from a nasty spill as dealer gamma had turned increasingly negative...

... was foiled by the blockbuster earnings from the mega tech companies which sent the Nasdaq to new all time highs, forcing dealers - and frankly everybody else - to chase the year's best performing sector into the stratosphere.

And indeed, in his latest note f...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Here's How To Buy The Top Stocks In The Hottest Sectors During The Covid Crisis

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Tech has been the place to be during the Covid-19 crisis. Investors Business Daily recently highlighted how one can own the strongest of the strong by just owning one ETF (See article here).

This chart looks at the Dorsey Wright Focus Five index ETF (FV), which reflects that it is attempting a bullish breakout while creating higher lows over the past 6-years.

The $2.1 billion fund tracks the Dorsey Wright Focus Five Index, which provides access to five First Trust sector and industry ETFs. Dorsey Wright & Associates selects the funds based on relative price momentum, then weights the compone...



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Digital Currencies

Twitter Says "Human Error" And "Spear-Phishing Attack" Responsible For Massive Bitcoin Hack

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Twitter suffered from a major hack about two weeks ago and has now said that its staff was tricked by "spear-phishing", which is a targeted attack to trick people into simply handing out their passwords. 

Twitter staff were targeted through their phones, according to a new report from the BBC. The attacks then allowed hackers the ability to Tweet from celebrity Twitter accounts. Twitter has said it was "taking a hard look" at how it could improve its permissions and processes.

"The attack on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack. This attack relied on ...



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The Technical Traders

ARE THE MARKETS ABOUT TO TURN?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Deborah Honig from Adelaide Capital asks Chris the question on everyone’s mind – where are the markets heading? Where is the ‘big money’, the early movers in the market, going? Chris and Deborah also look at the technicals for Gold and Silver and discuss whether Gold and Silver are starting a big run-up now, or should we wait before taking positions?

Learn more about our latest research and alerts on Gold, Silver, Oil, and Equities at www.TheTechnicalTraders.com.

...

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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Chart School

US Dollar Cycle Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

If investors can correctly forecast the US Dollar then their portfolio will be standing on better ground.

Jesse Livermore said investors must familiarise themselves with all matters of the market. The sine wave cycle below shows regular tops and bottoms and if the investor ignores this repeating phenomena it could be at their peril. If you decide to do so, you best have a good technical or fundamental reason.

The sine wave cycle below was found with readtheticker.com 'Cycle Finder Spectrum' use of 'Bartels' logic. Yes it is mathematics, but within the site RTT Plus service we also examine the dollar fundamentals  (like: inflation, money s...

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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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