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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Zero Hedge

US Fertility Rate Hit Record Low In 2018

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The US fertility rate dropped for the fourth straight year in 2018, and has fallen approximately 15% since 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics - which reports that there were 59.1 births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age.

In total, 3,791,712 births were recorded across the country last year - extending a steep decline that began during the 2008 Recession, according to the New York Times. ...



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Phil's Favorites

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE - Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

 

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE – Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

Courtesy of Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner 

The Fed is ramping up “Not QE” .

The Fed bought $2.2 billion in notes today in its POMO, “not QE,” operations. Actually $2.15 billion because they sold back a whole $50 million. Must have been a little glitch in the force.

This brings the Fed’s total outright purchases of Treasuries to $170 billion since it started Not QE, on September 17.

It also did $107 billion in gross new repo loans to Primary Dealers to buy Tre...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE - Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

 

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE – Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

Courtesy of Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner 

The Fed is ramping up “Not QE” .

The Fed bought $2.2 billion in notes today in its POMO, “not QE,” operations. Actually $2.15 billion because they sold back a whole $50 million. Must have been a little glitch in the force.

This brings the Fed’s total outright purchases of Treasuries to $170 billion since it started Not QE, on September 17.

It also did $107 billion in gross new repo loans to Primary Dealers to buy Tre...



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Chart School

Silver stock taking the sector higher

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

As the US economy begins to show late cycle characteristics like: GDP slowing, higher inflation, higher wage costs, CEO confidence slump. 

Previous Post: Gold Stocks Review

The big players in the market are looking for the next swing off good value lows. This means more money is finding it way into the gold and silver sector, and it is said gold and silver stocks actually lead the metal prices.

The cycle below shows prices are ready to move in the months ahead (older chart re posted).


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Health Care & Merck Working A Bullish Breakouts!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Health Care (XLV) ETF has lagged the S&P for the past few years. Is the lagging trend about to end? It sure could and we should find out very soon!

This chart looks at the Health Care/S&P Ratio (XLV/SPY), which reflects that it has created a series of lower highs and lower lows inside of falling channel (1). Over the past 6-months the ratio has created a series of higher lows, reflecting out performance of XLV to the broad markets.

The ratio is testing a support/resistance line at (2). If the ratio breaks out at (2), it would suggest that health care stocks wi...



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Insider Scoop

CMA CGM Bolsters Its LNG Fuel Supply With Total Deal

Courtesy of Benzinga

CMA CGM said it signed a deal with France's largest energy firm to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power container ships.

The fourth-largest global carrier by capacity, CMA CGM said the deal with Total's marine fuels division will cover LNG supply at the Marseille-Fos fueling hub in the Mediterranean. Terms were not disclosed.

Total will supply approximately 270,000 metric tons of LNG per year over the next 10 years. CMA CGM said it will be the volume needed for its 15,000 twenty-foot equivalen...



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Digital Currencies

Chinese Crypto Exchange IDAX Locks Cold Wallet As CEO "Goes Missing"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

By William Suberg via CoinTelegraph.com

Chinese cryptocurrency exchange IDAX has suspended deposits and withdrawals after its CEO allegedly disappeared.

In a blog post on Nov. 29, IDAX, which earlier this week warned it was seeing a run on withdrawals, said the whereabouts of Lei Guorong were currently unkno...



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Members' Corner

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

 

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

By Matt Wilstein

Excerpt:

Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the International Leadership Award at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit on anti-Semitism and hate Thursday. And the comedian and actor used his keynote speech to single out the one Jewish-American who he believes is doing the most to facilitate “hate and violence” in America: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He began with a joke at the Trump administration’s expense. “Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry,” Baron Cohen said, according to his prepared...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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