Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prescription Drug Robberies!

Make sure you read all the way past the list of the drugs.

Reprinted from a personal communication from E.P.

"Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications?

Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet.

We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries.

In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular dr ugs sold in America;

Celebrex: 100 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27.
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60
Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg. Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71
Percent markup: 30,306%

Keflex: 250 mg. Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88
Percent markup: 8,372%

Lipitor: 20 mg. Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80
Percent markup: 4,696%

Norvasc: 10 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29.
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14
Percent markup: 134,493%

Paxil: 20 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27.
Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60
Percent markup: 2,898%

Prevacid: 30 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77.
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01
Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec : 20 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97
Cost of general active ingredients $0.52
Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac: 20 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11>
Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13
Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec: 10 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20
Percent markup: 51,185%

Xanax: 1 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024
Percent markup: 569,958%

Zestril: 20 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89
Cost of general active ingredients $3.20
Percent markup: 2,809%

Zithromax: 600 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19
Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78
Percent markup: 7,892%

Zocor: 40 mg. Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27.
Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63
Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg. Consumer price: $206.87.
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75
Percent markup: 11,821%

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone should know about this. It pays to shop around!

This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreen's on every corner.

On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News in Detroit , did a story on generic drug prices gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more.

So often we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills.

The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are saving $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.

I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices.

I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience I had to use the drug Compazine which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients. I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS.

I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

I would like to mention, that although Costco is a "membership" type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in.

I am asking each of you to please help me by copying this letter, and passing it into your own e-mail, and send it to everyone you know with an e-mail address.

Sharon L. Davis
Budget Analyst
U.S. Department of Commerce
Room 6839
Office Ph: 202-482-4458
Office Fax: 202-482-5480"

This ongoing defrauding of An]merican health consumers is sanctioned by the US Goverment and will continue until and unless consumers say enough and star voting with their healt care dollars.

We are MAD, you decide!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

UC Regents--Sweet & Low v. Cocaine?

University of California Regent John Moores, who had previously expressed frustration that the UC governing board lacked independence and acted as a tool of UC President Robert Dynes' administration, unexpectedly resigned Monday. (SF Chronicle, Nov 13, 2007)

Mr. Moores, a constant vocal critic of the UC board recently expressed disappointment that the governing board turned down his resolution to ban UC faculty and staff from accepting research money from tobacco companies, which he blamed for "a billion deaths."

In a stunning defeat for the People of California, his September 2007 resolution was rejected on a 14-4 vote Mr. Moores, Chairman of the San Diego Padres and Chairman of JMI Services Inc. has demonstrated more scientific integrity than most UCLA scientists, UC Regents and Times published authors combined.

By putting his money where his mouth is (Moores has been a generous supporter of the university, donated $21 million to UC San Diego for a new cancer center) Mr. Moores clearly understands that a result of any study is pre-determined by its design and objective.

In case of tobacco research, the "objective" is set by the payor—the Big Tobacco. Same Big Tobacco that has doubled its advertising budgets in the past year!?

Hence, the results of animal studies are skewed in favor of the payor. Given the pre-determined results of animal studies and its limited scientific applicability to humans (less than margin of error), Mr. Moores' resignation is morally correct and scientifically sound.

Unfortunately for its readership, the Los Angeles Times does not follow Mr. Moores’ socially responsible actions and continues to enforce an editorial agenda by refusing to publish letters expressing a solid, scientific, but opposing, opinion.

LA Times printed two more letters in support of animal research. Researchers working in the addictions fields do “unravel the scientific mysteries of these devastating medical disorders and bringing much-needed relief to those afflicted and their families””.

UCLA squanders hundreds of millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to turn monkeys into tweakers, while drug rehabilitation centers flounder due to lack of funds to assist the hundreds of thousands of ready-made human tweakers.

Uselessness of animal research and its inability to be approximated to human-relevant data is best illustrated by the results of a study presented this week in San Diego at the Society of Neuroscience.

Scientists at University of Bordeaux, France demonstrated that rats overwhelmingly prefer saccharin to cocaine.

Both sugar and cocaine increase levels of the brain chemical dopamine. Unfortunately for rats and humans though, through a completely different brain mechanism.

Such a mammalian response in rats means absolutely nothing to human substance addiction model, but at least the French kept the rats happy.

Abused animals do not need any “relief from researchers”, since the occurrence of substance addiction in the wild and/or well-run Zoo is simply nonexistent.

Now, if only UCLA researchers can train humans in the wild to seek out water sweetened by Sweet & Low, some of the millions awarded to UCLA to hook primates might be redirected toward those more laudable endeavors.

We are Making a Difference (MAD), you decide.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Great American Smokeout of just a Great Smoke Screen?

According to the results of a national survey conducted in 2006 roughly 1 in 5 adults in the US smoke cigarettes, a figure that has not changed much since 2004.

The new findings, which appeared in the November 9th issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, were released in advance of Great American Smokeout, to be held this year on November 15.

About 80% of current users reported smoking every day. Roughly 44% of current smokers had made an attempt to quit smoking in previous year and had stopped for more than 1 day.

This lack of decline in cigarette smoking is accompanied by simultaneous (and growing-400 so far) proliferation of hookah bars/clubs as a "safer" social (group activity) alternative.

Smoking cessation methodology probably failed due to the fact that most laboratory studies are conducted on non-humans. Dr. Edythe London, a leading researcher at UCLA, recently admitted in her Op-Ed article in LA Times that animal tobacco dependency model is completely different from that of humans.

Even Dr.London might concede that animals (primates) in the wild can rarely be found in hookah bars surrounded by the rest of the pack equipped with laptops.

In a recent (November 7, 2007) article in the LA Times by Animal Liberation Front (ALF) spokeswoman Lindy Greene claims that “data from one species cannot be extrapolated to another with more than 5% to 25% accuracy”

With 30% being within the acceptable margin of error for any study, Dr. London’s “esteemed” animal research is nothing more than a very expensive (for taxpayers and consumers) guesstimating.

Animal researchers, driven by quest for publishable data and financial well-being, solely dependent on grants from corrupt manufacturers, might do better by just flipping a coin--50% success rate.

Further, the study claims that smoking prevalence differed by gender and race: 23.9% of men vs. 18.0% of women smoked and 10.4% of Asians vs. 21.9% of whites were smokers. In addition, smoking prevalence fell as educational level rose and increased with poverty.

Studies at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences demonstrated that despite African-American children's having a lower exposure to tobacco compared to whites, they have higher levels of serum nicotine than white children.

Further studies are needed to determine whether there are racial differences in the metabolism of other tobacco-related toxins and to assess the efficacy of interventions to reduce ETS exposure among all children.

Race is not a definitive biologic construct, but rather an imprecise arbitrary categorization that is a proxy for multifaceted cross-connected environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, and biologic variables almost insurmountable in its complexity.

I dare Dr. London & Co. to account for all of the critical variables and to publicly admit that animal research can be only approximated, at best, to humans--a far cry from human-relevant data!?

The absurdity of continued animal research is propagated by unscrupulous pharmaceutical manufacturers, their “pet” scientists and the FDA despite the multiple thousands of consumer injuries and deaths every year from adverse reactions to drugs tested "safe" in animals (VIOXX any one?) and, conversely, causes potentially beneficial drugs tested "unsafe" to be discarded.

ALF’s methodology of protecting “creatures that society would arbitrarily place outside the circle of moral compassion and beyond the reach of effective defense” fails to properly use science to educate general public through mass media.

I firmly believe that only a strong outcry form educated public coupled with public refusal to buy products implicated in animal testing/abuse can make a tangible difference for the animals.

We are MAD, you decide!


P.S. Making a Difference---MAD

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Where do I stand on the issues of animal research.

I am a relatively new, at least publicly, opponent of animal research.

First, and foremost, I unconditionally condemn violence in any shape or form against individuals, organizations and/or their property. Further, I believe that attacks on researchers and their institution by some radical groups seriously undermines their own credibility as well as the legitimacy of mainstream organizations.

Hence, I am not and will never be associated with any individuals, groups and/or organizations that either commit, promote or condone violence as means to achieve their goals.

Second, my objections to animal research are purely scientific since animal-based research is foundationally flawed. Data obtained from animal research data can not be extrapolated to manufacture human-relevant information. There are numerous viable alternatives to produce human-specific data without the use and abuse of animals.

In additional to cell preparations, transgenic modeling, and live human volunteers (please see my early postings on the issue), yet another alternative to using ill-suited animal models could be the use of aborted fetuses and tissues and organs from recently deceased humans.

Fetuses aborted during the first trimester (legally one can do it only up to 10 weeks) provide a representative sample of tissues needed for the study of most biological processes.

I am referring only to fetuses that are already legally aborted. I will neither condone nor condemn legal abortion or legality of abortion.

Organs and tissues could be "kept alive" in recently deceased humans and then used for the studies of toxicity mechanisms.

For example: instead of sacrificing 40-50 rats and "blending" their livers to study the toxicity of alcohol, one can use the liver of a car-crash victim for the same purpose but with better results that are actually applicable to human physiology and relevant to studies of human disease model.

Despite my personal and professional objections to tactics and actions sometimes employed by the Animal Liberation Movement, and my disagreement with the published statements of its Press Officer Dr. Jerry Vlasak, I felt compelled to object to Los Angeles Times Editorial policies and actions and its childish mistreatment of Jerry Vlasak, MD, FACS.

Here is a copy of my "surprisingly" unpublished letter to the Editors of LA Times of November 2, 2007:


When the only paper in Los Angeles market decides to take a position on animal research (or any other issue) instead of reporting, and decides to suppress opposing views of similarly qualified professionals it should not be surprised with its shrinking circulation and profits.

LA Times made an editorial decision to condone animal testing and to deprive its readership from any formation about many scientifically valid ways to rapidly diminish and/or totally eliminate the need for laboratory animals.

Your publication of Dr. Vlasak's letter with the intentional omission of his professional titles and affiliations does not limit his credibility but does place the shame on you. Not extending this common courtesy to Dr. Vlasak while affording it to all other authors again proves your bias and, in fact diminishes your paper credibility and will hopefully result in further financial losses for the paper.

Intelligent compassionate people of LA enabled by the Internet will find the truth and spread the word."

We are MAD, you decide!


P.S. Making a Difference! (MAD)

Monday, November 5, 2007

"Why do I use animals in research" or " Why do I abduct, detain, confine, mutilate, torture and kill animals" by Dr. E. London

Unfortunately for animals used in research Dr. London conducts those sadistic actions without animals expressed consent to participate in her research activities.

The damage inflicted to Dr. London's residence is stupid and reprehensible. Dr. London's fight against addiction to nicotine, methamphetamine and other drugs is admirable. Her use of primates and other animals is incomprehensible. Her justifications for use of animals in non-clinical research could not further away from truth.

Further, she deliberately avoids discussion of non-animal research options such as cell cultures, transgenic modeling and human volunteers to name a few.

Human volunteers recruited among prison inmates, well meaning researchers, executives of pharmaceutical and tobacco companies and their respective family members can provide a new dimension to research--subject's reporting, interactive feedback and ability to follow instructions.

Properly designed and conducted human volunteers study, with preference given to aforementioned groups, will reveal human-specific, hence human-relative data.

These (human) studies are much more likely to be conducted in an ethical and cruelty-free manner, with proper consent, compensation (except for inmates), pain relief, psychological counselling and treatment of any and all complications and adverse outcomes. ACLU can monitor compliance.

In her article Dr. London contradicts herself stating that “While monkeys receive drugs in the laboratory, they do not become “addicted” in the same sense that human…” So why torture monkeys and other animals when there are millions of potential human volunteers stupid enough to subject themselves to tobacco and other addictive substances.

Such (human) studies will invariably yield human-specific hence human-relevant information.

Being a child of Holocaust does not give one a license to inflict Holocaust on animals by using them in research. If nothing else it should have made Dr. London more sensitive to the plight of the weak and defenseless.

Without condoning violence in any shape or form I would like to point out that use and abuse of animals is UCLA researchers is funded and promoted by greedy pharmaceutical companies, such as Amgen that is in serious financial straits due to recent changes in reimbursement for its drugs.

In addition to promoting and conducting animal research (Amgen maintains an extensive vivarium where animals are routinely used for research) by UCLA through its clandestine invitation-only seminars promoting animal research (last conducted October 28, 2007) Amgen simultaneously taints the objectivity and validity of researcher conducted by UCLA.

Hiding behind frequently used and abused "unrestricted educational grant" can not fool any one, Hence, Dr. London's acceptance of tobacco company's money seriously jeopardises UCLA's standing as an "independent third party" seeker of truth!?

I challenge UCLA officials, leadership of Amgen, leadership of tobacco companies, and prominent researches to open a productive dialogue with mainstream activist to reduce and finally eliminate use of animals in research ( and related abuse and exploitation) in favor of genetic modeling and/or use of human volunteers.

We are MAD, you decide.