MARTHA ROSENBERG FOR BUZZFLASH
"We need to be holding their hand and whispering in their ear, 'Neurontin for pain, Neurontin for monotherapy, Neurontin for bipolar, Neurontin for everything,'" sales reps at Park-Davis, now Pfizer, were told in 1996 by senior executive John Ford. "I don’t want to hear that safety crap either."
Eight years later a judgment against Pfizer under the False Claims Act -- Neurontin could only be legally promoted for seizures and post-shingles nerve pain -- awarded $430 million to the nation's Attorneys General who earmarked $21 million for development of educational products to immunize prescribers against future Neurontin-style promotional misdeeds.
Last week representatives from 23 medical centers, medical boards, accrediting agencies, the AMA, FDA, VA, the American Medical Student Association, nurse and pharmacist organizations and Attorney General offices pooled their educational initiatives, some already institutionalized into medical schools, at a Critical Prescribing Skills conference in Chicago, hosted by the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC).
Extraordinary for a medical meeting, Crestor and Vytorin tote bags were absent and the conflicts of interest sheet the 150 participants received on arrival showed 40 of 42 speakers had none.
Get a load of what the Repuglican Party sold their souls for: From the Bowling Green Country Club, Dr. Rand Paul:
“I have a message, a message from the Tea Party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words,” Mr. Paul said in his victory speech in Bowling Green, Ky. “We have come to take our government back.”
Welcome to the really truly world of WACKY. Yep, the Repuglican Party is made up of some of the weirdest, wildest people ever! Imagine that: The Country Club Crowd wants to reclaim government! Apparently the "have mores" want more!
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH
Newt Gingrich Plans to Save America from ‘Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine’
Always on the cutting edge of political theorizing and dumb commentary, the disgraced former House Speaker has a new book and an old message.
STEVE JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH
The world-famous cosmologist Prof. Stephen Hawking recently declared:
that he believes we would be well-advised to keep the volume down on our intergalactic chatter and do all we can to prevent any "nomadic" aliens moseying our way to take a look-see. Should they find us here tucked away in the inner reaches of the solar system, chances are they'd zap us all and pillage any resources they could get their hands on. Our own history, says Hawking, proves that first encounters very rarely begin: "Do take a seat. I'll pop the kettle on. Milk? Sugar?" Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach, says the theoretical physicist in 'Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking'.
Prof. Hawking has done some extremely important work in astrophysics and related fields, all of which are well beyond me. However, here he is venturing into attempting to understand and predict how societies and political economies will develop. Sorry, Professor. A great astrophysicist you are, I'm sure. A political scientist/economist, not so great. To understand how any aliens from outer space might act if they ever managed to reach our tiny planet, one needs those two disciplines, rather than channeling Avatar.
MEDIA PUTZ OF THE WEEK
For reporting that is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism, and for being beholden to corporate paymasters rather than the citizens of America.
In his World Net Daily column last week, MSNBC's token right-wing hater Pat Buchanan stood up for what he called "the real targets of liberal bias." This, of course, would be white male Christians. To be more exact, he was accusing Democrats of being "anti-WASP" because President Obama nominated a -- gasp -- Jewish woman to the Supreme Court!
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
The results of the spate of primary elections Tuesday were plenty of fodder for the anti-incumbent crowd. Progressives rejoiced at Sen. Blanche Lincoln's setback as well as Sen. Arlen Specter's defeat.
And the tea party? Well, somehow they got a mandate out of it. Though he's not quite in Washington yet, tea party candidate Rand Paul won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. His interpretation of the win over GOP establishment candidate Trey Grayson was that he now has carte blanche to rule the country as he sees fit.
"The tea party movement is huge. The mandate of our victory tonight is huge," Paul said in his acceptance speech. "The tea party movement is about saving the country from a mountain of debt that is devouring our country and I think could lead to chaos."
After getting past the idea that Paul might really think the country is on the verge of anarchy due to the national debt, my second thought was that he might want to think twice before using an electorally-loaded word like "mandate."
MARTHA ROSENBERG FOR BUZZFLASH
Many food consumers worry about pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria in their meat. But according to a new government report, they should worry more about veterinary drugs, pesticides and heavy metals in their food.
A new Office of Inspector General (OIG) report released last month finds the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) fails to test for many drugs in cattle, inadequately tests for others and fails to recall meat which is clearly contaminated.
How like the big corporations, protecting their bottom line before they protect the people who actually do the work:
...after the surviving, dazed and frightened workers were evacuated from that burning platform, they were met by lawyers from the drilling giant Transocean with forms to sign stating they had not been injured and had no first-hand knowledge of what had happened?! So much for the corporate soul.
This is why unions, yes unions are important for all things business in these United States. Unions make absolutely certain workers are performing their duties in a safe environment. Thus, the rest of us are protected by the same safe environments.
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
There's a time-honored tradition of lawmakers reacting to a tragedy by hauling responsible parties before C-SPAN, telling them how naughty they've been and making them promise this will never happen again. Such is the case with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. But after a fortnight of hearings, are we ignoring a potential time bomb called Atlantis?
In their objections to the high expectations of clean-up efforts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP and Transocean Ltd. have stressed that they've been hampered by the fact that they're working at a depth of 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. So when officials brought to their attention that another rig -- this one some one hundred miles further out and 2,000 feet further underwater -- has the potential to "lead to catastrophic operator error," what does BP do?
Ignore it. Or better yet, quiet the whole thing up.