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Saturday, Aug 23rd

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How Merck Made a Killing

Stockmarket pressure to find "blockbuster" drugs has forced drug companies to push products to market ever more aggressively. In the case of Merck's painkiller Vioxx, this had disastrous and lethal results.

There are two remarkable things about the painkiller Vioxx. One was its disastrous impact on those who took it. Before it was pulled from the market in September 2004, Vioxx probably did more harm than any other modern prescription medicine. Critics of the drug have estimated that up to 140,000 Americans suffered heart attacks or strokes and about a third died as a result of taking it—and that is not counting those who died in the other countries where the drug was sold. It was as if a full jumbo jet dropped from the sky every week for five years, yet no one noticed. 

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Media lift lid on secret reports on drug side-effects

Adverse reactions to medication is the fifth most common cause of death in hospitals according to the European Commission, but EU agencies and national governments have until now kept secret pharmaceutical companies' reports on side-effects.

The PSURs for example detail how doctors in various countries suspect that teenagers grow suicidal when taking a certain medication against pimples, or that a diet product could lead to a stroke and what industry has to say about the medical fears.

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Quickly Vetted, Treatment Is Offered to Patients

The MammoSite system is among the thousands of devices the F.D.A. lets onto the market each year after only cursory review and with no clear evidence that they help patients. Doctors are free to use those products as they see fit, without telling patients that the devices are not proved. And because the doctors are frequently paid more by Medicare as a way to compensate them for the extra time and expense of adopting new procedures, these unproven products can become widely adopted.

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Purple tomato 'may boost health'

Scientists have developed purple tomatoes which they hope may be able to keep cancer at bay.

The fruit are rich in an antioxidant pigment called anthocyanin which is thought to have anti-cancer properties.

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Prominent Scientist Warns of HPV Vaccine Dangers

Independent health researcher Grace Filby, who won a Churchill Fellowship for her research into phage therapy, is calling on the government for more research into the possible side-effects of the HPV vaccine that is currently being given to teenage girls.

Filby believes that not enough is known about the effects of the vaccine on children with pre-existing medical conditions and weakened immune systems. She says, "We simply do not know whether the vaccine interacts with other medication or medical conditions, and the manufacturers have not studied it yet. This could be a very valid reason why some families and schools might hesitate or opt out."

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Life Expectancy Drops To 69.3 Years In The US

What is the average life expectancy of Americans? For a long time it has been the low seventies for men and upper seventies for women. So it comes as a shock to learn that the average life expectancy for Americans has dropped to 69.3 years, according to the America's Health Rankings report, issued at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting.

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Health & Wellness The Biggest Breast Cancer Risk Factor That No One Is Talking About

The scientific study that found "radiation is the only known cause of breast cancer in mice" was conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, home of the Manhattan Project -- the World War II atomic bomb development project which produced the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs -- and where they have been studying the biological/environmental effects of radiation for 68 years. After billions of dollars in research funds, however, they could never identify the cause of breast cancer in women.

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