Big Pharma

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Category archives for Big Pharma

Johnson & Johnson gets it wrong

Just because a company got it right once doesn’t mean they’ll get it right all the time. Back in the day, one of the great crisis management success stories was was Johnson & Johnson’s handling of a case where someone intentionally introduced cynanide into on the shelf bottles of Tylenol in the fall of 1982…

Too big to nail

This was in the news a couple of weeks ago, but I held on to it so I could remind people of it again, the “too big to nail” syndrome”:

I’ve had occasion to remark a number of times how much of what is reported as “science news” is just warmed over press releases from university media departments or company flacks. I read them anyway, often sucked in my a headline that turns out to oversell the case. Now I’m becoming aware headlines can also…

One of the most dismaying “features” (or is it a bug?) of the US government is the too cozy relationship of key agencies with industries they are either regulating, investigating or affecting in some ways. The revolving door syndrome perhaps reached its peak in the Bush II administration, but it’s been a chronic problem going…

The Tamiflu doesn’t work non-story

The other day the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a clutch of articles about whether Tamiflu was as useful a drug as some have touted. I read the main article, another one of the Cochrane Collaborative meta-analyses of the studies they deem useful about any particular subject, and it didn’t seem to make much news.…

The global swine flu vaccine shortage

The US has ordered 250 million doses of swine flu vaccine, mainly from foreign manufacturers. That’s a large proportion of the world’s productive capacity. A couple of the biggest vaccine makers, Glaxo-SmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur, have promised to make donations to WHO for use in the poorer countries and with some smaller donations that’s…

I first read Barbara Ehrenreich in 1971 when she wrote The American Health Empire: Power, Profits, and Politics with her (then) husband John Ehrenreich (Health PAC, 1971). She was by then a PhD in cell biology (Rockefeller University) and anti-war activist. We traveled in the same circles and I knew her slightly at the time.…

Chuck Grassley’s feet of clay

We’ve been rather kind to Senator Charles (Chuck) Grassley in the past. Yes, he’s a right wing Republican with some really odious ideas, ideas for which he deserves to be criticized. But he’s also been a champion of the Federal False Claims Act which has encouraged and protected whistleblowers to reveal how corporations have taken…

Ten days ago Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that the US government was allocating $1 billion to help companies with production costs for a swine flu vaccine. Among the beneficiaries was French vaccine giant, Sanofi-Aventis, whose Sanofi Pasteur unit got a $190 million order. It was likely only the first in…

Ethics sting in Big Pharma country

As an academic epidemiologist I routinely do NIH funded research involving human subjects. That means my university must adhere to very strict regulations and guidelines for the protection of research subjects. Approval and monitoring of the ethical conduct of research funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), of which NIH is a…