Saturday, April 20, 2013

TV Ads for Statins Drive Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

           Continued From Last Post.

  Effective Statin Ads Place Millions of Americans at Risk of Serious Health

    Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, that is, they act by blocking
the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol (HMG-CoA
reductase). The fact that statin drugs cause side effects is well established

— there are now 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the
gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk.

    Please note that statins are classified as a "pregnancy Category X
medication" meaning, it causes serious birth defects, and should NEVER be
used by a woman who is pregnant or planning a pregnancy. If it is prescribed,
it is simply gross negligence and malpractice.

    Statins have also been shown to increase your risk of diabetes, via a
number of different mechanisms. The most important one is that they increase
insulin resistance, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Increased
insulin resistance contributes to chronic inflammation in your body, and
inflammation is the hallmark of most diseases.

    In fact, increased insulin resistance can lead to heart disease, which,
ironically, is the primary reason for taking a cholesterol-reducing drug in
the first place. It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart
attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson's,
Alzheimer's, and cancer.

    Secondly, statins increase your diabetes risk by actually raising your
blood sugar. When you eat a meal that contains starches and sugar, some of
the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it away as cholesterol
and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making
cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream,
which raises your blood sugar levels.

    Drug-induced diabetes and genuine type 2 diabetes are not necessarily
identical. If you're on a statin drug and find that your blood glucose is
elevated, it's possible that what you have is just hyperglycemia — a side
effect, and the result of your medication. Unfortunately, many doctors will
at that point mistakenly diagnose you with "type 2 diabetes," and possibly
prescribe another drug, when all you may need to do is simply discontinue the
statin in order for your blood glucose levels to revert back to normal.

    Statin drugs also interfere with other biological functions. Of utmost
importance, statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which accounts for many of
its devastating results. Therefore, if you take a statin, you must take
supplemental CoQ10, or better, the reduced form called ubiquinol. Statins
also interfere with the mevalonate pathway, which is the central pathway for
the steroid management in your body. Products of this pathway that are
negatively affected by statins include:

        All your sex hormones
        The dolichols, which are involved in keeping the membranes inside
your cells healthy
        All sterols, including cholesterol and vitamin D (which is similar to
cholesterol and is produced from cholesterol in your skin)


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God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
Larry Nelson

Friday, April 19, 2013

TV Ads for Statins Drive Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

Continued From Last Post.

    To determine the relationship between estimated exposure to direct-to-
consumer advertising for statin drugs and two clinical variables: diagnosis
with high cholesterol and statin use, the featured study, published in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine,2 used logistic regression to analyze
repeated cross-sectional surveys of more than 106,000 Americans, merged with
data on the frequency of ads appearing on national, cable, and local
television, between 2001 and 2007. Interestingly, those who reported seeing
statin ads on TV were:

        16-20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol
        16-22 percent more likely to be using a statin drug

    That’s quite a boost in diagnosis and treatment, and proof positive that
advertising works, even when you’re selling something with greater potential
harms than benefits, as is the case with statins.

    Tellingly, both the diagnosis of high cholesterol and increased statin
use was driven almost exclusively by those who were at LOW risk for future
cardiac events, indicating that overdiagnosis and unnecessary drug treatment
is quite real. Conversely, those at high risk of heart disease were not more
likely to be taking a statin after seeing the commercials. According to the

        "Our findings raise questions about the extent to which direct-to-
consumer advertising may promote over-diagnosis and over-treatment for
populations where risks may outweigh potential benefits. In addition, we
found no evidence of favorable associations between exposure to statins in
television advertisements and statin use among those at high risk for future
cardiac events."

Turning People into Patients — At YOUR Expense

    The 1997 change in direct-to-consumer advertising laws unleashed an
avalanche of drug commercials. Two years later, the average American was
exposed to nine prescription drug TV ads every day. Between 1994 and 2000, TV
drug ads increased 40-fold.3

    In 2005, two of the top four most heavily promoted drugs were
cholesterol-lowering medications. In that year alone, Merck/Schering-Plough
spent $161.5 million on ads for Vytorin, and AstraZeneca spent $158.6 million
advertising Crestor — down from the $212 million4 they spent the year before.
    In all, pharmaceutical companies spend an estimated $4 billion a year on
these types of consumer marketing campaigns in the US, so you can bet they’re
getting a hefty portion of this expense back in the form of increased

    No doubt you’ve heard that drugs cost so much because it’s expensive to
perform research and development of new drugs. Yet pharmaceutical companies
spend nearly TWICE as much on marketing in the US as they do on R&D! This
finding was published in the journal PloS Medicine in 2008.5 According to the

        “From this new estimate, it appears that pharmaceutical companies
spend almost twice as much on promotion as they do on R&D. These numbers
clearly show how promotion predominates over R&D in the pharmaceutical
industry, contrary to the industry's claim.

        While the amount spent on promotion is not in itself a confirmation
of Kefauver's depiction of the pharmaceutical industry, it confirms the
public image of a marketing-driven industry and provides an important
argument to petition in favor of transforming the workings of the industry in
the direction of more research and less promotion.” [Emphasis mine]
    The US is, by far, the largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world,
representing around 43 percent of global sales. This is in part due to
Americans being grossly overcharged. As I recently reported, Americans pay
TWICE the price compared to other countries for the identical drugs.6

    Well, here’s part of the answer to the question why: You’re paying for
their direct-to-consumer advertising, which is illegal everywhere else (with
the exception of New Zealand).

    Aside from their inherently misleading nature, and the fact that they
dramatically increase drug prices, direct-to-consumer drug ads like those on
TV often plant a seed in your mind that you may be sick. Drug companies are
masters at disease mongering -- inventing non-existent diseases and
exaggerating minor ones, with the end result making you rush to your doctor
to request their drug solutions. It also misleads people into thinking drugs
are the only option for every ill. If you think about it, a child who grows
up seeing these ads is clearly going to be indoctrinated to turn to a drug
when something goes wrong, unless he or she receives a different education
from some other source.

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God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
Larry Nelson


Thursday, April 18, 2013

TV Ads for Statins Drive Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment According to Study

The United States is one of only two countries, the other being New
Zealand, that allows drugs to be advertised on TV, and it’s not difficult to
understand why nearly every other country has given such ads the boot.
    As with all commercials, the ads are intended to influence you to buy
their products. In the case of prescription medications, the “product” is a
potentially dangerous chemical drug that is loaded with side effects.

    In a 2009 Harris Poll, 51 percent said that drug ads encourage them to
ask questions when they go to their doctor, and a whopping 44 percent
actually believe drug ads make them more knowledgeable about treatments for
their ailments.

    Now, a new study assessing the effect of direct-to-consumer drug
advertising has concluded that TV ads for statins may be a driving factor of
overdiagnosis of high cholesterol and overtreatment with the drugs.1

    The reason is clear. People who dutifully ask their doctors about a drug
advertised on TV usually end up receiving a prescription...

    Is it any wonder then that one in four Americans over the age of 45 is
now taking a statin drug, despite the fact that there are over 900 studies
proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to
diabetes and increased cancer risk.

    Odds are likely greater than 100 to 1 that if you're taking a statin, you
don't really need it. The ONLY subgroup that might benefit are those born
with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes
them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.


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God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
Larry Nelson

Monday, April 15, 2013

     Continued From Last Post.

    The final recommendations come as no surprise to those well-versed in the
many issues involved. It’ll be interesting to see if the EU will follow them
or cave to industry pressure like the US. The report concludes:

        "In light of the effects caused so far as a result of GE crop
cultivation in the United States, the following recommendations can be made:

        There must be no large-scale, commercial cultivation of GE
herbicide-tolerant or insecticide-producing crops. Such crop cultivation is
unsustainable and will lead to a ‘race’ to step up their cultivation.

        Ensure that all potential situations are retrievable. Cultivation of
crops such as rapeseed, which is extremely susceptible to spread through the
environment, should be banned as a matter of principle. An absolute
prerequisite for any release of such crops is that it must be possible to
control their spread and their persistence in the environment.

        Prevent cases of contamination. A particular focus on clean seed is
needed because otherwise farmers will lose control over the cultivation of GE
crops in their fields and it will no longer be possible to adequately
differentiate between products in the subsequent stages of the food
production chain.

        Risk assessments and risk research should not be geared to economic
interests. Under EU law, environmental and consumer protection clearly take
precedence over other interests. This must be applied more rigidly in
practice. Directives based on EFSA risk assessments must be tightened up
significantly and the preconditions for independent risk research must be
specifically fostered.

        The health effects of consuming products made from GE crops must be
monitored. Under EU law, the monitoring of the impact on public health and
the environment of products authorized for marketing in the EU is compulsory,
but has only been partially implemented.

        To allow for the differentiation of products on the feed markets,
labeling should be extended to include animal products. The EU should also
focus specifically on the search for alternatives to existing feed production
and import markets.

        To prevent further concentration on seed markets, seed patenting must
be stopped.

        A plan for research into alternatives must be mapped out. In many
areas conventional breeding is a cheaper, more productive and safer
alternative for the production of new seed varieties. This approach should be
specifically fostered in the future."

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

    While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow
margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has
now moved to the state of Washington, where the people's initiative 522, "The
People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," will require food
sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered
ingredients. As stated on

        "Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food
labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this
information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn't required until 2002.
The trans fat content of foods didn't have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all
of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if
our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

        Doesn't it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing
experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be
labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for
safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have
been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact
to human health and the environment.

        I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise
costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to
food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522
does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the
state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement.

The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to
avoid raising costs to the state or consumers."

    Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to
succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn't

have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37
camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let's not allow
Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and
Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and
help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.

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God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
Larry Nelson

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monsanto Responds to 'Affluent Consumer' Concerns

       Continued From Last Post

   On March 14, Monsanto President Brett Begeman discussed Whole Food’s move in an interview on NPR radio.8 According to NPR:

        “Monsanto President Brett Begeman, speaking at an ag event this week in Decatur, Illinois, called the move 'Big' and said it shows that the agriculture industry needs to come together to address the concerns of what he called the 'affluent consumer.'

        Begemann: ‘How do we address their concerns and provide them the choice that they’re asking for without driving up the cost on the large part of the population that cannot afford another increase in the cost of food.' The potential of higher costs is one of the concerns companies have raised about the Whole Foods plan. Begmann says the ag industry needs to figure how to cooperate and co-exist with those who have different food policy views.”

ORCA Takes Proactive Role to Address ‘Natural’ Products Intentional Mislabeling

    In related news, the organic and fair trade standards watchdog the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), recently announced the creation of a new nationwide campaign called the Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance (ORCA). The announcement was made at the national Expo-West Natural Products convention. This new alliance includes public interest groups, food producers and retailers, including co-ops, natural food stores, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) buying clubs and wholesalers.

    ORCA’s mission is to “aggressively promote organic food and products, and expose and eliminate the misleading practice of 'natural' labeling and marketing that has slowed the growth of America’s $30-billion dollar organic sector.” In a press release, OCA’s National Director, Ronnie Cummins states:9

        “Routine mislabeling and marketing has confused millions of U.S. consumers, and enabled the so-called ‘natural’ foods and products sector to grow into a $60-billion dollar a year powerhouse, garnering twice as many sales in 2012 as certified organic products. By exposing these misleading tactics, and promoting truth-in-labeling, we believe we can rapidly grow sales of certified organic and authentically natural food and products.”

    This is indeed a huge problem, as numerous polls and surveys have shown that otherwise health-conscious Americans do not understand the qualitative difference between organic and so-called “natural” products. Contrary to reality, the majority of consumers believe the “natural” label equates to “almost organic,” and many believe the “all-natural” label means a product is better than organic! That’s the power of word-association, and these industries are well aware of how the word natural “feels” to consumers who are in the dark about the regulatory differences between the labels... As stated by Cummins:

        “This is outrageous, given that organic food and products, by law and by third-party certification, are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, animal drugs, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), irradiation, nanoparticles, or sewage sludge, whereas so-called 'natural' products are unregulated.”

    To achieve its aims, ORCA members will use “a combination of public education, marketplace pressure, boycotts, class action lawsuits and state legislation to end misleading labeling practices in the 'natural' products sector.”

Consequences of 20 Years of Commercial Cultivation of GE Plants in the US

    Just in time, as the GE issue is about to heat up once more, a critical assessment of the consequences of commercial cultivation of GE plants in the US was published. The report, published in Berlin, was commissioned in response to increasing pressure from biotech companies requesting broader authorizations to cultivate GE crops in the European Union (EU), where acceptance of such crops is much lower than the US. By looking at the effects that two decades worth of GE crop cultivation has had in the US, the report makes recommendations on how to best handle the technology in the EU. Presented by TestBiotech10 (which published the English version of the report),11 some of the principal findings include the following damaging assessments:

        Consequences for farmers: Because the weeds have adapted to the cultivation of the genetically engineered plants, farmers are experiencing a substantial increase in both working hours and the amounts of herbicide they require. Cultivation of insecticide-producing plants have led to "an arms race in the field" against the pest insects, which have adapted quickly. Genetically engineered plants have been created to produce up to six different toxins. Costs for seeds have increased dramatically, without there being a substantial increase in yields or significant savings in the amounts of spray required.
        Impact on the seed market: The seed industry in the US is largely dominated by agrochemical industries such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta. In the future, it has to be expected that developments in the US will be strongly influenced by the interests of agro-chemical companies pushing for the cultivation of genetically engineered plants.
        Consequences for producers who avoid genetically engineered crops: Contamination with non-authorized genetically engineered plants has already caused billions of dollars worth of damage in the US.
        Consequences for consumers: Consumers are exposed to a whole range of risks regarding unintended substances from plant metabolism, from residues from complementary herbicides and from the properties of additional proteins produced in the plants. As yet, there is no way of monitoring the actual effects that consumption of these products might have.


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Larry Nelson