How Big Pharma recycles old drugsóeven bad ones
2013-05-01 0:00

By Martha Rosenberg | Intrepid Report


The blockbuster pill profit party is over for Big Pharma. Bestselling pills like Lipitor, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Singular and Concerta have gone off patent with nothing new in the product pipeline. But Pharma isnít going to deliver disappointing earnings to Wall Street just because it has few new drugs coming online and has failed at its very purpose. It is recycling old for brand new uses.

Repurposing Ritalin


Now that Pharmaís succeeded in getting five million children and four to eight million adults diagnosed with ADHD, itís looking for new markets for the drugs. One new use for Ritalin (methylphenidate), the grandfather of ADHD drugs, could be for eating disorders. Researchers say a woman who suffered from bulimia nervosa, bipolar I disorder, cocaine and alcohol dependence, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and panic disorder ďachieved a sustained (>1 year) remissionĒ when methylphenidate was added to her other drugs.


Then thereís pregnant women. A new paper suggests that taking away a womenís methylphenidate during pregnancy may ďmay present a significant riskĒ and that, ďIn all cases, children developed normally and no adverse effects were reported,Ē though they were exposed in utero. Yes, kids can be given ADHD meds at even younger agesóas fetuses.


Pharma is also looking at the elderly as a new market for ADHD drugs. Methylphenidate may ďimprove gait function in older adults,Ē researchers wrote recently. And a major clinical trial sponsored by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is underway to see if methylphenidate can reduce apathy in Alzheimer patients. Of course many Alzheimer patients donít have apathy but agitation and aggression; they will be excluded.


Male hormone replacement


Women over 40 might feel a rush of medical justice over the big push to treat menís ďLow T,Ē a recent ďdiseaseĒ now aggressively marketed, with replacement testosterone. For over 50 years, medical journals were relentless in telling women they were ďoutliving their ovariesĒ (a real ad) and the only hope to keep their looks, their husbands and their sanity was hormone replacement. Now men are hearing that their decreased sex drive and energy, reduced muscle and growing fat put them in the same position. Missing in both marketing campaigns is the fact that people donít get old because they lose hormones; they lose hormones because they get old.


Many testosterone replacement products have been approved by the FDA from pills, injections and patches to gels and solutions that are applied topically. In November, the first underarm testosterone replacement product was approved which is applied like deodorant.


The male HRT products are not without their risks. They can worsen benign prostate problems, heart failure, sleep apnea, cause liver toxicity and possibly stimulate prostate cancer though it remains a theoretical risk. Injected testosterone has been associated with embolisms and extreme allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) both of which can be fatal. Men who take Propecia for hair loss can especially have low testosterone, which may not be reversible, because it reduces an enzyme involved in testosterone synthesis.


Calling alcoholics and addicts mentally ill and in need of vaccines


One of the few good things about alcoholism and drug addiction is they can be treated for free. Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous use peer support instead of drugs, trained personnel or insuranceóand they work. Itís no surprise that the millions of people recovering without Pharmaís help are its latest target as it tries to shore up revenues. Pharma is increasingly pressuring rehab facilities and doctors to add a mental illness diagnoses to recovering patients to sell expensive pills. Ka-ching!


Worse, Nora Volkow, the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is conducting cruel experiments on primates to develop a vaccine for alcoholic or addicts. Is there an alcoholic or addict in the world who would take such a vaccine? Doesnít she know that drinking and drugging are fun (until they arenít) and that no one wants to quit before the partyís over? Doesnít she know that when drinking and drugging cease to be fun, a thing called denial kicks in and alcoholics and addicts still wonít take her vaccine?


These alcoholic/addict vaccines will be marketed for people ďat riskĒ of addiction on the basis of their family histories and brain scans which sounds a little, well, non-voluntary. Marketing early aggressive treatment for diseases people donít even have yet (ďpre-osteoporosis,Ē ďpre-diabetes,Ē ďpre-asthmaĒ and ďpreĒ-mental illness) is a foolproof business model for Pharma because people will never know if they even needed the drugsóor need them now.



[...]

Read the full article at: intrepidreport.com




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