STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Drug Data Manipulation Is Merely More of the Same
By Staff News & Analysis - October 25, 2012

Medtronic Manipulated Bone Product Data, Senators Say… Medtronic Inc. (MDT) ghost-wrote sections of medical papers and paid physician authors hundreds of millions of dollars in "consulting fees" to promote its bone-growth product Infuse, a U.S. Senate investigation found. Medtronic, the world's biggest maker of heart-rhythm devices, helped write, edit and shape at least 11 medical journal articles about the product, which is used to spur bone growth after spinal surgery, according to report released today by the Senate Finance Committee. The doctors and researchers who were the authors of the studies were part of a $210 million consulting and royalty payments program by Minneapolis-based Medtronic and never disclosed their ties or the company's influence in their papers, the panel said in its report. – Bloomberg

Dominant Social Theme: This is an aberration!

Free-Market Analysis: We're not surprised about this only because we've lost our capacity to be shocked. These days we're surprised only if our worst expectations are NOT fulfilled.

Everything – and we do mean everything – in Western culture and corporate enterprise is bent toward global governance. That's all that seemingly matters.

Many US high schools turn out dropouts at a rate approaching 50 percent. University education is farcical. People are "educated" with lies and when they get out of school, they can't find jobs anyway.

Physics refuses to recognize the primacy of the electrical universe, or even to investigate it. Music and the arts are milked of grand ambitions or attenuated by teen angst.

Oil is said to be running out when the world is swimming in oil. The weather is said to be warming when it may be cooling. Even the air contains too much carbon dioxide and must be drained.

Movies purvey dominant social themes. Politics promotes the idea of a war on terror that does not exist. In many cases, Homeland Security and the FBI literally create the threats they then subdue.

Money is a big issue. Central banks are said to fight inflation when they cause it. The euro is said to be Europe's salvation when it is, in fact, its ruination. Gold is a barbaric relic, according to the powers-that-be, even though it's gone up nearly tenfold in the past decade.

Corporations are said to be efficient when, in fact, they only exist because of judicial fiat. And speaking of the judiciary, public justice is presented as impartial when the harsh reality is government funding for every part of the judicial apparatus makes it rife with conflicts of interest and extremely corrupt.

Why should the pharmaceutical industry be any different? The corruption is significant because many of the drugs that are marketed don't work as advertised and thus threaten people's health, in many cases with significant side effects. Here's more from the article:

"Medtronic's actions violate the trust patients have in their medical care," Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and committee chairman, said in a statement. "Medical journal articles should convey an accurate picture of the risks and benefits of drugs and medical devices, but patients are at serious risk when companies distort the facts the way Medtronic has."

Sales of Infuse plunged after The Spine Journal published studies in May 2011 and June 2011 showing the genetically engineered protein raised the risk of infertility, infections and cancer. Revenue from the product was $195 million in the three months ended in January 2011 and fell to $141 million in the three months ended July 27, the company reported.

Medtronic rose 0.3 percent to $41.69 at the close in New York yesterday for a gain of 9 percent this year. The stock traded in Europe rose 0.1 percent to $41.73 on volume of 250 shares at 10:05 a.m. in Frankfurt.

"Medtronic was involved in drafting, editing, and shaping the content of medical journal articles authored by its physician consultants who received significant amounts of money through royalties and consulting fees from Medtronic," Baucus and Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a statement. Part of that influence was inserting language into one study that emphasized the pain caused by a competing technique to Infuse, the senators said.

Infuse was approved in 2002 for use in fusing damaged vertebrae in the lower spine. It has never been approved for the upper, or cervical spine, where it is now widely used. The Food and Drug Administration warned surgeons not to use the product on the cervical spine in July 2008 after learning of complications in dozens of patients that included trouble breathing and eating.

More than 140,000 spinal fusion surgeries were performed with Infuse in 2009, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Of those, only 21,240 were done using the product with a technique that's approved by regulators, bolstering the contention that more than 85 percent of Infuse's use is in patients who aren't formally cleared to receive it, the senators said in the report.

We see from this reporting that, once again, what is purveyed as reality has little resemblance to it. And we would argue this is because the pharmaceutical industry and health care industry generally are false flags of sorts.

It is little known that many drugs are discovered in the wild, often in the Amazon, and then their effects are mimicked in the lab because that's the only way to patent them. Creating artificial drugs manufactures terrible side effects, as well. Almost all drugs come with these side effects, in some cases maiming and killing millions over time.

The industry knows this and thus, scientific journals have been perverted to present false articles and research on a regular basis. We'd go so far as to project that most important new drugs have some level of falsified research. The research doesn't have to be overtly falsified. The timeline can simply be investigated in such a way as to preclude an elongation that would expose the presentation of eventual side effects.

Or the research can be falsified outright. More and more these days that seems to be the case, though doubtless it is the modern communications that is responsible for the prevalence of the exposure more often than in the past.

Vaccines represent perhaps Big Pharma's deadliest scam. Some vaccines may work but it's hard to tell. What is most evident is that Big Pharma doesn't actually do much testing when it comes to vaccines, let alone double-blind testing.

The efficacy of flu vaccines is in doubt. And the administering of several vaccines at once is said to bring on autism in a percentage of sensitive children. We're only surprised the Medtronics findings have come out at all, much less through a congressional investigation. Congress is usually part of the problem.

Medtronic execs rejected many of the report's findings. But probably its legal department was surprised it even had to do so. After all, the US Department of Justice and the Office of the US Attorney in Boston "conducted a four-year investigation of the company's handling of Infuse marketing and closed the case in May without any finding."

Clinical trials funded by Medtronic reported NO side effects from Infuse. For some reason, however, "data provided to the FDA showed as many as half of patients had complications including infections, pain, cysts and cancer." Two of the "independent reviewers" of Infuse received compensation from Medtronic on the order of $7.8 million and $722,000. These are astonishing sums.

Medtronics is still in the funding business, however. According to Bloomberg, Harlan Krumholz, "a Yale University professor of internal medicine, epidemiology and public health, is conducting an independent analysis of Medtronic's Infuse data funded by a $2.5 million grant from the company."

"Sometimes what you are reading about in a study may not be everything," Krumholz said in an interview before the Senate committee's report was released. "We have to change the way this kind of science has been conducted."

After Thoughts

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