Public Health

New Prescription Drugs: A Major Health Risk With Few Offsetting Advantages

by Donald W. Light

Few people know that new prescription drugs have a 1 in 5 chance of causing serious reactions after they have been approved. That is why expert physicians recommend not taking new drugs for at least five years unless patients have first tried better-established options, and have the need to do so.

Should There Be Public Access to Data from Clinical Trials

by Michelle Mello reblogged from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For years, pharmaceutical companies have been lambasted in the media and government prosecutions for concealing information about the safety and efficacy of their products. In one particularly splashy example, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to pay $3 billion in 2012 to settle criminal charges that it failed to report safety data concerning its antidepressant drug, Paxil, and its diabetes drug, Avandia, and engaged in unlawful marketing of these products and one other drug.

When It Comes to Liability and Patient Safety, What's Good for Hospitals Can Be Good for Patients

by Michelle Mello re-blogged from The Blog of the Huffington Post

Joanne Doroshaw's blog post on hospital-based communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs) is a stunner—not for its insights about patient safety, but for the suggestion that CRPs are a step in the wrong direction.

Credibility of Evidence and Affiliation in the Quest for Proper Science

by Bart Penders and Kim Hendrickx

Lorry drivers who regularly visited South and Eastern Europe were struck by the beauty and shapeliness of local women. This observation give rise to the “Edric Original” breast growth pill, filled with hop, the apparent key dietary difference between well-endowed Southern and Eastern European and everyone else (Scholtens, 1997). The full treatment will set you back €540—a bargain.

What is it about this offer that makes us doubt its credibility? Why do we evaluate some claims as more credible than others? Kim Hendrickx is currently finalizing a PhD thesis on the credibility of claims on food products. Bart Penders and Kim Hendrickx give a commented preview of the argument.

Should We Trust the New Cholesterol Guidelines?

by Christopher Robertson, re-blogged from the Petrie-Flom Center

The new American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines on how patients should manage their cholesterol are likely to dramatically increase the sales of statins. (E.g., check out the bump to Pfizer’s stock price.) Yet, the new guidelines have become instantly controversial, with prominent cardiologists calling them into doubt.