Black Triangle

Welcome to Black Triangle, homepage of Anthony Cox.

Pharmaceutical related talk about medicines, adverse drug reactions. medication errors and marketing...

Of course you may be looking for the world famous Weapons of Mass Destruction 404 error page or the T-shirt of Mass Destruction. Did I hack Google to accomplish this feat? No, it's more interesting than that.

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Sunday, August 31, 2003

More harm than good: Effexor is not effective in treating depression in children and may lead to hostility, especially in Major Depressive Disorder, suicide-related adverse events such as suicidal ideation and self-harm.
posted by Anthony Cox at 11:45 PM | permalink

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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Evaluate a representative: Docnotes has posted information about a useful evaluation form for use after a representative has visited. If you haven't signed up to nofreelunch.org and do see reps, this might be an interesting exercise to carry out.

There is a nice list of non-rational appeals:
posted by Anthony Cox at 11:09 PM | permalink


The Hutton inquiry and MMR: I missed this article in the Guardian by Will Hutton last week. He argues journalists are putting themselves under greater scrutiny in the light of the Hutton inquiry and this may make them more professional and more accountable. He cites MMR as an example of how the media gets things wrong:
Such is the public distrust of official medicine that a growing number of parents believe there is a greater risk to their children from having the vaccination than from not. Already the incidence of measles and mumps is rising. We are on the verge of a public-health disaster.

Yet the best evidence we have is that the alleged link between autism and the MMR vaccine is non-existent and that the probability of risk on individual vaccines is zero. But more members of the public believe differently. Part of this story is that an individualistic, better educated and wealthier population wants to exercise choice; another part concerns BSE, where the scientific community's advice was incorrect, and so justifies wariness over its alleged certainties.

But no account of this development can be complete without the way our media report science. The dissident, so-called whistleblower, however dodgy the research on which his or her 'evidence' is based, is afforded massive attention; it is taken as axiomatic that the mainstream, evidence-based government-endorsed view will be self-serving and wrong. More than half of us believe the medical profession is divided over the health risks of MMR; in fact, it is more or less united that there is no risk.
I hope he is right, but I'm skeptical that this corrosive cyncism will go away easily.
posted by Anthony Cox at 12:10 AM | permalink

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Friday, August 29, 2003

Some Reason about error:A report of a talk by James Reason about medical error. Well worth a read.
Errors are crucially opportunities for learning. Organisations that are very resilient to slings and arrows of operational fortune have two characteristics, one they always have chronic unease, they always think today is going to be a bad day, they are ever vigilant, they are wary all the time, the second is they are always taking big lessons, not local lessons, from the past failures.

posted by Anthony Cox at 11:04 PM | permalink


Is this your writing?Bad writing can lead to bad medicine: Computer prescribing and electronic notes do exist, but doctors still have to use pens and will have to do so for the forseeable future. Clare Hughes, a fifth year medical student, gives some of the background of the risks of poor hand-writing in the the BMJ. She also has some top tips for neater writing from a handwriting expert.
posted by Anthony Cox at 12:43 PM | permalink


One Man's Medicine: Jeff Aronson has a review of a BBC radio series about drugs in the BMJ:
It seems that every broadcast dealing with drugs must have a political agenda. And that seemed to be the problem with the first programme. The second, however, vitiated this view by starting to provide a better balance between highlighting the differences between individuals and clarifying the problems that drug developers and prescribers face in dealing with those differences. With judicious re-editing a single really informative programme could be made.

The third programme was the best of all. The potential value of the genomic revolution in relation to drug therapy has been grossly hyped, but here the issues were clearly stated and put into perspective, stressing the polygenicity of most drug effects and the balancing role of environmental factors.
I missed the first one, but thankfully you can listen to the series on-line if you are interested.
posted by Anthony Cox at 12:33 PM | permalink

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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Tecwen's cough syrup: Sometime ago I made some mention of the inspired decision to run a Benylin advert in the break in the Who Wants to be a Millionaire Special.

Well, it has just got better. A company has tried to market a cough syrup called "Tecwen Relief... One answer, one choice". Sadly, this won't be in on pharmacy shelves soon, although you might doubt it's efficacy in any case. Mr Whittock, who used to teach business, has made sure his name will not be used to make money (well, not by anybody else):
To counteract the attempt to hijack his name he then applied to register "Tecwen" on May 16 with the patent office. Since then the original application from Tranfrontier has been abandoned. Whittock , who was given a suspended prison sentence for his part in the attempted game show fraud, said he had no intention to launch any products using his name. "What I wanted to do initially was to stop other people using the name. I've got no plans to launch a cough sweet or whatever myself, but I certainly don't want a company doing it without my permission," he told BBC Radio Wales. But should he wish to, under the classes of marks he has applied to register, Whittock could launch anything from sunglasses to musical greeting cards, clothes, golf clubs and eye wash under the Tecwen brand.
Any rivals out their for celebrity drug brands? How about Iain Duncan-Smith?
The Quiet Man of October last year has become rather noisy. Sometimes his voice rises over his cough, which is alarming. You think he might die. "So he can retract that for a start! Wurghhhh!" he said, at one point. Rock stars choke on their own vomit; IDS may end up dead of his own phlegm.
Simon Hoggart.
posted by Anthony Cox at 11:39 AM | permalink


Buccal midazolam errors: The West Midlands Medicines Information Service in the UK has warned of the potential dangers of confusion between two midazolam preparations in the UK. [PDF]
Oral - or more strictly buccal - midazolam is becoming an accepted option for the treatment of status epilepticus and serious tonic-clonic seizures in the community. The recent introduction of a (currently unlicensed) formulation specifically intended for this route of administration has raised the possibility of dose confusion, as it is twice the strength of the injection that has up to now been the most commonly used preparation for this purpose.

posted by Anthony Cox at 9:24 AM | permalink

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Thumbs vote for MMR safety: BBC's Watchdog has performed a text message poll about the safety of MMR. A majority think MMR is safe, but....
1,814 members of the Watchdog panel responded to the programme’s questions on MMR. Half thought the MMR vaccine was safe and a quarter thought it unsafe. More than one-third (37%) thought that more parents would be likely to use the vaccine if Tony Blair said his son Leo had received it, while half thought it would have no effect.
Well, I think Blair has more on his mind tonight, but leaving aside the point about whether Leo Blair should be paraded about like John Gummer's daughter Cordelia eating a burger in the BSE crisis, you have to wonder why on earth people think the Blair family's decision on vaccination has any bearing on the matter at all. Do they think the Blairs are not using MMR because they have been given special information which isn't being given to the rest of the population? As if. The Blairs will have had exactly the same decision to make as everybody else.

And the plain fact is that people who are involved in drug safety do give their children MMR. There is no secret X-file conspiracy to dupe the rest of society into using the MMR vaccine.

I've mentioned it before but more on MMR at MMR the Facts.
posted by Anthony Cox at 10:43 PM | permalink


Regular NSAIDS may stop the benefits of aspirin: A study by Kurth et al. in Circulation appears to show that benefits of aspirin may be lost when regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, or naproxen) are taken.
posted by Anthony Cox at 8:25 AM | permalink

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Fatal adverse reaction to faith healing: The tragic case of a 8-year-old Terrance Cottrell, a boy with autism, who was suffocated to death in an attempt to drive out the bad spirits within him. His death has been ruled to be homicide. Evidence that some of mankind has a long way to catch up with the modern world:
The adults formed a circle around the boy and placed their hands lightly over him as they prayed for him, David Hemphill said Sunday.

"[They] were just praying for him and asking God to deliver him from the spirit that he had," David Hemphill said. " The little boy had spirits in him, and we was asking God to deliver him."

David Hemphill said the prayers were in accordance with Matthew 12:43, which says, " When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it."

At the end of the prayers, one of the women noticed that Terrance was not breathing. An adult called 911, but when emergency services arrived around 11 p.m., the boy was dead, David Hemphill said.
Last time I looked in the Bible it didn't say anything about suffocating small children under sheets as treatment for autism.
church members wrapped the boy in sheets as they tried to exorcise evil spirits, the medical examiner's office said Monday.

Terrance Cottrell Jr. died because his chest was somehow restricted and could not expand, according to a statement issued by the office of the Milwaukee County coroner.

"Air was not able to get in or out,'" said Eileen Weller, the office's administrative manager.
and the simply unbelievable:
"We were asking God to take this spirit that was tormenting this little boy to death," Hemphill said. "We were praying that hard, but not to kill."
UPDATE: It does appear that the Ten Commandments makes no specific provision for the care of children.
That there should be no itemized utterance enjoining the protection of children seems odd, given that the commandments are addressed in the first instance to adults. But then, the same god frequently urged his followers to exterminate various forgotten enemy tribes down to the last infant, sparing only the virgins, so this may be a case where hand-tying or absolute prohibitions were best avoided.

posted by Anthony Cox at 5:30 PM | permalink


Hormone researchers are revolting? The case for and against a HRT backlash.
posted by Anthony Cox at 3:45 PM | permalink


Protecting yourself from medication errors: Health24 - News have published a short, yet fairly sensible piece, on medication errors and what people can do to help prevent them causing harm. Know your own medication, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your medication:
Know what medication you are taking and why you are taking it, says Edgar Arriola, a pharmacist and coordinator of the Drug Information Center at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Also, know the proper dose. That way, if your doctor explains it's a 20-milligram tablet but you pick up a bottle of 60-milligram pills from the pharmacist, you can point out the discrepancy.
In one study I was involved in looking at patients taking methotrexate, a fairly toxic drug which can kill if taken incorrectly, we found only fifty-four percent of patients were able to state the dose of their methotrexate in milligrams. Forty-two percent only knowing their dose in terms of number of tablets, a potentially serious problem given the existence of 2.5mg and 10mg methotrexate tablets.
Kerr KL, Higham C, Cox AR, Situnayake RD. A determination of patients awareness of the safety issues surrounding treatment with methotrexate. The Pharmaceutical Journal 2003;270:900-901

posted by Anthony Cox at 12:55 AM | permalink


The last report: The last ever Medicines Control Agency (MCA) annual report is on-line now.
posted by Anthony Cox at 12:46 AM | permalink

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Saturday, August 23, 2003

Off with their heads!: The Indian government is considering a death penalty for those peddling counterfeit drugs.
"Profiting from spurious drugs that might harm or kill innocent people is equivalent to mass murder," said Mrs Swaraj, after receiving an interim report from the committee. Testing of drug samples by state government inspectors last year showed that 9% of samples were poor quality drugs and that fake medicines made up 0.3 % of the samples.

posted by Anthony Cox at 11:33 PM | permalink

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Friday, August 15, 2003

All Pharmacists are criminals?: OK, I don't know what job you do. If you are in healthcare, an airline pilot or Homer Simpson eating a frosted donut at the nuclear powerplant it is never far from your mind that you might accidently make a mistake and kill someone. Ok, I'm stretching it with Homer, it's donuts that are never far from his mind.

Anyway, whatever the job you do, you are likely to make errors. Many of these errors may be slips or lapses, that are largely subconscious. Ever wandered upstairs to gone into a room, and wondered what you initially went up there for? The "I'm not quite sure why I came here or what for feeling". Ever accidently drained a collander of broccolli over the stove, instead of the sink? Today I had to use a floppy disk to transfer files from a laptop to a desktop. I normally use a USB keyring, the last time I touched a floppy, quiet at the back, was over 18 months ago. Today I found out that floppy disks are not USB 2.0 compatible.

That is a slip. It wasn't a error caused by stupidity (of course!), but by habit over-ruling changed circumstances. Thankfully many errors are stopped by systems in place or design. Otherwise planes would be falling out of the sky daily and IT professionals would have a growth industry in removing floppy discs from USB ports.

As I have previously written, here and here, dispensing errors are largely slips and lapses. They are not criminal acts done by a Dr Evil lookalike in a lab coat, in any case white furry cats are a no-no in a busy dispensary - they get in the way of the sharks with lazers on their heads. Errors are things that happen when pharmacists do their work, and believe me pharmacists try very hard not to make them. The dispensing classes I undertook as an undergraduate were a fearsome prospect. I can tell you it took guts to turn-up when the previous week the hand-crafted suppositories you had lovingly made had got the grand mark of minus 62 out of a possible 20. Yep, that's right minus. I think I lost the first 10 marks by not putting the label on exactly straight. In real life, the feeling when you make error ranges from "how could I be so stupid" when you find it before it could possible cause any harm to a heart stopping "oh my god what have I done." when the error gets to a patient even if they haven't taken it.

Having had to interview members of staff when in a management capacity about errors, as well as serving on the other side of things representing people who have made errors in my brief career as a union rep, I can tell you that the universal feeling expressed by people in that position is firstly concern for the patient. Invariably the answer you get when you ask them why the error occurred is "I don't know". Any health professional who doesn't put their hand up in a room when asked "Have you ever made an error?" is either terminally shy, a liability since they have no awareness of their own human failings or a liar. Admittedly they might have been thinking about chocolate frosted donuts and missed the question. (Homer should move into healthcare, drug reps bring you donuts. mmmmmmmm. Off to nofreelunch.org with you!)

Anyway, back to the point of this posting. In the UK we have a thing called the Medicines Act . Section 64 of the Medicines Act 1968 actually says, that if you make a single dispensing error you have automatically undertaken a criminal act. Now given that studies into dispensing errors have show rates of around 5% (the majority of which would not cause clinical harm), it is hard to imagine any pharmacist who is not guilty of this crime. The dangerous thing about this is, that in order to learn from errors we need to know what they are and have them reported to agencies such as the National Patient Safety Agency.

Section 64 does not encourage the reporting of these slips and lapses, why make yourself a criminal? But it is these reports which will help us improve working practices, the packaging of pharmaceuticals and the computer systems we use every day. It is important to note that a single prescribing error does not make a doctor a criminal, this is a highly specific crime for pharmacists. A 1968 Act designed to protect patients is having exactly the opposite effect. So it is good to hear that The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, who represent and regulate pharmacists have decided to seek a change to this law so pharmacists will no longer all be criminals, and more importantly to make medicines safer:
The Council also believed that the current situation, which could deter pharmacists from seeking advice, conflicted with the ethos of the National Patient Safety Agency, which aimed to ensure that lessons were learned from adverse event so as to help avoid their repetition.

posted by Anthony Cox at 5:33 PM | permalink


John Craven's Newsround: The FDA want labelling changes for salmeterol products.

The BMJ reports on the risk of miscarriage when taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (examples include ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen) during pregnancy (stick to paracetamol), more on HRT lack of cardiovascular benefitsand it's link to breast cancer, and a interesting piece on diabetic lipodystrophies (a local adverse effect of insulin). Well, I found it worth a read, but perhaps that's just me.

The Pharmaceutical Journal has an interesting piece on buying drugs on the internet without a prescription. They successfully bought Viagra from a UK on-line pharmacy, Augmentin from India, warfarin Australia and digoxin and isosorbide dinitrate from Thailand. Not a bad haul. A loop hole in UK law does not help:
Although the Medicines Act prohibits imports of medicines, other than in accordance with a product licence, it specifically exempts imports for personal use and imports by householders for administration to members of their household.
Although the accompanying editorial makes you think education might be better than law-making in this case.

A paper about what parent's do with children's over-the-counter medicines [PDF] and, yes you guessed it, yet more on HRT. .

While in the Lancet Michael Fitzpatrick hopes that the Police won't restrict themselves to mathematics to catch the next Harold Shipman. In fact, if you are hooked on reading government enquiries, after reading the Hutton Inquiry Website, then you might appreciate the material at the Shipman enquiry.
posted by Anthony Cox at 4:31 PM | permalink


Balance on HRT: Just to counter yesterday's posting, something from the BMJ:
In 2002 the powerful New York based Society for Women's Health Research, whose "sole mission is to improve the health of women through research," held a celebrity gala ostensibly celebrating women's "coming of age." It was entirely underwritten by Wyeth. In a Washington Monthly article entitled "Hot Flash, Cold Cash," journalist Alicia Mundy reported that only a few days after the Wyeth themed gala the company donated a quarter of a million dollars to the society.

Several weeks later, the WHI study results were made public. Wyeth was in a tailspin. They found support from the society, whose high profile chief executive, Phyllis Greenberger, and her staff went on national radio and television talk shows attacking the findings of the WHI study and its authors. "Instead of taking the side of its constituents," Mundy observed, "the society seemingly took the side of its donors—and of Wyeth in particular." As they fervently downplayed the negative findings of the WHI study and urged women not to abandon their HRT, the society's staff failed to disclose their substantial links to Wyeth and other drug companies.
Somewhere inbetween the scaremongering and the PR, there is the truth.
posted by Anthony Cox at 10:15 AM | permalink

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Thursday, August 14, 2003

Bad Science: Ben Goldacre talks bluntly in the Guardian:
After the slightly overplayed HRT and breast cancer editorial in the Lancet, I was itching with delight at the prospect of another pill scare, especially in the week that MMR vaccination rates - the scientific illiterati's last major public health victory - were shown to have dropped into the red zone of 70% in parts of the country. The Lancet report was the latest of many pieces of research over many years showing that HRT, as with all drugs, is a tricky matter of weighing up risks and benefits. Or as Joan Smith of the Independent on Sunday put it: "Trust me, I'm not a doctor...chuck away the tablets." Yup, stop 'em suddenly, the readers'll thank you for that one in the days to come. Christa Ackroyd of the Sunday Express has been contemplating a move into scientific research as an ideas powerhouse. "The survey begs many answers to many important questions, but how about this one for starters? If 1.5 million women in the UK are already on it, why is this the world's first study into its long-term effects?" Good point, Christa. After all, there have only been 1,594 articles published referring to HRT and breast cancer in the past two decades.
Read the whole thing, especially the bit about protecting homeopathy in airport X-ray machines...
posted by Anthony Cox at 9:08 PM | permalink


Labelling: The Communication Research Institute of Australia have issued a draft code of practice for medicine labelling.
posted by Anthony Cox at 9:01 AM | permalink

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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The Arizona adverse reaction: If you have Parkinson's and live in Arizona, take care when you pass by Casinos.
posted by Anthony Cox at 8:17 PM | permalink


New names for old drugs: Those of you living in the UK may be interested in the MHRA's list of BAN to rINN name changes [PDF]. A reminder of why.
posted by Anthony Cox at 2:26 PM | permalink

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Mr Men promote drugs to children: The Mr Men have been recruited to promote pharmaceutical products:
The story of Mr Sneeze and his Allergies is presented in a similar format to other Mr Men books, although not available for sale in shops. It will re-ignite rows between consumer groups, regulators and firms over just how far the latter can go in passing on "information" to parents.
The Guardian. and from the BBC:
The Proprietary Association of Great Britain, which is responsible for checking marketing material from pharmaceutical companies, backed its decision to approve the book. "We felt it was very good in terms of public health. It is not easy to give this type of information to children and it seemed a very good way of doing that," a spokeswoman told BBC News Online.
In the Guardian article the Consumer Association say:
Wendy Garlick, of the Consumers' Association, said the firm appeared to have been "quite clever" in getting round regulations. "How can it be educational and unbiased when it only talks about GSK products?" The association wanted an impartial central system, free of commercial bias, to inform consumers.
What next Mr Floppy and his impotence and Mr Baldie and his lack of follicles? If you don't know who the Mr Men are then find out here.
posted by Anthony Cox at 1:33 PM | permalink


Vaccine benefits: In the current controversy about MMR vaccine in the UK, it is often forgotten how dangerous childhood diseases like measles are and how effective vaccines are. The UN report some success in Afghanistan:
The immunization of 5 million Afghan children for measles in June and of more than 11 million last year helped reduce the number of deaths from the disease from 400 to 50 per month in the country, UNICEF announced yesterday.

posted by Anthony Cox at 10:33 AM | permalink

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Monday, August 11, 2003

HRT: There has been alot in the media about HRT recently following the publication of a study in the Lancet. The MHRA has published it's guidance. Be warned the following are all in PDF format and between 75 and 211KB:
The Dear Health Professional Letter
Information Sheet for Women
Latest HRT update
Press Statement.

The Times seems to be making a play for the voice of sanity on drug safety issues in the UK media. The following from a leader column on Saturday puts the "doubling of risk" story run in other papers in perspective.
More questionable is whether it is advisable to stay on the drug for five, ten or fifteen years. The risks of contracting breast cancer increase the longer a woman uses HRT, although even then, these risks should not be exaggerated. The statistics, an increase from 20 to 39 cases per 1,000 women for those on combined oestrogen and progestogen therapy and by 5 cases per 1,000 on oestrogen-only HRT, make chilling reading. But put another way, the “doubling” is from 2 per cent to 4 per cent. In other words, a woman still has a 96 per cent chance of staying cancer-free.
Meanwhile medical staff are worried about the effect of scare stories on NHS resources:
A senior member of the British Medical Association estimated that the “scare” could eventually lead to up to 40,000 wasted appointments across the country as patients ignored advice from the Government to raise any concerns at their next routine appointment.
An aside: Why does the MHRA only put their information on the web in PDF format. I understand it's an easy way to deal with documents created by Word, but as Jakob Nielsen said, PDF's are unfit for human consumption.
PDF is great for one thing and one thing only: printing documents. Paper is superior to computer screens in many ways, and users often prefer to print documents that are too long to easily read online.

For online reading, however, PDF is the monster from the Black Lagoon. It puts its clammy hands all over people with a cruel grip that doesn't let go.
And if they must put PDFs on their news reel, they should at least give permament links for their news items, like Blogger does. In fact, using a blogging tool on the MHRA site would not be a bad idea.
posted by Anthony Cox at 12:39 PM | permalink


Drugs with your Spam: Why do people send Spam, because it works. Yes, people really do respond to those emails titled: "Make your penis HUGE" No honest, even managers of 6 billion dollar mutual funds placed orders...
A security flaw at a website operated by the purveyors of penis-enlargement pills has provided the world with a depressing answer to the question: Who in their right mind would buy something from a spammer?

An order log left exposed at one of Amazing Internet Products' websites revealed that, over a four-week period, some 6,000 people responded to e-mail ads and placed orders for the company's Pinacle herbal supplement. Most customers ordered two bottles of the pills at a price of $50 per bottle.
On a similar note, the Observer has an interesting story about internet drug sales.
In the space of 30 minutes and for less than £500, an Observer reporter managed to fill a medical cabinet full of prescription drugs, including opiates and anti-depressants, without having to leave the office. Many of the drugs have dangerous side-effects that some believe lead to an increased risk of suicide.

posted by Anthony Cox at 9:57 AM | permalink

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Sunday, August 10, 2003

Methotrexate deaths, more details: The National Patient Safety Agency in the UK, explains more about the twenty-five patients' deaths and 26 cases of serious harm related to the use of methotrexate in a community setting.
posted by Anthony Cox at 10:49 PM | permalink


Pen review: After reviewing the pens on his desk Professor Simon Wessely has decided that they are not influencing him.
posted by Anthony Cox at 10:43 PM | permalink


MMR: My faith in newspapers leader columns is restored. The Times ran a splendid one on MMR, although it won't be listened to by people like JABS who keep advocating the false choice of single vaccines.
"The decline of trust in authority and the questioning spirit of modern debate can have benign consequences. It can lead to extraordinary discoveries and to brave acts of resistance against despotism or misconception. It can also, however, lead to the triumph of rumour, scares and quackery over science and common sense. Such, alas, has been the recent story of the MMR vaccine. "
Larger outbreaks of measles are occuring.

Meanwhile measles seems to be rearing it's head again...
posted by Anthony Cox at 10:28 PM | permalink

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Friday, August 01, 2003

Thiomersal: The European Medicines Evaluation Agency have issued a statement about thiomersal in vaccines [PDF], and so has David Salisbury the principal medical officer. [PDF].

In brief, there is no evidence of harm from thiomersal, but EMEA feel it is prudent to eliminate thiomersal from vaccines. They stress this is a precautionary measure, and vaccination should continue as planned to prevent disease outbreaks.

It is important to note that there is not, and never has been, any thiomersal in any MMR vaccine used in the UK.
posted by Anthony Cox at 4:55 PM | permalink


Children are not adults: Bisphosphonates are extremely useful drugs (three are used in the uk: alendronate [PDF], risedronate [PDF], and etidronate[PDF]) used to treat osteoporosis and they help prevent fractures in adults, however paradoxically in children they may have the unfortunate effect of making their bones more brittle.

While on the subject of osteoporosis, some evidence that statins do not protect women from osteoporosis.
posted by Anthony Cox at 4:34 PM | permalink


Not informed of adverse effects:
"31 per cent of outpatients and 39 per cent of patients treated in emergency departments reported not getting enough information about any side effects their medicines may have.

A similar proportion (34 per cent) of patients treated by local health services wanted to know more about the side effects of their drugs. Furthermore, 15 per cent did not feel involved in the choice of their treatment, 18 per cent wanted more information on the purpose of their medicine, and 13 per cent wanted to know more about how to take their medicines."
More on this, and one solution, at The Pharmaceutical Journal.
posted by Anthony Cox at 4:25 PM | permalink


Their own worst enemy: Last week the US Congress passed a bill in spite of the best efforts of the pharmaceutical industry lobby. Derek Lowe explains why their best efforts are a little too good:
"Oh, there are no limits to what we can accomplish over here in the drug industry. We can stop diseases in their tracks that used to mow people down like ripe wheat. We can bring some people back from the very parking lot of the funeral parlor, and we're staying up late at night trying to figure out ways to do it some more. And we can then take what should be the biggest reservoir of good will around, drain the whole damn thing, leap into the resulting mudhole and sink clear out of sight. Arrr."

posted by Anthony Cox at 4:13 PM | permalink

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