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General News    H3'ed 10/22/21

Mainstream Media Shamelessly Boosts Its Top Advertisers--Drug Makers

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Message Martha Rosenberg
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Mainstream news outlets would never broadcast, "Mr. Clean Magic Eraser wipes away grime and replaces it with shine" as if it were news. Yet, as I write this, news outlets are reporting that Pfizer's Covid vaccine for kids five to 11 is effective--according to Pfizer! This is not only a free commercial for a drug maker (that can buy its own commercials) it is leading broadcasts as if it were real news.

The same free commercial for drug makers was seen seven months ago after safety questions arose in Europe about the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. After sales fell, media reported the breaking news that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was safe--according to Oxford! Does anyone remember the definition of "begging the question"?

Meanwhile a bigger drug maker story, the discovery that the popular antidepressant mirtazapine (marketed as Remeron) is linked to death in those with dementia, is barely heard on the airwaves and not considered breaking news. Researchers say within 16 weeks of taking the drug there were seven deaths in the drug group versus only one in a control group. Forty-six million people suffer from dementia worldwide. How many have taken the drug which made $891.7 million in one year after its release? Why has it taken researchers 20 years to identify the death risks?

As I have continually reported, the risks of brand name drugs are often ignored until the patent runs out and all profit has been made. Examples of risks only revealed post patent were seen with the drugs Vioxx, Lipitor, Fosamax, Paxil, Ambien, Adderall, Nexium and, apparently now with mirtazapine.

Examples of drugs pulled from the market after millions of patients used them because they were found to be unsafe after aggressive marketing include Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, Raxar, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), phenacetin and, recently, the diet drug Belviq. Drug safety skepticism is clearly justified and Pfizer is easily the poster child.

In one week in June 2010 Pfizer

1) agreed to pull its 10-year-old leukemia drug Mylotarg from the market because it caused more not less patient deaths

2) Suspended pediatric trials of Geodon two months after the FDA said children were being overdosed in the trials

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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