Drug Makers Seek New Uses for Dangerous Bone Drugs
It was one of the biggest pushes of the 2000's-- bisphosphonate bone drugs like Fosamax and Boniva for women. Once hormone replacement therapy (HRT) tanked in 2002 for its life threatening side effects, Pharma hoped bone drugs would take up the slack.
HRT was marketed to help women "avoid hot flashes" but thanks to models like Lauren Hutton the message was clearly don't get old and ugly. Similarly, bone drugs were marketed to "prevent fractures" but pitchwomen like Meredith Vieira from the Today show and former Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd and actress Sally Field pushing bone drugs gave the same message.
In both cases, the drugs not only were not the fountain of youth their advertising implied, they actually caused the scourges they were supposed to prevent.
Hormone replacement increased the risk of breast cancer by 26 percent, heart attacks by 29 percent, stroke by 41 percent and doubled the risk of blood clots. Thank you Big Pharma. Women on HRT are more likely to lose their hearing, develop gall bladder disease, urinary incontinence, asthma, melanoma and need joint replacement. HRT increases the risk of ovarian, endometrial and lung cancers and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and doubles the risk of dementia in women, shrinking the brains of older women as I report in my Penguin Random House distributed expose, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency; How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health.
Bone drugs like Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel, rather than keeping women young and pretty, were scientifically linked to heart problems,intractable pain, jawbone death, and esophageal cancer. Worse, caused the very fractures they are supposed to prevent as the FDA was told in 2011 hearings. A teacher reaching for something in the classroom who was on bisphosphonates experienced a bone fracture. The same thing happened to a woman who was riding on the subway when the car hit a bump and a woman who simply picked up the morning newspaper, reported the New York Times.
To convince women they were "at risk" of "bone thinning," Merck who made the first bisphosphonate Fosamax, installed bone density scanners in medical offices across the U.S. Merck also worked to get bone scans reimbursed by Medicare, reported National Public Radio.
Merck not only mongered osteoporosis and looted our tax dollars, it knew about the disfiguring jawbone side effects since the 1970s, one scientist finding it amusing and making jokes about "ma toot" hurts. By 2003, dentists and oral surgeons reported that after tooth extractions and other dental work, the jawbone tissue of patients on bisphosphonates could become necrotic and die. Jaw removal, bone grafts and even tracheostomies were seen. "Even short-term oral use of alendronate [Fosamax] led to ONJ [jawbone death] in a subset of patients after certain dental procedures were performed," read a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association.