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Big Pharma's new friend

stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
edited June 2007 in Campaign
The BBC is busy marketing Pfizer's latest
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6705667.stm
Note the complete abscence of any critical comment whatsoever anywhere.
Wonder how much the BEEB charge ?

Posts

  • Flying_MonkeyFlying_Monkey Posts: 8,708
    Is simoncp busy or something? [;)] This would be about the BBC if every other news outlet wasn't reporting exactly the same story today, many as their main headline. So in the absense of any real issue about the BBC here, there may be several reasons:

    1. There's a lot of concern about drug pricing and availability within the new assessment procedures for the NHS. Some of this may indeed be whipped up by drug companies. But some of it certainly comes from consumer groups.

    2. Journalists are often given to putting out press releases as if they were 'news' without much in the way of extra comment.

    And I totally agree with you that the lack of serious critical comment in the media about pharmaceutical issues is worrying...

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

    Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em
    That I got no cerebellum
  • papercorn2000papercorn2000 Posts: 4,517
    I was thinking the same thing, that's almost quarter of an hour!

    God told me to skin you alive.
    http://www.ekroadclub.co.uk/
    God told me to skin you alive.
    http://www.ekroadclub.co.uk/
  • SmeggersSmeggers Posts: 1,019
    WHy does it have to be critical when its an article in general praise of the drug?

    For journalistic non-bias?

    I'm big enough to make my own mind thanks.

    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><font size="1"> This would be about the BBC if every other news outlet wasn't reporting exactly the same story today, many as their main headline.</font id="size1"></font id="red">

    Mea Culpa; foolish assumption on my part that the BBC might be expected to be more competent than mainstream commercial media.
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><font size="1">I'm big enough to make my own mind thanks.
    [/quote]</font id="size1"></font id="red">

    I like to make up my own mind too, but personally I prefer to have a few facts rather than journalistic gloss.
    facts such as: what is the evidence the drug works and where is that evidence published ? what side effects have been identified ? How many people have had the drug and for how long ?
  • SmeggersSmeggers Posts: 1,019
    "Trials have shown the drug was effective after a 12-week course, with 44% of smokers managing to stop."

    "The main side-effect of the drug, which costs about œ1.95 a day, seems to be nausea."

    Its in the article? Also its pretty fair to assume as its gone through clinical trials in accordance with NICE / FDA and I am certainly not qualified enough to question the detail of that.

    I suspect what you are really saying is, what a waste of money a stop smoking drug is?




    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
  • MelvilMelvil Posts: 2,219
    Well, on one level its nice to get at least some media attention on the forthcoming smoking ban. I'm surprised its been so quiet about it.

    I say this because I just know there'll be a sizeable majority of the english who'll say 'oh but we didn't know' when they light up in pubs and restaurants.

    ******************************************************************************
    See Baby Elephants and more at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • mjonesmjones Posts: 1,915
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by stelvio</i>

    I like to make up my own mind too, but personally I prefer to have a few facts rather than journalistic gloss.
    facts such as: what is the evidence the drug works and where is that evidence published ? what side effects have been identified ? How many people have had the drug and for how long ?
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    In which case you'll need to read what NICE has to say about it:
    http://www.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=431452

    NICE's evaluation criteria are extremely strict, so they will only have issued this guidance if there is robust evidence for the treatment's effectiveness. Hopefully they'll eventually get round to homeopathy and other quack medicine so we can stop wasting NHS resources on fashionable placebos ...
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><font size="1">
    In which case you'll need to read what NICE has to say about it:
    http://www.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=431452

    [/quote]</font id="size1"></font id="red">

    Exactly !
    Now why could the BBC not, at the very least, put that link in their web-page ? Note that there is a link to Pfizer on the the BBC page.
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><font size="1"><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Smeggers</i>

    "Trials have shown the drug was effective after a 12-week course, with 44% of smokers managing to stop."
    "The main side-effect of the drug, which costs about œ1.95 a day, seems to be nausea."</font id="size1"></font id="red">
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    How many in the placebo group stopped smoking ? Maybe the placebo was even more effective ?
    After 12 weeks the main side effect was nausea, but who knows what happened by after 12 months; maybe they had all become impotent, developed liver failure and grown antlers ???
    And were any of these trials conducted by somebody other than the manufacturer ?
    Anybody who takes this drug on the basis of these claims deserves whatever happens to them.
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    "This compares with 18% of those given a placebo and 30% of those taking another anti-smoking drug, bupropion, which is also available on the NHS."

    That's also in the BBC article. That's twice you've asked questions which were answered in the beeb article...

    More generally, I suspect we have another climate change thread on our hands here. People spouting off who know absolutely hee-haw about pharmaceuticals and clinical trials. Soapbox, you gotta love it.
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><font size="1"><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by DaveyL</i>

    "This compares with 18% of those given a placebo and 30% of those taking another anti-smoking drug, bupropion, which is also available on the NHS."</font id="size1"></font id="red">
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    But that is all the article tells you, almost the only factual content, and it leaves a lot of unanswered questions, which we might expect journalists to try and answer, rather than just parrotting the press release from Pfizer.

    Is this drug safe in the long term ?
    Were the trials actually carried out in a reliable way ?
    Were any of the trials done by somebody other than Pfizer ?
    Was the drug given to enough people to actually detect rare but serious side effects ?
    Is it possible benefits are being exaggerated and adverse effects ignored ?
    How many of those who had stopped at 12 weeks still stopped at 12 months ?
    Were the difference between placebo and drug groups actually statistically significant ?
    Where are these "trials" published if we wantt to look at them ourselves ?

    If only Tony Blair had such tame journos, we might all be celebrating the tremendous success of the Iraq invasion.
  • SmeggersSmeggers Posts: 1,019
    I dont think the BBC necessarily has a duty to answer all those questions, its not Nature or Scientific American after all? (I dont even think they would go THAT detailled).

    I'll ask again, is the journalistic argument just an excuse because you fundamentally don't agree with the drug?

    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Smeggers</i>

    I dont think the BBC necessarily has a duty to answer all those questions</font id="red">, <font size="1"></font id="size1"><font color="red"></font id="red"><hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Absolutely, how dare journalists question Pfizer's press releases. They will be telling us that nice Mr Blair was lying over WMD next; outrageous !

    Actually, personally, I prefer journalists to ask tricky questions, and not to report stuff without making some attempt to understand what is going on.
    I am also a bit pi$$ed off with the BBC, which should be able to do a bit better than the Mail or Express.
  • SmeggersSmeggers Posts: 1,019
    Your getting the world of 'science' and 'politics' all mixed up my friend.

    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
  • Flying_MonkeyFlying_Monkey Posts: 8,708
    Stelvio's fundamental point is a good one: the media in general are poor at communicating science to the public. If they relies too much on pharmaceutical companies (or indeed on anti-pharma campaigners) for their information then people aren't going to be able to make informed assessments. The very least they can do is provide links to the NICE review documents.

    I think it is also worth questioning whether we need expensive drugs paid for by the state to stop people smoking. There is a strong case for non-pharmaceutical approaches, based on, to put it simply, assisted will-power.

    Where the OP is a bit of a diversion is simply to target the BBC as being the main offender. Hardly. It's generally better than most on these kinds of things, especially if you compare it to the snake-oil promoting Mail and Express or the free papers like Metro which really do seem to publish company press releases as written.


    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

    Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em
    That I got no cerebellum
  • ankev1ankev1 Posts: 3,686
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Flying_Monkey</i>

    Stelvio's fundamental point is a good one: the media in general are poor at communicating science to the public. <b>If they relies too much</b> on pharmaceutical companies (or indeed on anti-pharma campaigners) for their information then people aren't going to be able to make informed assessments. The very least they can do is provide links to the NICE review documents.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    You just been on holiday in Somerset or something?
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    Surely, in the case of medicines, it's up to the potential patient to make an informed assessment along with their GP, and nothing to do with what any media source publishes? This makes it sound as if the BBC or any other media source is the last port of call before someone commits to a particular treatment!
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • Joe SaccoJoe Sacco Posts: 4,907
    There is always the free drug available to all. It's called "will power"
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    Avandia, also a great drug, for diabetes, according to the BBC report
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/886448.stm

    now being investigated for heart problems
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6678757.stm

    oops !
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    So what conclusions would you draw from that second BBC article?
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • Absinthe MindedAbsinthe Minded Posts: 1,351
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joe Sacco</i>

    There is always the free drug available to all. It's called "will power"
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Worked for you so it should work for everybody then? Humans are complex, as is nicotine addiction. If you think that everyone deals with nicotine withdrawal in the same way then you are badly mistaken....

    <hr noshade size="1"><font size="2"><b><font color="purple">Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font id="purple"></b></font id="size2">


    <font size="2">See My route to work!</font id="size2">
    <hr><font><b><font>Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font></b></font>
    <font>See My route to work!</font>
  • Joe SaccoJoe Sacco Posts: 4,907
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Absinthe Minded</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joe Sacco</i>

    There is always the free drug available to all. It's called "will power"
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Worked for you so it should work for everybody then? Humans are complex, as is nicotine addiction. If you think that everyone deals with nicotine withdrawal in the same way then you are badly mistaken....

    <hr noshade size="1"><font size="2"><b><font color="purple">Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font id="purple"></b></font id="size2">


    <font size="2">See My route to work!</font id="size2">
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Not at all, the withdrawal symptoms are going to be very similar for all. I didn't say it was easy to give up which is why will power is required. Lots of things are not easy, just seperates the winners and losers I guess.
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    <font color="red"><font size="1"><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by DaveyL</i>

    So what conclusions would you draw from that second BBC article?

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote"></font id="size1"></font id="red">

    1. Sell Glaxo shares; also those of Takeda who manufacture a very similar drug.
    2. Treat all Pharma company claims about the benefits of drugs with extreme caution.
    3. If your diabetes is not controlled with diet/exercise/metformin, ask for Insulin not tablets.
  • Absinthe MindedAbsinthe Minded Posts: 1,351
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Originally posted by Joe Sacco:

    Not at all, the withdrawal symptoms are going to be <b>very similar</b> for all. I didn't say it was easy to give up which is why will power is required. Lots of things are not easy, just seperates the winners and losers I guess.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Agreed, but it is <i>just that similarity</i> that can make the difference between being a winner, or a loser. It is for this reason that different methods work with different people and this is why it is a good thing to have options rather than have everybody try to kick the habit using the method that you found best.

    <hr noshade size="1"><font size="2"><b><font color="purple">Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font id="purple"></b></font id="size2">


    <font size="2">See My route to work!</font id="size2">
    <hr><font><b><font>Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font></b></font>
    <font>See My route to work!</font>
  • PizzamanPizzaman Posts: 703
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joe Sacco</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Absinthe Minded</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joe Sacco</i>

    There is always the free drug available to all. It's called "will power"
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Worked for you so it should work for everybody then? Humans are complex, as is nicotine addiction. If you think that everyone deals with nicotine withdrawal in the same way then you are badly mistaken....

    <hr noshade size="1"><font size="2"><b><font color="purple">Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font id="purple"></b></font id="size2">


    <font size="2">See My route to work!</font id="size2">
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Not at all, the withdrawal symptoms are going to be very similar for all. I didn't say it was easy to give up which is why will power is required. Lots of things are not easy, just seperates the winners and losers I guess.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    I gave up smoking using only will power, but I hardly think that makes me a 'winner'. All I did was stop slowly killing myself.

    You can't really turn this into a winner/loser comparison anyway, considering nicotine is supposed to be as addictive as heroin and freely available to boot. I think that different people respond differently to it. In the same way, I manage to drink alcohol fairly regularly without being an alcoholic, whereas George Best couldn't manage that and died because of it.

    It doesn't make you a 'loser' if you have to chew bits of gum to give up, it will just cost you more. As long as you don't smoke in the end, who cares how you do it?
    Dave
  • Joe SaccoJoe Sacco Posts: 4,907
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Pizzaman</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joe Sacco</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Absinthe Minded</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joe Sacco</i>

    There is always the free drug available to all. It's called "will power"
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">Worked for you so it should work for everybody then? Humans are complex, as is nicotine addiction. If you think that everyone deals with nicotine withdrawal in the same way then you are badly mistaken....

    <hr noshade size="1"><font size="2"><b><font color="purple">Ja sam napisao ovo ovde samo zbog toga da izgledam pametan...</font id="purple"></b></font id="size2">


    <font size="2">See My route to work!</font id="size2">
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Not at all, the withdrawal symptoms are going to be very similar for all. I didn't say it was easy to give up which is why will power is required. Lots of things are not easy, just seperates the winners and losers I guess.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    I gave up smoking using only will power, but I hardly think that makes me a 'winner'. All I did was stop slowly killing myself.

    You can't really turn this into a winner/loser comparison anyway, considering nicotine is supposed to be as addictive as heroin and freely available to boot. I think that different people respond differently to it. In the same way, I manage to drink alcohol fairly regularly without being an alcoholic, whereas George Best couldn't manage that and died because of it.

    It doesn't make you a 'loser' if you have to chew bits of gum to give up, it will just cost you more. As long as you don't smoke in the end, who cares how you do it?

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    I was meaning it in the broader sense. Winners get on and do it, losers don't, that's all.

    And whatever method you use to give up still requires will power as even now I still fancy a smoke at certain times many years after quitting. You never forget that nice feeling, and why would you.
  • dubnobassdubnobass Posts: 337
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by stelvio</i>
    Is this drug safe in the long term ?
    Were the trials actually carried out in a reliable way ?
    Were any of the trials done by somebody other than Pfizer ?
    Was the drug given to enough people to actually detect rare but serious side effects ?
    Is it possible benefits are being exaggerated and adverse effects ignored ?
    How many of those who had stopped at 12 weeks still stopped at 12 months ?
    Were the difference between placebo and drug groups actually statistically significant ?
    Where are these "trials" published if we wantt to look at them ourselves ?
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Lots of good questions, but not the sort of questions journalists usually ask because journalists are usually journalists and not scientists.
    The facts about varenicline:
    http://www.emea.europa.eu/humandocs/Hum ... hampix.htm
    (most useful documents here will be the 'scientific discussion' from section 4 onwards, and 'product information' in section 5.1)

    Those should answer some of your questions, at least.

    <font size="1">If I had a baby elephant, I'd re-enact THAT scene from Blue Peter, with John Noakes, on a daily basis. Wouldn't you? <i>"Ooh, gerroff me foot!"</i></font id="size1">
    Only so many songs can be sung with two lips two lungs and one tongue
  • avdaveavdave Posts: 42
    A drug that costs less per day than 10 fags can't really be considered as expensive. And anyone who can afford to smoke could afford this drug should it ever gain approval as an over the counter medcine. There really is no need for anyone else to have to pay for this, just those who wish to use it. As for diabetes drugs none of them are actually an improvement in function over insulin. What they attempt to do is to try to make compliance easier. A great number of diabetics fail to control their condition effectively and drug companies see the solution to this problem as a potentially huge market. In comparison an anti smoking drug is really very small scale as it fails one of the two no no's of drug design. The first of course is not to kill the patient the second is not to cure the patient. In both cases you end up with someone who no longer needs your product. In diabetes no one is making a pill to cure you, but to maintain you for as long as possible as a 'customer'
  • PRDPRD Posts: 18
    Varenicline has been available for a few months now, so it isn't new in the sense of being new on the market as GPs have been able to prescribe it. This sort of story is placed in the media by big Pharma who just love the publicity as they cannot legally advertise Prescription Only Medication (POMs) direct to the public.

    Giving up smoking is very difficult and a very low percentage manage it by willpower alone. The most successful method appears to be use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) ie Nicotine patches or gum along with appropriate support from self help groups or professional counsellors and even then it isn't easy.
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