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May 15, 2024 Big Pharma Toxic Exposures

Big Pharma

Doctor Fined for Prescribing Ivermectin for COVID + More

The Defender’s Big Pharma Watch delivers the latest headlines related to pharmaceutical companies and their products, including vaccines, drugs, and medical devices and treatments. The views expressed in the below excerpts from other news sources do not necessarily reflect the views of The Defender. Our goal is to provide readers with breaking news that affects human health and the environment.

Doctor Fined for Prescribing Ivermectin for COVID — Wei-Hsung Lin, MD, Will Have to Pay $5,000 and Take CME Courses on Managing COVID

MedPage Today reported:

Washington state physician Wei-Hsung Lin, MD, was fined $5,000 by the state’s medical board for prescribing ivermectin during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lin, who practices at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington — part of the Providence health system — will also have to take continuing medical education (CME) classes on COVID and on the patient-physician relationship, according to board documents.

The Washington Medical Commission cited Lin for substandard care of five patients in 2021. Going forward, Lin won’t be able to prescribe ivermectin for non-FDA-approved indications, and he’s not allowed to prescribe medications to patients without having an in-person or video appointment first (some of the cases mentioned above involved only phone calls).

He’ll have to take 3 hours of CME on the prevention, treatment, and management of COVID, along with a CME course on the physician-patient relationship and maintaining medical records, within 6 months. He’ll then have to submit two papers of at least 1,000 words each on what he learned on both topics. Lin will also have to adhere to compliance audits and submit personal reports about compliance with the board’s order. After 3 years, he can petition for an end to the oversight.

Four other doctors in Washington state are suing the medical board, challenging its position on COVID misinformation. Three of those doctors hold active licenses in the state but are facing disciplinary action related to their alleged inappropriate care of COVID patients. A fourth previously gave up her Washington license last year.

Pfizer Follows Eli Lilly’s Footsteps to Sell Medicines Directly to Patients

Benzinga reported:

Pfizer Inc. is looking to build on the success of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout by introducing a direct-to-consumer medicines platform under the brand “Pfizer for All.” The move, reflected in a recent trademark application, aims to provide medical information, mail-order pharmacy, and telehealth services to U.S. patients.

Recent reports indicate Pfizer’s intention to include various medications, including its COVID antiviral Paxlovid and diagnostic kits, on the platform later this year, expanding its offerings to cater to diverse healthcare needs.

The platform will offer a “downloadable mobile application for providing medical information” as well as “mail order pharmacy services” and “diagnostic test kits . . . for use in disease screening and detection”, according to the trademark application, the FT writes.

This initiative follows similar endeavors in the pharmaceutical industry to bypass traditional middlemen and directly reach consumers.

UN Agency Authorizes Second Vaccine Against Dengue Amid Outbreaks in the Americas

Associated Press reported:

The World Health Organization on Wednesday authorized a second dengue vaccine, a move that could provide protection for millions worldwide against the mosquito-borne disease that has already sparked numerous outbreaks across the Americas this year.

In a statement on Wednesday, the U.N. health agency said it approved the dengue vaccine made by the Japanese pharmaceutical Takeda, recommending its use in children between six to 16 years old living in regions with high rates of dengue. The two-dose vaccine protects against the four types of dengue.

WHO’s Rogerio Gaspar, director for the agency’s approvals of medicines and vaccines, said it was “an important step in the expansion of global access to dengue vaccines.” He noted it was the second immunization the U.N. agency had authorized for dengue.

The first vaccine WHO approved was made by Sanofi Pasteur, which was later found to increase the risk of severe dengue in people who had not previously been infected with the disease.

Over $20 Million Paid Out in Vaccine Injury Claims in Australia

The Epoch Times reported:

The Australian government has paid out $20.5 million (US$13.2 million) in COVID-19 vaccine injury claims to people who experienced harm from the jab. Services Australia data provided to The Epoch Times reveals that 6.82% of claims have been compensated so far, that is 286 out of 4,191.

“As of 31 March 2024, the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme has received 4,191 claims and paid 286 claims to the value of around $20.5 million,” a spokesperson said.

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme allows individuals to claim losses above $1,000 in relation to “moderate to severe adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.” It covers vaccines approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) including the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax jabs.

In order to make a compensation claim, individuals must meet the definition of harm, be admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, or have a waiver if seen in outpatient care. Further, those who suffered harm need to have experienced losses or expenses of more than $1,000 due to the vaccine.

Sanders Urges Denmark to Pressure Novo Nordisk on Lowering Drug Prices

Bloomberg reported:

Bernie Sanders urged Denmark to force its most valuable company, Novo Nordisk A/S, to lower its drug prices, in a letter submitted by the U.S. senator to one of the Nordic country’s largest newspapers.

Sanders, who chairs the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, called on Danes to pressure Novo to “significantly reduce the outrageously high prices for Ozempic and Wegovy in the U.S. and other parts of the world,” according to the letter, published by the Politiken newspaper on Monday.

Novo’s Weight-Loss Drug Could Be Taken for Life, Expert Says

Politico reported:

Long-term use of a popular obesity drug significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke while sustaining weight loss over time, a study has shown, raising the prospect of lifetime treatment with the drug.

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk presented data on the effects of semaglutide — sold under the brand names Wegovy for obesity and Ozempic for diabetes — over a four-year period, at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, on Tuesday.

The trial — the longest conducted so far with semaglutide in obesity — sheds new light on its potential use as lifelong medicine. Up until now, study data has been limited to 68 weeks in obesity; some countries have set the maximum treatment duration at two years.

Lawmaker Accuses Amgen of Placing Profits Above Patients With Dosing for a Cancer Drug

STAT News reported:

A U.S. lawmaker is accusing Amgen of “putting profits before patients” over its decision to continue marketing a high dose of a pricey cancer treatment instead of a lower dose that is less expensive and not as toxic to patients.

At issue is a medication called Lumakras, which is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer and won conditional regulatory approval three years ago. At the time, the Food and Drug Administration required Amgen to run a trial confirming earlier test results, as well as a so-called post-marketing study to examine safety and effectiveness at different dosages, in order to gain full approval.

Last December, the agency determined the confirmatory trial was not acceptable and asked the company to run yet another trial, which must be completed by February 2028. Meanwhile, the company was allowed to continue offering a 960-mg dose of the drug, which the FDA originally did not believe was optimal, since a study released last October found its efficacy was similar to that of a 240-mg dosage.

Study Highlights Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing in U.S. Emergency Departments

CIDRAP reported:

A review of U.S. emergency department (ED) visits involving antibiotic prescribing found that more than a quarter had inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, and nearly half of those didn’t even have a plausible indication for antibiotics, U.S. researchers reported today in Antimicrobial Stewardship & Healthcare Epidemiology.

Of the more than 152 million ED visits with one or more antibiotic prescriptions, 27.6% resulted in inappropriate prescribing, while 14.9% were inappropriate with a plausible indication (such as bronchitis) and 12.6% had diagnostic codes considered not plausibly antibiotic-related, including high blood pressure, chest pain, and joint pain. Thus, only 54% of the visits with inappropriate prescribing had a plausible indication.

ED visits for adults ages 18 to 64 had the highest prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing (29.8%) compared with adults 65 and older (24.6%) and children (23.7%), while inappropriate prescribing with a plausible indication was highest for children (16.7%) followed by working-age adults (15%) and older adults (12.6%).

Too Many Australians Aren’t Getting a Flu Vaccine. Why, and What Can We Do About It?

The Conversation reported:

Australia’s childhood immunization program gets very good uptake every year – almost 94% of five-year-olds have had all their routine vaccinations. But our influenza vaccine coverage doesn’t get such a good report card.

Looking back over recent years, for kids aged six months to five years, we saw a peak in flu vaccine coverage at the beginning of the COVID pandemic at 46%, which then declined to 30% by the 2023 season.

While we’re still relatively early in the 2024 flu season, only 7% of children under five have received their flu shot this year so far.

Although young children are a particular concern, flu vaccination rates appear to be lagging for the population as a whole. Reports indicate that from March 1 to April 28, 16% fewer people were vaccinated against the flu compared with the same period last year.

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