medication

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Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and new policies were enacted. The U.S. paid $10 million in a class-action lawsuit to study participants and their descendants. PHOTO CREDIT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and new policies were enacted. The U.S. paid $10 million in a class-action lawsuit to study participants and their descendants.
PHOTO CREDIT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Historically,?African-Americans, Native Americans and other minorities have been excluded from clinical trials that seek to uncover risk factors for disease and offer life-saving new treatments. The infamous federally funded Tuskegee syphilis experiment?shut down in 1972?denied treatment to hundreds of African-American men suffering from the disease.

The?Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment?was conducted by government funded?researchers?from the Tuskegee Institute?between 1932 and 1972 in Macon County, Alabama to examine the progression of syphilis in poor African-American men.?When?penicillin was discovered as an effective medication for the disease in 1947, researchers refused to administer it, choosing instead to continue the study. In 1972, journalist Jean Heller broke the story and an enraged public forced the researchers to put an end to the study.?Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and in 1973,?a class-action lawsuit was?filed on behalf of the study participants. In 1974, a $10 million settlement was reached, and all living participants were promised lifetime medical benefis by the U.S. government.

Early in the twentieth century, the medical community was practically helpless in its battle against syphilis. The crippling affliction was spreading at an alarming rate in certain areas, particularly among the poorer segments of the world population. Even for those who could afford medical care, the only known treatments rivaled the disease itself in the harm they did to sufferers.

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Are anti-depressants killing us?

As regular readers will know I suffered through almost every type of anti-depressant that there is.

Eventually I ended up on a cocktail of Venlafaxine and Zyban, plus addicted to sleeping tablets.

Though they work for a lot of people and provide relief, they caused me nothing but angst, side-effects and trouble.

Peter Gotzsche, founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, is visiting Australia to talk about dangers of prescription drugs and has written a piece in?the?Sydney Morning Herald.

Peter Gotzsche, a co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the world’s foremost body in assessing medical evidence, arrives in Australia on Monday for a whirlwind speaking tour warning Australians about their use of prescription medications.

He estimates that 100,000 people in the United States alone die each year from the side-effects of correctly used drugs. Similar figures are not available in Australia, although the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 3000 people died after complications with medical and surgical care in 2012.

“It’s remarkable that nobody raises an eyebrow when we kill so many of our own citizens with drugs,” Professor Gotzsche, who heads the Nordic Cochrane Centre, told Fairfax Media ahead of his visit.

Two of Professor Gotzsche’s biggest targets are antidepressants and the painkillers described as “non-steroidal anti-inflammatories”, such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and celecoxib. Another, sold under the brand name Vioxx, was withdrawn after it emerged it had caused up to 140,000 cases of serious heart disease in the US alone in the five years it was on the market – during which time its manufacturer, Merck was withholding information about its risks. About half the cases were thought to be fatal.

Professor Gotzsche says those deaths are only the tip of the iceberg and are representative of a system of drug regulation that simply does not protect patients.

Even the name for these drugs, “anti-inflammatory”, is not supported by evidence, he says. He has conducted a clinical trial and review of the evidence that has found there is no proof they reduce inflammation.

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