Author

Kurt Niland

5296 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

Will FDA regulations and pre-emption silence Vytorin victims?

Many Americans assume that the Food and Drug Administration adequately tests new drugs for safety before they go on the market and become available to the general population. If your doctor prescribes a new drug to help you lower your cholesterol or help you quit smoking, then that drug must be safe, right? The answer is a surprising, and disconcerting, NO. Trials for new prescription drugs that are vying for a place in the market focus on efficacy rather than safety. If pre-market clinical tests find a drug to be effective and that drug does not appear to be unsafe, ... Read More

Are Chantix reactions a laughing matter?

The number of bloggers out there writing about their personal experiences with Chantix and documenting, for the world to see, the musings of a mind tortured by nicotine withdrawal, seems to be proliferating even as prescriptions for the smoking cessation drug decline. Now it appears that a new genre in world of Chantix information has emerged: the Comical Side Effect. Zug.com, a reader-powered comedy website, announced a contest it is holding for the most hilarious Chantix story. The person who submits the funniest account of his or her Chantix side effects will win $500.00 — enough money for another 5 months of ... Read More

Pre-emption could give Bayer an escape from Trasylol case

Zero accountability for drug companies? Bloomberg recently ran an article about pharmaceutical companies enjoying their “get out of jail free cards” — revisions to regulations that favor the rights of pharmaceutical companies over consumers who use their drugs. The revised regulations, written just after George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2005, allow federal law to trump state law, thereby clearing the path for drug manufacturers to develop, test, market, and essentially do business with impunity from the law. Think corporate Utopia. Think David vs. Goliath where Goliath enjoys a major handicap. According to the U.S. Constitution, any decision to pre-empt ... Read More

Investigations of Vytorin marketing intensifying

Controversy surrounding the cholesterol-fighting drug Vytorin continues to escalate as federal and state prosecutors investigate Merck and Schering-Plough’s marketing of the drug. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, many government officials suspect that the companies’ marketing of Vytorin was misleading and improper. If Vytorin ad campaigns and promotional media were based on a false or misleading premise, and the drug isn’t all its manufacturers publicized it to be (as the drug trials suggest), then government programs spent millions of dollars on reimbursement for a drug that is ineffective, possibly dangerous, and much more expensive than generic cholesterol ... Read More

Parents of Tenn. girl injured in Rhino rollover sue Yamaha

Greg and Theresa Mitchell of Clarksville, Tennessee have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Yamaha Motor Corporation for injuries that their 11-year-old daughter sustained when the Yamaha Rhino ATV she was riding in rolled over. The Mitchells’ daughter was a passenger in the Rhino ATV when it rolled over onto the passenger side. The June 2005 accident occurred while the ATV was being driven soundly, leading the Mitchells to allege that the Yamaha Rhino is dangerously unstable and defective. Like many people throughout the country, the Mitchells suggest the accident would not have occurred if Yamaha had set higher standards ... Read More

Zero accountability for drug companies?

Bloomberg recently ran an interesting and comprehensive article about pharmaceutical companies enjoying their “get out of jail free cards” — revisions to regulations that favor the rights of pharmaceutical companies over consumers who use their drugs. The revised regulations, written just after George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2005, allow federal law to trump (or pre-empt) state law, thereby clearing the path for drug manufacturers to develop, test, market, and essentially do business with impunity from the law. Think corporate Utopia. Think David vs. Goliath where Goliath enjoys a major handicap. According to the U.S. Constitution, any decision to pre-empt state ... Read More

Lowering LDL by machine vs. Vytorin and Zetia

Cholesterol-fighting medicine may fail some people, as the controversial and embattled drug Vytorin illustrates, but now medical technology provides a solution for those who just can’t lower their cholesterol any other way: a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) apheresis machine. Think of it as a device that scrubs the blood clean, much like kidney dialysis, except that the machine targets and removes bad LDL cholesterol instead of the impurities removed by dialysis. The cholesterol machine draws the patient’s blood from one arm. It then breaks the blood down into red blood cells and plasma, sending the red cells back into the patient’s ... Read More

Chantix plays role in record number of drug reactions

According to The Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP), the number of drug-related adverse events and deaths reported to the Food and Drug Administration has hit a record level. Numbers pulled from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) reveal that Heparin and Chantix are largely to blame for the upward swing. The dramatic increase of pharmaceutical drug related injuries occurred in the first three months of 2008, during which time 20,745 serious side effects and more than 4,800 deaths were reported. The incidents represent a 38 percent rise over the previous four quarters and constitute the single highest spike ... Read More

Merck cuts more jobs as Vytorin, Zetia sales drop

Global sales of Vytorin fell 18 percent, while sales of Zetia dropped by 12 percent in the third quarter. The loss of sales revenue from the two drugs, combined with difficult economic conditions worldwide, have led drug maker Merck to announce that it will cut its workforce by 12 percent. These newest job cuts come on top of cutbacks that Merck made as part of an earlier restructuring program. Merck began eliminating 10,400 jobs from its global workforce in 2005 and completed that set of cutbacks last month. Merck’s Chief Executive, Richard Clark, acknowledged the company faced a challenging economic ... Read More

Consumer watchdog urges immediate Avandia ban

Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen released a petition on Thursday calling for an immediate ban on GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia. In a petition addressed to Commissioner Dr. Von Eschenbach of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Public Citizen urged the ban based on trial data revealing the drug’s “multiple, serious risks.” The group enumerated its concerns in a full petition, citing both safety and efficacy issues. Adverse events linked to Avandia and listed in the petition include liver failure, myocardial ischemia (increased risk of heart attack), congestive heart failure, macular edema (vision loss), anemia, and bone fractures. One new analysis ... Read More