By Nurse Mark
Will the assault on vitamins, minerals, and other natural and non-patentable (and thus non-profitable) supplements and treatments ever stop?
In my opinion, no. As long as something poses a threat to the profit picture of Big Pharma and their patent drug offerings there will be no let-up in Big Pharma’s efforts to remove the competition.
Here is a link to one of dozens of equally breathless and poorly researched and written articles from the last few days: Studies see new risks for cholesterol drug niacin
Pretty scary, huh? Calling niacin a drug, invoking the names of a “famous” cardiologist and both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, telling us that just by using this “Drug” niacin "for every 200 people that we treat with niacin, there is one excess death,"…
It sure sounds like we had better stop using this deadly “drug” immediately!
Not so fast…
Associate Press (AP) and the reporter who penned this unfortunate scare-piece have done their readers a severe injustice – shame on them for such shoddy journalism!
While the reporter correctly identifies niacin as a member of the B vitamin family, she promptly goes on to call it a drug, and then compounds her error by insinuating that patent drug forms of niacin-containing drugs offered by the pharmaceutical companies by prescription are no different from the natural forms of simple, unadulterated niacin available over-the-counter in your local health food or vitamin store. Shame on her!
The drugs referred to in this “study” are Niaspan and Tredaptive. Both these drugs contain niacin – but niacin alone is not a drug – it is a vitamin!
And bologna contains beef – but it sure isn’t steak!
Niaspan is a “time release” niacin-containing drug from the drug company Abbvie. It contains it’s niacin in a wax matrix within a film coating that is said to delay absorption (the “time release” part) and it also contains the inactive ingredients hypromellose, povidone, stearic acid, and polyethylene glycol, and the coloring agents FD&C yellow #6/sunset yellow FCF Aluminum Lake, synthetic red and yellow iron oxides, and titanium dioxide.
Niaspan has been around as a prescription drug for many years and has long been known to carry a risk of liver damage and to occasionally cause increased blood glucose in diabetics.
Tredaptive is, so to speak, “a whole ‘nother ball-game” and one really has to question why it is even being mentioned. You see, while this fancy prescription drug does indeed contain niacin, it also contains another drug – a drug called Laropiprant which acts as a prostaglandin DP1 antagonist intended to reduce the natural “flushing” that niacin is infamous for.
So, why would I say that Tredaptive is “a whole ‘nother ball-game”? Well, because it has never been approved for use in the United States, it has been banned from use in Europe, and in those few countries where it is still available the drug company Merck is suspending sales of it and telling doctors to stop prescribing it!
Sounds like a bad drug that Merck no longer wants to take a chance on selling – the risks are too great! Remember, Merck, like any drug company is all about risk and reward – aka “profit” – and they have obviously concluded that the profit from this drug will not be enough to offset the payouts when the lawsuits begin…
Bad Science (aka B.S.), Bad Writing, and an obvious bias toward Big Pharma combine to give you…
A terrible pseudo-news article intended to frighten you away from a natural vitamin and designed to help lay the groundwork for the FDA’s desired abolition of non-prescription vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements.
The reporter is actually writing about an editorial (i.E.: “opinion”) article published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University in Chicago. This very same Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones is a paid grand poohbah with the American Heart Association – an outfit very deeply in the pocket of Big Pharma, and dependant upon Big Pharma for funding…
Lloyd-Jones, in his “editorial” is actually talking about two studies – one done on Niaspan, which has well-known risks and dangers, and the other on Tredaptive, a drug that was never available in the US and has been banned from use in Europe and withdrawn from the market by the drug company Merck. He is using these “studies” with their to-be-expected negative conclusions, to smear by association a vitamin that has a long and honorable history of safe and effective use in promoting healthy cholesterol levels.
Yes – Niaspan and Terdaptive can be (are) bad drugs. Yes – both these drugs contain the vitamin niacin. So is niacin the cause of the increased risks mentioned by these studies?
While niacin was “found at the scene of the crime” it is Not Guilty!
The bottom line?
Niacin works, and works well. It has a long and honorable history of safe and effective use. I causes many people to experience a harmless but annoying, even embarrassing flush when they take it, so Big Pharma has long seen this as an opportunity to find something, anything about it that they can change and patent.
But it seems that every time Big Pharma gets their greedy paws on something safe and effective and un-patentable (unprofitable) like niacin they manage to turn it into something toxic like Niaspan or Terdaptive.
So they are left to print deceitful “news” articles maligning natural remedies and defending and promoting their patent medicines.
Wikipedia discusses niacin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niacin
New England Journal of Medicine editorial piece: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1406410
Wikipedia discusses disgraced Merck drug Laropiprant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laropiprant
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