Rob Stein Under a Microscope

  • by: |
  • 02/20/2008
Are we devoid of any sense of irony?

Rob Stein of the Washington Post pens an article that begins:

One week after U.S. researchers announced that pushing down blood sugar levels as close as possible to normal might be dangerous for high-risk diabetes patients, a preliminary analysis of a similar international study has found no such risk.

And then two days ago writes with a surge of certainty and finality...

"A series of surprising findings about some of the most widely accepted assumptions in medicine has renewed debate about how aggressively doctors use drugs to prevent and treat some of the nation's leading health problems.

In addition to casting doubt on notions such as lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease and normalizing blood sugar to protect diabetics, the studies involving well-known drugs such as Avandia and Vytorin have also rekindled concern about whether new medications are being tested adequately before being allowed on the market."

Diabetes and cholesterol drugs are the most widely and heavily studied drugs on the planet next to blood pressure meds. Should every one of those studies been done in clinical trials prior to market? And does Stein see the difference in how he covers the diabetes story --government studies -- and the Vytorin and Avandia cases? I bet he doesn't. What about the Avastin story, the drug left for dead by the FDA and Wall Street only to become a blockbuster?

Science is full of surprises...that is the essence of it's enterprise. What's changed is we now have a Tabloid medicine industry comprised of the media, Congress, instant experts like Steve Nissen and nut cases on the Net that seizes on every surprise and turns it into a scandal that was deliberately "hidden" by those conflict-ridden types who conducted the experiment and by the FDA who knew but are too cozy with industry to care.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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