Federal judge says cops can hold your family at gunpoint if you drink tea or grow tomatoes — here’s why


A Kansas couple lost their lawsuit after a federal judge essentially ruled that drinking tea and gardening were probable cause for a drug search warrant — but they forced a change in state law that could prevent similar raids.

A SWAT team raided Adlynn and Harte’s home in April 2012 searching for marijuana as part of an annual series of drug busts timed to the unofficial “4/20” holiday.

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Psychiatric drugs kill 500k+ Western adults annually, few positive benefits – leading scientist

Psychiatric drugs lead to the deaths of over 500,000 people aged 65 and over annually in the West, a Danish scientist says. He warns the benefits of these drugs are “minimal,” and have been vastly overstated.


Research director at Denmark’s Nordic Cochrane Centre, Professor Peter Gøtzsche, says the use of most antidepressants and dementia drugs could be halted without inflicting harm on patients. The Danish scientist’s views were published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday. Continue reading

Big Pharma made $711 billion overcharging seniors and disabled

AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan


(RT) The 11 largest drug companies have made $711 billion in profits in just a decade, largely due to overcharging Medicare, which does not seek out competitive prices and uses taxpayer funds to support Big Pharma.

Since Medicare is prohibited from purchasing drugs based on their cost, its prescription drug program has been making large payouts to drug companies that have overcharged the program for years, according to an analysis by Health Care for America Now (HCAN).

“There is nothing wrong with a company making profits – that’s what their supposed to do. But the drug industry’s profits are excessive as a result of overcharging American consumers and taxpayers,” writes Ethan Rome, executive director of HCAN, for the Huffington Post. “We pay significantly more than any other country for the exact same drugs.”

Rome notes that per capita drug spending in the US is 40 percent higher than in Canada, 75 percent greater than in Japan, and nearly 300 percent greater than Denmark.

The 11 largest global prescription drug companies have skyrocketed since the MedicarePart D prescription drug program was launched in 2006. The government health program enables seniors and the disabled to buy taxpayer-subsidized coverage for many of the most widely disseminated medicines. But Medicare is prohibited from negotiatingprices with pharmaceutical companies or seeking out more cost-effective drugs, thereby costing seniors, the disabled and American taxpayers billions of dollars more than some argue the drugs are worth.

Some lawmakers have recently urged Congress to consider changing the law, for the sake of cutting unnecessarily high costs. Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach told Wisconsin Public Radio that his state could save $1.2 billion over ten years if Congress were to allow Medicare to partake in prescription drug negotiations.

“I understand that pharmaceutical companies are for-profit companies,” he told the station last week. “I understand there’s a lot of research and development that goes into the products that they produce. All of that being said, it shouldn’t cost us more to get that kind of pharmaceuticals we need to have.”

But according to the HCAN analysis, Big Pharma spends very little on research and development. Even though pharmaceuticals cite research as a costly part of its operations, the money spent on this is exaggerated, Rome claims. Drug companies spend 19 times more on marketing than on research and development – another reason why the industry reaps so much in profits each year, he adds.

US President Barack Obama has long promised to repeal the prohibition on Medicarenegotiations with drug companies, but has so far failed to do so. The Veterans Administration currently negotiates drug prices, and manufacturers argue that lettingMedicare take over the negotiations would make no difference to the industry. Supporters of drug manufacturers also continue to emphasize the high costs of research and development.

But the Congressional Budget Office found that if Medicare were to receive the same bulk-purchasing discounts on prescription drugs that state Medicaid programs receive, the federal government would cut its spending by $137 billion over 10 years.

“Our politicians give all kinds of tax breaks and subsidies to big corporations that don’t need them: Big Oil. Wall Street. Companies that ship our jobs overseas,” Rome writes. “Every gift to a special interest, including allowing Big Pharma to overchargeMedicare, is an expenditure of scarce tax dollars. That’s called wasteful spending.”

Neurotoxic Flu Drug Approved for Use on Infants

(NaturalSociety) -Tamiflu, the antiviral drug facing international criticism for its deadly side effects, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use on infants just two weeks old.

The FDA’s decision comes amidst international controversy over Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir. Since the drug’s approval in 1999, several suicide deaths and incidents of bizarre side effects have been recorded. In the UK, where use of Tamiflu was relatively low at the time of publication of a 2005 article, only 41 “yellow card” reports of adverse reactions were recorded, just one being agitation and two being “confusional states.”

In Japan, however, close to the cries of a then-imminent avian flu pandemic, 54 people with no previous discernible psychiatric or health complications were dead after taking Tamiflu in 2005.

Tamiflu-maker, Roche Holding AG, responded chillingly. “These events are extremely rare in relation to the number of patients treated.”

Haruhiko Nokiba, whose a 17-year old victim who committed suicide in 2004 after taking Tamiflu, says, “Had they issued a warning earlier, then the number of deaths could have been halved.”

FDA Following the Money

A warning label about such bizarre psychiatric side effects—like the one the Japanese pharmaceutical company Chugai slapped onto Tamiflu in 2004—might have affected Roche’s sales, which is where the FDA’s priority seems to be. This is, of course, conjecture—like the kind the FDA used when approving Tamiflu for use on infants under a year old.

Because of the unlikelihood that any parents would subject an infant to controlled, randomized, placebo-controlled trials of a drug associated with psychiatric distress, the FDA made their approval decision based on conjecture from studies involving older children and adults.

Existing Data Encourages Caution

What this conjecture fails to take into consideration, however, is an infant’s significantly greater vulnerability to drugs. Their lesser developed blood-brain barriers and detoxification mechanisms make them less capable as adults of keeping chemicals out of their developing brains and bodies.

As a neuraminidase inhibitor, Tamiflu blocks the principle enzyme in a flu virus that allows it to enter through the membrane of the host cell. Because mammals have four variations (that we know of so far) of neuraminidase enzymes, known as sialidase homologs, a drug like Tamiflu that targets these neuraminidases is likely very imprecise. These enzymes are crucial for neurological health, so “cross reactivity” associated with Tamiflu may be to blame for many things, like an increased risk of birth defects in offspring of pregnant women given Tamiflu.

In fact, existing data rather than conjecture should have turned the FDA away from this approval. According to a study published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the majority (54 percent) of evaluable infants treated with Tamiflu experienced complications. “The most serious of [these complications] were meningitis in 1 infant (1 percent), pneumonia in 9 (6 percent), and [ear infection] in 2 (1 percent).”

Another study, published in the International Journal of Vaccine Risk and Safety in Medicine, tracked down 119 reports of Tamiflu-induced death, 38 of which were of sudden deterioration within 12 hours of prescription. “These findings are consistent with sudden deaths observed in a series of animal toxicity studies, several reported case series and the results of prospective cohort studies.”

The FDA Doesn’t Care About You

This is just another blight on the FDA’s pock-marked, industry-linked record. In other examples, the FDA openly endorses and is pushing for the expansion of GMOs in our food supply and environment, most famously GM corn and wheat, but also GM salmon. In efforts to squelch the GMO labeling movement in early 2012, the government also erased 1 million signatures from the “Just Label It” campaign.

They have even set their sights on labeling walnuts as drugs for their coveted omega 3 content and banning vitamin B6 from stores in favor of pharmaceutical company BioStratum’s prescription drug using Pyrodoxamine, a natural form of vitamin B6. Forces within our own government—selected by people they then do nothing to care for—are turning nature’s bountiful resources into purchasable and often unaffordable products.


FDA approves experimental tuberculosis treatment that carries increased risk of death

(NaturalNews) Bedaquiline, a drug developed by Johnson & Johnson for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, relies on a new mechanism of action that blocks an energy-carrying enzyme necessary for the growth of TB bacteria. Unfortunately, this medicine comes with some worrying side effects.

High liver toxicity, heart condition and death are shrugged off as inconclusive

Although the drug is effective according to preliminary tests, it carries an unusually high risk of liver toxicity, heart problems and even death. According to FDA advisers, patients who took Bedaquiline showed increased levels of liver enzymes consistent with liver toxicity, and long QT levels, which are evidence of a rare heart condition characterized by abnormal heartbeat. Long QT Syndrome can cause palpitations, fainting and sudden death.
Although the patients who took Bedaquiline were more likely to die than the patients who followed other treatments, Chrispin Kambili, the doctor in charge of Bedaquiline for J&J’s Janssen Therapeutics unit, said that his company was unable to find a common pattern to explain the high death rates and that the FDA advisers did not offer any “unifying findings”.
Consequently, the FDA approved the drug on Monday, right before New Year’s Eve, with financial analysts estimating that Bedaquiline will register annual sales of $300, a relatively modest amount according to industry standards.
CDC reports show that 1.4 million people died from TB in 2011 alone, with 9 million people have been infected. Other sources show that a new TB infection occurs every second, although the number of world infections has been steadily decreasing since 2006. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis affects about 650,000 people each year.

Natural treatments for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can kill very quickly, and while most people prefer to use conventional medical treatments, there are holistic, natural health remedies available for those who seek alternatives. Since tuberculosis is caused by bacteria, natural treatments focus primarily on strengthening immunity and secondly on relieving the symptoms of infection.
According to the International Journal of Health research, consuming a handful of barberry berries each day can help alleviate TB symptoms thanks to a compound called berberine, which is a powerful bactericide. The same editorial mentions that diets low in specific nutrients, like vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin D, can weaken the body in its struggle with TB.
Getting plenty of sunlight (also known as heliotherapy) is crucial in boosting immunity. Before the development of modern drugs, sunbathing was one of the most widespread treatments against non-pulmonary TB, for two main reasons: UV light and hot temperatures can kill bacteria, and the natural production of vitamin D supports immunity.
Horsetail has also been found effective against TB. Since TB causes a decrease in silica levels, which is needed in small amounts for strong bones and joints, wound healing, and immunity, horsetail can help replenish silica and speed up the healing of pulmonary damage.

Chinese Doctors Experiment With Controversial Brain Surgery for Drug Addicts

(DailyTech) -Procedure involves drilling into patient’s skull, destroying parts of their pleasure center
The Chinese medical community is testing a bleeding edge brain surgery procedure that is equal parts controversial and intriguing.  While the procedure — designed to treat drug addiction — draws some comparisons to archaic therapies, it leverages modern neuroscience to carefully target the neural circuits involved in addiction and destroy them.
I. Drilling Into the Human Brain — Treatment or Travesty?
The procedure itself sounds like something from a horror film.  The procedure begins with drilling a series of small holes into the patient’s skull.  The patient is awake during the entire surgery.  That is crucial, as it allows the patient to report any abnormal sensations, which would occur if the surgery team affected the wrong location.
Electrodes are then inserted into the nucleus accumbens, a region full of dopagenic neurons.  The region is often referred to as one of the brain’s “reward centers”.  And while rewards can be associated with healthy activities — sex, exercise, art, music, and more — they also are commonly activated by all manner of addictions.
So the controversial neurosurgery involves literally cooking this pleasure center, killing the neurons.  The result is that the addict no longer receives any “reward” in the form of dopamine from using their substance of choice.
Drilling The surgery involves drilling into the human skull and killing part of the brain. [Image Source: HomeZooka]

The surgery is primarily used on cocaine and heroine addicts, but could apply to serious addicts of other kinds, including internet addicts and overeaters.
The surgery is officially banned by the Chinese Ministry of Health, which outlawed it in 2004 on the grounds of insufficient evidence of its safety.  However, a report by TIME claims that the surgery has been performed 1,000 times since.  Even government hospitals appear to be involved; the military Tangdu Hospital in Xi’an published a study on the procedure’s effectiveness in the peer-reviewed Journal of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery.

Nucleus Accumbens Ablation typically targets the nucleus accumbens, a reward center. [Image Source: CUNY]

The procedure is general referred to as “ablative surgery” — destroying part of the brain to try to cure it from some form of mental illness, such addiction.
According to the study, from a pure statistical perspective the surgery works better than any alternative.  Traditional treatment for opiate addicts only achieves a 30 to 40 percent “cure” rate at best — 60 to 70 percent of addicts relapse.  But with the surgery 47 percent of addicts (out of 60 patients who received the treatment) remained drug free five years later, while only 53 percent relapsed.
But the cure comes at a cost, the authors admit.  Of the patients receiving the treatment, 60 percent experienced some side effects.  Most common was a change in personality. Roughly 53 percent of the patients experienced such a change, with most becoming more “mildness oriented”.  Memory loss was also experienced by 21 percent of patients, and motivation loss by 18 percent.
II. U.S. Experts are Mortified
Experts are not convinced the cost is worth the slightly higher cure rates.  David Linden, professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and author of “The Compass of Pleasure” called the procedure “horribly misguided”, commenting to TIME, “This treatment will almost certainly render the subjects unable to feel pleasure from a wide range of experiences, not just drugs alone.”
In China, where thousands of drug traffickers are executed a year, kicking the habit could be life-saving.  But the procedure is not free — it costs around $8,400 USD, or about the amount an average Chinese citizen makes in an entire year .
And more alarmingly, similar electroshock procedures are being applied to patients with other conditions like depression, with much lower success rates.  Dr. Wang Yifang No. 454 Hospital of the People’s Liberation Army in Nanjing admitted in a recent Wall Street Journal interview to performing ablative surgery 1,000 times.  Most of his patients suffered from schizophrenia, but also patients suffering from depression and epilepsy.

Surgeons Chinese surgeons are performing the procedure at a rate critics call “alarming”. [Image Source: Xinhua]

Dr. Wang defends his procedure saying that he is performing a service to society.  He states, “In many of the mental disease hospitals 30 to 50 percent of patients cannot be treated by medicine. And these patients have caused a great burden to their families and society.”
Dr. Michael Shulder, a top neurosurgeon at Newark University Hospital in New Jersey, indicates that very rarely such procedures are warranted, but he said that the sheer number of patients Dr. Wang performed the surgery on was astonishing.  He said that to do ablative surgery on over 1,000 patients was “completely off the charts” and that even 10 would be considered “highly controversial.”
III. Ablative Surgery Debate Echoes Lobotomy Debate of Decades Past
Decades ago the world grappled with the risk versus reward blunt dissection lobotomies — surgeries to remove part of the frontal cortex.  For showing the therapeutic effects of lobotomizing the mentally ill António Egas Moniz won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1949.  In decades following almost 20,000 lobotomies were performed. But by the 1970s, the U.S. banned the procedure after evidence of the severe side effects it caused emerged.

Nobel Prize In just three decades lobotomies went from being worthy of a Nobel Prize to being shunned by the U.S. medical community. [Image Source: IBN Live]

By contrast, ablative surgery is far more targeted — but it still is killing a part of the body’s most delicate piece of machinery.  The real problem is that in the U.S. and UK only about two dozen ablative surgeries are performed a year (typically on people with certain kinds of severe depression; never on drug addicts).  And there are differences between those surgeries and the new addiction therapy surgeries being performed in China. Thus the population size may be too small and specific to draw thorough conclusions about the procedure’s success rates and side effects.
About the only nation that appears to be in a position to, for better or worse, give a thorough analysis is China.  But some allege that such information may be impossible to attain, as they accuse the Chinese medical community of pervasive academic misconduct.
Shi-Min Fang — a biochemist-turned-freelance writer who formally held positions at the University of Rochester in New York and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. — tells The New York Times, “The results of clinical research in China are very often fabricated. I suspect that the approvals by Ethics Committee mentioned in these papers were made up to meet the publication requirement. I also doubt if the patients were really informed in detail about the nature of the study.”
In other words, even if Chinese doctors say ablative surgery is working great, the truth could be a different animal altogether.

Study: Antibiotics ineffective in treating persistent coughs

(Digital Journal) - A new study into the efficacy of antibiotics in treating  persistent coughs concludes they provide little benefit, while prescribing  antibiotics can have a deleterious effect on health.

The study, based on just over 2,000 patients, was led by  Professor Paul Little from the University of Southampton. Previous research had  produced inconclusive results on the effects of antibiotics on persistent mild  coughs. The new study proves more conclusive.

The BBC  reported Prof. Little said:

“Using the antibiotic amoxicillin to treat respiratory infections in  patients not suspected of having pneumonia is not likely to help and could be  harmful.

Overuse of antibiotics, dominated by  primary care prescribing, particularly when they are ineffective, can lead to  the development of resistance and have side effects like diarrhoea, rash and  vomiting.

Our results show that people get better  on their own. But given that a small number of patients will benefit from  antibiotics the challenge remains to identify these individuals.”

The study, published in the Lancet,  concludes: “When pneumonia is not suspected clinically, amoxicillin provides  little benefit for acute lower-respiratory-tract infection in primary care both  overall and in patients aged 60 years or more, and causes slight harms.”

The National  Health Service is seeking to raise antibiotic awareness. It warns that the  unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics is increasing the number of infections  with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Court Awards Family for Antidepressants Leading to Man’s Suicide

(Natural Society) -A Supreme Court jury in New York awarded $1.5 million to the family of Joseph Mazella, who committed suicide in 2009 after his physician prescribed the 51-year old father, teacher, and basketball coach a deadly cocktail of pharmaceuticals—without having met him once.

In fact, Dr. William Beals was on vacation in Cape Cod when Mazella called him to discuss his recent dip in mood and increased anxiety. Mazella had been on 20 milligrams of Paxil, an anti-depressant linked to violent behavior for over 10 years at the behest of Dr. Beals. Never once in those 10 years, however, had the two met in person; their interactions were limited to phone calls that Mazella made so Beals could renew his prescription. On August 9th of 2009, however, when Mazella called about depression and anxiety, Beals kicked up his dosage to 40 milligrams of Paxil and added a new antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa.

Not one month later, Mazella’s wife Janice found him dead in the garage.

Not surprisingly, Beals was charged with negligence earlier this year in several others patients’ cases, and is being disciplined by New York for personally abusing drugs and alcohol. He is one of the most recent in a long line of negligent physicians who, with little regard for the preciousness of life and the dangers of powerful pharmaceuticals, prescribed a patient literally to death.

Putting Drug Deaths into Perspective

Let’s take a step back. Yes, Mazella was already depressed and anxious before taking his upped dosage of Paxil and Zyprexa. His suicide therefore may be little more than the effect to the cause of his depression.

We must not forget, however, that drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States.  For over 10 years, investigations in the safety of prescription antipsychotics, antidepressants, and painkillers have been underway, often leading to unpleasant indications like that Prozac could increase rather than decrease the risk of suicide. According to a Los Angeles Times report, “the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine.”

Let’s also not forget the eerie trend with suicides (and shootings) and antidepressant use. The ‘batman shooter’ James Holmes was hooked on a cocktail of Big Pharma drugs, along with the recent offender of the Connecticut school shooting. These are just 2 examples of many.

The case for pharmaceuticals isn’t improved by other research linking them to a raised risk of atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries, life-threatening brain damage from a stroke, and suicidal thoughts.

Natural Alternatives to Antidepressants

In perspective, Beals’ case and those of many other neglectful physicians and therapists seems to be a matter of just that—negligence—and over-prescription. Many patients are convinced that nothing short of pharmaceuticals can help them, and in many cases it seems hardly ethical to declare without a shade of a doubt otherwise.

There are, however, natural ways to improve mood without writing hefty checks or putting physical and mental wellbeing at risk. The modern American lifestyle breeds depression, but can be improved by altering a sedentary lifestyle, unresolved and overwhelming sources of emotional stress, and a highly toxic diet heavy in fast foods.

Our sedentary lifestyle, in fact, keeps us from visiting the most natural, cheapest antidepressant available: sunlight. Vitamin D had demonstrated in numerous studies to reduce and even eliminate depression without the harmful and often deadly side effects of pharmaceuticals. Exercise and meditation—such as yoga—in such clean, sunlit environments seems far-fetched in the typical American’s busy lifestyle, but these changes can target problems at the source before they spiral out of control and into the hands of the likes of Dr. Beals.