GPs open up patient files to drug firms
SARAH KATE TEMPLETON AND JON UNGOED-THOMAS
A SALES representative employed by a drugs company was given access to confidential National Health Service patient records to identify those who could be given an expensive new drug to treat cholesterol.
The representative, working for Merck, was given permission by a GP to examine patients' files to identify those who might be at risk from heart disease. Medical experts said the violation of privacy was "reprehensible".
The case has raised new concerns over the links between drugs companies and GPs' practices. It emerged last week that "nurse advisers" funded by drugs firms are also given routine access to confidential patient files.
Paul Flynn, the Labour MP who has campaigned against the marketing techniques used by the drugs companies, said he was concerned at the growing influence of the pharmaceutical industry on patients' prescriptions.
"People who are in the pay of the drugs industry have a vested interest in promoting drugs whether or not you actually need them," he said.
The case of the Merck representative was revealed after a complaint to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). The representative's search of files identified 40 patients who might benefit from a new Merck drug, Niaspan.
Niaspan is designed to raise the level of good cholesterol in the blood, but there is limited evidence about its effectiveness. It can cost up to £29.50 a month to prescribe.
The ABPI's code of practice body upheld the complaint, saying it had brought "discredit" on the drugs industry". Other cases identified by the ABPI include: oA nurse sponsored by Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) who was given access to patient records and prescribed the firm's bestselling asthma drug, Seretide, without consulting doctors. oA nurse funded by a GSK grant who circulated bogus "guidelines" on NHS-headed notepaper that recommended the use of a GSK drug. oRepresentatives of the drugs company Wyeth who offered GPs financial inducements to prescribe its drugs.
Some doctors are particularly concerned over the role of nurse advisers, who are trained by agencies and funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Phil Johnson, the editor of Pulse, the journal for GPs, said: "There needs to be a more robust set of regulations over what is or isn't appropriate," he said.
Innovex, a company which provides nurse advisers for drugs firms, states on its website: "Nurse advisers can talk to patients about their prescriptions (and) access patient records to identify those that may benefit from a change of prescription." Innovex said it could not disclose the number of nurse advisers it employed in the NHS that were funded by drugs companies because it was commercially sensitive information. Its nurses were "not paid bonuses or commission" to boost sales of drugs.
Merck, GSK and Wyeth said they did not sanction unethical practices by their employees or sponsored staff and have taken action to avoid any similar breaches of the ABPI code.
EUROPEAN MEDICINAL USES OF ENZYMES
If enzymes truly are catalysts which participate in virtually every bodily process, and if a shortage can cause a variety of illnesses, then why are they not widely used as a treatment?
It is certainly true that they are not widely used here in the Americas, but what about other countries?
In Europe enzyme therapy is routinely used to treat a variety of illnesses.
In Salzburg, Austria, Dr. Neuhofer treats her multiple sclerosis patients with a powerful enzyme mixture which she has developed. In 1986 she published a statistical analysis of the results of her enzyme treatment on over 100 patients. 85% of the patients in the study group showed improvement and 54% of the patients showed substantial improvement. Dr. Klein, the head professor at the Rehabilitation Center for Rheumatic Disorders and Cardiovascular Disease in Saalfelden, Austria published a study demonstrating the effect of anti-inflammatory enzyme mixtures in the treatment of arthritis. This and other studies report that enzymes can be used to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatologic disorders such as loss of grip strength, the ability to bend the joints, joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness.
Two physicians at the Sports Medicine Investigation Center in Grunwald, Germany conducted a study of the effect of an anti inflammatory enzyme mixture on the treatment of a hematoma which is the medical term for a bruise. The treatment was evaluated as good for 76% of the enzyme treated subjects and by only 14% of the placebo treated subjects.
Dr. Zuschlag conducted a study of karate fighters using enzymes as a precaution before fighting. This was a double blind study where neither the fighters nor Dr. Zuschlag knew who were taking the enzymes and who were taking a placebo. At the end of the testing period the results were studied statistically. In general the enzyme group recovered from injuries in 7 days while the placebo group recovered in 16 days.
According to some European Sports Medicine reports, there is scarcely a top athlete in Germany who is not familiar with enzyme therapy. Additionally, the top Austrian athletes, runners, wrestlers, boxers, handball players, and skiers are provided with enzyme capsules as a precaution to aid in rapid recovery after an injury
The US and international healthcare industry are currently in a major crisis
The US and international healthcare industry are currently in a major crisis. There is a huge shortage of skilled healthcare specialists, doctors and nurses, and since 9/11, many qualified professionals are finding it impossible to immigrate into countries desperately needing medical personnel.
MD, nurse shortages reaching crisis levels
WASHINGTON, (UPI) -- Shortages of surgeons, pharmacists and nurses in hospitals across the United States are reaching crisis levels and may worsen over the next several years, health care experts warned.
The nursing shortage -- more than 126,000 positions currently remain unfilled -- has become so severe it is endangering the lives of patients and is a primary reason for overcrowding in emergency departments and cancellation of surgeries, according to a report by an Experts Roundtable panel convened by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
The Society for Thoracic Surgeons recently warned that a shortage of heart surgeons looms within a few years and a survey of hospitals found pharmacists, X-ray technicians and therapists are leaving at such an alarming rate it already is impacting the quality of care patients receive.
Doctor Shortages - a looming major social problem for Australia - AMA submission to the Senate Select Committee on Medicare
Johnson Co-Sponsors Legislation to Address Nurse Shortages
January 24, 2003 Washington, DC- U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) recently co-sponsored the Nurse Reinvestment Act to address areas with critical nurse shortages in an effort to provide more opportunities to recruit and retain quality nurses. "Our national health care system has many problems that need to be addressed," Johnson said. "At the top of that is the severe shortage of nurses.
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Past decisions with respect to health care “reform” have been made without complete or accurate information, and this has led to critical problems in the system such as doctor shortages and waiting lists.
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Check with Your Doctor First! September 03, 2003
Texans Can Cure State's Medical Crisis
Getting a second opinion is always a good idea, particularly when you have a serious medical problem. Today, Texans are suffering from a serious lack of medical care. The American Medical Association says the physician shortage has reached crisis proportions in Texas and lives are in peril.
Texans Can Cure State's Medical Crisis - TexasPolicy.com
True Health's Subsidiary- Westmeria
True Health through its wholly owned subsidiary, Westmeria for 20 years has developed a reputation for getting medical personnel in where they are needed fast. Now with demand for these professionals escalating at an exponential rate, the demand for Westmeria is growing fast. Westmeria is now ready to place thousands of doctors and nurses to help solve the worldwide crisis. This will equate to many millions in added revenues for True Health. Check out the latest financial report.
According to the latest financials, revenues are up by more than 412%
Sep-2003 Quarterly Report
Revenue for the three months ended July 31, 2003 went up by 412.8%, when compared to revenue for the three months ended July 31, 2002.
The equipment rentals and sales segment's revenue went up by 69.8%, in the three months ended July 31, 2003, compared to the three months ended July 31, 2002. This reflects the growth in the business over the past year.
Vascular and circulatory disorders also respond well to enzyme supplementation. This includes arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, coronary heart disorders, phlebitis, edema, serious varicose veins and other circulatory problems that affect the brain, lungs, kidneys and liver.
Dr. J. Vall-Serra, Professor of Medicine in Barcelona, reported that enzyme supplementation was superior to all methods of vessel dilation and anticoagulant therapy previously used.
Former Fordham University Professor of Medicine, Dr. Max Wolf, reported that tests of 347 patients with circulatory disorders showed either 87% completely free or almost free of any symptoms after taking enzymes.
Dr. H. Dench, Austrian Professor of Medicine, conducted similar tests of patients who had problems with blood clots. Ninety-three percent of the patients were significantly improved after enzyme treatments.
A German scientist, Dr. Karl Maehder, reported that a multicenter study of 216 patients suffering from various vein disorders were given oral enzymes. Their typical problems were edema and serious varicose veins. Ninety-four percent either completely recovered or had significant improvement.
Press Release - January 15, 2003
Nobel Prize Nominated (2001 Medicine & Sciences) Ron Schneider, Formulator of Sterol Max (Immune System Support) announced today that after lengthy meetings in Nigeria, that the Sterol Max Formula along with Plant Enzymes with GR8CF-77 has been officially approved as an alternative treatment (both prevention and full blown hospital cases) approach to the world epidemic of HIV/AIDS. During Mr. Schneider's visit to Nigeria he met with the Department of NAVDAC (department similar to the FDA) along with the African Association of Pharmacists (Seminar attended by 300 Pharmacists, representing all 14 African Countries).
Both Organizations, based on Clinical trials of HIV/AIDS patients, and the results presented by Medical Doctors throughout Africa, have jointly certified these formulations for Importation to be used in the fight against the prevention and Hospital Administered AIDS cases in Africa.
BodyTalks Inc. is committed in its goal to bring the Clinical and product findings back to the USA/Canada and to help educate Pharmacists and Physicians on the usage of Sterol Max and Plant Enzymes, as an Immune System Rebuild Program, in the fight against the following conditions:
Cancer (breast, colon, prostate) Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hepatitis C, HIV, BPH, (enlarged prostate) Lupus, Allergies, Psoriasis, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Bronchitis, Fibromyalgia, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Hashimoto's Disease. Sterols offer relief for many symptoms without adverse side effects.