Sunday, January 30, 2011

Injured Workers Denied Healthcare Sue Walmart


The RICO Consequences of Managing Health Care in Workers Compensation

It is one thing to provide workers' compensation coverage to injured employers and it is another issue how involved an employer can be in managing medical care. That right was never addressed by the crafters of the workers' compensation system almost a century ago.

That dilemma is now being addressed by a Federal Judge in Colorado where a class action lawsuit pending against Wal-Mart for micro-managing and restricting medical care to injured workers. Brooks Magratten, Esq, has addressed these issues in a recently authored article. "Class Action Attacks Wal-Mart Health Care Model." 25 No. 13 WJEMP 1 (Jan. 25, 2011). The landmark action has the potential to expand workers compensation medical care into the umbrella of a national universal medical care system.

The plaintiffs in the pending action, all former and present Wal-Mart employees, are seeking treble damages against the mega-corporation, with an aggregate market value of $108.8 Billion, for interfering with medical care. Judge Robert Blackburn has denied Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss, now setting the stage for a definitive test of the workers' compensation medical system nationally.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


In this Executive Order, the President requires Federal agencies to design cost-effective, evidence-based regulations that are compatible with economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness. It outlines following guiding principles:

* Cost-effective and Cost-Justified: Consistent with law, Agencies must consider costs and benefits and choose the least burdensome path.

* Transparent: The regulatory process must be transparent and include public participation, with an opportunity for the public to comment.

* Coordinated and Simplified: Agencies must attempt to coordinate, simplify, and harmonize regulations to reduce costs and promote certainty for businesses and the public.

* Flexible: Agencies must consider approaches that maintain freedom of choice and flexibility, including disclosure of relevant information to the public.

* Science-driven: Regulations must be guided by objective scientific evidence.

* Necessary and Up-to-Date: Existing regulations must be reviewed to determine that they are still necessary and crafted effectively to solve current problems. If they are outdated, they must be changed or repealed.

Fact Sheet: The President’s Regulatory Strategy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sell Out of Academia

Pfizer (the biggest drug dealer in the world) buys up academia—again (to make drugs and money off the public’s dime) Part 2:

 Pfizer infiltrates into universities using publically funded academic facilities and resources to make their drugs.  The drugs are sold at huge profits that gouge the public.  We pay no matter what.

An earlier blog pointed to the West Coast takeover of academia.  Now Pfizer buys up academia in New York.  The research hospitals that have sold out include:  Rockefeller University, New York University Langone Medical Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Columbia University Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Weill Cornell Medical College.

Good bye academic freedom.

I am a dissatisfied taxpayer.  Let'stop public funding these universities that make these contracts with Pfizer using our taxpayer funded resources.  Stop giving donations to these universities.  Fund your local hospitals instead.

Monday, January 24, 2011

GE Foods Cause Harm in Animal Studies_United States Covers Up Harm

Oversight for Human Clinical Studies Are Shoddy

“Escalating Human Experimention”: FDA Only Inspects 1% of Overseas Drug Trial Sites

“ … The findings drew a considerable level of comment from groups that monitor public health in the US, notably Public Citizen who said the report ‘confirms some of the worst fears about the serious dangerous of escalating human experimentation.’ … “

By Gareth Macdonald

Outsourcing Pharma

June 24, 2010

The US FDA only reviews a fraction of trials conducted outside the country according to research by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

According to the new HHS Office of Inspector General report 80 per cent of marketing applications for pharmaceuticals and biologics approved in the US contain data from trials conducted outside the country.

However, despite this high reliance of overseas clinical research data, the Food and Drug Administration only inspected 0.7 per cent of clinical trial sites outside the country in 2008, compared with 1.9 per cent in the US.

The study also suggested that the agency may even be unaware of some early-phase studies conducted in the developing world as a result of submission failure or of logistical difficulties.

The findings drew a considerable level of comment from groups that monitor public health in the US, notably Public Citizen who said the report “confirms some of the worst fears about the serious dangerous of escalating human experimentation.”

Group spokesman Sidney Wolfe put it more directly, telling the Associated Press that: “The quality of data used by the FDA as a basis for approving the drugs being studies may well be flawed, resulting in dangerous, incorrect decisions to approve drugs.”

for more....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pfizer (the biggest drug dealer in the world) reaches out to academia—again (to make drugs and money off the public’s dime)

Pfizer (the biggest drug dealer in the world) reaches out to academia—again (to make drugs and money off the public’s dime)

Pfizer is using public resources at Universities to make drugs and make money.  See story below

Nature Biotechnology, doi:10.1038/nbt0111-3

Pfizer is rolling out a grand plan to draw out drug-development-ready research from academia through a series of collaborations with leading medical centers worldwide. The first collaboration, announced in November, is with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to which the pharma giant will commit $85 million. Coincidentally, London-based GlaxoSmithKline, is launching a similar outreach program, but with a very different approach. Like Pfizer, it wants to access leading academic researchers with targets ripe for translation into the clinic. Its scope, however, is more modest and targeted, focused on individual scientists.

For Pfizer, the overall aim in setting up these Global Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTIs) is to move novel bio-therapeutics rapidly into human clinical trials—each project will aim to deliver a drug through phase 1 testing in five years. Pfizer expects five such initiatives to be up and running in 2011 in the United States, Europe and Asia. Assuming eight projects per CTI, this could bring dozens of differentiated biologics against new targets into the clinical pipeline.

The New York–based pharma will set up shop on each campus, contributing proprietary phage display libraries, peptide libraries and associated technologies for rapidly generating antibodies to be used as probes against the novel targets flagged by university researchers. Each CTI will be staffed with 20–25 Pfizer employees with expertise in cell-line generation, protein characterization and purification—the skill sets needed to rapidly identify and advance molecules into the clinic. All decision making, from the initial acceptance of proposals through the determination to start clinical testing, will be made by a joint steering committee. “The concept is to make a transition away from the vertically integrated R&D model into smaller, decentralized groups of a truly global nature,” says Pfizer's Anthony Coyle, who is heading up the program out of the company's Cambridge, Massachusetts, facilities.

As important, the CTI model creates a 50-50 joint relationship where the goals of the investigators and the company are aligned and both sides are empowered to succeed. “There has got to be a change in the mindset from 'We own this, you do this for us,'” says Coyle. The CTIs will seek out investigators who have already developed a hypothesis around a novel disease mechanism and are keen to translate their discoveries into drugs. “These will be projects where we can articulate very clearly at the beginning what the first-in-man study will be,” says Coyle. The strategy will be to define the mechanism of action and in parallel develop the appropriate drug to hit the target and also determine the right patient population to target with it.

The model “allows us to leverage all of the drug discovery capability in our organization—the ability to make clinical grade material, the finances to perform the right enabling toxicology studies, and the regulatory support to allow the investigator to realize the ambition and see the concept translated,” says Coyle. He also hopes to bypass animal modeling. “What's becoming clear to me is that the time you spend on in vivo validation has zero impact, in most cases, on whether you will be successful going into the clinic. Here we propose to define the mechanism based on a human in vitro system, very quickly, which is again aided by having our phage library right there with the individuals doing the research.”

Funding for CTI initiatives will follow a pre-negotiated template Pfizer will put down at each institution. The company will pay for one to three post docs for each participating laboratory and the steering committee will have access to a flexible fund used either for additional biology or to allow the joint project team to move a compound into trials. There will be two clinical milestone payments, at proof of mechanism and successful proof of concept. All joint inventions will be jointly owned, with Pfizer holding an exclusive option to license a drug after proof of mechanism. In the event Pfizer exercises its option, any jointly developed enabling intellectual property (IP) would be licensed from the institution. If Pfizer declines, IP and other joint assets revert to the institution, which could then partner with someone else.

“There's going to be less of an establishment of value going into this, and more of it saved for the negotiation about the IP, which is downstream,” says S. Claiborne Johnston, director of the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

In the past, most collaborations, however, have failed to lead to new drugs. “I think they generally have failed because of the misalignment of the interests of the academic investigators and the industrial partners,” says David Mack of the venture firm Alta Partners, in San Francisco, either because the academics were driven by other basic research questions or because of a lack of appreciation for the cost, risk and time that drug development takes. “They see that they've created an asset that is worth a lot, but actually it's not worth a lot because all of the risk is ahead of us—investment capital, development, technical risk.”

But as grant funding proves ever harder to find, it's an opportune time for exploring new models. Plus, the venture capital industry is contracting significantly and is also shifting its focus, where possible, to more late-stage, downstream investments. The absence of an initial public offering market has made some of the investigators more realistic. “It's the right time for that kind of approach—getting them involved on a risk-sharing basis and setting some realistic near- to midterm milestones to achieve some value creation, even if it means then passing it on to Pfizer in exchange for a royalty,” says Mack. The ability to hit the group running with a program and have immediate access to Pfizer's development resources may also be attractive to academics who are either uncomfortable or impatient with the venture capital process, where initial fund-raising could take years.

But more experienced academic entrepreneurs might not want to trade control or more potential upside in exchange for expediency. Paul Schimmel of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, believes that “To preserve their freedom and work in an academic-like way, they'll probably want to turn to do that in the venture community and startups rather than the pharmaceutical industry, where it can get buried and disappear.”

A tendency for people within companies to move is another ongoing issue. Regis Kelly, director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), a nonprofit institute spanning three University of California campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area, points to pharma's frequent management changes as a potential snag in making the partnerships thrive. For instance, in 2008, soon after Pfizer merged with Wyeth, it dissolved the Bio-therapeutics and Bio-innovation Center (BBC) on UCSF's Mission Bay campus—set up in 2007 as a hybrid between academia and industry, to work on translational projects (Nat. Biotechnol. 27, 308, 2009). For about a year, Kelly recalls, “there was a hiatus, where we couldn't start any new programs together.”

Even as Pfizer focuses on decentralizing industry-academic partnerships, London-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will soon adopt a virtual approach. GSK aims to create up to ten relationships with individual researchers throughout the world, forming a virtual project team with each of them in order to, like Pfizer, provide immediate access to GSK resources. “We're not talking about giving lots of money across to academia,” says GSK's Patrick Vallance, who is leading the program. An experienced drug discoverer will work in tandem with the research group. “At the beginning it's very focused, with access to the whole of GSK's expertise,” he says.

GSK is set to announce the first of its collaborations under the program, with Mark Pepys at University College, London (UCL), and Pepys' UCL spinout, Pentraxin Therapeutics, for the development of a small molecule to treat amyloidosis. GSK and Pentraxin are already working together to develop an antibody to treat the disease.

To some extent, Pfizer's CTI programs echo the spirit of Eli Lilly's Chorus initiative, started in 2007, in which a venture firm supplies the Indianapolis-based pharma with compounds for Lilly to rapidly advance through phase 1. But whereas both emphasize speed to the clinic from a similar preclinical starting point, the CTIs will also explore the biology around its targets in depth, at greater cost, but also presumably to its benefit. Indeed, although Pfizer is aware of the importance of targeted therapeutics and personalized medicine, “It's not an area we have invested a significant amount of time in,” says Coyle. By focusing on translational medicine up front, “We're going to have a broader impact in the organization,” he says.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In Celebration of Human Dignity and Peace

Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 17, 2011
"I Have a Dream"
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Aug. 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Serious Foot-and Mouth-Disease Strikes South Korea

Foot-and-Mouth Disease—Will Mass Animal Burials Cause Water Contamination in South Korea?

January 14, 2011

As animal bodies pile up, public fears water sources will become contaminated.

Millions of animals have been killed or vaccinated in South Korea over the past six weeks in an effort to contain the nation’s largest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

As the virus sweeps South Korea’s livestock industry, government officials have ordered the burial of culled animals. The consequences to groundwater from the slaughter and burial of so many animals have emerged as a public concern, heightened by reports of biological contamination.

For instance, The Korea Times reported last week that tap water in a village in Gyeonggi province was contaminated with blood. The news agency reported that residents believe the contamination was related to a livestock slaughter on December 31, when nearly 1,000 pigs were buried alive in response to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at a nearby farm.

Typically, animals are killed before disposal, but with the outbreak spreading so fast, local authorities did not have the slaughterhouse capacity to follow the rules.
Foot-and-mouth disease does not infect humans, but is highly communicable between cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, cows, goats, sheep, and deer. Humans and other animals, however, can still carry the virus on exposed materials such as contaminated equipment, facilities, cars, and clothing.

The disease can also be transmitted to susceptible animals through contaminated food and drinking sources.

More than 1.4 million pigs and cows have been buried alive throughout the country, reports Reuters. However, the most disturbing effect of the national campaign is the bloody tap water reported by The Korea Times.

For remaining story see Circle of Blue Waternews link:

More news...well old news ...on acquired infections

July 12th, 2010
Woman contracts vaccinia virus through sexual contact with military boyfriend

August 1, 2010
Report: man gets a laboratory-acquired vaccinia infection in Virginia: CDC changes guidelines

Sept 3, 2010
Goodby smallpox, hello...monkeypox?

Surviving Anthrax at Fort Detrick

Surviving Anthrax.  Here is a facinating video showing footage of the Biological Weapons Programs at Fort Detrick around the 1950's.  Fifty years ago Bernard "Left" Kreh was accidentally infected with Anthrax while working at Ft. Detrick. He survived.  Mr. Kreh discusses in the video how he survived the anthrax exposure and the requirement to keep it a secret.

Here is the link to the video:  Fort Detrick Anthrax Survivor Shares Story

anthrax infection

anthrax infection

anthrax bacteria

Honeywell Uses Bad Community Tactics to Cover up Pollution.

Read background story here:

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Whistleblower is the nail-biting true story of what happens when someone with a lifelong habit of going along to get along is confronted with criminal activity she can’t ignore. Amy Joy — scientist, educator, and program administrator — was happy and comfortable conducting research while administering a $14 million program for poor families. Certainly, nothing she had previously experienced prepared her for the resistance, collusion, and retaliation she encountered when she discovered embezzlement at the University where she had worked for more than 30 years.

What seemed like a simple path to justice turned into a nightmare that left her without friends or allies and threatened the end of an accomplished and respected career. This is the stunning true account of one woman’s resolve to tell the truth at any cost.

To purchase a copy of Amy Joy's Book:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Biomedical Industrial Complex: Pfizer Networks with Law Firms and Gives Report Cards

From the AM Law Daily:

"...Over the last year, Pfizer's legal team has developed a ranking system for matters handled by outside firms. They are graded on performance issues ranging from substantive knowledge to responsiveness to willingness to collaborate. Twice a year, Pfizer gives each firm a report card--and then grades them on how well they take the feedback. "We learned a lot about firms," she says, "by whether they welcomed the feedback or responded by saying, 'You got it wrong.'" Pfizer has sought other ways to make the links tighter. Each firm has an in-house relationship partner. Pfizer encourages secondments and has recruited with two firms at law schools, looking for associates who will split their time between the firm and the company." 

For entire article see link:

Genetically Engineered R9 Nanoparticles Internalize into Cell Nucleus_Public Health and Safety Implications

 Esther Vázquez, Rafael Cubarsi, Ugutz Unzueta, Mónica Roldán, Joan Domingo-Espín, Neus Ferrer-Miralles, Antonio Villaverde. Internalization and kinetics of nuclear migration of protein-only, arginine-rich nanoparticles. Biomaterials, 2010; 31 (35): 9333 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.08.065

Understanding the intracellular trafficking of nanoparticles internalized by mammalian cells is a critical issue in nanomedicine, intimately linked to therapeutic applications but also to toxicity concerns. While the uptake mechanisms of carbon nanotubes and polymeric particles have been investigated fairly extensively, there are few studies on the migration and fate of protein-only nanoparticles other than natural viruses. Interestingly, protein nanoparticles are emerging as tools in personalized medicines because of their biocompatibility and functional tuneability, and are particularly promising for gene therapy and also conventional drug delivery. Here, we have investigated the uptake and kinetics of intracellular migration of protein nanoparticles built up by a chimerical multifunctional protein, and functionalized by a pleiotropic, membrane-active (R9) terminal peptide. Interestingly, protein nanoparticles are first localized in endosomes, but an early endosomal escape allows them to reach and accumulate in the nucleus (but not in the cytoplasm), with a migration speed of 0.0044 ± 0.0003 μm/s, ten-fold higher than that expected for passive diffusion. Interestingly, the plasmatic, instead of the nuclear membrane is the main cellular barrier in the nuclear way of R9-assisted protein-only nanoparticles.

 Esther Vázquez, Rafael Cubarsi, Ugutz Unzueta, Mónica Roldán, Joan Domingo-Espín, Neus Ferrer-Miralles, Antonio Villaverde. Internalization and kinetics of nuclear migration of protein-only, arginine-rich nanoparticles. Biomaterials, 2010; 31 (35): 9333 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.08.065

also see this link: click here

Monday, January 10, 2011

Garage Biology...What's Cookin in Your Neighborhood?

The Do It Yourself Biolab.
Wow.  I am impressed.  This looks like a sophisticated garage bio lab. 

What's cookin in your neighborhood?

Well it can't be as bad as what is cookin in your local academic or biotech company which have little to no regulations...making GE human infection agents, nanotechnology and synthetic biology technologies.  Public Health and Safety last, profits first!

Its the wild wild West, folks.

The Wanna Be Molecular Biologist

DIY Bio  Do It Yourself Biology.  Are you an amateur wanna be molecular biologist?  Here is a link to the origins of BioCurious, a Silicon Valley non-profit community lab "which puts gene-splicing, DNA sequencing and everything else into hands of , well, just about anyone."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pfizer named a "Thug" of the Medical World

Excerpts from "Top 6 thugs of the Medical World, How Big Pharma Steals and Swindles"

Too Big to Fail?

You may recall that I wrote about this – in the largest health care fraud settlement in history, Pfizer was ordered to pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company illegally promoted uses of four of its drugs, including the painkiller Bextra. The other drugs were the antipsychotic Geodon, the antibiotic Zyvox, and the anti-epileptic Lyrica.

Only a few years earlier, Pfizer had paid $430 million for illegally promoting uses of its seizure drug, Neurontin.

Yet, these are just a few examples of all the “mistakes” Pfizer has made through the years, making it very clear why named this company No. 17 in the Top Corporate Criminals for the 1990s.

Technically speaking, companies found guilty of fraud like this are banned from dealing with Medicare and Medicaid again. But, as I’ve already reported, do you think that happened with Pfizer?


Instead, in a slap-on-the-wrist move that resembled the too-big-to-fail bank bailouts, federal prosecutors allowed Pfizer to avoid being sentenced for massive fraud and deception by letting them form a sham company to take the fall.

So, in the end, Pfizer’s “imaginary friend” Pharmacia & Upjohn shouldered the conviction, even though it had never sold any drugs. As CNN found, “the subsidiary is nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty.”

And Pfizer got off scot-free, except for that little $2.3 billion fine that amounted to just three months’ profits.

Further Pfizer has had been found guilty of fraud and /or illegal sales activeity in 9 cases.  Pfizer has over 10,000 Individual or class actions suits totalling over $4 Billion Dollars.

for entire article with info on J&J, Roche GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Baxter International see:

2011 Brings Birds Falling From the Sky and Massive Fish Deaths

Eerie Wild Life Die Offs Hail in the New Year.

Approximately 5000 red-winged blackbirds and European starlings were found mysteriously dead spewed on the ground on New Years Day 2010 in Beebe, Arkansas. Beebe, Arkansas the city of Arkansas State University and is about 40 miles from Little Rock. Reports came in on December 31, 2010 as early as 10:00pm that birds were falling from the sky. The next day five thousand birds within a one mile radius were found scattered dead on the ground showing signs of physical trauma.

No clear answer to this mystery has been provided by experts. Some speculate that fireworks could have caused the nesting birds to startle into a panic flight which caused many to run into objects causing the physical trauma and massive deaths. Some others are skeptical of this explanation.

But what makes it more mysterious is the coincidence of other dead birds, dropping from the sky reported in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, Kentucky, Sweden and Italy where thousands of turtle doves were found hanging tragically from trees “like Christmas balls” in the town of Faenza.

In addition to massive birds dying, hundreds of thousands of dead drum fish washed ashore 100 miles away from Beebe, Arkansas near Osark. Massive Fish death were also reported in Brazil and New Zealand.

Whatever the cause to these massive animal deaths, 2011 brings in a glaring reminder of the frailty of ecosystems around the world.

AMA Against Injured Workers

The AMA has produced a new guide to disabilities that dramatically reduces aid to injured workers.  The new guide is surrounded with controversary and lack of transparancy.  Congress has called it into question, but AMA officials refused to attend the congressional conference to answer questions

"Workers' compensation is sometimes called "the Grand Bargain." Under workers' comp, employees give up their right to sue their bosses for workplace injuries and illnesses in exchange for compensation under a no-fault system. As Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) said at a Nov 17 subcommittee hearing of the House Education & Labor Committee, this grand bargain of the 20th Century doesn't seem so grand these days. Benefits for injured workers have declined significantly since the 1990s because of intensive state-level lobbying by insurers and self-insured employers. The latest guidelines for assessing workplace health issues may depress benefits even further."

"The primary focus of the hearing was the sixth and latest edition of the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, the bible for determining how a workplace health problem translates into on-the-job impairment. This may sound like an obscure issue, but the answers potentially affect millions of American workers. Many states require the use of the latest edition of the Guides, the 6th Edition, published in 2007, has proved so controversial that some states, including Iowa, Kentucky and Vermont, have chosen not to adopt it."

"Rep. Woolsey alleged in her opening statement that the latest edition of the guide has "dramatically reduced impairment ratings for many types of conditions, without apparent medical evidence, and transparency." Various witnesses echoed Woolsey's assessment that the 6th Edition is dramatically different from previous editions."

"It also appears that the 6th edition was developed in near secrecy, without the transparency and consensus which should necessarily accompany the development of standards that will have widespread use by state governments," she added."

"Godfrey testified that the AMA declined to disclose the names of the authors of chapters in the guide to an Iowa Workers Compensation task force in 2008. As of this week, neither the Iowa Division of Workers Compensation, nor the Workforce Protections Subcommittee had received a list of chapter authors.

The AMA was invited to send a representative to testify at the Nov 17 hearing, but the Association declined to do so and instead submitted written comments for the record."

For complete article:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Experimental Human Embryonic Stem Cell Study to Test for Safety in Elderly Blind

"US biotech company Advanced Cell Technology said Monday it was cleared by government regulators to start its second trial using human embryonic stem cells to treat blindness, this time in older people.

The trial will examine the therapy’s ability to safely treat people with a condition known as dry age-related macular degeneration, the most common form of irreversible vision loss in people over age 60.

There is currently no cure for the disease, which affects around 10-15 million Americans and another 10 million people in Europe, the company said.

Embryonic stem cell research has been a controversial field ever since the first such stem cells were isolated more than 12 years ago. Critics oppose the research because it involves the destruction of human embryos."

For the rest of article see link....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

States Desire to Cut Worker's Rights

“They’re throwing the kitchen sink at us,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We’re seeing people use the budget crisis to make every attempt to roll back workers’ voices and any ability of workers to join collectively in any way whatsoever.”

"Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics." 

See NYT article: