Walgreen’s Illegally Distributes Controlled Substances

Is Walgreen,s Pharmacy really “at the Corner of Happy and Healthy”, like their motto claims? Maybe not…


The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) caught Walgreen’s Pharmacy red-handed.  Allegations claim they were knowingly and  illegally distributing controlled substances to known abusers and drug dealers. The DEA found an “unprecedented” number of record-keeping and dispensing violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

Walgreen’s agreed to an $80 million settlement to put the matter to rest.  Part of the deal required Walgreen’s to publicly admit that it had failed to comply with its responsibilities as a DEA registrant. Although they claim they do all they can to stop this activity, there is evidence it is still occurring, even after the large sum of money they were required to pay. According to a recent blog article on bytegeist.com, Walgreen’s is more concerned with making a dollar than the health of its customers.

How Does This Effect Me? 

I have written many times about the problem of prescription drug addiction in America. It is crucial to shut down the supply chains if this problem is ever going to be eliminated. Unlike illicit drugs,  prescription drug dealers aren’t standing on dimly lit street corners in the rough areas of town. To the contrary, much of the supply comes from doctors, pharmacies and clinics who are licensed to distribute  controlled substances. With this license, however, comes the responsibility of complying with the law. Unfortunately, many do not comply, and this effects all of us.

Controlled substances may only be prescribed and dispensed for a legitimate medical purpose. When this fundamental premise isn’t followed, illegal distribution and abuse emerge. Narcotics find their way into the hands of addicts and dealers who sell them illegally on the black market. Sadly, the prescription drug black market makes its way into schools and homes, and destroys lives and families. 

Kudos to the Drug Enforcement Agency for getting the attention of one national pharmaceutical chain. Let’s hope it sends a loud message to the others. We all must do our part, as they are, to stop this epidemic in America.


FDA Orders Additional Safety Studies for New Diabetes Drug Tresiba

Novo Nordisk may suffer significant financial losses due to the FDA’s refusal to approve its long-acting insulin drug, Tresiba.

Pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk has had great success marketing its diabetes drug Victoza in the United States.  But concerns about the safety of Victoza could mean a big setback for the company’s anticipated U.S. launch of Tresiba, which has been delayed until at least 2018.

What is Tresiba?

Tresiba is a new generation long-lasting insulin that can be used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  The FDA has refused to approve Tresiba until additional clinical studies are conducted to evaluate potential cardiovascular risks. According to pharmaceutical industry analysts, Tresiba could be approved as early as 2017, but could take until 2021.

What’s the Concern with Tresiba?

In November 2012, the FDA issued a statement indicating that Tresiba, used once-daily, carries a higher risk of cardiovascular problems than other diabetes drugs on the market.

Novo Nordisk’s chief financial officer stated that the anticipated cost of the required cardiovascular studies could approach $300 million over the course of four to five years. Despite financial setbacks attributed to the FDA’s refusal to approve Tresiba, Novo Nordisk has reported 2013 first-quarter profits of $1.06 billion, based primarily on sales of its top-selling drug Victoza.

FDA Investigating Link between Victoza and Pancreatic Cancer

Victoza has come under scrutiny by regulatory agencies and medical professionals.

The FDA is investigating Victoza for its association with pancreatic cancer.  Unpublished findings from a group of medical researchers have indicated pre-cancerous cellular changes may be associated with Victoza.  Patients have also reported suffering pancreatic cancer after taking Victoza.

A study published in the March 2013 issue of the journal Diabetes found a 40 percent increase in the development of pancreatic tumors in patients treated with Victoza, compared to those treated with other diabetes medications.

Victoza is only one of several dangerous diabetes drugs that are being sold on to U.S. patients.  Other diabetes drugs linked to pancreatic cancer include Januvia, Janumet, and Byetta.  To learn more about these and other dangerous drugs, download my free book Prescription Drug Safety: 10 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Companies Do NOT Want You to Know.


Osphena and Viagra Are High Risk for Injuries

It’s been called the new Viagra for women.  Osphena is the new sex pill for women, and Big Pharma is banking that millions will buy the drug.  It is designed to treat “dysparunia”, which is moderate or severe pain during intercourse due to menopausal changes in the vagina area.

But, is this something that women really need?

According to Jennifer Block, an editor for Senior Planet, there’s more hype than help behind the drug’s claims, plus some scary risks and several unpleasant side effects.

In her article, she questions whether or not “dysparunia” is a real disorder affecting many women, or is it a simply another “backdoor” replacement for “hormone replacement therapy” with the same risks?

In case you don’t remember, the history of Hormone Replacement Therapy is quite concerning.  In the 60s, the idea of menopause as a curable disease that can be treated surfaced.  Sales of hormone treatments soared, and Big Pharma made lots of cash.

In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative helped uncover the truth about this hormone replacement therapy.  Not only were there no benefits whatsoever, to the contrary, there were many risks involved, and they were high.  These included increased chances of breast cancer, coronary vascular disease, stroke and blood clots.

Though there is some doubt about this, and drug companies would like to see the claims thrown out, there is one statement of truth learned.  Menopause is not a disease and does not necessarily need to be treated, especially if terrible risks can occur.

According to Block, dysparunia can be caused form a variety of things, like infection, or  not enough foreplay.  The natural changes that occur in women are kind of like hair that turns grey as we age.  She believes this is all a charade, a made up disease to be treated by a drug that is completely unnecessary.  Could this possibly be true?

This is the warning found on a website that informs people all about the drug, Osphena…

Label for Viagra

The warnings do not look appealing, especially if the benefits are next to nothing.

What about Viagra?

A pharmaceutical company called Pfizer developed it and it is being sold by several other large pharmaceutical, or Big Pharma companies as well.  This drug for men suffering from erectile dysfunction promises to be the cure.  However, it has many harsh side effects as well, and there is quite a few men who should never take it if they have Hypotension, cardiovascular risks, or a list of other problems.

It can cause severe hypotension, myocardial infarction, strokes, and even sudden death.  In 2005, The FDA found that it may even cause loss of eyesight!  I wonder how many users are aware of these effects.

Thank goodness the FDA is aware, but it may be too late.  The FDA did not take it off the market, but ordered Big Pharma to display the effects more prominently on their products, using a black label.  Pfizer faces many lawsuits claiming they did not adequately warn the public of such harmful effects.

Nobody likes to talk about sexual dysfunction, but the nasty side effects from taking these two drugs could land you in the hospital.  Make sure you seek legal counsel if you are harmed and believe it may be from Osphena or Viagra.  You are entitled to compensation for your injuries, and these companies need to pay their consequences for the harm they’ve caused.

Contact VanWey Law PLLC, Dallas’s Premiere Law firm, if you need an attorney who will fight for your rights.


Why You Should be Concerned about Nationwide Drug Shortages

Dallas drug injury attorney explains how a nationwide drug shortage could put people in danger if they are not able to receive medicines used to treat common injuries.

In recent weeks, news stories about cancer drugs in dangerous short supply have been capturing headlines across the nation. But few people know that cancer drugs are not the only vital drugs in short supply.

Nationwide, hospitals and ambulance companies have had to ration supplies of hundreds of medications used to treat common injuries.  Some of the most commonly used drugs in short supply are:

  • Midazolam & Valium—used to treat seizures
  • Morphine & Fentanyl—used to treat pain
  • Zofran—used to treat nausea and vomiting
  • Benadryl & Epinephrine—used to treat allergic reactions
  • Mannitol—used to control pressure in patients who have head injuries

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, paramedics who work for Medstar are using drugs past their expiration dates in some cases, because they simply do not have a stable supply of the medicines.  While the drugs can be made by local pharmacists, they typically do not last as long as those provided by the drug companies.

Attempting to address the shortage, President Obama signed an Executive Order just last year in which he directed the FDA to prevent and reduce the number of drug shortages that have been growing over the past few years. 

Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs have cut back manufacturing significantly, arguing that they make little profit on these common drugs.  But the Department of Justice has launched an investigation into whether some of these pharmaceutical companies are creating artificial shortages in order to increase demand, and therefore, increase prices.  If pharmaceutical companies have been illegally price-gouging or stockpiling medications, they could face criminal charges.

For now, the FDA is taking steps to protect consumers and prevent price gouging by instituting early notification requirements of potential drug shortages.  Unfortunately, this may be another case of big pharma putting profits before patients and consumer safety.

To learn more about the pharmaceutical industry, download my FREE ebook Prescription Drug Safety: 7 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Industry Does NOT Want You to Know at www.vanweylaw.com.


Pastry Chef Reverses Type-2 Diabetes Diagnosis without Drugs

Paula Deen’s type-2 diabetes announcement and partnership with big pharma has drawn criticism from fans and critics alike. Pastry chef Michael Mignano began dieting and exercising after his type-2 diabetes diagnosis and has since reversed his diagnosis without using diabetes drugs.

Southern chef Paula Deen recently announced that she has type-2 diabetes, which did not surprise many Americans, who for years have watched the chef make dishes loaded with calories, fat, and sugar.  With her health announcement, Deen also announced that she was endorsing diabetes drug Victoza, made by drug company Novo Nordisk.

Big Pharma Influences How People View Diabetes

Deen’s partnership with big pharma drew criticism not only from her critics, but also from her fans.  Chef Anthony Bourdain has criticized Deen’s cooking for years, and upon learning of her announcement, took to Twitter writing “Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”

While Deen has said she has changed her eating habits and has cut out the sweet tea, many question whether she really has changed the way she eats or whether she’s simply using Victoza to counteract eating poorly.  Either way, her recent partnership sends the message that people can eat what they want, and if they happen to develop diabetes, there’s a drug for that.

Diet & Exercise May Reverse Type-2 Diabetes

Health experts say people with type-2 diabetes don’t necessarily need to take diabetes drugs, many of which have been found to cause bladder cancer, thyroid cancer, and pancreatitis.  For many patients, eating better and exercising can reverse a type-2 diabetes diagnosis. Pastry chef Michael Mignano is proof of this.

Mignano spent years sampling his own sugar-filled creations and picking up fast food after a long day at work.  By the time he turned 36 years-old, he weighed 500 pounds and had been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.  Realizing the risks he was taking by eating unhealthy, Mignano agreed to go on “Fat Chef,” a new show on Food Network in which chefs like Mignano learn how to eat healthy and exercise.

Since filming, Mignano has lost over 100 pounds and has reversed his type-2 diabetes diagnosis, all without taking pills.  “Medicine is great, but it gives you this false sense of healing, but it’s not really doing what it’s supposed to do,” he said in a recent interview with ABC News.

Mignano is the first to admit that working with the food that contributed to his obesity is not easy, and neither is getting into a regular exercise routine.  But he says “It just makes me a happier chef, a happier person, which the result, you have happier food.”

Although “Fat Chef” is done filming, Mignano says he plans to stick with his diet and exercise regimen.  He hopes to drop his weight down to 250 and stay diabetes free.

Big Pharma’s Influence

For years, major pharmaceutical companies have pushed diabetes drugs on Americans with ever-growing waistlines, sending the message that you can eat whatever bad food you want because a pill will nullify the food’s bad effects.  But drugs like Avandia, Actos, and even Paula Deen’s Victoza may be more dangerous than helpful.  Avandia was pulled from the U.S. market completely after studies showed it caused heart attacks and death.  Actos is still on the market, but has been shown to cause bladder cancer.  And Victoza may cause thyroid cancer and acute pancreatitis.

To learn more about how big pharma influences consumers and their doctors, download my free e-book Prescription Drug Safety today at www.vanweylaw.com.


The Paula Deen Principle: Don’t Worry, We Have a Pill for That

Paula Deen’s diabetes announcement comes three years after her diagnosis, prompting questions of her ties to Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Victoza, which is a diabetes drug that Paula takes.

 “…when ya’all sit down to a simple plate of crisp fried chicken; a fluffy, warm, just-buttered biscuit; a mess of greens cooked down with a bit of ham; and a tall, handsome banana cream pie topped with ice-cold whipped cream afterward, well, you’ll have to agree; there is just nothing better.” Paula Deen, Southern Cooking Bible

Don’t get me wrong, I like Paula Deen. Her down home genuineness is familiar to me, although, I have wondered on occasion if that southern drawl is drawn out just a little more for the cameras.

At my roots, I am a southern lady. I am a baby boomer who grew up in a small town in southwestern Oklahoma.  I am a foodie, and I hail from a family that loves to eat.  Even before Paula Deen became a household name, my mother used to say that she’d slip in an extra stick of butter into her cheese grits recipe when Dad wasn’t looking.  Of course, back then we didn’t really completely understand the health dangers of some of the foods we were eating.

Just a few weeks ago, we enjoyed the holidays with some of Paula’s best recipes, including gooey pumpkin bars for Thanksgiving, chocolate pecan pie for Christmas, and brisket and cheese grits for New Year’s Day.

But the recipes that live on in our family traditions precede the advent of direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies.  The Gen X and Gen Y kids have grown up being fed a steady diet of pharmaceutical company ads, sending the message that drugs are good and that a little pill will cure us of our ailments.  We are being trained by these pharmaceutical companies and their Madison Avenue advertising agencies to eat whatever we want, including that high fat cheeseburger; after all, we have a pill to lower high cholesterol.  And if you develop diabetes, it isn’t a death sentence. We have pills for that. Want to perform better in bed? We have pills for that. Want longer eyelashes? You guessed it…we’ve got a pharmaceutical solution.

Now, as I have said before, there are many good drugs on the market that actually cure disease. There are many drugs on the market that some people can’t live without.  But, major pharmaceutical companies are also coming up with a whole new generation of drugs that are more like lifestyle drugs. They don’t cure anything, and they allow people to make really poor choices, thinking that a pill will make up for their bad decisions.

I wish a fraction of the money that was spent peddling drugs for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the like was spent on educating people about how to prevent themselves from getting these conditions in the first place.

What many people don’t know is the high risk and sometimes deadly toll some of these drugs can have on people. For example, the diabetes drug Avandia caused an estimated 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007, some of which resulted in death. The FDA finally pulled the drug from the market after trial lawyers had filed thousands of lawsuits against Avandia’s maker.

Another popular diabetes drug, Actos, has been pulled from the market in France and Germany after studies show it dramatically increases the risk of bladder cancer.  But Actos remains on the market in the United States, putting patients in danger of developing the disease.

I won’t stop buying Paula Deen cookbooks, and I will still make some of her recipes on special occasions. But listen up y’all, I can’t help but wonder why she waited three years to make the announcement that she has type-2 diabetes. Three years Paula? Come on now. Did it take your lawyers and agents that long to strike a 7 figure deal with a pharmaceutical company to endorse its diabetes drug? Was the timing of your announcement pure coincidence when it coincided with the announcement of your endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk?

While I am truly sorry to hear about Paula’s diagnosis, I can’t help but be disappointed in the fact that she has teamed up with a pharmaceutical company to market drugs for people to rely upon, instead of focusing on helping people lead healthier lives.  To learn more about how pharmaceutical companies get you to buy their drugs, download my free e-book Prescription Drug Safety: 7 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Industry Does NOT Want You to Know today at www.vanweylaw.com.


FDA’s Yaz Panel Influenced by Big Pharma

Four experts who served on the FDA’s Yaz panel on December 8, 2011 had ties with manufacturer Bayer, some of them financial. Consumer advocates are now calling on the FDA to take another look at Yaz and Yasmin.

Looks like the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will face pressure to take another vote on the popular birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin as reports surface that at least four of the experts had ties with manufacturer Bayer.

FDA experts met on December 8, 2011, to determine whether Yaz and Yasmin are safe for women to take.  The panel voted 15 to 11 to keep the pills on the market, citing that the benefits of the pills outweighed the risk of blood clots. 

Experts Received Money from Bayer

Dr. Julia Johnson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, was one of the experts who served on the Yaz panel and had ties with Bayer.  Before 2009, Dr. Johnson was paid by Bayer for work she did for the company. 

Additionally, she conducted clinical trials for Berlex, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Bayer, studying the effects of Drospirenone.  Drospirenone is the synthetic hormone found in Yaz and Yasmin that health experts believe may be contributing to the increased risk of blood clots in women taking the drugs.  That clinical trial involved a hormone replacement therapy, not birth control, and Dr. Johnson has denied any bias for Bayer or its products.

Another expert on the panel who received funding from Bayer was Dr. Anne Burke.  On a Bayer internal document, Dr. Burke is listed as a Bayer contraception expert.  She received research funding from Bayer, but stated that this occurred several years ago.

Two other experts admitted to having either past financial ties or research ties with Bayer.

All four of the experts voted in favor of Yaz and Yasmin, noting that they believe the risk of blood clots associated with the birth control pills is outweighed by the benefits of the drugs.

One expert who was not allowed on the panel because of an “intellectual conflict of interest” was Dr. Sidney Wolfe of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.  Because he has criticized Yaz as being an unsafe drug in the past, the FDA determined that Dr. Wolfe was too biased to serve on the panel.

This recent development raises the question: To whom is the FDA really catering–consumers or big pharmaceutical companies?  Based on the background of the Yaz  panel, it would seem that consumers are taking a backseat to pharmaceutical companies with money to hand out.

To learn more about how big pharma influences the FDA, download my free e-book Prescription Drug Safety at www.vanweylaw.com.


New Pain Pill to be Stronger than Vicodin

Purdue Pharma and several other major pharmaceutical companies have announced plans for new prescription painkillers that will contain pure hydrocodone. The pills will be 10 times stronger than Vicodin and will likely be more addictive than the prescription pain pills currently on the market.

Pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma and three other companies have announced a new prescription drug that will contain pure hydrocodone, a highly addictive narcotic painkiller.  The pill is expected to be 10 times stronger than Vicodin, one of the strongest painkillers available on the market.

Hydrocodone is an opiate much like heroin, oxycodone, codeine, and morphine.  The United States is the largest consumer of hydrocodone prescription pills, using 99 percent of what is on the world market.  Much of the hydrocodone available today is combined with other painkillers like acetaminophen.

Over the years, these pain pills have been criticized for being too addictive.  For example, OxyContin, produced by Purdue Pharma, is the most abused pain pill in the United States. When OxyContin was first introduced onto the market in 1995, abusers quickly learned that they could get a stronger high from the time-release caplets by crushing them.

Today, prescriptions that contain hydrocodone are a quick second to oxycodone in terms of abuse.  A stronger painkiller that contains pure hydrocodone could be disastrous for a nation already suffering with substance abuse and addiction.

The market for pain pills is $10 billion, and pharmaceutical companies are coming up with new drugs to get into the lucrative market. But big pharmaceutical companies are marketing the new drugs as safer, arguing that fewer patients will experience liver problems like they do with drugs that contain acetaminophen.

A form of pure hydrocodone could be on the market as early as 2013, but with an even more addictive prescription on the market, more patients may become addicted to the drugs, leading to numerous overdoses that will strain hospitals resources.  Abuse of hydrocodone alone has led to an uptick in the number of emergency room visits related to hydrocodone abuse.  In 2000, more than 19,000 visits to the emergency room were related to hydrocodone abuse, but in 2008 that number grew more than four times to more than 86,000 visits.

Prescription drug addiction is a brain disease that can be fatal if undetected or untreated. To learn more about America’s prescription drug addiction epidemic, visit www.vanweylaw.com.


Big Pharma Company Found Guilty of Deceptive Marketing

A South Carolina judge has ordered Janssen, maker of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, to pay a $327 million fine for deceptive marketing.

risperdal Pictures, Images and Photos

State governments are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to dangerous drugs.  Under the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has been ordered to pay the state $327 million for deceptively marketing its drug Risperdal.

Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia.  Known as a blockbuster drug, Risperdal made $1.5 billion in sales in 2010 alone.  South Carolina estimates that 620,000 prescriptions of Risperdal were written for residents on Medicaid and the state health plan.

Last March, a jury found that Janssen had violated the unfair trade law by sending misleading letters to 7,200 South Carolina doctors.  In the letters, Janssen downplayed the risk to patients of contracting diabetes while on Risperdal.  The company also claimed that the drug was safer than its counterparts manufactured by other companies.

Judge Roger Couch, who entered the order against Janssen, found that the company knew about the risks associated with taking the medicine, but intentionally concealed the studies from the public.  Of the deceptive act, Judge Couch said “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the desire to protect market share overshadowed the good judgment of those in control at Janssen.”

Can Texas consumers trust that Janssen did not do the same in this state?


U.S. Soldiers Suffering at Hands of Lawmakers, Big Pharma

U.S. soldiers are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan alive, but severely wounded both physically and mentally. In 2008 the pharmaceutical industry pushed lawmakers to give these soldiers prescription pain killers and other drugs. Soldiers now have higher rates of addiction to these drugs and a high rate of suicide.

us soldier Pictures, Images and Photos 

We hear the reports on the news all the time about military service personnel who have survived bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who have also lost limbs or have been seriously injured. They remind us of the great sacrifice they are making to protect our freedom. But the news media do not tell us about the stories of service personnel who were injured and have subsequently become addicted to prescription pain killers.

The wars of today are different than those fought previously.  In both World Wars I and II, thousands of U.S. soldiers died on foreign soil fighting for the freedom that we hold so dearly.  Today, soldiers are still dying, but due to advancements in medical technology, many are also surviving.  Unfortunately for those survivors, many live in fear and pain even after returning home.
Thanks to lobbying efforts by the pharmaceutical industry and its various pain management groups, lawmakers were convinced that prescription drugs would cure these ailing soldiers.  In 2008, two bills were passed that provided greater access to prescription pain killers and other drugs for active-duty soldiers and veterans.  One of the bills was the Veterans Pain Care Policy Act, and the other was the Military Pain Care Policy Act of 2008, which required the Department of Defense to implement a program where comprehensive pain care would be provided for active and retired military service men and women.  
In 2010, the U.S. Army Surgeon General expressed concern that soldiers were being overmedicated.  This came just two years after the passage of the Military Pain Care Policy Act of 2008, in which a study revealed that the comprehensive pain care provided was in the form of highly addictive prescription pain killers.
A study conducted by the U.S. Army found that 14 percent of soldiers had been prescribed an opiate prescription drug to treat their pain, and 95 percent of those prescriptions were for OxyContin or its generic, Oxycodone.  Other commonly prescribed drugs for soldiers include Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug, and Valium, an anti-anxiety drug.  All of the aforementioned drugs are highly addictive and have disastrous side effects, including irritability, suicide, and reduced reaction times.
After the results of the study came out, Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker remarked, “we’re very concerned about the panoply of drugs that are being used and the number of drugs that are being used.”  A Military Times report found that one out of every six service members is on some type of psychiatric drug.  In a 2008 survey conducted by the Pentagon, 15 percent of soldiers said they had abused prescription drugs within the past month.
Lawmakers are now calling on the military to closely monitor the prescriptions that are given to soldiers, while others in the military want the focus to shift to alternative pain management practices like yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and movement therapy. Currently, the Department of Defense does not keep track of prescriptions given to service members.
Whatever the military and lawmakers decide, they must not let the pharmaceutical industry bully them into giving our already injured soldiers highly addictive and dangerous pain pills.
I would like to thank Marianne Skolek, a staff writer at Salem-News.com and an activist for victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma. She first wrote about the devastating effects these highly addictive painkillers are having on our troops and brought it to my attention. You can read her full article at http://www.salem-news.com/articles/june232011/drugged-soldiers-ms.php.