kidney cancer

  1. Ibuprofen linked to miscarriage

    Over-the-counter painkillers end lives -- a tragic reality that the FDA outrageously refuses to recognize.

    No matter how many people die, you can bet they'll do practically nothing to limit the easy access to painkillers.

    Now, a new study finds that some of the most common of these meds -- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen -- can cut lives short before they even begin, boosting the miscarriage rate by a stunning 240 percent.

    Canadian researchers say data on some 50,000 pregnant women found that those who gobble down these meds during pregnancy lose their babies 36 percent of the time -- while those who skip the drugs have a 15 percent miscarriage rate.

    The problem here isn't just the sky-high miscarriage risk -- it's that the risk is always highest during the first trimester. And ladies, you know the deal -- you don't always know right away if you're pregnant.

    If you're a sexually active woman of baby-making age, you could be in the first trimester at any given time and not even know it.

    What I'm getting at here, if it's not obvious, is that women should avoid NSAIDs like ibuprofen even if they're only thinking about pregnancy -- because it's never too early to give 'em up... and there's always a possibility you'll be too late.

    If that's not enough risk for you and your family, another recent study finds that NSAIDs can boost the risk of kidney cancer in men and women alike by 50 percent.

    Throw in some of the other risks I've told you about lately -- these meds can up the odds of stroke, heart attack and an early death -- and you don't have a painkiller anymore. You've got a people-killer.

  2. Government questions the dollar value of human life

    Recently, a depressing story from England provided a glimpse into America's not-too-distant (and oh-so-grim) healthcare future as it could be in the looming Age of Obama. A cancer patient in Britain was denied the drug that could have held his kidney cancer at bay for six months, because treatment was deemed to be too expensive by British healthcare authorities.

    And you thought life was a priceless gift from God. Guess again. In Britain, at least, the "priceless gift" has a price tag. And to the British government, Bruce Hardy's life is not worth the $54,000 cost of cancer treatment.

    The drug in question is Pfizer's Stutent, which according to clinical trials, can delay the progress of cancer for as much as half a year.

    This shocking decision was made by the British government agency called the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (which creates the incredibly ironic acronym of "NICE," even though this particular decision is anything but). According to the guidelines set by this agency, the British government can only "afford" about $22,750 to prolong a person's life - except in rare cases.

    Of course, only true apparatchiks could so dispassionately make such an outrageous statement in public, and there's been massive public protests over the ruling throughout the UK - as there should be.

    In spite of the protests, however, the literal price-tagging of human life has been standard practice in the British healthcare system. It's why there's unusually long waits for procedures that would be nearly immediate here in U.S. In fact, if the Hardys lived in the U.S., getting the drug wouldn't be an issue - but the family would likely have to pay for part of the cost of the treatment regimen.

    The problem is, drug prices are rising rapidly, and budgets are shrinking even faster. And that's a global problem, as any glance at the headlines or a 10-minute viewing of the evening news will tell you. And even without a national socialized healthcare program, some version of NICE is likely coming to the U.S. sooner than you might think.

    Dr. Sean Tunis, who once served as the Bush Administration's chief medical officer of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, claims that during his tenure he spent a good portion of time "learning about NICE and trying to adopt the processes and mechanisms they used, and just couldn't."

    Why not? Because in America, the entire concept of determining the medical devices or treatments available to patients based on cost would have prompted a national outrage. But outrage or not, Dr. Tunis believes process is coming soon.

    Of course, no one is willing to accept the blame for situation that the Hardys find themselves in. Higher ups at NICE point their finger at Big Pharma for jacking up costs in order "to get profits up so their executives can get better bonuses." As usual, Big Pharma reps are talking out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they claim that they're more than willing to be as cooperative as they can with NICE. Then, at the same time, they send their own advocacy group, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, into the fray to paint NICE's executives as "terrorists." Caught in the middle, of course, are people like Bruce Hardy. Sadly, he's little more than an object lesson. And it looks like object lessons like these will only grow more common in the coming years.

  3. Government questions the dollar value of human life

    The drug in question is Pfizer's Stutent, which according to clinical trials, can delay the progress of cancer for as much as half a year.

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