Published Precision vs. Profits, an investigation for Discover Magazine on costly prostate treatments of marginal benefit to thousands of men.

The Yaz Men: FDA advisors’ have ties to industry

Members of FDA panel reviewing the risks of popular Bayer contraceptive had industry ties.

US advisory panellists on drug’s safety had ties to manufacturers

At least four members of a key committee advising the US Food and Drug Administration on the safety of a top selling drug have had financial ties to its manufacturers, raising questions about the rigor with which the agency minimises potential conflicts of interest.

Profiting From Recession, Payday Lenders Spend Big to Fight Regulation

Industry Steps Up Lobbying as Senate Grapples With Financial Reform

The influential $42 billion-a-year payday lending industry, thriving from a surge in emergency loans to people struggling through the recession, is pouring record sums into lobbying, campaign contributions, and public relations – and getting results.

Why Insurers are Winning

unitedhealthstevensHow the big U.S. insurers shape health reform (BusinessWeek)

Deadly Delays: Bureaucracy is Killing Us

In the air, on highways, along rails, and on school buses, death recurs as bureaucrats dawdle

Long after wreckage is examined for clues, causes determined, and solutions urged – thousands of Americans still risk death or injury in similar accidents because the causes weren’t fixed. (The Plain Dealer)

Other stories from this series:

Ice on Jets – Recurring Risk, Tolerated for Years – Despite pinpointing causes of multiple commercial airliner crashes, Washington does nothing to require simple, proven remedies advocated for years

Flight 405: The Story of Four Passengers– Strangers on a plane, going about the routine business of flying, trusted that commercial aviation had become as safe as airlines and the government could make it.  They were wrong.

Killer Trucks – Why the Slaughter Won’t Stop – Trucks with self-adjusting brakes would have fewer accidents, causing less damage and saving hundreds of lives.  Yet the government dawdled in requiring them.

While Grownups Squabbled, Children Died – Battles between automakers and regulators for more than a decade stalled development of safer child seats.

Feds Shrug Off a Life-Saver for Commuter Planes – Commuter airline flights crashed repeatedly into the ground for lack of a simple device  urged for years by federal safety officials. The  FAA declined. Planes kept crashing.

Cessnas Crash, but Agencies Do Nothing –  For decades, Cessnas chocked from a carburetor flaw known to the manufacturer and the government. Yet pilots had never heard of the problem, and the government required no fix.

Yellow Coffins – Modern school buses are among the safest means of transport. Yet when accidents occur, children are often trapped. Still, the government for years allowed preventable tragedies to recur.

Safety Board Has No Teeth – The National Transportation Safety Board is widely known for investigating accidents. What many people don’t realize is that it’s powerless – a toothless tiger.

Drug Trials

Do people know the truth about experiments?

Unwitting test subjects in clinical trials often are kept in the dark.On the frontiers of medical science, researchers frequently fail to clearly disclose the experimental nature of their work. Risks, alternatives or uncertainties are obscured or incompletely explained.

(A series from The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

In the Name of Healing Doctors infused a solvent also used as a gasoline additive into Laura Michalski’s abdomen. Within hours, she died. Eight years later, her family learned it had been an experiment.

“They Used Our Kids as Guinea Pigs.” Medical research records show the U.S. government is still in the business of conducting and paying for clinical trials on unsuspecting Americans.

Foreign Tests Don’t Meet U.S. Criteria The cycle of hype, hope and heartbreak surrounding clinical trials has become a chronic condition in the global pharmaceutical industry, which now initially tests two-thirds of all products for Americans overseas. The experiments often involve fraud, concealed side effects, improvised experiments and human rights abuses.

Research Standards Overseas Vary Greatly With human lives and huge investments at stake, the global pharmaceutical industry increasingly relies on research from outside the United States, where fraud and the use of unwitting test subjects is commonplace. “It’s our little secret…frightening,” acknowledges an overseer of experiments on four continents.

Overseers Operate in the Dark Institutional Review Boards, which oversee clinical trials, were supposed to wrest the monopoly on decision-making from the scientific establishment, placing it in the hands of a group that could balance the interests of medicine, human beings and the community. Average time spent reviewing each clinical trial? Two minutes.

Secrecy in Tests Led to Trouble Doctors confront a dilemma when they experiment on people: Are they healers or scientists? Should they give a patient the best treatment possible? Or do they use their patients as a means to discover better treatment for others?

Other stories in a subsequent series that took a still closer look at medical experimentation around the world:

Living Proof: U.S.-Run Study Gave Ugandans Dummy Pills Instead of Treatment American researchers let tuberculosis worsen, unchecked by an effective drug, in a control group of 500 Ugandans with HIV, as they charted its deadly progression. Some thought “placebo” was a medication that would help them. In the U.S, the practice would have been unethical.

U.S. Medical Researchers Flout Rules Around World On nearly every continent, the U.S. government and its clinical trials partners have hidden risks and undertaken medical experiments without legally required  agreements to avoid human rights abuses.

Home Wreckers

How bank lobbyists undermine homeowner rescue efforts

foreclosureEven as foreclosures surged, banking industry lobbyists undermined attempts to keep people in their homes. Big banks and their advocates in Washington delayed, diluted and obstructed attempts to address the problem. Industry lobbyists are still at it today, working overtime to whittle down legislative remedies, buy time and thwart regulation.(BusinessWeek)

On the Quayle Trail

Articles on vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle, from the 1988 election. Deadline enterprise included disclosures involving his law school admission, enrollment in National Guard, and inaccurate resume. (The Plain Dealer)

Ice on Jets – Recurring Risk, Tolerated for Years

Federal government fiddled while planes kept crashing for the same reasons

The government’s failure to react to recurring accidents involving wing ice on Fokker F-28’s and DC-9 jets led to tragedy – again and again. It’s hardly the only example of preventable tragedies recurring unnecessarily. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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