For years, a trio of anemia drugs known as Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp ranked among the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States, generating more than $8 billion a year for two companies, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. Even compared with other pharmaceutical successes, they were superstars. For several years, Epogen ranked as the single costliest medicine under Medicare: U.S. taxpayers put up as much as $3 billion a year for the drugs.
The trouble, as a growing body of research has shown, is that for about two decades, the benefits of the drug — including “life satisfaction and happiness” according to the FDA-approved label — were wildly overstated, and potentially lethal side effects, such as cancer and strokes, were overlooked.
Last year, Medicare researchers issued an 84-page study declaring that among most kidney patients, the original and largest market for the drugs, there was no solid evidence that they made people feel better, improved their survival or had any “clinical benefit” besides elevating a statistic for red blood cell count.
It was a remarkable finding of futility: While drugmakers had seen billions in profits over 22 years, much of it from taxpayers, millions of patients had been subjected to dangerous doses that might have had little advantage.
How did this happen?
Speaking this morning, Coe said: “We had to raise through the organising committee a mountainous amount of money from the private sector.
“The organising committee pretty much raises all of its money through that area and we do it thorough sponsorship and we do it through broadcasting rights. And when you have big British businesses that are prepared to really invest in the Games, you have the responsibility to protect them.
“We have to protect the rights of the sponsor because in large part they pay for the Games.”
“You probably wouldn’t be able to [walk in] with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they’ve put millions of pounds into this project but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport. It is important to protect those sponsors.”
Asked if people could enter venues wearing Nike trainers, Coe replied: “I think you probably could … You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers.”
However, responding after the interview, Locog said: “As an individual you are free to wear clothing of your choice … of course. Including trainers.”
Let’s just keep sports out of the Olympics and concentrate on supporting corporate profiteering..
Why not complete the idiocy? Make cheating an official part of the Olympics, provided the cheat is sponsored by someone. “This 10 meter head start is officially brought to you by McDonald’s.”
Houston Police officer Adan Jimenez Carranza was put in jail on Friday after DNA evidence linked him to a rape he is accused of committing in June.
The victim says that she was involved in fender bender with other cars when Carranza came to the scene and directed all parties to a nearby parking lot. She says Carranza handcuffed her and put her in the back of his patrol car. He then waited until the other people involved in the accident left the scene, and raped her in the the backseat. He had his badge and gun on the entire time.
After the rape, Carranza drove the victim to the precinct and booked her in for reckless driving.
As the title implies, Games for Cats isn’t for you, unless you’re very easily entertained. The iPad title is essentially a collection of “chase a thing around the screen” mini-games designed to keep your feline family members from shredding the curtains.
The game offers an additional level for a mere 99 cents, easily accessed and bought via a user friendly menu. Very user friendly. So user friendly, in fact, that even cats can use it. Perhaps you can see how that might be a problem.
Hiccup, the game’s developer, received a ton of complaints from upset customers whose cats had managed to purchase the the aforementioned DLC. Some even went as far as to suggest that Hiccup was deliberately trying to fool the cats into buying the DLC.
“We got in a lot of trouble,” said TJ Fuller, the artist for the title.
Historically, Skype has been a major barrier to law enforcement agencies. Using strong encryption and complex peer-to-peer network connections, Skype was considered by most to be virtually impossible to intercept. Police forces in Germany complained in 2007 that they couldn’t spy on Skype calls and even hired a company to develop covert Trojans to record suspects’ chats. At around the same time, Skype happily went on record saying that it could not conduct wiretaps because of its “peer-to-peer architecture and encryption techniques.”
Recently, however, hackers alleged that Skype made a change to its architecture this spring that could possibly make it easier to enable “lawful interception” of calls. Skype rejected the charge in a comment issued to the website Extremetech, saying the restructure was an upgrade and had nothing to do with surveillance. But when I repeatedly questioned the company on Wednesday whether it could currently facilitate wiretap requests, a clear answer was not forthcoming. Citing “company policy,” Skype PR man Chaim Haas wouldn’t confirm or deny, telling me only that the chat service “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”
So what has changed? In May 2011, Microsoft bought over Skype for $8.5 billion. One month later, in June, Microsoft was granted a patent for “legal intercept” technology designed to be used with VOIP services like Skype to “silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session.” Whether this technology was subsequently integrated into the Skype architecture, it’s impossible to say for sure.
A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.
James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.
He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy”. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.
The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.
News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch has resigned from a number of News Corp subsidiary boards in Britain and the United States, a spokeswoman confirmed.
His resignations on Saturday follows the announcement in June that News Corp would be split into two separate companies: a smaller publishing division and a much larger entertainment and TV group.
Murdoch stepped down as a director of NI Group, Times Newspaper Holdings and News Corp Investments in the UK, Daisy Dunlop, who speaks on behalf of News Corp’s British arm, News International, said.
“This is nothing more than a corporate housecleaning exercise prior to the company split,” a News International statement said.
Corporate housecleaning? “Eww, what’s that gross thing there?”
…the Dirty Digger should be in a prison cell
An Egyptian court has sentenced a former MP to a year in prison for public indecency, after police said they found him fondling a woman on his lap in a parked car at night.
Ali Wanees was sentenced on Saturday to a year in prison for the incident and six months for abusing the policemen, while the woman involved got a six month jail term.
Police said in a report that the man was touching and caressing the woman when they approached him while parked alongside an agricultural road outside Cairo last month.
Wanees has denied the charges, saying that he pulled the car over to assist his ill niece. Police claim that he is not her uncle.
It’s the same the ‘ole world over…the miscreant has fled, the woman is going to jail.