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Wednesday 30 August 2017

Canakinumab. A New Wonder Drug! Promoted by the mainstream media

The mainstream media, urged on by their pharmaceutical sponsors, have announced that the drug Canakinumab is a new wonder drug. This Telegraph headline gives a flavour of what the pharmaceutical industry wants us to know. 
"New wonder drug hailed as biggest breakthrough in fight against heart attacks and cancer".

Wonderful news, except that regular readers of this blog will probably know that I am not over-impressed with such claims. During the last 60 years we have been deluged with similar claims for a wide variety of new drugs that have never materialised. Even their most success drugs are now failing - painkillers are too dangerous for doctors to prescribe - antibiotics are becoming increasingly unable to kill bugs which are now largely resistant to them, and so on. And we now face epidemics of chronic disease, largely as a result of the side effects and adverse reactions to these same drugs.

The drug costs £40,000 per patient per year! Yet, as usual, there is no mention that the new wonder drug might cause serious side effects. But of course, it does, and these are outlined on the website. It starts with a warning. 

               "Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug." (My emphasis).

So patients are advised to contact their doctor, and get medical help immediately if any of the following side effects are experienced.
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever
  • Wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Cough that does not go away.
  • Weight loss.
  • Dizziness or passing out.
  • Very bad irritation where the shot was given.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • A very bad and sometimes deadly problem called Macrophage Activation Syndrome (MAS) may rarely happen in people with juvenile arthritis.
Canakinum is also known to cause headache, stomach pain, upset stomach or throwing up, diarrhoea, muscle pain. weight gain, sore throat, runny nose, and flu-like signs.

If the mainstream media was motivated, in any way, to protect patients from iatrogenic harm as they clearly are to promote pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, they may have wanted to take time to read, and mention these problems associated with this new wonder drug to their readers!

Regular readers will also know that I don't always report on them (it would become somewhat boring and monotonous), but there are reasons for doing so in this case. I went on to read some of the comments made on the Telegraph article. They are interesting, and you should read them too! They are almost entirely cynical about the article, to say the very least. It shows that people are beginning to realise that the tactic of announcing a new 'wonder drug' is a marketing ploy, one which never materialises! 

Perhaps the mainstream media might also read the comments, and learn from them. Their promotion of pharmaceutical drugs is meeting reasoned and thoughtful resistance. Continuing to promote pharmaceutical drugs is damaging the credibility of the press and media with the public.
     "Canakinumab was associated with a higher incidence of fatal infection than was placebo. There was no significant difference in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio for all canakinumab doses vs. placebo, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.06; P=0.31)."

So no real benefit in terms of improved longevity compared to a sugar pill; dead is still dead, regardless of cause. Certainly not worth £40,000 per year.
  • Hmm. Stains do not have a sound record but I do hope this new product will really help those that need it. Each year, it is suggested by my GP that I take up Statins. I always refuse because I am not vulnerable to heart attacks and my parent never suffered from them . Furthermore, my Cholesterol and Triglycerides readings when taken, are below alert  levels. So why am I so encouraged? Because they will help me. I cannot resist the thought that NICE who promote the prescription of this drug, are paid a commission on sales. I believe the Global annual sales of Statins now exceed $50 Billions per year and that is one big incentive to push the product.
  • BTW did you kniow that cancer is now a  $125 Billions per year Industry? In the USA alone? With that sort of income, why would anyone want to create a cure?
  • Oh dear, a monoclonal antibody therapy. 1 vial of 150 mg costs 9927.80 quid. I cannot see NICE paying for it. Not four times per year per patient. We shall see.
  • Another week - another wonder drug you'll never hear about again. The establishment don't really want you to have 'wonder drugs' that work. Although they are quite happy for you to have 'wonder drugs' with bad side effects - like statins. What on earth benefit does it have to them to help OAP's to continue to live longer by giving them expensive life prolonging drugs? 
  • Not again!
  • Hold on I am sure I read about the wonder drug interleukin decades ago.
  • The non mainstream healthcare sector has believed for years that inflammation can cause major health issue. There is evidence linking inflammation to insulin resistance and obesity yet this is often ignore by the protectionist medical industry. Look at Linus Paulings Vic C, and Lysene protocol for reducing cholesterol and heart failure. Totally ignored by mainstream medicine because there is simply no profit in it. The possibility that inexpressive, uncontrolled substances may eliminate the need for complex 8 hour operations and months of expensive drugs doesn't sit well with those who provide the drugs and carry out the operations.
  • The Wikipedia article on canakinumab says, 'On Aug 27, 2017 the results of the CANTOS trial were announced ... CANTOS saw a 15% reduction in deaths from heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular disease combined. CANTOS also observed serious side-effects, and no overall survival benefit.'Presumably then you're less likely to die of the things they're trying to treat, but more likely to die of the side-effects, and the two approximately cancel each other out.
  • Everyone has to die of something eventually. I am 78, and just about the only one of my large group of friends not on medication. Many of them take statins, among other things. My doctor has tried, numerous times, to get me on them in spite of my cholesterol, blood pressure and heart all being perfectly fine. I have had a chest x-ray and blood tests recently, due to a chest infection. All the results were ok. I would rather die quickly of a heart attack, or fairly quickly of cancer than linger into old age and end up sitting in a nursing home with dementia and wasting my childrens' rather small inheritance on fees. I have always had a healthy suspicion of taking medication, and of the drug companies who make a fortune from pushing it. I lead a fairly active life, and will only take something if my GP can convince me that it is really needed. MY plan is to go out with a bang, not a whimper! Fingers crossed that I manage it!
  • Actually what many Doctors won't tell you is that HIGH Cholesterol in the elderly is associated with ''longevity''! I'm reminded of a woman in America who had a cholesterol reading of 15 points (uk) which is approximately 3 times the guideline of about 5. Almost forgot. She was active, sharp, and ''105 years old''.
  • It's an anti-inflammatory which works by knocking out the immune system. Use very carefully!
  • Biggest breakthrough since STATINS eh! Shoot yourself in the foot why don't cha! Red rag to a bull time, so here we go ... Let's be clear. In spite of all the HYPE concerning STATINS they have NEVER been shown to prevent Heart-Disease or Heart Attacks, or even prevent a single Death ... And yet with the help of a corrupt culture of medical disinformation and a superb advertising campaign they are a 30 billion dollar a year industry. But perhaps far more worrying, Statins are increasingly linked to all manner of health problems, from Cancer to Alzheimer's and ironically to the one most common to all ... PREMATURE AGING. And somewhat strange that a suspect band of ?Experts? are at now odds with so many GP's and for that matter, even the literature of Lipitor the no1 best selling Statin drug in the world, which states .... ''Lipitor does not prevent heart disease or heart attacks''! ...... So why is it being prescribed on such vast scales, by so many medical practitioners .... ? Corruption?
  • Hmm...... biggest breakthrough since statins. There is still alot of controversy regarding statins and even the medical profession can't agree with each other. I know plenty of people who have stopped taking these meds due to serious side affects, including memory loss. The pharmaceutical companies obviously want to push these drugs because of increased profits. I stopped taking statins due to serious side affects and feel alot better off them. Regarding this new drug, l hope it lives up to expectations.
  • Why do I greet such headlines with a degree of cynicism? I suppose it's a bit like the reverse crying wolf.
  • 200 000 people  x 40000 Pounds equals eight billion pounds per annum. Can't see this happening soon.
  • Did someone buy some Novartis shares on Friday?
  • OR, you could just include turmeric in your daily diet ritual which has proven anti-inflammatory properties without an injection or side effects.
  • I would also advise the DT to read more widely on whether this is truly a wonder drug.  The NEJM's editorial concludes with the following sentence, "the modest absolute clinical benefit of canakinumab cannot justify its routine use in patients with previous myocardial infarction until we understand more about the efficacy and safety trade-offs and unless a price restructuring and formal cost-effectiveness evaluation supports it."
  • Probably why they're interested in the further cancer research - I believe that if you find a new treatment for an existing drug, the patent clock is either restarted, or at least elongated.