Bohemian polypharmacy – with a nod to Queen

Bohemian Polypharmacy

Sit back for six minutes or so and enjoy every line of Bohemian Polypharmacy – a parody of Queen’s classic, Bohemian Rhapsody. This time around, it’s a song all about polypharmacy – which is what we call it when we are taking more medicines than we need to.  This is yet another brilliant gem from Canadian pharmacist and professor Dr. James McCormack, with lyric help from David Scotten and creative input from Pete McCormack.  Great vocals are by local Victoria band Aivia members Liam Styles Chang (lead) and Shae Scotten (background).

Dr. James McCormack is half of the brains behind Therapeutics Education Collaboration (TEC), home of the highly entertaining (and educational) BS Medicine podcast (the BS stands for, of course, Best Science). His partner in crime is family physician Dr. Michael Allan. Here’s how they describe TEC:

“The best way to describe us is that we are the ‘mythbusters’ of drug therapy.”
Continue reading

Statin guidelines we love to hate – and the docs who write them

Here at Ethical Nag World Headquarters, it’s been quite the week ever since the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released their new cardiovascular disease treatment guidelines, which I have taken the liberty of sub-titling:

“If you have a detectable pulse, you need to be taking statins!”

For more specifics on the guidelines – including the list of four newly-identified  groups of people whose heart health will benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering medicationoops, I mean statins only – every day for the rest of their natural lives, read yesterday’s Ethical Nag post, Can Statins Prevent My Head From Exploding?

What happens next? Your doctor will now review all 284 pages of the new guidelines, and then, in a bonding moment of shared decision-making, the two of you will soon sit down together to decide upon just the right course of action – oops, I mean drug prescription – based on what the guideline authors have recommended, in turn based on an (allegedly) flawed risk calculator that’s predicted to significantly increase the very large pool of daily statin-using drug takers, even among healthy individuals formerly considered low-risk for future cardiovascular disease.

But first, let’s set off for a behind-the-scenes visit to the people who actually write these treatment guidelines.  Continue reading

Key Opinion Leaders in medicine are paid to have an opinion

It seems that there are enough physicians out there who aren’t even a tiny bit embarrassed about referring to themselves out loud as “Thought Leaders” or “Key Opinion Leaders” to keep Canada’s Dr. Sergio Sismondo busy writing about them.

I first wrote about his work in A Philosopher’s Take on Big Pharma Marketing. Focusing on what he calls the pharmaceutical industry’s “corruption of medical knowledge”, the Queen’s University professor now has a new paper in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.

In it, he warns us about physicians and academic researchers who willingly become financially enmeshed in Big Pharma’s marketing efforts:(1)  Continue reading