Propecia and Proscar are formulations of the drug finasteride. These medications are used to treat male pattern baldness and prostatic hypertrophy. Prior studies have found side effects including sexual changes (loss in libido and function) and now new studies are finding increased incidence of male breast cancer in some of the patients taking the drugs.
Health Canada has issued a warning:
Although the apparent risks are low, Health Canada issued a warning Thursday telling consumers the drug, finasteride, could be potentially dangerous. The drug, which comes in one-milligram and five-milligram formats, is used in the lower dose to treat baldness and the higher dose to treat non-cancerous enlarged prostate. Previous studies have raised flags about the five-milligram format, sold in Canada under the brand name Proscar, including an increased risk of prostate cancer.
As these drugs inhibit Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*
This is a guest post from Erik Davis of Skeptic North.
Bankers, Buyouts & Billionaires: Why Big Herba’s Research Deficit Isn’t About The Money
It’s a scene from the blogosphere that’s become all too familiar. A skeptic challenges a natural health product for the lack of an evidentiary base. A proponent of that product responds that the skeptic has made a logical error — an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and in such a scenario it’s not unreasonable to rely on patient reporting and traditional uses as a guide. The skeptic chimes back with a dissertation on the limits of anecdotal evidence and arguments from antiquity — especially when the corresponding pharma products have a data trail supporting their safety and efficacy. The proponent responds that it’s unfair to hold natural health products to the same evidentiary standard, because only pharma has the money to fund proper research, and they only do so for products they can patent. You can’t patent nature, so no research into natural health products gets done.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t a scene from an actual blog. The participants are way too civil, the arguments too coherent, and no one has been compared to Hitler. But it’s not a straw man either (look here, here, and here for recent examples), merely a distillation of an argument I’ve seen made repeatedly — that the deck has been stacked by Big Pharma, which has set a research bar that the much poorer natural health industry can’t possibly meet given the costs and lack of financial upside.
In my observation, skeptics don’t often have a good response to this argument beyond their basic scientific disposition toward only making assertions based on positive evidence. Typically, that’s not a disposition shared by the proponent, and thus they simply agree to disagree (read: trade barbs until the thread peters out from fatigue). Yet this need not be a purely philosophical debate. After all, there’s a testable premise embedded in this disagreement — that the natural health industry isn’t rich enough to sustain proper research. Is that true? Read more »
Remember that cold December in 1999 when we all thought that planes would soon be dropping out of the sky, nuclear power plants were to be melting down, and the world was going to end? This weekend Health Canada is giving clinicians across the country (and really all of North America) an opportunity to feel the anxiety, fear, and excitement all over again.
In 2007, the dates for switching between Standard and Daylight Saving time were changed, and the authorities, three years into the new schedule, have issued a warning for this weekend’s one hour rollback:
Medical equipment manufactured prior to 2007 may not function optimally if the equipment has not been updated by manufacturers to compensate for the new dates.
To date, Health Canada has not received any reports of device malfunctions because of the revised time change that began in 2007. However, examples of medical devices that could be affected by the change include (but are not limited to): implanted pacemakers/defibrillators with sleep modes that can only be adjusted by physicians; Holter monitors, used to continuously record heartbeat; and glucose monitors that store data on glucose levels.
If a medical device displays the incorrect time after 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 7, 2010, users should contact the manufacturer to bring the problem to their attention and consult a health care professional.
Press release: Health Canada Reminds Canadians to Check Medical Device Clocks After the Switch to Standard Time …
Image credit: Dan Woods…
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
Bradley Merrill Thompson, an attorney with expertise in the FDA approval process for medical devices, is stating that the FDA is actively monitoring app stores on various platforms. Regulating medical devices and health care-related applications falls under the FDA’s jurisdiction.
James Kendrick from JkOnTheRun spoke with Thompson, where he stated the following:
The FDA is actively engaged in surveillance of various app stores to see if apps should trigger their involvement. Applications where a smartphone is connected in any way to imaging are under scrutiny, in particular. Any app that is used to transmit images to a medical facility requires FDA approval.
By “various app stores,” Thompson is likely referring to the App store [Apple], Palm App Catalog [Web OS], App World [BlackBerry], and the Android Marketplace [Android OS]. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*
On the heels of Scott Gavura’s superb post on dietary supplement regulation in the U.S. and Canada, I bring you one of the most egregious and obscene product cases I have seen in 15 years of teaching on botanical and non-botanical products: Miracle Mineral Solution. Please accept my apologies in advance for not having a scholarly post for you — this is just too unbelievable not to share with science-based medicine readers. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*