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Puppets of Drug Company?

October 2004

“Arthritis Care” puppets of Drug Company?

Paul Flynn MP Newport West, Vice Chair of the Commons All –Party Group on Rheumatoid Arthritis said today (1st October 2004):

The advice by Arthritis Care “ not to stop taking Vioxx” is irresponsible and dangerous. Are they acting in the interests of one of the drug companies that funds them and not in the interests of arthritics? Arthritis Care’s website has just been rebuilt with financial aid from Merck, the manufacturers of Vioxx.

Vioxx has now proved to have fatal side effects. It is one of the Cox-2 Inhibitor drugs that Arthritis Care has strongly featured in their campaigns. Many other drugs for arthritis have been withdrawn in the past when fatal side effects have been discovered. It is worrying that Vioxx users are being urged to change to others Cox-2 Inhibitors that may have undiscovered side effects.

To their credit Arthritis Care has promoted exercise and other non-drug methods of coping with pain. They should use this further proof of drug harm to promote safe non-drug alternatives.’

in May 2001 the Following was posted on this website.

Is Arthritis Care Drug- Pushing ?

Paul Flynn MP Newport West, who has had arthritis since childhood, questions the motives of Arthritis Care in calling today for more spending on new drugs.

Paul Flynn said, “Athritis Care demands more expensive drugs on their website which is sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies Merke, Sharpe and Dohme and Wyeth Laboratories.

No drug can cure arthritis. Often the best ‘medicine’ is lifestyle changes in taking sensible exercise and improved mental attitudes to pain. Nobody make a profit on those.

Some ‘new’ drugs in the past have been found to cause serious, sometimes lethal, side-effects and have been withdrawn. Even drugs used now by arthritics are connected with 300 deaths a year in the UK.

Athritis Care’s presentation to the Commons recently was unconvincing. They were then accused of doing the work of pharmaceutical companies. Will they come clean and publish details of financial assistance they have from drug companies?

Some Side Effects

TNF can lead to excessive inflammation such as that experienced by patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Most common side effects: diarrhea, hair loss, rash

Other new drugs cause abdominal pain, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea
flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, nausea, and joint/muscle pain)

An American Website reports on new arthritis drugs in the USA where Thalidimide is being promoted:
Cyclosporin or Neoral can cause kidney problems, increased blood pressure, and tremors. These may be of a serious nature and any one taking Cyclosporin or Neoral is closely followed.

Leflunomide or Arava's side effects include diarrhea, rash, and hair loss; and some people cannot tolerate these side effects.

Oxaprozin or Daypro is a long acting non steroidal anti inflammatory and as such may have fewer side effects associated with it, however if a side effect occurs, it will be long acting as well. Oxaprozin or Daypro can cause stomach irritation including ulcer perforation. It prolongs bleeding times and has been associated with fulminating hepatitis.

Thalidomide can cause severe birth defects. It is teratogenic.
Peripheral neuropathy - numbness and tingling in the hands and feet - may occur. Other side effects include sedation, constipation, dry mouth, and dry skin. A hypersensitivity - edema, rash - may also happen