Friday, June 4, 2010

WHO screwed up? / Prescription drug use by US children on the rise / Time to Start Talking About Cell Phone Radiation / 13-Nation Study, Dr. Mercola

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

4 June 2010

The report below seems to indicate the second biggest screw-up that the World Health Organization is presently involved.  In this case they have only wasted a huge amount of money that could have been put to much better use.  In their biggest mistake - the health effects of electro magnetic radiation, the stakes are much higher.  Not only is their lack of concern and failing to warn the public about the dangers likely to cause massive serious illness and early death, but the eventual health costs are likely to significantly eclipse the 7 billion dollars wasted on swine flu vaccine.

Martin Weatherall



Report condemns swine flu experts' ties to big pharma

Trio of scientists who urged stockpiling had previously been paid, says Council of Europe report bemoaning tentacles of drug company influence

Scientists who drew up the key World Health Organisation guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs in the event of a flu pandemic had previously been paid by drug companies which stood to profit, according to a report out today.

An investigation by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the not-for-profit reporting unit, shows that WHO guidance issued in 2004 was authored by three scientists who had previously received payment for other work from Roche, which makes Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), manufacturer of Relenza.

City analysts say that pharmaceutical companies banked more than $7bn (£4.8bn) as governments stockpiled drugs. The issue of transparency has risen to the forefront of public health debate after dramatic predictions last year about a swine flu pandemic did not come true.

Some countries, notably Poland, declined to join the panic-buying of vaccines and antivirals triggered when the WHO declared the swine flu outbreak a pandemic a year ago this week. The UK, which warned that 65,000 could die as a result of the virus, spent an estimated £1bn stockpiling drugs and vaccines; officials are now attempting to unpick expensive drug contracts.

The cabinet office has launched an inquiry into the cost to the taxpayer of the panic-buying of drugs.

Today, the Council of Europe, produces a damning report into how a lack of openness around "decision making" has bedevilled planning for pandemics.

"The tentacles of drug company influence are in all levels in the decision-making process," said Paul Flynn, the Labour MP who sits on the council's health committee. "It must be right that the WHO is transparent because there has been distortion of priorities of public health services all over Europe, waste of huge sums of public money and provocation of unjustified fear."

Although the experts consulted made no secret of industry ties in other settings, declaring them in research papers and at universities, the WHO itself did not publicly disclose any of these in its seminal 2004 guidance. In its note, the WHO advised: "Countries that are considering the use of antivirals as part of their pandemic response will need to stockpile in advance."

Many nations would adopt this guidance, including Britain. In 2005, the government said it had begun bulk-buying the drug Tamiflu, initially ordering 14.6m doses after bird flu killed 40 in Asia.

The specific guidance on antivirals was written by Professor Fred Hayden. He has confirmed in an email that he was being paid by Roche for lectures and consultancy work at the time the guidance was produced and published. He received payments from GSK for consultancy and lecturing until 2002. He said "[declaration of interest] forms were filled out for the 2002 consultation".

The previous year Hayden was also one of the main authors of a Roche-sponsored study that asserted what was to become a main Tamiflu selling point – its claim of a 60% reduction in flu hospitalisations.

Dr Arnold Monto was the author of the WHO annex dealing with vaccine usage in pandemics. Between 2000 and 2004, and at the time of writing the annex, Monto had openly declared consultancy fees and research support from Roche and GSK. No conflict of interest statement was included in the annex published by the WHO.

When asked if he had signed a declaration of interest form for WHO, Dr Monto said "conflict of interest forms are requested before participation in any WHO meeting".

The third scientist, Professor Karl Nicholson, is credited with the WHO's influential work Pandemic Influenza. According to declarations he made in the BMJ and Lancet in 2003, he had received sponsorship from GSK and Roche.

Even though the previous year these declarations had been openly made, no conflict of interest statement was included in the annex. Nicholson said he last had "financial relations" with Roche in 2001.

When asked if he had signed a declaration of interest form for WHO, he replied: "The WHO does require attendees of meetings, such as those held in 2002 and 2004, to complete declarations of interest."

A WHO official told the BMJ it had to balance an individual's privacy with the robustness of guidelines, which were subject to a wide external review process.


Prescription drug use by US children on the rise

* 1-in-4 children took drugs for chronic conditions in '09

* Juvenile use of diabetes drugs, antipsychotics on rise

* Medco medical director calls child data a "shocker"

* Medco sees overall pharma spend up 18 pct through 2012 (Adds comment from Medco medical director, disease category details, byline)

By Bill Berkrot

NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) - Children were the leading growth demographic for the pharmaceutical industry in 2009, with the increase of prescription drug use among youngsters nearly four times higher than in the overall population, according to a report by Medco Health Solutions Inc (MHS.N).

More than one in four insured children in the United States and nearly 30 percent of adolescents aged 10 to 19 took at least one prescription medicine to treat a chronic condition in 2009, according to an analysis of pediatric medication use conducted as part of Medco's drug trend study issued on Wednesday.

Medco is forecasting overall pharmaceutical spending to rise up to 18 percent through 2012, driven by diabetes, cancer and rheumatology treatments. Spending is expected to rise 3 percent to 5 percent this year, and 4 percent to 6 percent the next two years.

Overall increases will be somewhat held down by some $46 billion in branded drug sales that will succumb to competition from cheap generic versions by the end of 2012.

But the increases in prescription drug use by children for chronic conditions could fuel significantly higher health care costs as those young patients enter adulthood, Medco said.

"Looking at children was the real shocker for us," Dr Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer, said on a conference call from Medco's drug trend symposium in Orlando, Florida.

Over the past nine years, the most substantial increases in the medicating of children were seen in drugs for conditions not typically associated with them, such as for type 2 diabetes and antipsychotics, Medco said.

Some long-standing childhood maladies also saw large increases, such as asthma.


"What's surprising is the type of drugs these kids are taking. All these adult drugs are popping up in children, which is really disturbing," Epstein said.

"The obesity problem is contributing not just to diabetes but to a lot of other problems," he said, noting a 50 percent increase since 2001 in use of cholesterol lowering drugs among those aged 10 to 19, a 24 percent increase in use of blood pressure medicines, and a whopping 147 percent jump in adolescents taking heart burn and acid reflux drugs.

Medco and other pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, administer prescription drug benefits for employers and health plans and also run large mail-order pharmacies. Data for the study was collected from Medco's top 200 clients, representing more than 40 million people.

Childhood use of medications for type 2 diabetes, a disease once referred to as adult onset diabetes, rose 5.3 percent in 2009 and is up more than 150 percent since 2001, the study found. Girls between the ages of 10 and 19 showed the greatest jump at nearly 200 percent over nine years.

"We've got to get our arms around some very fast lifestyle modification or we're going to have a real problem, having these adult illnesses show up in children who will have a changing life expectancy if they're going to be sick from a very young age," Epstein cautioned.


Among the trends was the rise in children taking antipsychotics -- powerful drugs traditionally used to treat schizophrenia, but increasingly prescribed for other conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

Use of such drugs has doubled since 2001 and more than doubled for girls, according to Medco's nine-year analysis.

Use of some antipsychotics has also been associated with significant weight gain and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, potentially compounding health problems.

There was a 23 percent drop since 2004 in use of antidepressants by youngsters. That decline followed U.S. Food and Drug Administration warnings of the increased risk of suicidal thoughts by children using those drugs.

Rates of childhood asthma are also on the rise, Medco found. Respiratory drug use grew 5 percent among children in 2009 and is up 42 percent since 2001.

Use of drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often cited in reports on the over-medication of children, is also on the rise. But surprisingly, the increase was more pronounced among young adults.

Overall ADHD drug use was up 9.1 percent last year, leading to a 23.8 percent rise in spending growth. But the utilization increase was 21.2 percent among those aged 20 to 34. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)


Note -  I find the above report very disturbing.  As the use of wireless devices goes up, so does the health harm to children.  A serious warning sign must be taken from this statement - Use of drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often cited in reports on the over-medication of children, is also on the rise. But surprisingly, the increase was more pronounced among young adults.

Is this the start of long term effects of from wireless and cell phones that is just being noticed among young adults.  Will their brains be damaged forever by electronic games, cell phones and wireless devices?

Martin Weatherall



I had the pleasure of meeting with Senator Leno in his office in Sacramento a couple of months ago. He promised he would do something about this. Please read this closely. He is a good man and we need to support his courageous efforts!! We are breaking down that dam of denial daily! Thank you.

Ellie Marks


Date: June 2, 2010 4:37:29 PM PDT

Subject: Time to Start Talking About Cell Phone Radiation


Everywhere you look, from schoolyards to the halls of government, people are glued to their cell phones. An estimated 4.6 billion people worldwide use cell phones—300 million of them in the U.S. The average American spends more than 14 hours a month on a cell phone, far more than the residents of any other nation. With the emergence of smart phones and apps for everything from making dinner reservations to locating public restrooms, many people can't imagine modern life without them.

Neither can I. But new technology brings new risks. Using a cell phone while driving is distracting and dangerous, which has led states across the country, including California, to pass hands-free laws. Now, although the science is far from settled, concerns have been raised about the possible health risks of cell phone radiation.

Cell phones emit low levels of radiation. This radio-frequency radiation, measured by specific absorption rate (SAR), is how the phone communicates with the wireless network - but the radiation enters your head or body at the same time it travels toward the cell phone tower. Emitted radiation levels vary not only by make and model but also by the distance to the nearest cell tower, type of network and other conditions.

While studies cited by industry groups and the Federal Communications Commission show no correlation between cell phone use and negative health impacts, the scientific literature on the potential harm caused by cell phone radiation is far from unanimous. Recent peer-reviewed, independent studies from around the world have found that long-term, heavy cell phone use increases the risk of brain, salivary and acoustic nerve tumors as well as decreased sperm count. Of particular concern is the use of cell phones by children. The FCC's recommended safe levels haven't been updated since 1996, when cell phones were an expensive luxury for adults. Now cell phones are marketed to children whose heads are smaller and skulls are thinner, making them more susceptible to radiation, even at low levels. The European Parliament and health agencies in six nations (Switzerland, Germany, Israel, France, the UK and Finland) have recommended reducing children's exposures to cell phone radiation.

The FCC has posted guidelines for reducing potential risks associated with wireless devices. The precautions include using an earpiece or headset, keeping wireless devices away from the body when they are turned on, using the cell phone speaker, texting rather than talking and buying a wireless device with a lower SAR. While manufacturers must report SAR values to the FCC, this information is not currently given directly to consumers. Radiation levels are listed on the FCC website, but finding that information requires a difficult and tedious search. The Environmental Working Group, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1212, has published a user-friendly radiation guide ( that shows the radiation levels of today's best-selling smart phones are pushing the limits recommended by the FCC.

It is time to start a national dialogue regarding cell phone radiation. We don't want to look back and ask why we ignored the warning signs. That's why I have introduced SB 1212, a consumer right to know measure, which requires cell phone manufacturers and service providers in California to disclose cell phone radiation levels so consumers can make better and informed choices. In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom has introduced similar local legislation.

As we wait for the science to become more conclusive on the potential risks of cell phone radiation, it is common sense that we make this information easily accessible to consumers. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

Senator Mark Leno represents the Third Senate District of California, which includes portions of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties and all of Marin County. He can be reached via the web at, by phone in the San Francisco District Office at 415–557–1300 or San Rafael District Office at 415–479–6612, or by e-mail,


What Did This 10-Year, 13-Nation Study Discover About Brain Cancer and Cell Phones?

Posted By Dr. Mercola | June 03 2010

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