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Generic drug companies conspired to fix drug prices and rake in billions by cheating customers, lawsuit says – NaturalNews.com

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Image: Generic drug companies conspired to fix drug prices and rake in billions by cheating customers, lawsuit says

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The business practices of Big Pharma are abhorrent, but some people manage to avoid falling victim to the inflated prices of brand-name medications by getting generic pills. Unfortunately, that is looking less and less like a viable alternative as more information about extensive price fixing among generic drug companies comes to light. Now, the makers of generic pills are facing a federal antitrust case brought about by 45 different states.

The attorneys general of the states in question are accusing nearly 20 generic drug makers of illegally collaborating to hike the prices of their drugs. According to the suit, which was first reported by Business Insider, employees at rival firms conspired in close communications about ways to increase their prices on drugs used to treat conditions like diabetes, insomnia, anxiety, heart failure, and epilepsy.

Their actions saw the prices of common drugs rise by 1,000 percent or more, with patients and taxpayers footing the bill. The lawsuit alleges they violated federal and state laws related to competition and consumer protection.

In one example mentioned in the civil suit, New Jersey drug company Heritage Pharmaceuticals contacted a rival’s vice president to “discuss strategy” related to how the price for a bone disease drug should be set. They found out how the rival was setting the price for its version of the medication and talked about how they could divide up the market to limit competition.

The lawsuit accuses some major pharmaceutical companies of this type of behavior, including Mylan, Novartis and Teva. Employees allegedly communicated via emails, text messages, phone calls and LinkedIn to find ways to hike the prices of a variety of generic medications. A criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice is also underway.

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Two of the higher-ups at Heritage Pharmaceuticals, former president Jason Malek and ex-CEO Jeffrey Glazer, have already pleaded guilty to charges including price fixing, anti-competitive conduct, and bid-rigging in different criminal actions and are reportedly cooperating with investigators.

A better alternative?

These cases have cast generic drugs in a very negative light. As cheaper versions of brand-name meds that are made once their patents expire, they are considered by many to be a better alternative to their higher-end counterparts. Generic drugs have generally escaped the scrutiny and criticism lobbed at brand-name pharmaceuticals over their pricing practices and have been thought of as a market-based way of bringing down high drug costs through competition. Unfortunately, when generic drug makers are colluding to undermine this type of competition, everyone loses.

The lawsuit alleges that the generic drug manufacturers used their own type of inside terminology to refer to their collusion. For example, they talked about “playing nice in the sandbox” when referring to complying with their price fixing arrangements, with all drug makers expected to agree on drug prices and ensure everyone made a tidy profit.

According to the suit, Malek contacted Teva about a drug used for epilepsy, glaucoma and heart failure known as acetazolamide ER. The two firms ended up taking almost 80 percent of the market for this drug, and the attorneys general who brought the suit about say that Malek and the Teva employee agreed that if Heritage raised prices, Teva would do the same or at least agree not to try to take their customers by underbidding them.

They also discussed raising the price of an antifungal medication known as nystatin. This eventually led to Teva doubling the drug’s price after sharing information with its two main rivals for the medication. After receiving a text message complete with a smiley face informing them of the plan, Sun Pharmaceutical then raised its own price of the drug.

An employee of Sun also contacted Heritage to say they would temporarily stop manufacturing an antibiotic, paromomycin. In response, Malek instructed another Heritage employee to raise the price of the drug as Sun was its only competitor for that particular medication. The lawsuit also alleges that Heritage and Mylan worked together to keep the price of an acne drug, Doxy DR, high.

Yet another reason natural medicine is preferable

Generic drug makers saw shares drop sharply earlier this month on the news that the lawsuit had expanded into a huge probe into price fixing throughout the industry, encompassing more than 300 drugs.

An assistant attorney general in Connecticut, Joseph Nielsen, said: “This is most likely the largest cartel in the history of the United States.”

In one example cited in a report about the developments, the price of a common asthma medication was raised by 3,400 percent. With generic sales totaling roughly $104 billion this year alone, overbilling even a small fraction of these sales would amount to billions of dollars in extra costs for patients.

Whether you buy brand-name drugs or generic pills, being at the mercy of profit-obsessed pharmaceutical companies is always a losing proposition. It’s not just your wallet that’s at stake; many of their so-called “solutions” cause side effects that keep you coming back for more and more drugs to treat problems you never had in the first place. That’s why natural treatments are so popular these days – they’re typically safer, more effective, and a lot cheaper than drugs made in a lab.

See PrescriptionDrugs.news for more news coverage of Big Pharma’s mass medications.

Sources for this article include:

BusinessInsider.com

MarketWatch.com

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Researchers warn about the severe psychological distress caused by eating junk food

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(Natural News) Does junk food make you sad? While the current state of the American food industry is more than enough to make anyone feel depressed, new research from Loma Linda University demonstrates a link between junk-laden diets and psychological distress. Based on their findings, it appears that what you eat can and does affect your mental health — and that the prepackaged garbage peddled as “food” can have a seriously deleterious effect on your emotional well-being.

Even after adjusting for other external factors, the scientists found this relationship held steady: The more junk food a person ate, the more distress they reported feeling. When you consider the physiological effects junk food has on the body, it is no wonder that people report feeling like they are more distressed: They are in distress, they just don’t know it’s because of what the “food” they’re eating is doing to them on the inside.

Estimates suggest that the average American gets 60 percent of their daily calories from processed or junk food. Junk food consumption is a widespread problem here in the United States. Now, there are questions about whether or not junk food is a driving force in the plague of insanity (and stupidity) striking the U.S.

Scientists link junk food to poor mental health

Published in the journal International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition in early 2019, a study from Loma Linda University scientists finds a link between poor diet and poor mental health. Even after adjusting for external factors such as gender, age, education and income level, the association between junk food intake and mental illness remained.

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Study leader Jim E. Banta, Ph.D., MPH, an associate professor at the school, says that their conclusions support the findings of previous research. To conduct their study, Banta and his team looked at data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). The scientists used 240,000 phone surveys conducted by CHIS between 2005 and 2015, and included data on socio-demographics, health status and health behaviors.

“This and other studies like it could have big implications for treatments in behavorial medicine,” Banta said of the findings.

“Perhaps the time has come for us to take a closer look at the role of diet in mental health, because it could be that healthy diet choices contribute to mental health. More research is needed before we can answer definitively, but the evidence seems to be pointing in that direction,” he added.

The fact that scientists in the 21st century are only now just beginning to even consider the possibility of a relationship between nutrition and mental health is truly disturbing. Natural health practitioners have long been aware of the importance of good nutrition for total well-being, including mental state.

Is poor nutrition turning America insane?

Vitamin D deficiency is a well-known cause of depression. B vitamins, iron, selenium and magnesium also support good mental health and deficiencies in these nutrients can also cause depression and anxiety. There is a growing body of research which strongly supports poor nutrition as a causative factor not only in depression, but in other mental illnesses — including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD and more.

For example, Dr. Banta notes that some research has linked high sugar consumption to bipolar disorder, while fried foods and processed grains are linked to depression. There is no ignoring the link between diet and disease — whether it is of the body or of the mind makes no difference.

Nearly 60 percent of the American population’s diet comes from disease-causing food, and it is hard not to wonder if obesity, heart disease and death aren’t the only problems being caused by junk food diets.

Are the increasingly insane leftists just running around in a nutrient-deprived, sugar-spiked frenzy? Whether you’re talking about the inanity of “social justice” score-keeping or the rapid acceptance of censorship to silence conservatives, it’s clear that the far left is missing a few bolts upstairs. A diet of GMOs, pesticides and toxic food additives will do that to you, though.

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Eat healthier to improve your physical and mental well-being

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(Natural News) The physical health and mental well-being of a person depend a lot on nutrition and the food that he eats. Diet also influences the risk of developing chronic diseases. While the relationship between physical health and diet is well-understood, little is known about how diet and its quality influence the development of mental disorders. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany investigated the behavioral effects of a Western diet on pattern separation – the process of keeping items distinct in memory. They discovered that a diet consisting of increased amounts of sugar and saturated fatty acids, reduced levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and an increased ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids (Western diet) harms memory. The results of their study were published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness.

The Western diet impairs pattern separation

In this study, researchers investigated the utility of spatial separation – a behavioral process associated with the hippocampus – in the assessment of dietary interventions and the behavioral effects of the transgenerational administration of a Western diet on pattern separation. Pattern separation is the process of keeping items distinct in memory and is mediated by the hippocampus. Previous studies have suggested that there is a relationship between hippocampal function and diet quality in both humans and animals.

To examine the association between them, the researchers used rats, feeding over seven generations a diet containing increased amounts of sugar and saturated fatty acids, reduced levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and an increased ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids. This diet composition is characteristic of a diet known as the Western diet. The researchers administered it transgenerationally because previous studies have shown that interventional diets need to be implemented over several generations to induce behavioral effects.

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They compared the spatial pattern separation (or local discrimination) performance of these animals with that of rats fed a standard diet. For the test, they presented the rats two locations and allowed them to learn across trials to respond to the correct location. During spatial discrimination training, they designated a location as the correct one and rewarded the rats if they touched the correct location. They reversed the correct and incorrect locations every time the rats successfully got the correct ones nine times out of 10 trials.

The researchers found a separation-dependent difference between the standard and Western diet groups in the number of discriminations performed in the pattern separation task. The rats fed with a Western diet performed fewer discriminations. Rats with lesions in the dorsal hippocampus showed impaired pattern separation when the locations were close together but not when they were far apart. The researchers associated this impairment with hippocampal dysfunctioning. Their results align with previous studies which demonstrated that consumption of a Western diet impaired cognitive functions, damaged brain regions, and contributed to the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases. Their results confirmed that pattern separation could be negatively affected by transgenerational administration of a Western diet.

The researchers concluded that spatial pattern separation can help detect the effects of dietary interventions and that the Western diet can impair pattern separation.

How to make your diet healthier

A healthy diet can provide many benefits, the most important of which is the prevention of chronic diseases. Here are some things that you can do to make your diet healthier:

  • Eat slowly
  • Choose whole grains
  • Add probiotics to your diet
  • Increase your protein intake
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid frying food and eating fast food
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Try new and healthy recipes
  • Eat vegetables first before every meal
  • Eat fruits instead of drinking them
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop drinking sweetened beverages
  • Get adequate sleep

Eating healthier and becoming aware of your nutritional needs will not only improve your physical health, but these will also benefit your mental and emotional well-being.

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Apples: Eat them to keep the doctor away – and boost stem cell therapy

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(Natural News) There is some truth behind the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are superfoods, and they are good sources of antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative damage and boost the immune system. They also contain dietary fiber, which is good for digestion and the maintenance of gut microbiota. But there is more to apples than just being healthy, antioxidant fruits. In a recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research, researchers from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea showed the beneficial effect of apple extracts on the proliferation of adult stem cells. They also identified the possible molecular mechanisms underlying apple’s pro-proliferative effects.

Apple ethanol extracts can enhance the proliferation of stem cells useful for tissue regeneration

Tissue regeneration using adult stem cells (ASCs) has significant potential in the treatment of many degenerative diseases. It also provides a promising means of repairing chronic tissue or organ failure due to injuries, congenital defects, and aging. Stem cells are essential in regenerative medicine because they can be used directly in cell replacement therapies. However, studies on their application in clinical settings suggest that age negatively affects the proliferation status and differentiation potential of ASCs. This presents a possible limitation in their therapeutic use.

In the hopes of addressing this limitation, researchers turned their attention to the pro-proliferative activity of apples. Apples are rich sources of valuable phytochemicals that are known to be beneficial to human health. They possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even anticancer activities. These antioxidants can help maintain human cells and protect them from harmful oxidation products. In addition, apples contain metabolites that could ensure longevity and increase the number of human cells in culture. (Related: Apples could hold key for increasing lifespan.)

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Because of this, researchers hypothesized that apple extracts might exert beneficial effects on ASCs. They obtained apple extracts using ethanol as the extraction solvent and tested these on human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs) and human cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (CB-MSCs). They also used 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and Click-iT 5-ethynyl-2?-deoxyuridine flow cytometry assays to evaluate the pro-proliferative effects of the extracts.

The researchers found that treatment with apple extracts promoted the proliferation of ADSCs and CB-MSCs. Apple extracts also induced the stepwise phosphorylation of p44/42 MAPK (ERK), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), p70 S6 kinase (p70S6K), S6 ribosomal protein (S6RP), eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4B, and eIF4E in ADSCs. p44/42 MAPK (ERK) is a signaling pathway involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation. Inhibition of this pathway results in cell apoptosis. mTOR is a key signaling node that coordinates cell cycle progression and cell growth. p70S6K is a cytokine that regulates cell growth by inducing protein synthesis. eIFs, on the other hand, are proteins or protein complexes involved in translation and protein biosynthesis.

The researchers also reported that apple extracts significantly induced the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in both ADSCs and CB-MSCs. VEGF is a potent angiogenic factor, which means it promotes the formation of blood vessels. VEGF also plays a role in other physiological functions, such as hematopoiesis, wound healing, and development. IL-6 is a promoter of proliferation. The researchers further confirmed that the apple extract-induced proliferation of ADSCs under serum-free conditions is mediated by ERK-dependent cytokine production because when they pre-treated cells with PD98059, a specific ERK inhibitor, it inhibited the phosphorylation of the mTOR/p70S6K/S6RP/eIF4B/eIF4E pathway.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that extracts from apples are potent pro-proliferative agents, and the beneficial effect of apple extract on the proliferation of ASCs may overcome the limitation in their therapeutic use in tissue regeneration.

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