The European drug industry wants to keep it's secrets
"The head of Europe's pharmaceutical industry body has threatened "a series of lawsuits" if the EU's medicines body goes ahead with its great plans to publish more of the clinical trial information it holds. The European Medicines Agency plans to proactively publish the Clinical Study Reports.
(CSRs) companies submit to it when they apply for a license. Researchers at Germany's medicines licensing body this week showed that these CSRs contain vital information about drug effectiveness and safety and that regulators and doctors need that information to make decisions about treatments.
The industry body thinks they can delay or stop the release of this information with lawsuits. We need your help to expand the AllTrials campaign and make sure the attempts to kick this into the long grass don't work."
Petition for signing here.
"Spanish Government Complaint Box Causes Boomerang Effect "
"The Spanish Minister of Employment and Social Security,Fátima Bañez, has launched a “complaint box” to combat workplace fraud.
The government is encouraging citizens to anonymously report cases of fraud committed by companies and individual workers for further investigation by the Office of Labor Inspection.
The “box” is a publicly accessible online form on the Ministry's website.
The move has sparked controversy in the blogosphere and on social networks, and created a boomerang effect against the Spanish government: the first complaints received through the new system were directed at the government itself and members of the political sphere, not at ordinary citizens as intended.
Once again, the people have demonstrated their wit and humor while responding to government action.
The main criticism of the complaint box is that with it the government aims to make citizens into “snitches,” [or informers] creating an accusatory climate that is more like an authoritarian system than a democracy.
Critics also say that its real goal is to persecute the most vulnerable people in society instead of going after the country's wealthiest citizens tax evasion or alleviating unemployment.
The contradiction has not gone unnoticed: that those claiming to combat fraud are part of a government overwhelmed by massive corruption scandals and suspected of illegal financing of its party, the ruling People's Party (PP)."
Read more from Elena Arrontes' article on Global Voices here.
How the economic "crisis" kills
[Photo: Corbis *from source.]
On Monday morning a woman committed suicide in the Madrid suburb of Carabanchel, after receiving an eviction notice.
She was only the most recent victim of a problem that psychologists have been warning about for several years : mental disorders caused by the crisis, mainly due to a rapid increase in unemployment, ending up raising suicide rates.
But, even though there have been numerous studies linking mental disorders and economic crisis there had been no fully-conclusive evidence of it.
The crisis has made the suicide rate increase markedlyaround the world.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal this week says that in 2009, the year after the start of the global economic crisis, the overall suicide rate among men rose by 3.3 %, an increase of approximately 5,000 self-inflicted deaths in all countries analyzed in respect to the expected trend.
In Spain, suicides increased by 7.2% more than expected, but only among men, one of the authors of the study, professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol, David Gunnell confirms.
In the 20 European countries that already have data for 2010, the analysis indicates an even greater increase in male suicide: 10.8 % more than in 2009.
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong , Oxford and Bristol, found that the evidence suggests that the increase in the number of deaths was observed mainly in the 27 European countries studied (up 4.2%) and in 18 countries in the Americas (6.4%) .
They further stress that their findings are "probably an underestimate of the true impact of the global economic crisis on suicide " because some countries data was not yet available.
In fact , in the 20 European states that already have information on 2010, his analysis indicates an even greater increase in male suicide, 10.8% more than in 2009.
The increase in the suicide rate is particularly high among men in countries where the level of pre-crisis unemployment in 2007 was relatively low (in Spain it was at 8.26% ) .
According to the researchers, this is explained by "the economic crisis and rising unemployment causing more fear and anxiety...and stigma...in countries where unemployment was low, which in turn has resulted in increased suicides."
For scientists, an increase in the suicide rate is usually the tip of the iceberg of emotional distress related to the recession. According to statistics, for every person who takes his own life, about 30-40 try to, and for every attempted suicide a dozen people experience suicidal thoughts.
The impact of the economic crisis on the mental health of the Spanish was investigated by a team of scientists from the University of the Balearic Islands, led by Dr. Margalida Gili.
They published their findings last year in the European Journal of Public Health. According to them, between 2006 and 2010, mental disorders (as seen by primary care physicians) grew significantly. In this period diagnoses of depression increased by 19.4 %, anxiety was up 8.4 % and there was a 4.6 % jump in alcoholism.
The government's austerity policy is causing further loss of jobs, and increasing the risk of suicide, the authors of the study found, but they are cautiously hopeful and insist that this problem has a solution:
"Our findings show that the economic crisis causes a significant increase in suicides, but previous research shows that this risk is not inevitable. Programs to boost the labor market may help offset the impact of the recession on suicide levels, since a successful relocation of the unemployed significantly reduces or eliminates risks to mental health on the unemployment. In times of cuts, countries with limited resources can focus their aid on young men of working age. In many countries, however, government austerity is causing further loss of jobs, which will increase the risk of suicide. Urgent action is needed before the economic crisis causes a further increase in suicides.
My translation from original source here.
Does this sound familiar...?
The events of the 1590s had suddenly brought home to more thoughtful Castilians the harsh truth about their native land – its poverty in the midst of riches, its power that had shown itself impotent…
For this was not only a time of crisis, but a time also of the awareness of crisis – of a bitter realization that things had gone wrong. It was under the influence of the arbitristas that early seventeenth-century Castile surrendered itself to an orgy of national introspection, desperately attempting to discover at what point reality had been exchanged for illusion….
The arbitristas proposed that Government expenditure should be slashed…
Most of the arbitristas recommended the reduction of schools and convents and the clearing of the Court as the solution to the problem. Yet this was really to mistake the symptoms for the cause.
MartínGonzález de Cellorigo was almost alone in appreciating that the fundamental problem lay not so much in heavy spending by Crown and upper classes –since this spending itself created a valuable demand for goods and services – as in the disproportion between expenditure and investment.
‘Money is not true wealth,’ he wrote, and his concern was to increase the national wealth by increasing the nation’s productive capacity rather than its stock of precious metals. This could only be achieved by investing more money in agricultural and industrial development. At present, surplus wealth was being unproductively invested –‘dissipated on thin air – on papers, contracts, censos, and letters of exchange, on cash, and silver, and gold – instead of being expended on things that yield profits and attract riches from outside to augment the riches within. And thus there is no money, gold, or silver in Spain because there is so much; and it is not rich, because of all its riches….’
The Castile of González de Cellorigo was…a society in which both money and labour were misapplied; an unbalanced, top-heavy society, in which, according to González, there were thirty parasites for every one man who did an honest day’s work; a society with a false sense of values, which mistook the shadow for substance, and substance for the shadow.
J.H. Elliott, Imperial Spain: 1469-1716
[Many thanks to Tom Young for sending me the above text.]
Mortality map shows Spain's north-south inequality
There are not many better ways to show the crude inequality of a country than in a mortality atlas: a map that shows at a glance where and how people die.
The most complete atlas of mortality to date in Spain is heartbreaking. Data and 200 maps showing the mortality of men and women between 1984 and 2004 show that in southern Spain premature death from all causes and for both sexes is higher than in the north.
The atlas, made by 25 researchers led by Joan Benach and Jose Miguel Martinez, professors at the University Pompeu Fabra, reveals that in the case of men, higher mortality is concentrated in the southwest, with cancer of the trachea, bladder disease and lung cancer as most common.
"The atlas does not explain the causes of mortality," says Joan Benach. The maps, however, do point to where the problems to investigate are, as when an earlier work showed an increased risk of dying from several types of cancer in coal mining towns [including those in Asturias where I recently visited to learn and write about.]
[My translation from source in Castellano here.]