Big Pharma Helps Milk Lobby With Dangerous Drug

Got milk allergy? Many people including Native Americans and people of Asian, African and South American descent are lactose intolerant and can’t and don’t drink milk. That is the way nature made them over epochs and no one ever died of a dairy deficiency.

But there is money in dairy. That is why American fast food companies try to bring the love of dairy to cultures where it traditionally hasn’t existed. And that is why the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board in the US disseminate “educational” materials that address “misconceptions about lactose intolerance” according to research in Born With a Junk Food Deficiency, How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health. The marketing groups bragged to Congress that they regularly assure people in such ethnic groups that their lactose intolerance “should not be a barrier to including milk in the diet,” in an ongoing effort to help US dairy farmers. Ka-ching.

While the dairy industry has rolled out many products and supplements that help people with lactose intolerance “enjoy all the great taste of dairy and avoid the discomfort,” Big Pharma is now getting into the act. It now suggests that people can overcome their milk allergy by taking a genetically altered drug that is linked to cancers and deaths!

The drug Xolair, omalizumab, a member of an immune-suppressing class of drugs, reduced symptoms of milk allergies said researchers at the recent American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology annual meeting. “I think the evidence is pretty strong that it does make a significant difference,” said a co-author of the research, Hugh Sampson, MD of Mount Sinai Hospital who reports eight financial links to Big Pharma companies.

Xolair and other recombinant DNA-derived monoclonal antibody drugs like Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira and Remicade can make as much as $10,000 to $20,000 a year per patient for Big Pharma. In patients who actually need them, like those with autoimmune diseases, they are important drugs. But since the “MoAbs” debuted, it has been a race to the bottom for Big Pharma to find everyday conditions which could justify prescribing the expensive, injected drugs.

Remember how antipsychotic drugs like Seroquel, approved for schizophrenia, soon became drugs of choice for every day depression and the “blues”? That is the same marketing plan for MoAbs (called “indication creep”) which are now marketed for everyday asthma, skin conditions, indigestion and now, apparently food allergies. If private and government health insurers want to fork over millions for the bio-engineered Franken drugs which are “meddling with Mother Nature,” according to the People’s Pharmacy that merely loots tax dollars and raises insurance premiums. But the drugs also kill.

MoAbs cause TB, cancers and super infections according to their labels because they suppress the immune system. Xolair was investigated by the FDA for links to heart attack and stroke and 77 people who took Xolair had life-threatening allergic responses in a year and a half, according to FDA reports. This is a drug to treat milk allergies?

There is also a shadow over Xolair’s clinical trials. They were conducted at Vivra which was investigated twice by the FDA for procedural irregularities. Trials of Xolair and at least seven other drugs were corrupted by protocol violations and outright falsifications, according to a former clinical research subinvestigator who worked at the facility. San Mateo, Calif.-based Vivra Asthma & Allergy was the nation’s largest respiratory disease physician practices until a merger with Lakewood, Colo.-based Gambro in 1997 and with El Segundo, Calif.-based DaVita in 2005.

Once again Pharma has a dangerous, expensive drug that almost no one needs and is creating lame and contrived uses. Does anyone believe someone should tamper with their immune system to drink milk? Except the dairy industry?

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her first book, titled Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus Books. She can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net. Read other articles by Martha.