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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
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Drug bust

Big pharmaceuticals head for lower profits as chemists bump limit

Pfizer dumps $300 million five year upgrade as it closes facility; profits of 90% to 95% will expire along with patents

Dr. Sliskovic makes $13 billion a year for Pfizer, but gets laid off

Will Mother Nature make a comeback?

pfizerlipitorad.jpgAs Christmas approaches, please spare a thought for the sad plight of the drug companies. As the WSJ explains in a fine series of illuminating pieces, they are having a tough time coming up with new drugs just as the patents are expiring on their blockbusters. The prize example at Pfizer is Lipitor, the world’s most lucrative drug:

Pfizer Inc. will be particularly hard-hit when the patent expires as early as 2010 on Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering blockbuster that ranks as the most successful drug ever. Pharmacists and managed-care companies will aggressively fill prescriptions with generics, reducing annual Lipitor sales to a fraction of last year’s $13 billion.

By 2012, Merck & Co. will face generic competition to its three top-selling drugs: the osteoporosis treatment Fosamax, Singulair for asthma and the blood-pressure drug Cozaar. Those three represent 44% of the company’s current revenue. Following the loss last year of patent protection for Merck’s cholesterol-lowering Zocor, sales this year are expected to fall 82% from $4.38 billion in 2005. A Merck spokeswoman said the company has several products in the pipeline that will offset its patent losses.

The rise of generics wouldn’t matter so much if research labs were creating a stream of new hits. But that isn’t happening. During the five years from 2002 through 2006, the industry brought to market 43% fewer new chemical-based drugs than in the last five years of the 1990s, despite more than doubling research-and-development spending.

grred2.jpgNowadays coming up with a successful new drug is harder than you may think, it seems: the chances of a new one making it into the market is less than 1/10,000, the drug companies claim:

It has never been easy to take a drug from the lab, through animal testing and into human trials. The industry estimates only one out of every 5,000 to 10,000 candidates makes it to human trials. And many drugs that work beautifully in animals fail miserably in people.

But those odds seem to have worsened in recent years, prompting debate about whether the cause is government regulation, corporate structure or an excessive scientific reliance on chemicals rather than biology.

Many drug-company executives blame the FDA for pulling back on approvals. “Very few products are being approved today,” said Bernard Poussot, incoming chief executive of Wyeth. The heightened scrutiny contributed to delays of two Wyeth products this past summer, the company has said.

Evidently the MacDonald’s executive who took over the helm at Pfizer is convinced that chemists can’t come up with hugely profitable breakthroughs any more by fiddling with the Periodic Table.

greed.jpgIn one measure of the greed ethic rampant in the industry, even the inventor of Lipitor, the extraordinarily successful cholesterol curber, has been laid off, and the huge research facility where he toiled is shuttered. How much extra pay did he get from a grateful Pfizer for a drug that earned the company billions of dollars, and which still pulls in $13 billion annually? Not one red cent.

In August, Dr. Sliskovic’s team stopped doing research and began transferring projects to other Pfizer sites. The labs are now being cleaned, inspected and sealed off. The 177-acre campus is a ghost town of empty rooms and boxed-up equipment.

Dr. Sliskovic didn’t seek an internal transfer. He felt that moving would be too hard on his family.

As acting head of chemistry at the Ann Arbor labs, Dr. Sliskovic earned far above the $112,000 a year paid to the average chemist of his experience level. Dr. Sliskovic says he will receive severance pay for between 18 months and two years. With two children in college and another in high school, he says, two years is the longest he could afford to forgo a paycheck.

Dr. Sliskovic has already repainted the family kitchen and living room. Now he is festooning the house and yard with holiday lights. Worried about their financial future, his wife, Cindy, took a second part-time job at the barn where they keep their horses. The irony that the drug her husband helped discover will bring in nearly $13 billion for Pfizer this year hasn’t been lost on her. As a staff scientist, Dr. Sliskovic earned no bonus or royalties for his work on Lipitor.

biotechtomato.jpgWhat will the industry do now to escape the new squeeze? The move is into biotechnology, where products are created not by chemists in test tubes but in live cells, where they don’t yet face competition from generics. Companies are currently charging over $50,000 annually for a cancer drug, and $200,000 a year for one which fights another disease, because competition from generics hasn’t arrived, and it won’t come until Congress creates a way to regulate them.

“For all our amazing advances in the last 50 years, we are still working with the tools of the first pharmaceutical revolution…using advanced chemistry to treat disease symptoms,” Mr. Taurel of Lilly said in a 2003 speech.

The future, many believe, lies in biotechnology. Unlike traditional, chemistry-based drug development, biotechnology uses biological tools to create entire proteins, often similar to those that occur in the human body. This approach has yielded successful drugs to treat diseases such as anemia, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Biotech drugs are especially appealing because they face no competition from generics: No regulatory pathway yet exists in the U.S. for bringing to market generic biotech drugs. So until Congress creates such a pathway, no generic threat will exist to the $4,400 a month that Genentech Inc. charges for its cancer drug Avastin, or the $200,000 a year that Genzyme Corp. gets for Cerezyme to treat Gaucher disease. And biotechnology products tend to target specialized areas of medicine that don’t require mass advertising or armies of salespeople.

pfizerpills.jpgIf you think the vast profits still being made on certain drugs are pure plunder, however, you have to remember that research costs are enormous and the pay off is uncertain. One drug lost $800 million without going anywhere:

Investors, once huge beneficiaries of drug-industry success, have moved to the sidelines. As the Dow Jones World Index rose 75% in the six years ended Nov. 29, the FTSE Global Pharmaceuticals Index fell 19.8%.

While many patients are benefiting from lower-cost generics, others are waiting in vain for relief of their suffering. “In anxiety disorder, the field has imploded in terms of drug development,” said P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of biological psychiatry at Duke University medical school. “Ten years ago, we had eight or nine different” anxiety-disorder drugs under development, but that has now “come to a halt.”

At last month’s big American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Fla., there were just two high-profile studies of experimental drugs on the agenda. One, for Eli Lilly’s anti-blood-clotting drug prasugrel, posted results that left some doctors and analysts questioning whether the drug would be a big seller. Lilly, however, says it is “very pleased with the trial’s outcome.”

The other study was a postmortem on Pfizer’s torcetrapib, already known as one of the industry’s most costly failures, with $800 million in budgeted research costs.

Meanwhile the industry is fighting to keep its grasp on America’s pocket book as long as it can:

lipitor.jpgThe dearth of new products has led the industry to invest heavily in marketing and legal tactics that squeeze as much revenue as possible out of existing products. Companies have raised prices; the average price per pill has risen 63% since 2002, according to Michael Krensavage, Raymond James analyst. Companies raised advertising spending to $5.3 billion in 2006 from $2.5 billion in 2001 and since 1995 have nearly tripled the number of industry sales representatives to 100,000.

The industry spent $155 million on lobbying from January 2005 to June 2006, according to the Center for Public Integrity, on “a variety of issues ranging from protecting lucrative drug patents to keeping lower-priced Canadian drugs from being imported.” The industry also successfully lobbied against allowing the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, the center said. The lobbying has drawn fire from politicians, doctors and payers, and damaged the industry’s public image.

A new era of natural treatment heralded, maybe

mothernature.jpgThe other side of the coin is how radically medical treatment might benefit if the commercial pressure from drug companies which distorts it is lessened or removed.

As one knowledge activist in the field points out to Science Guardian, “Mother Nature has been outlawed” in the US marketplace for medications ever since the Kefauver-Harris amendment to the Food and Drug Act in 1962. This ordained that drugs could not be licensed by the FDA until their efficacy was proven in trials, as well as their safety. That put in place an obstacle course of trials to prove effectiveness as well as safety that now costs as much as $400 million or more.

Chemical drug companies of enormous size can handle this financial challenge, but small vitamin companies can’t jump through the hoop. The enormous cost is too much to recover in sales without exclusive patents, and all of Mother Nature’s products are by definition in the public domain and beyond patenting.

So a pyramid of patented drugs to fight symptoms and more drugs to deal with side effects accumulates. One drug after another is marketed as an expensive analogue for natural substances already available. Each one is synthetic, and therefore something never before encountered by the human system, so it is likely to open a Pandora’s box of side effects. The result is a pyramid of accumulating toxicity. New drugs are provided to deal with the side effects of the primary drug treatment, more doctor visits and prescriptions are needed, and everyone profits except for the patient.

gravy_train.gif“Everybody is happy,” says this critic, “because everyone gets paid. But the patient doesn’t get cured. He or she only gets temporary relief, and a regimen of drugs for life. The system is antagonistic to a cure, because a cure would pull everyone off their ride on the gravy train. This is not necessarily a conscious process, but it is the economic reality.”

If this era is now moving into the past, it will be a happy development for patients, in our view. And despite some exceptions to the trend, including wonder drugs that do a great job and are still highly profitable, this does seem to be the case. Naturally, the pharmas will take over natural products soon enough, but at least they won’t have gigantic costs or patents to allow them to lever prices skyhigh.

“The era that created the modern pharmaceutical industry is in fact over,” said Richard Evans, a former Wall Street analyst and now a pharmaceutical consultant.

See full story Big Pharma Faces Grim Prognosis Industry Fails to Find New Drugs to Replace Wonders Like Lipitor by Barbara Martinez and Jacob Goldstein, December 6, 2007; from the WSJ

Big Pharma Faces Grim Prognosis
Industry Fails to Find
New Drugs to Replace
Wonders Like Lipitor
By BARBARA MARTINEZ and JACOB GOLDSTEIN
December 6, 2007; Page A1

Over the next few years, the pharmaceutical business will hit a wall.

Some of the top-selling drugs in industry history will become history as patent protections expire, allowing generics to rush in at much-lower prices. Generic competition is expected to wipe $67 billion from top companies’ annual U.S. sales between 2007 and 2012 as more than three dozen drugs lose patent protection. That is roughly half of the companies’ combined 2007 U.S. sales.

Sortable Chart: Starting in 2010, the pharmaceutical industry faces one of the biggest waves of patent expirations.

At the same time, the industry’s science engine has stalled. The century-old approach of finding chemicals to treat diseases is producing fewer and fewer drugs. Especially lacking are new blockbusters to replace old ones like Lipitor, Plavix and Zyprexa.

The coming sales decline may signal the end of a once-revered way of doing business. “I think the industry is doomed if we don’t change,” says Sidney Taurel, chairman of Eli Lilly & Co. Just yesterday, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. announced plans to cut 10% of its work force, or about 4,300 jobs, and close or sell about half of its 27 manufacturing plants by 2010. (Please see related article.)

Between 2011 and 2012, annual industry revenue will decline, estimates Datamonitor, a research and consulting firm. That would be the first decline in at least four decades.

Patent expirations are a big problem. Drugs are granted 20 years of patent protection, although companies often fail to get a product to market before half of that period has elapsed. Once it hits the market, however, the patent-protected drug is highly profitable: Typical gross margins are 90% to 95%. When patents expire, generic makers offer the products at a price much closer to the cost of production.

Pfizer Inc. will be particularly hard-hit when the patent expires as early as 2010 on Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering blockbuster that ranks as the most successful drug ever. Pharmacists and managed-care companies will aggressively fill prescriptions with generics, reducing annual Lipitor sales to a fraction of last year’s $13 billion.

By 2012, Merck & Co. will face generic competition to its three top-selling drugs: the osteoporosis treatment Fosamax, Singulair for asthma and the blood-pressure drug Cozaar. Those three represent 44% of the company’s current revenue. Following the loss last year of patent protection for Merck’s cholesterol-lowering Zocor, sales this year are expected to fall 82% from $4.38 billion in 2005. A Merck spokeswoman said the company has several products in the pipeline that will offset its patent losses.

The rise of generics wouldn’t matter so much if research labs were creating a stream of new hits. But that isn’t happening. During the five years from 2002 through 2006, the industry brought to market 43% fewer new chemical-based drugs than in the last five years of the 1990s, despite more than doubling research-and-development spending.

In October, Moody’s Investors Service, which rates about $90 billion in U.S. pharmaceutical-company debt, lowered its outlook for the U.S. drug industry to negative from stable. The industry was long considered among the most credit-worthy, but in recent years, Moody’s has downgraded giants Schering-Plough Corp., Merck, Bristol-Myers, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline PLC. In explaining its diminished outlook, Moody’s said that drugs currently in development don’t have as much commercial potential as earlier pipelines.

Investors, once huge beneficiaries of drug-industry success, have moved to the sidelines. As the Dow Jones World Index rose 75% in the six years ended Nov. 29, the FTSE Global Pharmaceuticals Index fell 19.8%.

While many patients are benefiting from lower-cost generics, others are waiting in vain for relief of their suffering. “In anxiety disorder, the field has imploded in terms of drug development,” said P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of biological psychiatry at Duke University medical school. “Ten years ago, we had eight or nine different” anxiety-disorder drugs under development, but that has now “come to a halt.”

At last month’s big American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Fla., there were just two high-profile studies of experimental drugs on the agenda. One, for Eli Lilly’s anti-blood-clotting drug prasugrel, posted results that left some doctors and analysts questioning whether the drug would be a big seller. Lilly, however, says it is “very pleased with the trial’s outcome.”

The other study was a postmortem on Pfizer’s torcetrapib, already known as one of the industry’s most costly failures, with $800 million in budgeted research costs.

“There haven’t been any new therapies that are proven to reduce death and disability for atherosclerosis since the introduction of the [cholesterol-lowering] statins” in the late 1980s, said Richard C. Pasternak, vice president of Cardiovascular Clinical Research at Merck. Atherosclerosis, a buildup of arterial plaque, is a major cause of heart disease.

As patent expirations loom, pharmaceutical companies are reorganizing. In five years, many may look very different. They will be in new businesses. Their cost structures may be slimmer and more flexible. Some familiar names may disappear in mergers. Companies are installing new leaders, including outsiders like Pfizer Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Kindler, who in 2002 joined the company as general counsel from McDonald’s Corp.

“The era that created the modern pharmaceutical industry is in fact over,” said Richard Evans, a former Wall Street analyst and now a pharmaceutical consultant.
John McCammant of the Medical Technology Stock Letter discusses the likely repercussions of cancer drug Avastin’s rejection and a forthcoming wave of patent expirations on big drugs.

To be sure, the pharmaceutical industry is still highly profitable. Sales will continue to benefit from the Medicare drug benefit for the elderly and from growth in overseas markets. The industry will continue to produce new drugs, though at too slow a rate to sustain its size and cost structure, analysts assess. Some players, such as Merck, may fare better because of a more productive R&D operation, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. research analyst Timothy Anderson.

It has never been easy to take a drug from the lab, through animal testing and into human trials. The industry estimates only one out of every 5,000 to 10,000 candidates makes it to human trials. And many drugs that work beautifully in animals fail miserably in people.

But those odds seem to have worsened in recent years, prompting debate about whether the cause is government regulation, corporate structure or an excessive scientific reliance on chemicals rather than biology.

Many drug-company executives blame the FDA for pulling back on approvals. “Very few products are being approved today,” said Bernard Poussot, incoming chief executive of Wyeth. The heightened scrutiny contributed to delays of two Wyeth products this past summer, the company has said.

Would-be blockbusters such as Novartis AG’s diabetes drug Galvus and Sanofi-Aventis’s weight-loss drug rimonabant have recently been delayed by the FDA over safety concerns.

Safety concerns have also prompted the agency to require larger studies of new drugs. Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella says this trend has done more than any other to drive up the industry’s R&D costs. He cites Novartis’s blood-pressure drug Tekturna, approved earlier this year, which had more than 6,000 patients in its late-stage trial. A decade ago, a similar study might have had fewer than 1,000 patients, according to Dr. Vasella.
[Chart]

Christopher DiFrancesco, a spokesman for the FDA, said, “The number of approvals have declined because companies are submitting fewer drugs to the FDA for approval. The threshold for what we consider to be a safe, effective drug hasn’t changed.”

Some say the industry’s ballooning research budgets may be working against productivity. Most companies use a centralized system to allocate research money, and the growing budgets have left the decision making to too few people who are too far removed from the research, suggests Mr. Evans, who worked at Roche’s U.S. subsidiary until 1998, spent several years as a Wall Street analyst and is now a consultant at a health-care-consulting firm. He calls the system “a nightmare of complexity.”

As evidence of this problem, some in the industry point to Pfizer, with an annual research budget that has grown to $7 billion, highest in the industry. Yet only a handful of drugs discovered in its internal research labs have come to market in the past decade. And late last year, the company lost its most promising hope when the cholesterol drug torcetrapib failed in late-stage trials.

In a statement, Pfizer said it has the largest pipeline of midstage drugs in company history and plans to triple the number of late-stage drugs in its portfolio by 2009.

A few companies, notably GlaxoSmithKline, have begun breaking R&D into smaller groups, though it is too early to gauge results.

Some believe the industry, which grew out of the European chemical business of the late 1800s, has remained too reliant on that foundation. “For all our amazing advances in the last 50 years, we are still working with the tools of the first pharmaceutical revolution…using advanced chemistry to treat disease symptoms,” Mr. Taurel of Lilly said in a 2003 speech.

The future, many believe, lies in biotechnology. Unlike traditional, chemistry-based drug development, biotechnology uses biological tools to create entire proteins, often similar to those that occur in the human body. This approach has yielded successful drugs to treat diseases such as anemia, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Biotech drugs are especially appealing because they face no competition from generics: No regulatory pathway yet exists in the U.S. for bringing to market generic biotech drugs. So until Congress creates such a pathway, no generic threat will exist to the $4,400 a month that Genentech Inc. charges for its cancer drug Avastin, or the $200,000 a year that Genzyme Corp. gets for Cerezyme to treat Gaucher disease. And biotechnology products tend to target specialized areas of medicine that don’t require mass advertising or armies of salespeople.

So big pharmaceutical companies have spent nearly $76 billion since 2005 to buy biotech companies, according to Health Care M&A Information Service, a unit of Irving Levin Associates Inc., a Norwalk, Conn., research company. While in 2005 there were 33 deals amounting to $16.5 billion, in the first nine months of this year there were 49 deals totaling $28.7 billion, including AstraZeneca PLC’s $15.6 billion acquisition of MedImmune, which followed a bidding war against Eli Lilly, among others.

Meanwhile, Novartis and Pfizer recently announced the formation of in-house biotech units.

The dearth of new products has led the industry to invest heavily in marketing and legal tactics that squeeze as much revenue as possible out of existing products. Companies have raised prices; the average price per pill has risen 63% since 2002, according to Michael Krensavage, Raymond James analyst. Companies raised advertising spending to $5.3 billion in 2006 from $2.5 billion in 2001 and since 1995 have nearly tripled the number of industry sales representatives to 100,000.

The industry spent $155 million on lobbying from January 2005 to June 2006, according to the Center for Public Integrity, on “a variety of issues ranging from protecting lucrative drug patents to keeping lower-priced Canadian drugs from being imported.” The industry also successfully lobbied against allowing the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, the center said. The lobbying has drawn fire from politicians, doctors and payers, and damaged the industry’s public image.

Aware that seven of the top 10 drug launches of 2006 were generics, pharmaceutical giants are pushing more deeply into that business. In first nine months of this year, Novartis’s generics unit, Sandoz, grew roughly three times as fast as its branded-drugs business and accounted for nearly 20% of overall revenue. “The balance is changing,” says Novartis CEO Dr. Vasella. In the coming quarters, “we will continue to see a faster growth opportunity” in generics.

After Pfizer’s antidepressant Zoloft went off-patent last year, the company’s own generics unit, Greenstone, launched a generic version of the drug.

Johnson & Johnson has its own generics unit. Other companies cut deals with generics manufacturers, licensing them the right to sell “authorized generics” that are identical to a branded drug that has gone off-patent.

Diversification is another hope. Roche Holding AG is pursuing a $3 billion hostile takeover of Ventana Medical Systems Inc., a diagnostics company that makes the test used to determine whether women with breast cancer should receive Herceptin, a targeted biotechnology drug that Roche sells in some markets.

The bid is part of a broad push further into diagnostics by the company, which said in July that Severin Schwan, who runs the company’s diagnostics unit, will take over next year as CEO.

Yet none of these moves are forestalling cost slashing. Pfizer is cutting 20% of its sales force, AstraZeneca is cutting 10% of its employees and Johnson & Johnson is shrinking its staff by 4%, according to Bernstein Research. As many as 50,000 industry positions will be displaced over the next 10 years, according to wealth-management company RegentAtlantic Capital, Chatham, N.J.

AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb have also recently suggested they will outsource at least some of their manufacturing. “There are lots of people in India, China and Eastern Europe who can make products of the same quality as ours but at significantly less cost,” says Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO James Cornelius.

The outsourcing is expected to extend to research. “We don’t do any basic research yet in the lower-cost countries, but over the next few years, to be successful you’ll have a constant emphasis on looking for that,” Mr. Cornelius says.

The coming difficulty is threatening every industry tradition. “I’m talking to you from the 44th floor of an office on Park Avenue,” Mr. Cornelius says. “A year from now, I won’t be talking to you from the 44th floor because we’re going to move downstairs out of these very expensive offices.”

–Sarah Rubenstein and Ron Winslow contributed to this article.

Write to Barbara Martinez at Barbara.Martinez@wsj.com and Jacob Goldstein at healthblog@wsj.com

See full story As Drug Industry Struggles, Chemists Face Layoff Wave; Lipitor Pioneer Is Out At Doomed Pfizer Lab; A Blockbuster Drought By AVERY JOHNSON December 11, 2007 from the WSJ.
PARADIGM LOST
As Drug Industry Struggles,
Chemists Face Layoff Wave
Lipitor Pioneer Is Out
At Doomed Pfizer Lab;
A Blockbuster Drought
By AVERY JOHNSON
See Corrections & Amplifications below
December 11, 2007; Page A1

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — In January, Pfizer Inc. announced it was closing its storied research laboratories here, laying off 2,100 people. Among the casualties: Bob Sliskovic, a 23-year lab veteran who helped create the world’s most successful drug.

The closure and Dr. Sliskovic’s abrupt change of circumstances are emblematic of the pharmaceutical industry’s declining fortunes. It was at the Ann Arbor facility in the late 1980s that Dr. Sliskovic first assembled the chemicals that make up Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering drug that has generated about $80 billion in sales since its launch and ranks as the bestselling pharmaceutical product ever. Today, Lipitor is nearing the end of its patent life, and Pfizer hasn’t been able to come up with enough promising new drugs to replace it.

Following that initial breakthrough some 20 years ago, Dr. Sliskovic worked on several other research projects, but none panned out. His losing streak mirrors the industry’s. A byproduct of the late-19th-century chemical business, pharmaceutical research thrived for more than a century by finding chemical combinations to treat diseases. But after contributing substantially both to human health and drug-industry profits, it has failed to produce significant innovations in recent years.

High failure rates have long plagued chemistry-based drug research. Between 5,000 and 10,000 compounds are tested for every drug that makes it to market. In recent years, the problem seems to have gotten worse. Despite spending tens of billions of dollars more on research and development, pharmaceutical companies have fewer and fewer drugs to show for it. In 2006, the industry received Food and Drug Administration approval for just 18 new chemical-based drugs, down from 53 in 1996. Moreover, many of those drugs are variations of existing medicines.

Robert Massie, president of the American Chemical Society’s database of chemistry research, says some researchers are questioning how many more chemical combinations there are that are useful against diseases. “It’s like how coming out with metal drivers in golf was a huge innovation, but now it’s incremental. You’re just coming out with drivers that are a little longer or rounder,” he says.

As pills like Lipitor made out of elements from the periodic table prove harder to come by, pharmaceutical research is being superseded by the newer field of biotechnology. The latter relies mostly on biologists who make proteins from live cells.

The shift is exacting a human toll, as big drug companies like Pfizer lay off thousands of chemists, casting a pall over what was once a secure, well-paying profession. “When I started in this industry in the 1980s, you didn’t worry about things like this,” Dr. Sliskovic says of the lab closure.

It isn’t clear how many chemists have lost pharmaceutical-company jobs. But overall, 116,000 chemists were employed in 2006, down from 140,000 in 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the same period, employment of biologists rose to 116,000 from 112,000. Just as the rise of biotechnology is contributing to an economic boom in Northern California, the decline of chemical-based research is hurting the Michigan cities of Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, along with some regions of New Jersey and Illinois.

Dr. Sliskovic, a 50-year-old with a mustache and the scattered air of a scientist, was raised in Doncaster, a coal-mining town in northern England. His father, a refugee from the former Yugoslavia, found work there after World War II. As a child, Dr. Sliskovic says he was fascinated by such things as the properties that “make a mint minty.”

That interest led him to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. In 1982, his Ph.D. adviser told him of a friend who worked as a consultant for a pharmaceutical company in New York. The company was looking for chemists to do postdoctoral research. Raised with a passion for American comic books, Dr. Sliskovic says he jumped at the opportunity to come to the U.S.

Two years later, his research completed, he received a job offer from Warner-Lambert Co.’s Ann Arbor labs. “Holy cow! I accept,” he remembers saying.

Dr. Sliskovic was hired as the pharmaceutical business entered a golden era of huge profits. Its labs churned out drugs for chronic conditions such as heart disease and depression, while its armies of salesmen promoted them through aggressive marketing. Warner-Lambert assigned him to a team of three other chemists investigating a new idea: whether lowering cholesterol — the soft, waxy substance that can clog arteries — would help people avoid heart attacks. Other companies were at work on similar projects.

Dr. Sliskovic’s new boss, Bruce Roth, had invented a chemical structure that he thought would work. In the late 1980s, Dr. Sliskovic fine-tuned the compound, isolating its potent part. An early version of the compound wasn’t absorbed well by the body, so the team brainstormed about how to modify it to get more of it into the bloodstream. “We sat around the table and said ‘You try this, you try that,’ and they said, ‘Bob, why don’t you look at salt formation?'” Dr. Sliskovic recalls.

A calcium salt he tried solved the problem, and Lipitor was born. Though it would reach the market in 1997 after several rival drugs, Lipitor would turn into a blockbuster because it was more potent.

Its runaway success sparked Pfizer’s $116 billion hostile takeover of Warner-Lambert in 2000. Ahead of the takeover, Pfizer suggested one of Warner’s main appeals was its research-and-development force. “We would like to keep them all,” Pfizer’s then-research chief, John Niblack, told The Wall Street Journal in 1999. “You need a big staff to run this strategy. Warner-Lambert offers us a nice instant fix.”

With the acquisition, New York-based Pfizer inherited the Ann Arbor labs where Dr. Sliskovic worked and continued to base much of its pharmaceutical research there. Between 2001 and 2006, it invested $300 million to expand the facilities.

By that time, Dr. Sliskovic had moved on to other projects. As Lipitor traveled down the long road of animal and human testing in the early ’90s, he led a group of chemists developing drugs to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the body and stored in arteries. Lipitor, by contrast, works by reducing the amount of cholesterol the liver produces.
[Job Cuts]

One compound, called avasimibe, seemed to work well in animals. Despite skepticism from higher-ups, Dr. Sliskovic and his team persuaded Warner-Lambert to take it into human testing. For a while, it looked as though avasimibe could be a contender to succeed Lipitor. But it failed in an intermediate stage of clinical testing, and the company abandoned it.

Dr. Sliskovic had devoted about six years to the drug. He recalls needing pep talks from his boss about picking up and starting over. He blocked out disappointment, he says, by throwing himself into the day’s science rather than thinking about the odds of creating a marketable drug. “You’ve got to develop the hide of a rhino,” he says.

In the mid-90s, he tried to develop compounds to counter inflammation in the heart, which some scientists think can cause heart attacks. Those projects also flopped but got him interested in another area of research, inflammatory arthritis.

Dr. Sliskovic took on the challenge of finding a drug that would repair the cartilage that can break down between bones and cause arthritic pain. But the several compounds he concocted didn’t meet testing requirements. In 1999, Dr. Sliskovic was promoted to a management role that took him away from the day-to-day work of drug discovery. He says his new job required him to teach his scientists how to remain excited in the wake of failure. “It was me who started telling them, ‘Oh well, never mind. What can we do about this other project?'” he says.

But over time those failures added up. In December 2006, Pfizer killed torcetrapib, the cholesterol compound the company had placed its hopes on, because it was associated with too many deaths in clinical testing. It was a huge setback because Pfizer didn’t have much else in its research pipeline to replace Lipitor’s sales. The company relies on Lipitor for more than a quarter of its revenues, and the drug could face generic competition as early as 2010.

The company has had some successes: Pfizer appears to have a rich cancer-drug pipeline and has come up with two notable new chemical-based hits recently, the antismoking medicine Chantix and a pain drug, Lyrica, which was discovered in Ann Arbor. The company’s new chief executive, Jeffrey Kindler, has emphasized biotech after taking over some 16 months ago. In October, Pfizer opened a new biologics center in San Francisco.

By January 2007, Mr. Kindler was promising to do something radical to shake the world’s biggest drug maker out of its worsening slump. Rumors of layoffs were swirling at Pfizer. Few imagined anything as drastic as closing the half-century-old Ann Arbor labs, where Pfizer was just finishing the $300 million expansion.

Dr. Sliskovic says he learned of the closure on Jan. 22, in a morning meeting with the site’s top managers. The room went silent, he says.

After the meeting, Dr. Sliskovic called his wife on her cellphone to tell her the news. She thought he was kidding. Realizing he was serious, she offered to increase her hours at her part-time job at a pet-food store. Later, at home over lunch, his 19-year-old daughter asked whether they would have to sell the family’s three horses.

The announcement also took Michigan officials by surprise. The state, which has the country’s worst unemployment rate, was already reeling from auto-industry cuts. Pfizer was also Ann Arbor’s largest taxpayer, contributing $14 million a year into city coffers. At a press conference later in the day, local officials pledged to fight for scientists to stay in the area. Later, they pledged $8 million in interest-free loans for start-ups run by laid-off scientists or existing companies that hire them. A state-budget deadlock delayed the money for months, but it is now being handed out to scientists.

Pfizer offered about half of the Ann Arbor researchers internal transfers, mostly to its other big research facility, in Groton, Conn. But a higher proportion of those offers went to biologists than to chemists, former lab employees say. Though it is far from abandoning chemistry-based research, Pfizer has been increasingly outsourcing chemistry work to contract research organizations, some in India. Pfizer declined to comment on which scientists were offered transfers.

In April, about 80 laid-off Pfizer chemists from Ann Arbor traveled to nearby Detroit to hear a talk by career consultant Lisa Balbes. Ms. Balbes told them the story of a former chemist who now uses her skills to enhance acoustics in stereo systems. Her message: Start thinking about different career paths.

As winter turned into spring, Dr. Sliskovic found himself going to a parade of goodbye parties for colleagues. Dr. Roth, his former boss, left in April for Genentech Inc., the biotech pioneer based in South San Francisco. Dr. Sliskovic organized the send-off. In early May, David Canter, the head of the Ann Arbor site, threw a dinner party for other departing employees. A band played songs parodying Pfizer and the executive who symbolized headquarters’ decision-making: John LaMattina, Pfizer’s Connecticut-based head of research. To the tune from Evita, they sang, “Don’t Cry for Me, LaMattina.”
[Scott Larsen]

A few weeks later, Dr. LaMattina himself announced his retirement, as part of Mr. Kindler’s broad reorganization of top company executives.Martin Mackay, who succeeded Dr. LaMattina as research chief and played a major role in the research restructuring, says the company was “very aware” of its impact on the community. “We made this decision after very careful and thorough review of all possible alternatives,” Mr. Mackay said in a statement.

Scott Larsen, one of the chemists who attended the going-away party, came to Pfizer four years ago when the company merged with his former employer, Pharmacia Corp. He applied for a transfer to Groton but didn’t get an offer. He tells his two sons, who are both in college and love science, not to go work for a drug company.

In August, Dr. Sliskovic’s team stopped doing research and began transferring projects to other Pfizer sites. The labs are now being cleaned, inspected and sealed off. The 177-acre campus is a ghost town of empty rooms and boxed-up equipment.

Dr. Sliskovic didn’t seek an internal transfer. He felt that moving would be too hard on his family.

As acting head of chemistry at the Ann Arbor labs, Dr. Sliskovic earned far above the $112,000 a year paid to the average chemist of his experience level. Dr. Sliskovic says he will receive severance pay for between 18 months and two years. With two children in college and another in high school, he says, two years is the longest he could afford to forgo a paycheck.

Dr. Sliskovic has already repainted the family kitchen and living room. Now he is festooning the house and yard with holiday lights. Worried about their financial future, his wife, Cindy, took a second part-time job at the barn where they keep their horses. The irony that the drug her husband helped discover will bring in nearly $13 billion for Pfizer this year hasn’t been lost on her. As a staff scientist, Dr. Sliskovic earned no bonus or royalties for his work on Lipitor.

Former Pfizer scientists have founded 23 companies in the area. Dr. Sliskovic says he would prefer to do the creative work of discovering drugs instead of the rote chemistry some such companies do for drug makers.

Instead, he dreams of being involved in another blockbuster. Sometimes, he says, he lies in bed at night wondering if it will happen. “If the best thing I did was Lipitor in 1988, it’s like being the high-school athlete who was on the football team and that was that,” he says.

Write to Avery Johnson at avery.johnson@WSJ.com

Corrections &Amplifications

Lyrica, a pain drug sold by Pfizer Inc., was developed in Warner-Lambert Co. and Pfizer’s laboratories in Ann Arbor, Mich., but was discovered at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. This article incorrectly said the drug was discovered in Ann Arbor.);

48 Responses to “Drug bust”

  1. yello Says:

    This is quite thought provoking, the era of synthetic, largely petroleum-based pharmacuticals coming to an end…

    BTW, what the heck is up with all those spammer posts?Is it retribution for the pwning smack-down that the folks of this blog have applied to Aetiology?

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    The spammer posts are bots who are making hay while Bad Behavior is out of action, while I find the correct path to update it. Last week Bad Behavior went haywire and blocked everyone using WordPress for a blog, shutting them out saying they were on a list of malicious IP addresses, owing to the author of this indispensable botblocker for WordPress making some error he corrected only by rewriting it into an updated version, which you have to upload via FTP into the scienceguardian.com/wp-content/plugins/ folder, after deleting the existing bad-behavior folder, then go to the Plugins submenu and activate it. The only problem is that the folder is currently AWOL ie mysteriously hidden from view. Will find it shortly I expect. Meanwhile the bots are being expelled by hand, unless they are especially interesting as in one case so far.

    UPDATE OK I uploaded Bad Behavior 2.0.11 into the WordPress Plug In folder and removed the previous folder, then Activated in the Pliug In List, and it is working again. But this brief period of being exposed to the activity of bots and the sites they try to link to has sure exposed the sewer that runs underneath the operations of bona fide sites like this one. Sorry about that, readers.

    The drug scene changing in this way seems interesting for what it promises in taking the pressure off healthier natural alternatives, which are being increasingly validated in the literature. But any hope of real change is probably years away, given the power and greed of the pharmas. You have to see these guys in action in person to appreciate the money involved. They positive glow they are so flush.

  3. Braganza Says:

    Dear Truthseeker,

    I dont know if you realise that in 1997 (roughly ten years ago, see http://www.thebody.com/content/art31519.html; New Approaches to HIV Treatment: Interview with Robert Gallo, M.D.,2004, by John S. James), Bob Gallo has considered that it was time to develop anti-AIDS drugs not any more based in HIV enzyme inhibition, but in a non-toxic approach to AIDS. He has now patented a polypeptide from commercially available gonadotropine, which I suspect is working by modulating the immune system. Quite possibly some large scale testing is now be done to provide new kind of anti-AIDS drugs that would substitute HAART.

    See details on http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6805882.pdf

    I am however writing this email because I have been thinking that you are losing too much time on AZT/monotherapy, nobody in the field would think that it is a good technique to treat AIDS patients.

    I think that the level of the “AZT for AIDS” discussion in AETIOLOGY is the same than a discussion on the use (or non-use) of lead/arsenium to treat syphilis. Nobody is really using it, so any discussion is only academic/historically pertinent, this is, without any practical interest for any real health program to control syphilis. Analogy would apply to HIV+/AIDS, as nobody will today use/prescribe AZT/Monotherapy to control AIDS.

    You lose your time in a side-track, now irrelevant question, and should try to understand better to what Robert Gallo is doing.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    The discussion on Aetiology’s Mbeki:Still in denial thread – now reaching 1500 comments!! – is useful only as a way of teasing out and assessing the objections to paradigm correction that come from Chris Noble and his cohorts in the minor league of HIV=AIDS justification. It has usefully thrown up and exhausted several basic counters to the debunking of the paradigm, all of which are remarkabky out of date and spurious, and self-evidently silly even to outsiders who come across them for the first time – eg that the virus is not defeated by the immune response of a healthy person, or that AZT was shown to be harmless to T cells by the original studies, so no one could have known it was toxic, and it’s not so toxic now anyway that it shouldn’t be included in the cocktails.

    Then there is the general impression of low level thinking exhibited consistently by the uneducated Adele and others which betrays how the defenders of HIV=AIDS – presumably drug activists,f rom their behavior – cannot see the wood for the trees, and lack the capacity to appreciate the weight of the critique against HIV=AIDS. All this is usefully brought out, since it ends up showing how empty handed defenders of the faith are in trying to rationalize their belief.

    The fact that Gallo is developing some other line of attack on HIV than AZT is interesting if it is an admission of the lethal effect of AZT, as you report, confirming the agreement of critics and HIV proponents that it is a very dangerous medication with insufficient justification even if you believe in the dangers of HIV. This exposes the failings of the Chris Noble squad even more clearly, since they haven’t caught up yet to the fact they are contradicting their paradigm leaders in defending AZT.

    The pertinence of the Aetiology discussion is to reveal the objections of defenders to the scientific critique as time wasting and uninformed, and it has succeeded, though it is so long and littered with so much nonsense and so many red herrings that it needs and deserves a summary here, which we plan to provide. All in all it has shown why we are glad that Noble et all were chased away from this blog by sharper wits such as MacDonald and other well informed commentators such as Houston, and left to clutter up Aetiology, where the charmingly pictured hostess Tara C. Smith has proved very under researched on the issue to date, sorry to say, and probably deserves her fate in this respect, but may even be better informed because of it. Hope so, anyway. She is otherwise a smart cookie, and one hates to see her inhabited by this Meme.

    If you think that Gallo’s initiative is otherwise interesting feel free to comment on it. We have never seen Gallo come up with anything worthwhile in science yet. What useful work has he ever done in science? Perhaps you know of something, do you?

  5. Douglas Says:

    Braganza,

    The way I see it,and I’m sure most of here agree, Robert Gallo is a fraud and a con man. He knows there is no way to prove HIV>AIDS but hell, he has made a fortune promoting this theory and doesn’t know how to end it. The blood money he has made off patents he applied for just after he proclaimed HIV the probable cause of AIDS in 1984 must be considerable. Obviously he would like to find a way out. (The man must have some conscience). A non-toxic drug would be just the ticket.

    Simply to say that no one would use or prescribe AZT/Monotherapy is totally naive. AZT or its derivitive is being distributed in third world countries today And to shift the emphasis to HAART and to Gallo’s new non-toxic approach doesn’t alter the facts. Robert Gallo should be throughly discredited.

  6. Rezaf Says:

    Braganza,

    When you mean non-toxic, it is this?

    http://aidscience.org/articles/aidscience024.asp

    So from what I understand, Gallo himself seems to (gradually) show that the immune system is more than capable to deal with HIV, provided that there are no more outside stressors.
    If so, why is a vaccine needed in the first place?
    He also states “So, I would say, go ahead with drug treatments but do not stop people from initiating experimental approaches that could prove to be more practical. If Tat were helpful, why would you stop it?”. So if , for example, nutritional therapy can be helpful, why are people like Noble et al over at Aetiology so eager to label it quackery and fraud and push HAART on others?
    Like TS said, the Aetiology acolytes don’t seem to be up to date with their masters.

    Interviewer – “If it worked, it would certainly be better than having millions of people take several pills a day…”

    Gallo – “Right, and it is nontoxic.”

    And this one is nice:

    Gallo – “Anybody with a brain bigger than a bird would agree that if you can get broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies that block entry completely you would be an idiot not to agree.”

  7. Rezaf Says:

    Btw, Gallo, like Karpas and Richman, admits that the immune system can develop strong immune response. Though he says that that response will eventually decline, Richman shows that the immune system can always catch up with the so called escape mutants.

  8. Braganza Says:

    After presenting AZT and HAART, Gallo said textually (in his US 6805882 patent) what he thinks about it :

    ” (…) However, it is likely that long-term use of combinations of these chemicals will lead to toxicity, especially to the bone marrow.

    Long-term cytotoxic therapy may also lead to suppression of CD8 + T cells, which are essential to the control of HIV, via killer cell activity (Blazevic, V., et al., 1995, AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses 11:1335-1342) and by the release of suppressive factors, notably the chemokines Rantes, MIP-1α and MIP-1β (Cocchi, F., et al., 1995, Science 270:1811-1815). (…)”

    You can put this to anyone who defend the use of AZT/monotherapie/ long term use of HAART, to show that Gallo has such concerns, and is looking for others approaches….

    I believe that for Gallo non-toxic approach is based on the use/modulation of chemokines, however he does not spell out the approach with these words, but uses instead the term of “anti-HIV activities”.

    I am sorry, I have now seen that using the link provided in my previous post you could not access Gallo patents unless you register to the above indicated site.

    You can however read the patent without registration at http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6805882.PN.&OS=PN/6805882&RS=PN/6805882

    or you can use http://www.espacenet .com, which is free, and put the patent number US6805882.

    Hope this can be usefull,

  9. Rezaf Says:

    “(…) However, it is likely that long-term use of combinations of these chemicals will lead to toxicity, especially to the bone marrow.”

    Note the “long-term use”. If the onset of “AIDS” is somewhere between 5 to 20 years, that would fit the “long-term use” use of ARVs.
    No bone marrow, no immune system ———-> “AIDS”.
    Those who refuse to take ARVs live on are labelled LTNPs, because they are “different” and not because they were safe from the damaging effects of ARV therapy.
    He said it. ARVs do what the virus is supposed to do.

    Braganza, surely you agree that pumping people full of toxic drugs is not the solution for immune impairment.

    On a side note, human chorionic gonadotropin is a tumor marker, as most of you must know. Its presence, whether it is a causative factor or consequence of cancer I don’t know. It also stimulates the production of steroid hormones, which most have immune suppressing effects. It affects progesterone and testosterone production in both sexes, and breaking the this hormonal balance seems like a rather important side-effect, especially if hCG is used for a long time.

  10. Michael Says:

    Braganza, are you brainwashed, or completely out of your mind? Or both?

    Gallo made the following statement at the beginning of his patent application as his “evidence” that HIV is the cause of AIDS: “The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been implicated as the primary cause of the slowly degenerative immune system disease termed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Barre-Sinoussi, F., et al., 1983, Science 220:868-870; Gallo, R., et al., 1984, Science 224:500-503).”

    The 1983 Barre-Sinoussi paper shows something found in the lymph node of a single highly stressed and depressed, poorly nourished, and emotionally wrought individual and this “something” was termed LAV.

    The 1984 paper by Gallo et al, shows a mere 36 percent of his AIDS patients merely had RT activity that he ASSUMES was caused by a retrovirus that he called HTLV-III, and that he also ASSUMED was totally different from the LAV contamination all over his lab that it turned out to be.

    Neither of these silly papers evidence that HIV or LAV or HTLV-III are the cause of ANYTHING!!!!

    What part of THAT do YOU not yet understand?

    Just where in hell is any substantial evidence for your lovely belief that HIV is the cause of immune disfunction????, because it sure as hell is not in either of these two papers!!!!

    Gallo himself said: “has been IMPLICATED as the primary cause”!

    But he offers us NOTHING, EVER, NOT IN 25 FREAKING YEARS! to back up his mere implying that HIV/HTLVIII/LAV does anything at all!!!

    This is what we in America call “CYA” or “Cover Your ASS”.

    You must be brainwashed or braindead if you are unable to understand that Gallo’s little “invention” patent is a totally failed attempt to justify his having spent many hundreds of millions of dollars at his Bethesda lab with absolutely NOTHING to show for it. No products, no cures, no one saved, absolutely NOTHING but his silly hCG which claims to “have a beneficial effect in some patients”.

    Well so does lemons and beetroots have a “beneficial effect in some patients” you big dummy!

    What part of “Robert Gallo is a feeble brained failure of a pharmawhore, who never bothered to ever prove HIV was the cause of AIDS” do you not understand?

    What part of YOU ARE BRAINWASHED INTO BELIEVING THAT THE PROBLEM IS HIV do you not understand?

    Go read Duesberg, Bialy, Lauritson, Culshaw, Mullis, Maggiore, Farber, the Rethinking AIDS site, and any of the 30 books that have been written by the rethinkers, AND THEN come back and join the discussions here with a bit of education into the facts.

  11. Michael Says:

    And, Braganza, while you are busy educating and deprogramming yourself from your self inflicted brainwashing, you should also be sure to read this entire website from top to bottom, including the posts, as well as the virusmyth website, and also be very sure to read Henry Bauers latest book, The Origins, Persistance, and FAILURES OF HIV/AIDS.

  12. Michael Says:

    And if you are unwilling to open your mind and educate yourself, Dr. Braganza, then I am very sure that Robert Gallo would be more than happy to give you a job in his lab where you can assist him in wasting many more hundreds of millions of dollars and another 25 years of spreading fear, depression, and hopelessness to the poor fools who are told they are HIV positive based on tests that do not find actual virus, but detect factors that have been proven to show up with 70 various conditions, including TB, hepatitis, flu, flu vaccination, herpes, pregnancy, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    And don’t worry that your helping to push patients into the very immune system depleting states of mind and emotion such as fear and depression and hopelessness by giving them a diagnosis of lifelong sickness and death. Don’t worry that physical and emotional stress causes the thymus gland to shut down and stop producing CD4 cells. There is lots of money to be made for people who believe in HIV as the cause of immune disfunction. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask your friend Bob Gallo!

  13. Michael Says:

    Anyone think I am being too hard on Dr. Braganza, for I myself fear I am being too soft!

  14. Robert Houston Says:

    Yes, Michael, I think you’re being way too harsh in presenting your generally valid critique of HIV/AIDS in the form of a personal attack on Dr. Braganza. He actually was being helpful to dissidents by providing hard-to-find information concerning Dr. Gallo’s support for physiological, relatively non-toxic approaches to HIV/AIDS and Gallo’s misgivings about the longterm toxicity of standard drug approaches. Let’s not snap at scientific helping hands.

    Thank you, Dr. Braganza, for your useful contribution.

    It should be noted that Robert Gallo’s proposal of using the hormone HCG as an anti-HIV agent was actually based on the work of European scientists whom Gallo failed to credit. It was a mini-repeat of the LAV caper. In a review, the world authority on HCG in cancer diplomatically complained about Gallo’s attempted purloinment of the discovery (H. Acevedo, Human chorionic gonadotrophin: the hormone of life and death. J Exp Ther & Onc 2:133-145, 2002 – see section on HIV).

  15. Rezaf Says:

    Michael, try to be more calm. Braganza may have differing views, but he attempts to reason and listens. I respect that very much and thank him for that. I think that most of us here, including Braganza, at least agree that current testing procedures and ARVs don’t solve the case. And linking to the patent where Gallo, the Discoverer, states that ARVs do what the virus should do (to destroy the core of the immune system. The virus apparently only kills the soldiers) shows that the trust in the man that started it all is failing. Right?
    Reasoning and listening is something that the N squad can’t do over at Aetiology. They just label you denialist with a capital D and everything that goes with it.

    The peer-review system isn’t holy and incorruptible. It is based on trust. It is also tainted with human nature. Those who bother to test papers that are needed for the basis of a project will often find that most papers are irreproducible. It is frustrating, at the very least. A critical stance is needed everytime. Because, like Gallo, many others were tempted to “adjust this”, “correct that” and “not mentioning irrelevant data” so that their results would fit the picture like they wanted to. It is sad to read papers ( and later, their references) where author X says that author Y’s results are “curiously irreproducible but we’re not saying that they cheated (not explicitly). No. We didn’t do things properly, we guess, though we followed Y’s methods to the word.”
    This is something that the N squad can’t understand either. The hotter the subject, the more likely crap gets published.

    Gallo also tried to steal the credits on the usage of hCG? Is he no more than a scientific corsair? It is almost hard to believe that the HIV=AIDS mess began with this man’s lust for glory.

  16. Braganza Says:

    Very well Houston, as you wrote, my first point is that Gallo stated that better than monotherapy or HAART, there are others techniques to treat HIV/AIDS. I have been thinking that this should be publicised.

    In the interview that we read on the link provided Rezaf, Gallo also explained why the campaign of large scale use of HAART in Africa is due to fail, which I also have been thinking should be publicised.

    However my other major point is that AZT related discussion is only interesting from an historical point of view, and that major discussions on drugs treatments for HIV/AIDS should be around another major question: “What practical solutions exist for persons who have CD4 decrease/ TH1/TH2 imbalance, immune dysfunction”.

    Interest groups looking to stop AIDS, and HIV+ people (and famillies) would be the two major groups interested in the HIV/AIDS debate, and I guess, for many of them, the problem of dealing with immune dysfunction would be a critical one.

    To answer Michael critics, I should point that I expect that he (Michael) agrees that Gallo develloped the HIV test, which in any case, is an indicator of probable immuno-deficiency, and this is a major feat. We can start-up any discussion from this point.

    As Michael knows, I have tried to put the LDN/ nutrition/ medicinal mushrooms discussion on AETIOLOGY, as all these also modulate the immune system, and there are plenty of reports on their useful use in reversing CD4 decline/ reducing the number of OI’s or modulating cytokines, but the discussion is now focussed on AZT, which have no, as I pointed, practical interest.

    ————————

    To Rezaf- Why do you think H.Kremer suggested the use of DHEA in treating HIV/AIDS immune dysfunction ? DHEA have also immune suppressing action. I think that part of the answer is related with the fact of which exact cytokines are suppressed, and which are stimulated, and how the immune system as a whole, react. I would have similar thinking with gonadotropin peptides.

  17. MacDonald Says:

    To answer Michael critics, I should point that I expect that he (Michael) agrees that Gallo develloped the HIV test, which in any case, is an indicator of probable immuno-deficiency, and this is a major feat. We can start-up any discussion from this point.

    Good luck to those who labour under the illusion that Rezaf has ears, eyes or even half a working brain cell. To Rezaf Gallo is an “intuitive genius”, the Nostradamus of retrovirology, who in his infinite and infinitely inscrutable wisdom has predicted that which is still not proven – that HIV causes AIDS – and who invented the blessed tests that along with the toxic drugs made the prophecy fulfill itself.

    Or put in more technical terms:

    NO MORON, MICHAEL DOES ABSOLUTELY NOT AGREE WITH YOUR PATHETIC BRAIN DEAD GALLO FOR NOBEL ADOLESCENT GROUPIE CLAP TRAP APOLOGETICS!!

  18. MacDonald Says:

    And that was Braganza not Rezaf. Rezaf is merely the poor dolt who believes anything can penetrate the Fort Knox like structure protecting Braganza’s neurons from all external stimuli

  19. Michael Says:

    Dr. Braganza said:

    “To answer Michael’s critics, I should point that I expect that he (Michael) agrees that Gallo develloped the HIV test, which in any case, is an indicator of probable immuno-deficiency, and this is a major feat. We can start-up any discussion from this point.”

    Dr. Braganza, Indeed, you have opened my eyes to something that I have failed to consider. I think you are PARTIALLY correct on this point. The tests do seem to be a valid “indicator of possible immuno-deficiency” in some, not all, and obviously not even in most, but merely in SOME, and likely only a smaller minority of those people who test positive.

    After all, herpes, flu, flu vaccination, pregnancy, receptive anal sex, and the vast majority of factors that result in bands showing up on the antigen and western blot tests or even those that are causing PCR to register counts, ARE NOT IMMUNE DEFICIENCY PROBLEMS, but are quite normal and nondeadly to the individuals displaying them.

    Don’t take my word for it. Run the PCR test on your own self after recovering from the flu. Run some samples of your favorite pet! You will find the tests are registering as HIV positive, and you will find that YOU YOURSELF are showing an HIV “viral load” count that goes up and down in the pcr tests.

    Now Dr. Braganza, to tell medical doctors to use any of these tests as any type of diagnostic or even for prognostic use, to have them use these tests which invariably result in the emotionally and spiritual crippling and total stressing of an individual, to have them use these tests to tell another human being that they now have a deadly incurable transmissible viral infection that willl cause them a slow and tortuous death by nearly ALL common diseases and illnesses, to use these tests to sell black label highly poisonous drugs that in and of themselves are deadly IS COMPLETELY WRONG. It will also inevitably lead to many horrid events in the form of extreme shame, guilt, abortions, divorces, suicides, lives lived in apathetic hopelessness and helplessness, depressions, high stress, failure to thrive, consumption of toxic drugs, alcoholism and drug abuse to escape from these generally highly toxic mental and emotional states of mind and emotional WELL BEING.

    It is ABSOLUTELY CRIMINAL to take away someones hopes and aspirations for their future, and to destroy their love and sex and family life by telling them such. Such words from a trusted authority figure as a government scientist or a trusted doctor will inevitabley come across to the unwitting and trusting patient and masses as THE WORDS OF GOD HIMSELF. These words, when accepted by a trusting patient, have and will inevitably become self fullfilling prophecies, as the stress of the diagnosis alone will have a completely deleterious effect on the thymus gland and immune system, and as the power of the mind, and the effect of ones own thoughts and beliefs will tend to manifest into one’s own reality, EXACTLY as do the rantings of a witch doctor pointing the bone of death upon a shamed tribal member.

    Thus, the ONLY REAL CURE for the majority of maladies called AIDS, is that the very belief system itself, of an incurable viral disease called HIV/AIDS, must be pryed right out of the entire belief systems of humanity.

    Until and unless we can agree on this obviously basic and obvious fact, whether it is yet “scientifically proven” or not, then certainly the patients who believe they are condemned to die prematurely will need to be given SOMETHING non-toxic for those who have already been convinced that they will die without lifelong drug treatment. Because THEY WILL until they themselves believe otherwise!

    However, only prying this false belief system out of the minds and beliefs of mankind will allow humanity to deal with the actual diseases and the actual underlying issues that support illness and disease, such as the unseen but very obvious causes of extreme societal and familial emotional and physical stress, such as the very obvious factors of homophobia with its stigmatization and suppression and rejection of our children and brothers who are homosexuals, and including rascism and the effects of colonialism, and child abuse, drug addiction, poverty, malnutrition, lack of clean drinking water, population explosions, lack of education, lack of means of self support and all other obvious and inobvious factors and beliefs resulting in high physical and emotional stress.

    And underlying all of this, is our failure to grasp and understand and embrace our own divinity and the divinity of all of mankind. Just because we ourselves fail in our own egotism, to as yet experientially understand and embrace our own common oneness of spirit, does not mean that such oneness of divinity in all of humanity and in all of life is nonexistent!

    We have a long way to go, Dr. Braganza, to extinguish the underlying causes of illness and dis-ease, in ourselves, and in our brothers and sisters in this journey through life. Dr. Gallo has the immature mind of a scared child, and the temperament of a “King Baby”. So do many of his followers. Mankind is yet in its adolescence, sir! How about we grow up a bit. And stepping out of our fears and germaphobia and taking a good look at the big picture of reality is a very good first step.

  20. Rezaf Says:

    MacDonald – “Good luck to those who labour under the illusion that Rezaf has ears, eyes or even half a working brain cell. To Rezaf Gallo is an “intuitive genius”, the Nostradamus of retrovirology, who in his infinite and infinitely inscrutable wisdom has predicted that which is still not proven – that HIV causes AIDS – and who invented the blessed tests that along with the toxic drugs made the prophecy fulfill itself.”
    “And that was Braganza not Rezaf. Rezaf is merely the poor dolt who believes anything can penetrate the Fort Knox like structure protecting Braganza’s neurons from all external stimuli”

    MacDonald, whether that was directed at me or not, let’s get a few things straight. My half-working brain cell was curious and good enough to find the way to sources of information outside the mainstream, such as this great blog, and learn about the utter scam that the HIV=AIDS theory is. And make its own conclusions. I suppose that you didn’t need to fully use your brain to find it too. Some people with full brains keep pushing the failed Meme theory on others without even TRYING TO LISTEN AND REASON with their opposers. With fully functional brains, mind you.

    And when I say Gallo, the Discoverer, that’s sarcasm, irony. I know of his deeds. Do you honestly think I support the guy? Even he has second thoughts about his “work”, though he never openly admits it.

    “Rezaf is merely the poor dolt who believes anything can penetrate the Fort Knox like structure protecting Braganza’s neurons from all external stimuli”

    This poor dolt tries to reach out and understand the opponent. This poor dolt tries to understand both sides of the story. In order to listen and understand Blue, you must first listen and understand Red. I don’t bash people just because I’m blue and they are red. If I take blue without knowing red, I’m as good as a red fanatic. My half-working brain cell is rather open-minded and curious, which most full-brained Meme supporters are not.

    So by bashing and venting like you and Michael do on Braganza and any other that has a differing view makes you smart? I can do that behind a keyboard too. What makes you any different from most Meme supporters? I don’t strip people from their intellectual merit. I don’t tend to side with aggressors and zealots. Do you? The reason why reading blogs such as Aetiology or sites such AIDSTruth(iness).org is a painful task is because of all the dirt-throwing and flaming going on there.

    Poor and incredibly naive I may be, but you learn with people and about people by talking with them. I even tried to reason with the guys over at Aetiology and I’ve learned much with them too. Braganza at least shows some receptiveness to differing views. Noble squad does not. I don’t care if I passed on the impression to you that I’m a very dull, stupid person by trying to learn about those who fiercely defend the Meme. But then again, by writing this lengthy reply, I do. Know your opponent, never underestimate him. I tried to give my contribution to critics cause. My opinions don’t have to be exactly the same as yours, but we do share the same opinion about the HIV=AIDS scam. I don’t have the writing skills of TS, Houston et al, nor the amount of knowledge they possess, but I managed to cross the thick fog of propaganda and misleading scientific publications with so much as a half-working brain cell. Be thankful when anyone is able to cross that fog, especially in places where dissident beacons are scarce. I will not be the pusher, venter, basher, flamer, aggressor, which most of the Meme supporters tend to be. Want to be better than them? Don’t be like them. A good posture and stance will make your arguments shine a bit more.
    Anyway, after your little display of “impatience”, I’ll just do everyone a favor and follow cooler’s advice: Keep quiet, don’t waste my time and yours, stay out of the way and take the information for myself. I should’ve known better, though. It seems I’ve worn out my welcomes here.
    Deus vos acompanhe a todos.

  21. Truthseeker Says:

    May I plead with familiar posters here not to go off half cocked when new and worthy contributors to productive discussion arrive, since the newcomers may be put off from posting, when they have much to offer, as in this case?

    The pitfall of Web comment threads is that it is very hard not to skim but to read all the posts properly and assess them correctly, at least in my experience – Aetiology for example is running a thread on “Mbeki: still in denial” which has expanded to numerous quarrels between enlightened students of the literature and boneheaded Memepushers such as Chris Noble etc., and it is easy to overlook other replies when one is posting a comment oneself, which I am sorry to say is all too tempting when one should have done somehing more useful here, which I will now do, given the utter humiliation of the Meme Raths outgrabed there. Summary posts spotlighting this exposure of how specious and empty are the complaints and objections of the Moore back up squad to the incontrovertible critique of HIV=AIDS debunkers are in view.

    Anyhow NAR policy is to encourage worthwhile visitors by discourage precipitate attacks on them by people who too easily imagine they are unregenerate Meme brains, which may not be the case The above posts seem to contain examples of this inhospitality, and I implore posters not to indulge the impulse

  22. Braganza Says:

    Dear Rezaf,

    I dont think MacDonald problem was with you, or even with me, I believe that this has to do with his visceral hatred of RC Gallo, as he cannot think/see/comment on the positive things that may be in Bob’s writings.

    Problem, my dear, is with MacDonald brain and emotions, and not with us. MD should try to learn with Robert Houston.

    Anyway, Feliz Natal, as you say in Portugal.

  23. MacDonald Says:

    The Holy Peace of the Season be with you Rezaf.

    The first comment had nothing to do with you except for the mistaken name switch. The other was jocular and wouldn’t have been submitted if I hadn’t made the first mistake.

    Michael and I have a little longer acquaintance with Braganza than you do, and I can tell you precisely in which areas he is “open for debate” and which not.

    Nobody is criticizing him for his inquiries into the value of different therapeutic approaches, which is what you are mostly discussing with him, and which I encourage should anybody think my opinion matters.

    However, when it comes the estimable Profs. Gallo and Duesberg and their respective merits in the HIV/AIDS field, or when it comes to getting Braganza to read and understand about the basic dissident positions, believe me nothing is lost by using CAPITALIZED EXPLETIVES @^&%*@^%!!!!

    Don’t take everything so seriously; THAT’S what “they” do. Besides I’m not the host here. Whatever I write doesn’t mean anybody has overstayed his/her welcome in the eyes of the perenially Xmas spirited Truthseeker.

    Finally let’s not forget what is really being (ought to be) celebrated these days: The turning from the nadir of darkness, in which the Northern climes are now sunk, to the apex of light where, in just a few months, the glow of the sun will scarcely forsake the celestial heavens.

  24. MacDonald Says:

    BTW TS, the sentence

    “Meme Raths outgrabed there”

    with a little deciphering turned up this passage:

    from Four Riddles,

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
    “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”

    Lewis Carroll

  25. MacDonald Says:

    In case anybody wonders why deciphering was needed, the original TS spelling was this, sporting four letters not found in Carroll’s online version

    “Meme Raths ouitgrabed pthere!

  26. Truthseeker Says:

    Thanks MacD, I must say that rather proves the extrardinary depth of research and fact checking accepted as a matter of course by the debunkers of HIV=AIDS.

    However, to have the distinguished if somewhat trigger happy MacD explaining not only my jokes but also my typos is a high point of such altitude that I am considering retiring while the glory of such an accomplishment is still attached to my name, or at least my handle.

  27. Michael Says:

    Hello again Dr. Braganza.

    Yesterday, you said: “(Michael probably agrees) that Gallo develloped the HIV test, which in any case, is an indicator of PROBABLE immuno-deficiency, and this is a major feat.

    I retorted: that I only agree that Gallo’s test is “perhaps an indicator of POSSIBLE immuno-deficiency in a small minority of those so diagnosed.”

    The known factors causing tests to show positive, and the citations to verify them, can be found at:

    http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/cjtestfp.htm

    You said: “We can start-up any discussion from this point.”

    So what say You?

    Are any lights turning on to carefully look into the Depths of Darkness of Gallos HIV tests of virally inspired immuno-deficient boogeymen, or have you already left the theatre to punch R Gallo and JP Moore in the nose for having misled you even on what is being found via these tests?

    Or perhaps you are attempting the difficult task of stepping back from, and apprising your own beliefs or even attempting to pry them loose from your own mind before deciding whether you should attempt to help your bretheren in Africa and England to do the same?

    Or perhaps my brief discourse on the divinity of all of humankind, EVEN including R Gallo and JP Moore, EVEN with their personal failings and egoic entrapments, has left you pondering the brotherhood of man, and the difficulty of the task at hand, and perhaps you are even contemplating eternity, or perhaps even giving thanks from high on the nearest mountaintop for the challenges of life to some divine presence that may well be that which encompasses time, space, and all that is seen and unseen?

    At any rate, I do look forward to, and I am quite ready for the start-up of this baser discussion of HIV, AIDS, Treatments, and beliefs on this issue as soon as you are, my dear sir, and dearest, though at times quite stubborn, brother, no matter what your current thoughts may be oscillating betwixt or between!

    And either way, Dr. Braganza, Feliz Natal to you and to all, including our as yet seemingly “stuck in the muck” friends at aetiology, and all others around the world regarding our current common issue-du-jour. C’est la vie. Best wishes to all.

  28. Michael Says:

    Someone on AIDSMyth Exposed, just pointed out something of interest to the conversation that is currently on the CDC internet pages for the public.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/qa1.htm

    “WHAT IS HIV”

    “HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WILL DEVELOP AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.” (capitalized by me to point out the exact words of admission).

    Seems to me that even someone at the CDC agrees that the HIV tests are indeed not finding immune deficiency in most AB positives.

  29. Michael Says:

    And Now Dr. Braganza, Now at long last, do you understand why Dr. Gallo, Dr. Moore, Dr. Fauci, and all the rest, absolutely refuse to discuss the issues and why they run in fear and terror of us rather harmless and well meaning HIV dissidents?

    Now do you understand?

  30. Truthseeker Says:

    Let’s not flame or take flames seriously, gentlemen

    Anyway, after your little display of “impatience”, I’ll just do everyone a favor and follow cooler’s advice: Keep quiet, don’t waste my time and yours, stay out of the way and take the information for myself. I should’ve known better, though. It seems I’ve worn out my welcomes here.

    Rezaf, really.your contribution is valued here as the ideal poster, who is not a committed trigger happy debunker who is sure that all those who still discuss the subject productively with an open mind are secret agents of the status quo.

    Who else would this site want as commentators? The site is especially addressed to people such as yourself, thinking members of working science, who are willing to review the status quo, and work out a rounded picture of who is correct, granting points on every side where they are due, and coming to a conclusion which incorporates all aspects of a confused and imprecise situation.

    It is true that as the editor and founder of NAR, all the review we are familiar with adds up to a total rejection of HIV=AIDS as an ill founded, unsubstantiated self-contradictory piece of piffle advanced by a known rascal and promulgated and protected by a censorious bureaucrat, but we do not expect people well versed in the many verities well established in science in this and related areas to reject the idea of HIV=AIDS or HIV=some effect on health without careful assessment of where the truth lies in all its aspects.

    Part of that is not automatically assuming that Bob Gallo and the vast following he acquired and the enormous amount of work he inspired in this field. which he created, as it were, have not established some good science, although in his case we are not sure what it may be, but if he wishes to shift his ground we believe any new notion he has might deserve objective assessment, since he may be under the pressure of growing old and not wanting to stick to the basic nonsense forever, and seeking a graceful way to move on.

    So we absolutely value your contribution and feedback and continuing comment at NAR, and deplore any writings which don’t respect your views as an ongoing process of reviewing the field, in the same manner as we hope everyone at NAR has reached whatever position they hold or may hold in the future.

    That’s the kind of person we write NAR for, not merely those who have reached our own rather extreme position of suspecting that anything Gallo does deserves a pinch of salt, and that HIV couldn’t cause any health effect if you gave it steroids.

    This is our fault, in part, since we were not reading Comments here for a short while, as we wrote too much on the snakecharming Mbeki thread at Aetiology, which has such easy targets and is useful to publicise debunking views.

    All this is said without reading all of this in detail, then, since other responsibilities took our attention away from NAR comments for a moment, and we didn’t savor them word by word, using our index finger and speaking the text out loud, which is our usual method of giving threads here their proper due, preferably doing it twice, a modus operandi which we believe is probably needed on in comment threads to avoid misunderstanding and gain a clear perspective on what others write. Moreover, any post which contains flames is automatically skimmed, instead of treated with total respect in this manner, and we advise you to do likewise.

    We should say however that it should be a ruling principle here that any temperamental posts by MacDonald and similar bunkerbusting bombers of what they perceive as error driven by love for Fauci and Gallo and infatuation with the Virus should be taken with a pinch of salt also. All you need to do is contradict them calmly a la Houston, who sets a fine example of dispassionate observation of reality when attacked by HIV supporting Denialists like Chris Noble, etc.

    MacDonald is more entertaining, sharp, and passionate, though also a lot more obscure to average readers, so he is valuable in provoking attention and debate, which is always welcome here as long as the contradictions are not automatic, hand cranked Meme machine output in the Chris Noble line. There is a case for letting fly what you really think, but his or Michael’s ad hominem stuff should be avoided or ignored unless you are used to it, which most civilized people are not.

    There is another side of the coin, too. Perhaps MacDonald and Michael like us think that the time for sedate debate is over, in that all those who have concluded after proper review that the debunkers are right should express themselves accordingly, instead of sticking to the polite, well let’s see who’s right, maybe you are, mode which leaves non participating readers up in the air and meme thinkers off the hook. Writing about this field politically, we do feel it is better now to write on the firm conviction that the paradigm is poppycock, instead of always trying to win friends and influence people by pretending to have an open mind. That just plays into the hands of those who defend the paradigm with assurance.

    However, conviction is one thing, flames are another. There should be no flames. The insults if any should be clever and impersonal, attacking the ideas and not the people, NOT their supposed stupidity and NOT their supposed motives, please.

    We have to say after twenty years exposure that we don’t believe that there is any question remaining. HIV=AIDS is false. If MacDonald has the same conviction, then let him fire his flamethrower, and if you feel he is out of line, just tell him to stop, or ignore it. We may even edit the flames out of his comments, if that is needed. You are bringing topics to the discussion which are worthwhile. Every comment you have made is worthwhile (superb, says one observer).

    It may well be that MacD is in a drunken rage, or high, as evidenced by his attacking the wrong target with personal insults. Only he can say. But we must avoid this counterproductive sendaway of openminded scientists, the very people we need here, which has happened before.

    Any more excessive posts will be erased unless they are a) extremely witty b) directed at the right target ie ideas not people’s supposed motives c) do not put off the excellent visitor they are aimed at d) apologized for in a later comment.

  31. Michael Says:

    I am starting to like Dr. Macacaque; JP Moore, just a wee bit. I suddenly find myself agreeing with him on something:

    http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:z11qGBHVA1EJ:www.poz.com/articles/226_1608.shtml+%22robert+gallo%22+HCG&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9&gl=us

    Reporter: Hatchet Job?

    In a bizarre e-mail that reveals one researcher’s strong feelings about Gallo, John Moore, of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), claimed recently that Gallo was conspiring to “get” his institution. The ADARC researcher alleges that Gallo phoned the two scientists who, along with Gallo, are credited with discovering HIV — University of California researcher Jay Levy and French researcher Luc Montagnier — “solely to ask them to bury the hatchet so we can combine forces to get the ADARC crowd.” Moore labels such behavior “sick and twisted.”

    All three star scientists deny the allegations. According to Montagnier, the story is “absolutely untrue. It never happened.” And Levy says that “the story is garbage. No such thing ever occurred.” For his part, Gallo dismisses Moore’s version as “ludicrous.” “In all my life,” he says, “I’ve never even contemplated the possibility of doing that to anybody. It is a slanderous charge. I may disagree with David Ho on some specific scientific theories. But I would never try to damage him or his lab in any way.”

    John Moore, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center said: “He (Gallo) is grossly overrated as a scientist. If you are dumb enough to believe Gallo’s personal propaganda, that’s your problem. But it reflects badly on your competence as a journalist if you swallow his line and waste print space on him. And if you think Gallo had much to do with the chemokine work, you are a fool.”

    Reporter: Over the course of the epidemic, Dr. Gallo, you’ve become a lightning rod for criticism. Why?

    Gallo: “It’s complex. Part of it is my former personality, which I’ve tried to bury. And I was working in the government under Reagan, so some people thought I was a Republican. And you had a heck of a press conference [at which then­health secretary Margaret Heckler announced Gallo’s discovery of the virus, championing it as a triumph for American science].”

    (Me: “Former personality my ass”.)

    Reporter: In hindsight, what would you have done differently?

    Gallo: “I wouldn’t have showed up at that press conference.”

    Me: “I, and the rest of the dissidents, also all wish you would never have shown up at that press conference. Now be a good lad, pick up your mess, put it in the trash, and go home. And take your friend JP Moorcaque with you!”

  32. Michael Says:

    It is absolutely amazing that Dr. JP the Moorcaque can see through Robert Gallo quite well enough to understand that Gallo is “sick and twisted”, and to even note “If you are dumb enough to believe Gallo’s personal propaganda, that’s your problem. But it reflects badly on your competence”…….but even though JP the Moorcaque can clearly see all this in Gallo, JP yet continues to propagate the belief that Gallo’s original HIV science had any validity whatsoever!

    Moorcaques are seemingly the most fascinating of the monkey family of creatures, are they not? Moorcaques are obviously quite capable of noting reliable data, but yet completely fail to apply it or understand its symbology or significance!

    And how does Moorcaques failure to understand symbology or significance of data in noting that nothing that Gallo says is to be believed, reflect on his own “competence” as he continues to believe Gallo’s original works that HIV is the cause of AIDS?

    In the moorcaques own words: “But it reflects badly on your competence”.

    His lack of insight combined with his 20/20 perception is Simply Fascinating!

  33. Michael Says:

    Perhaps, the answer to this dilemma may be found when one discovers that JP Moore the Moorcaque was the recipient of AIDS drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $500,000 “Freedom To Discover” grant. Undoubtedly, with John P. Moore’s attention drawn to such large lump sums of funding,

    Obviously, JP’s 20/20 perceptions have simply not found the time to discuss any such issues regarding Gallo’s credibility with JP’s own insights! And it would be far too costly to do so now!

  34. Baby Pong Says:

    Michael, the CDC’s revision of their dogma (“SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WILL DEVELOP AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.”) is very interesting, and deserves a full thread of its own, perhaps giving similar examples of lack of certainty that you can find in many test kit package inserts. This needs to have a spotlight thrown on it, as it contradicts the dogma in a very fundamental way.

  35. Baby Pong Says:

    Braganza wrote: Analogy would apply to HIV+/AIDS, as nobody will today use/prescribe AZT/Monotherapy to control AIDS.

    Braganza, I think you are wrong. From extensive reading I’ve done, I believe that AZT monotherapy is still widely used in developing countries in Asia as an alternative to the “too expensive” HAART, and I think also is still used for preggies to prevent transmission to their babies.

  36. Baby Pong Says:

    The comments seem to have diverged quite a bit from the subject of TS’s original post. So let me bring it back to that and point out that some of TS’s points are wrong. “Naturally, the pharmas will take over natural products soon enough, but at least they won’t have gigantic costs or patents to allow them to lever prices skyhigh,” he wrote.

    I don’t think that the pharmas are trying to take over natural products. Where is your evidence for that? Rather, through such mechanisms as the coming Codex regulations sponsored by the WHO and FAO, they are planning to make natural products either illegal, too expensive for people to afford, and/or only available in pitifully low, non-therapeutic doses. As you pointed out, another strategy is to get their puppets in the regulatory agencies to demand that expensive safety studies be carried out by anyone trying to market a natural product, previously considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Small herbal remedy companies can’t afford such studies, of course, which is the real reason that they are being required by the FDA and similar criminal organizations.

    Also, via such ploys as the forthcoming “mandatory health insurance” that is already law in Massachusetts, Big Pharma’s government marionettes are going to force everybody to pay for health insurance, and, “naturally” enough, that insurance will not cover “natural” non-patented therapies, only synthetic chemical drugs. And anyone forced to pay thousands of dollars a year for health insurance may not have enough money left over to pay for herbal medicines, Chinese medicine, or whatever. Having to pay for the Pharma-based insurance, people will feel that they must utilize it, or waste the payments.

    There’s a good article on this that I came across on a google search: http://www.thenhf.com/articles/articles_607/articles_607.htm

    That’s not to say that some drug companies might not be buying up some natural remedy companies, but the purpose is probably to put them out of business, not to bring their remedies to the public. Much like the way GM and Standard Oil bought up railroad companies many decades ago and then shut them down to ensure that cars would become essential for transportation and setting off a frenzy of highway building that would benefit their businesses.

    TS’s statement that “The drug scene changing in this way seems interesting for what it promises in taking the pressure off healthier natural alternatives” is just totally naive. The pressure on natural alternatives is already so high it’s about to burst them into oblivion. Big Medicine has virtually declared war on natural remedies, which is why there is now a Health Freedom movement trying desperately to stop the stampede to medical dictatorship. Despite natural medicine’s good reviews in the literature, they are competition, and the Pharmas are hell bent on destroying their competition. What do you think do-gooder groups like Medicines Sans Frontieres are all about? Do you think they want to help poor sick people? No, their real purpose is to spread the allopathic medical paradigm to all the developing countries that still rely on traditional herbal remedies. It, like so many other “charities,” is a Rockefeller operation, as you will find if you research it.

    Also, TS swallows the line that “research costs [for the Pharmas] are enormous.” That claim is just pure PR designed to counter criticism of drug prices. People who have investigated these claims have found that pharma R & D costs are grossly exaggerated; further, often it’s the taxpayers who are paying for the research expenses of a drug, not the Pharmas. The profits from the taxpayer-subsidized drug, of course, get privatized.

  37. Truthseeker Says:

    There’s a good article on this that I came across on a google search: http://www.thenhf.com/articles/articles_607/articles_607.htm – Baby Pong

    Could it be that the author himself is calling our attention to his own article in this rather underhand manner? Let us hope not. We like the essay for its debunking tone but it seemed in the end to involve too much attitude and too few persuasive facts. We will have to reread it to see if that is right.

    However, if it be Marcel Girodian himself who has essayed the above Pong post it would certainly explain why it generally paints all of modern medicine with a very broad brush, when it is hard to believe that everybody involved is trying to pull a fast one. As far as we know the costs of winning FDA drug approval via the studies demanded is very high, perhaps even $500 million per case, according to one student of the field we asked, but anyway it is hard to see the point of suggesting that the claim is exaggerated, since we agree there seems no doubt that the cost is something large drug companies can afford and small vitamin companies cannot.

    The fact that HIV=AIDS is so remarkably unscientific and clearly a huge bandwagon rolling along regardless of reason and hostile to review shouldn’t automatically lead to a wholesale cynicism about every aspect of medicine and medical science, as far as we are concerned. This has to be decided on a case by case basis, if it isn’t to be simply the opposite extreme from the uninformed naivete you like to accuse us of. Everybody’s knowledge of the whole scene in any part of the modern world is inevitably limited so for all we know you may be right and modern medicine may be a wholesale crock, but we doubt it. The modern Western diet and lack of exercise probably has to be countered by specific drugs, we imagine, and we are sure that many have a good use. But we agree with your prejudice that it would be better if we just ate sensibly and walked everywhere, like Schopenhauer. In this cause we are looking forward to reading Michael Pollan’s new book, In Defense of Food, which follows his Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    But any factual update you have on the fears of many that alternatives will be legislated out of the market would be welcome. Last we heard the attempt to bring US rules of trade in line with the European Community was the main threat but we haven’t heard what happened to it. The basic principle that people should be allowed to take whatever they like as long as full information is freely available to them is the libertarian one we believe in, and the idea that Vitamin C in bulk wouldn’t be available seems to us to be a violation of the First Amendment.

  38. Truthseeker Says:

    Have to post this rather urgently, since it is a post by Pong delayed by software glitches somewhere along the line. Hope that others have not met with the same problem on SG/NAR. Please email forthwith to urgent@scienceguardian.com if you do.

    Pong replies:

    Dear Mr. Truthseeker,

    I’ve been trying for 3 days to post a reply on “drug bust” but your software is not working. I post the message and it never appears. I then try to post it again and your software says “sorry, you already posted that” or something.

    Here is my reply:

    Certainly it is I, Baby Pong, the daughter of Phuong and Van Hai Pong, who authors these posts, not some imagined Marcel character. Your insinuation that we are someone else marks you clearly as a conspiracy theorist.

    Anyway, we tend to think that most of modern pharmaceutical medicine is worthless and harmful, with a few items that can do some good, mostly natural, inexpensive substances like N-acetylcysteine or drugs used for emergency situations. But TS, you are really uninformed about what’s going on in Pharma’s war against natural medicine. More sit is hitting the fan all the time…mandatory health insurance, California govt recently banning raw milk sales, and tons more. You should do
    some reading about Codex; you will see very clearly that their goal is to outlaw many natural remedies and set maximum dosages for vitamins that are far below what is available today. They are doing it slowly so we can get used to it, in a strategy to deflect opposition. But the EU has already done it; in Germany the only vitamins available are ridiculously low dosages (I don’t remember offhand exactly what they are, but they are VERY low.) And it is thought that Codex will follow the EU’s lead on this. Check out:

    http://www.iahf.com/20050121a.html
    http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/THE_FOUNDATION/Events/codex2007-badneuenahr.html

    http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/features/codex_wto.html

    Also, we recently became very interested in a related issue, and would be very grateful if you would develop a thread on the subject.

    After reading this article by Tim O’Shea, “Ascorbic Acid is Not Vitamin C”,

    http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/index…d_vitamins.php

    we read this article that contradicts it:

    http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/NaturalC.htm

    O’Shea says that Szent-Gyorgyi (the discoverer of Vit C) found that Vit C is a complex including bioflavonoids, rutin and many other factors besides ascorbic acid.

    The Vit C Foundation says that Szent-Gyorgyi said that ascorbic acid ALONE is vitamin C

    O’Shea claims that Szent-Gyorgyi and others found that ascorbic acid alone could not cure scurvy, only a food containing the whole Vitamin C complex could cure it, and even a single potato, with just a modest amount of Vit C, cures scurvy.

    The Vit C Foundation says that ascorbic acid alone DOES cure scurvy. Another interesting point in the Vit C Foundation article is that it claims that scientific studies of animals that produce their own Vitamin C have found only ascorbic acid, not a “complex” of
    bioflavonoids, etc., in what the animals produce in their bodies.

    This raises a few more questions: Did the scientists not find the “complex” in the animals because they didn’t look for it? Is there
    other research that the Vit C Foundation is ignoring because it offers contradictory evidence?

    The Vit C Foundation makes another very important point: that O’Shea’s position plays right into the hands of the Codex totalitarians who want to limit our access to vitamins.

    We would love to see the fine skeptical science minds on this forum apply themselves to this conundrum, as we are confused as to what to do about our ascorbic acid habit. It’s currently in suspension and we are overdosing on guavas and papayas until a clear answer emerges from highly analytical, evidence-based science freaks such as those that dwell on this forum.

    Baby Pong

    ((Why does it matter? – Ed.))

  39. MacDonald Says:

    What does it matter if access to vitamins gets limited?!

    Are you sure you are feeling well Mr. Ed? Is it the higher matters occupying you these days that have robbed you of all ability to put information into a larger framework or connect any dots?

  40. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, if you do not put information into a larger context when you post, then you are liable to misunderstand which “it” is “it.” On the other hand, I should have done exactly that with my “it” so I am equally to blame.

    By “it” I was referring to the distinction between Vitamin C as a single uniform substance and Vitamin C as a complex or mix.

    Beyond that I need the information put into context. This is as it happens a standard requirement of most processes of communication between sentient minds, I believe. Information without context is notoriously impossible to assimilate. In fact, it will be automatically put into a context or framework by the mind into which it is input, so if you want the context to be correct it is better to add it before sending it verbally or by carrier pigeon or whatever into the realm of perception of the listener/reader/feelertoucher.

    So answer the question for us if you know the answer and are not preoccupied with higher things. After all, the whole problem with this entire field is that information is wrongly framed by a paradigm that no thinking person can credit without compartmentalising his or her brain into two or more parts.

    We don’t want to let this kind of error extend to other fields without trying to intercept it.

  41. Baby Pong Says:

    It matters because the claim that is being made by the “vitamin C naturalists” is that ascorbic acid is nothing but a preservative for the major part of the Vitamin C complex, and that Pharma pulled a fast one on us when it took the easy, cheap route of synthesizing only ascorbic acid and calling that Vitamin C when it is only a small component of Vitamin C.

    I don’t know who’s right. That’s why I’d like everybody to familiarize themselves with the controversy by reading those links I provided.

  42. Baby Pong Says:

    N-acetylcysteine is very useful, by the way, for Bangkok or Saigon Throat — the ubiquitous SE Asia ailment that causes mucus to build up in the throat, leading to labored attempts to cough it up, due to the terrible air pollution (or due to a virus, as the med establishment would probably claim). It’s a marvelous, cheap, natural mucolytic with no side effects.

  43. Truthseeker Says:

    Certainly an interesting topic but the main issue remains either way, then – that pharma will strenuously try to ban or take over natural, unpatentable substances? If so, don’t hesitate to alleviate our naivete on that front, since the politics presumably involves a lot of propaganda and disinformation which distorts and corrupts our scientific assumptions, of which this is an example.

    Factual distortion of science in the service of politics is the theme of this blog.

  44. MacDonald Says:

    Mr. Ed, the factual distortion in above little digression was that viruses play a larger role in “Saigon throat” and various upper airways infections than does air quality.

  45. Cathyvm Says:

    New Zealand is purportedly a first world country, but AZT is a first-line therapy (not mono) here, especially if your skin is brown/black. Black Africans comprise only 0.2% of the total population but make up 21% of all HIV positives here. They are 244 times more likely to test positive than non-MSM, non drug-using, non-African people. Furthermore, the HIV prevalence in NZ Black Africans (and this is conservative as ethnicity has only been recorded since 1996) here is 3.5% – higher than that reported for high-risk prison inmates in an East Cape (SA) prison. I smell an institutional racist rat.

  46. oigen Says:

    CathyVM……….

    Is it institutional racism that stinks or insufferable ignorance. I reckon it’s both. Our white coated geniuses at HIV/AIDS inc. are wallowing in such a sea of “overwhelming evidence” that they can’t see the proverbial forest for the trees. Check this revelation out from one Dr. Pontiano Kaleebu conducting tests in Uganda last year……

    Until now, researchers in Africa have used “reference ranges” – what are deemed “normal” levels of components of a person’s blood – based on North Americans and Europeans. But healthy Africans, a new study shows, have different levels of white blood cells and other blood components. That shouldn’t be a surprise, the doctor points out; the only shock is that it took this long for anyone to map out what’s “normal” in Africa……..http://tinyurl.com/38wcqd

    But this has been known since at 1998……….

    Immunohematological Reference Ranges for Adult Ethiopians…….http://tinyurl.com/2tu5bh

  47. Truthseeker Says:

    Why do black Americans and Africans and New Zealanders test positive more often than white or Asians? it’s the billion dollar question in HIV=AIDS, and there seems no doubt that something else other than a fantasy transmission of HIV antibodies (supposedly virus, but where is it?) is involved.

    Bust that one and the Cheops pyramid of the HIV=AIDS meme/paradigm/pandemic billions might crack at a key joint. Presumably Henry Bauer (click this for his blog), author of The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (click for Amazon page), for which this is the author’s page (click this) will be the first to tell us, since his book makes it clear that the mapping of the supposed “pandemic” based on actual HIV antibody tests and presumed HIV antibody test outcomes is highly questionable as a basis for thinking about this clearly spurious paradigm, though it certainly helps the spreading of the meme, the idea that HIV=AIDS.

  48. Cathyvm Says:

    I think the high rate of HIV+ve diagnosis in Black Africans here is probably due to a combination of factors. Pre-existing antibodies to TB and leprosy, possible cross-reactive antibodies to helminths, a low-protein diet (even here; despite being an agricultural country 1/3 of its citizens cannot afford good food) and possibly the biggest factor – prejudice. In SA just being Black does not automatically put you in a risk group, here, being Black is seen as almost synonymous with “having AIDS”, which must affect the judgement of the white, middle-class lab technician (probably pooping his/her pants that the virus will jump off the blot strip and infect him/her) in the interpretation of this arbitrary, ridiculous test. It pretty much adds up to “Medical Ethnic Cleansing”. What are the UN doing about this genocide? Oh yeah, they are promoting it.
    Oigen I long ago threw out the idea of a “healthy reference range” – find me a bunch of free-living humans, not exposed to various environmental toxins, synthetic pharma drugs or the crap Western diet and I might discover what ‘healthy’ parameters really are. Epidemiologists (I call them epididymologists because it really is a load of bollyx) like to apply their homogeneous mediocrity in a blatant but strangely successful strategy to identify more fresh victims for their whoremaster big Pharma.
    Soon, I’ll tell you what I really think!

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