A respected source of balanced, first-rate journalism, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer raises urgent and challenging questions whenever it covers the health care field. This anthology of NewsHour segments confronts ethical dilemmas and complex issues in medicine today. Through in-depth reporting and interviews with doctors, nurses, patients, and other experts, the anthology examines case studies, scientific breakthroughs, and connections between corporate and public policy.
On September 30, 2004, pharmaceutical giant Merck voluntarily withdrew its popular painkiller Vioxx after it was linked to increased risks of heart attack and stroke. Was Merck’s move driven by genuine concern for patients? Or, given findings from earlier studies, was the recall a self-protective move that came too late? This CNBC investigation takes viewers through the process by which one of Big Pharma’s most widely prescribed products was tested, approved, and marketed—at the expense, many say, of thousands of consumers. Several medical experts provide commentary, in addition to FDA whistle-blower David Graham, who has cited numerous faults in the government’s handling of Vioxx testing.
The vast majority of drug addicts are not criminals; tobacco and alcohol, both perfectly legal in most societies, are used and abused in staggering abundance. This program details the ways smoking and drinking chemically take hold of the brain. Explaining the many reasons—besides nicotine—for tobacco’s stealthy effects, the program describes the existence of thousands of other addictive chemicals in the plant. It also studies properties in alcohol, which some scientists have nicknamed the “dirty drug,” that short-circuit the brain and cause considerable damage. Research by Philip Gorwood, Alain Ehrenberg, Martine Cador, Philippe Batel, and Michel Hamon is documented.
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