Big Pharma Accused of Creating Less Effective Aspirin Tablets To Justify Expensive Blood Thinners

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by Bill Sardi

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A report in the New York Times accuses Big Pharma of rigging the ineffectiveness of cheaper blood thinners like aspirin to covertly coerce doctors into prescribing more expensive pills like Plavix and Warfarin (coumadin).

The New York Times report emanates from a study published in Circulation, a journal of The American Heart Association, which found the problem of aspirin resistance, estimated to affect 5-40% of aspirin users, is not physiological resistance at all but rather ineffectiveness caused by the enteric coating of the aspirin pills.

The researchers who made this discovery covered for the drug company by calling the problem "An Unintended Consequence of Enteric Coating Aspirin." But the New York Times article said "some prominent doctors say that the prevalence of the condition has been exaggerated by companies and drug makers with a commercial interest in proving that aspirin — a relatively iinexpensive, over-the-counter drug whose heart benefits have been known since the 1950s — does not always work."

In the first phase of the study researchers gave plain aspirin to 40 subjects and found no aspirin resistance. Then in a second phase of the study 360 subjects received coated aspirin tablets, said to be "safer" because the coating protects against bleeding gastric ulcers which can have mortal consequences for elderly patients, and 108 of them were resistant up to 8 hours after taking aspirin. A third phase of the study found no cases of aspirin resistance among 400 subjects.

Cardiologists dismissed the findings of the report saying eventually the aspirin worked to prevent blood clots over time. But patients at risk for a heart attack weren’t protected from clots that can form in coronary arteries in the first hours after taking aspirin.

A check on the history of this problem reveals enteric coating as a possible cause of aspirin resistance was first posed in the medical literature in 2008. Two years earlier researchers reported enteric coating appeared to reduce the effectiveness of aspirin, but didn’t relate this to aspirin resistance.

A cursory investigation shows that two widely touted prescription blood thinners, Plavix and Warfarin (coumadin), sell for around 96-cents and 59-cents per tablet while enteric-coated aspirin tablets run around 4-cents apiece. © 2012 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc. Not for posting on other websites.

         

Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com. His latest book is Downsizing Your Body.

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