Too much B6 & B12 = hip fractures? + Pharma's high prices not devoted to research?

Too much vitamin B6 and B12 tied to hip fractures in older women

EXCERPT: Older women who take supplements with high doses of vitamins B6 and B12 may be more likely than their counterparts who don’t to experience hip fractures, a U.S. study suggests. While some previous research has linked both of these vitamins to a lower risk of heart disease, results have been mixed and some studies have also tied B6 and B12 to fractures in older adults, researchers note in JAMA Network Open. Under current U.S. dietary guidelines, women over age 50 should get 1.5 milligrams (mg) a day of B6, and girls and women aged 14 and up should get 2.4 daily micrograms (mcg, which is 1 one-thousandth of a milligram) of B12.

[...] The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how high intake of B6 or B12 might contribute to risk for hip fractures. It’s also possible that the study population of predominately white, insured and middle class women might not reflect what would happen with all older women in the U.S. Even so, the results underscore the importance of getting a checkup before starting any vitamin supplements, said Dr. Karen Hansen, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health in Madison. (MORE)

New study sparks war of words over pharma's commitment to research

INTRO: A coalition of the drug industry’s fiercest foes is accusing the world’s top drug makers of hiding behind research and development “as an excuse for price-gouging American patients.” And they’re pointing to a new study that finds drug makers spent about 22% of their revenues on research and development in 2017 to prove their point.

The new study, first shared with STAT, was commissioned by the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, a coalition that includes pharmacy middlemen, hospitals, and insurers and that advocates for drug pricing reforms. It was based largely on analysis of 2017 Security and Exchange Commission filings for the 10 largest U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies that generate more than half their revenue from prescription drugs. And while the industry average was 22%, Celgene spent the largest percentage of its revenues on research (45.49%) and Gilead spent the lowest (14.3%).

To hear the coalition tell it, the study is proof that the pharmaceutical industry isn’t spending nearly enough of its profits on new cures — despite companies’ repeated insistence that that’s exactly why they price their drugs so high. Jon Conradi, a spokesman for CSRxP, called that line the industry’s “go-to defense.” “It is really important context that is often not part of the conversation to know not only exactly how much the industry does actually spend on R&D, but what that number looks like in the context of what they spend on everything else — things that have nothing to do with inventing or innovating new cures, or helping patients,” he said.

The 22% figure, however, isn’t that far off from what drug makers have said in the past: that the industry spends, on average, $1 out of every $5 of revenue on research and development. “The 22 percent they are criticizing us for spending on R&D is absurd given our industry invests more in R&D as a percentage of sales than all other manufacturing industries,” PhRMA spokeswoman Holly Campbell wrote to STAT in an emailed statement.

The two very different talking points — despite the largely very similar figures — highlight the deep discord over what drugs and drug development are worth, and who should bear those costs. (MORE)

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