WSJ_Ulcers1992

WSJ_Ulcers1992 - Medicine: Study Suggests Cause and Cure...

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Medicine: Study Suggests Cause and Cure for Ulcers Bishop, Jerry E. Wall Street Journal . (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: May 1, 1992. pg. B1 With hardly a note of fanfare, medical researchers say they have discovered the cause -- and cure -- for one of humankind's most distressing diseases: peptic ulcers. But the discovery raises new questions for millions of ulcer patients and their doctors and poses a threat to profits of three of the world's biggest drug makers. A team of ulcer experts in Houston report today on an experiment they believe convicts a bacterium as the culprit for the vast majority of the duodenal and gastric types of peptic ulcers. More than one in 10 Americans will suffer such ulcers at some time. Thus no one is watching the advent of the ulcer cure more closely than the pharmaceutical industry. Glaxo Holdings PLC takes in an estimated $3 billion a year from its ulcer drug Zantac, the biggest-selling prescription drug ever marketed. SmithKline Beecham PLC hauls in about $1.2 billion annually from Tagamet, while Merck & Co. taps into this pharmaceutical gold mine for about $600 million annually from from its drug Pepcid and Eli Lilly & Co's similar drug Axid posts sales of about $200 million a year. Since these drugs, called H-2 antagonists, heal ulcers but don't cure chronic ulcer conditions, many people take them intermittently for weeks, months or even a lifetime, making them the most lucrative group of drugs ever sold. The Houston researchers say they used a two-week regimen of quite different drugs to wipe out the suspect bacterium in the stomach or intestine of all but seven of 62 ulcer patients. In the following year, no patient whose gut was cleared of the bacterium suffered a relapse of his ulcer. The only relapses occurred in four patients who still carried the bacterium in their guts. In a second group of 47 patients who took only the ulcer-healing drug Zantac, all remained infected with the bacterium and more than three-quarters suffered relapses of ulcers within a few months. These data, along with similar experimental results elsewhere, "provide
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compelling evidence . . . that peptic ulcer . . . is the end result of a bacterial infection," declare David Y. Graham and his colleagues in today's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Graham, a gastroenterologist, is at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. Moreover, "Most ulcers associated with Helicobacter pylori {the bacteria}
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This note was uploaded on 11/03/2009 for the course ECON 210 taught by Professor James during the Spring '09 term at UBC.

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WSJ_Ulcers1992 - Medicine: Study Suggests Cause and Cure...

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