I stared down at the tired, deteriorating woman sprawled across a bariatric bed before me. A breathing tube was in her throat while multiple catheters pierced her arms and neck, pouring powerful medications directly into her veins. Among several functions, these infusions would maintain her blood pressure high enough to keep her organs alive. This was my initial, visual impression of a patient I was responsible for during my first ...

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This year's flu vaccine, as you likely know, is taking a drubbing. The contention is that CDC flubbed, and didn't get quite the right flu strains in the mix. That is apparently true, although more the "fault" of the influenza virus and its natively wily ways, than of the CDC. Either way, the drubbing is disproportionate to any flubbing. The drubbing occurs in the context of a strong, new ...

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Personalized medicine. Predictive medicine. Targeted medicine. These are just some of the descriptors being applied to “genomic medicine,” a field of medical research generating much fanfare and hope for the future. Genomics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the study of all the genes in the human genome – that double-stranded DNA helix that defines who we are and what we’re made of. Building on ...

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80 percent of prescriptions in the U.S. are for generic medications. Generics are supposed to be less expensive alternatives to brand name drugs. However, prices for certain generics are rapidly increasing. 50 percent of generic medications increased in price in the last year and 10 percent more than doubled in cost during the same time period. Among them are thyroid replacement hormone, doxycycline, digoxin and other heart medications, tetracycline, albuterol ...

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In a controversial study, Tufts University’s Center for the Study of Drug Development estimates that the cost to bring a new drug to market exceeds nearly 2.6 billion dollars.  The study, which was 40 percent funded by industry has been criticized for over estimating these costs in favor of industry and misrepresenting some cost estimates.  While we will not know fully the extent of the methodology of the study ...

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Why do drugs cost so much? Drug prices are a difficult issue to write about because real data about the workings of pharmaceutical companies is very difficult to uncover. Still, I came face to face with something that seemed extremely not right and so I feel I should at least make some comment. It started when I prescribed a patient sumatriptan for her recently more frequent migraines. ...

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I am currently a pharmacy student, and although I have not yet dispensed a medication, I had my first experience concerning the cost of care a few months ago. My ear hurt very badly when I woke up in the morning, and being that I had to go to work later that evening, I decided to go to the local clinic in order to get my ear treated. The physician was ...

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We always want to get it right the first time when treating patients, but the truth is this is difficult. When there is uncertainty of disease course and prognosis, multiple treatment options, and variable responses to therapy this becomes even more challenging.  Our typical strategy to making it “just right” isn’t too different from Goldilocks. We have mild treatments (too cold), and aggressive treatments (too hot), and even in the ...

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We’ve come a long way, baby. Eighty five years ago (October 18, 1929) women were declared "persons" in Canada. On that day women in Canada became eligible to be appointed to the Canadian Senate, which up to that time, had been the sole dominion of men because women were not deemed "persons" under the law.  Five Alberta women, Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Nellie Mcclung declared a ...

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Physician key opinion leaders (KOLs) have been viewed as a valuable resource in the pharmaceutical (heretofore referred to as pharma but included are medical device companies) industry. In one study in which 100 KOLs were surveyed, the most important characteristics of a KOL were, “regularly sought out by their colleagues for opinions or advice, speak often at regional or national conferences have published articles in a major journal during the past ...

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