I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories. I never believed a second shot was fired. Nor do I believe that Bill Clinton was stalked on the grassy knoll. So I won’t speculate that Martin Shkreli’s arrest for alleged securities fraud that happened years ago is related to his raising Daraprim’s price by 5,500 percent. Just because something isn’t suspicious doesn’t mean that it isn’t odd. Shkreli is a perfect poster child for rapacious ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. With the holiday season upon us, there is no better time to reflect on how we as physicians can better serve our patients -- not only in the treatments we provide -- but in how we tackle growing health issues such as the overuse and ...

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The American Medical Association (AMA) recently called for a ban on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices, arguing that this type of advertising drives the nation's escalating drug bill by creating demand for new, expensive medications that are often no more effective than older ones. Since the first televised prescription drug ad aired in the U.S. in 1983, pharmaceutical companies have spent billions ...

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“Help me stop doing this.” Mr. G was a 55-year-old homeless man who uttered these words to us during his fifth hospitalization for problems related to his alcohol use:  intoxication, falls and alcohol withdrawal. He was on a downward spiral through the hospital’s revolving door and felt helpless. As a medical team, we felt helpless too. We did not know how to address his real problem -- his cycle of addiction. Hospitalized ...

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I am a bit of a coin collector, and recently I visited my favorite coin shop in downtown Louisville.  I was met with this news: A coin dealer I know in Austin, Indiana had been killed recently, murdered in his own coin shop, shot in the head by robbers.  Four persons were later arrested when coins belonging to this elderly man were found in their possession.  Austin, Indiana is, by ...

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After a New York pharmaceutical company recently raised the price of a drug that’s been around for more than 60 years from $13 to $750 a pill, the nation appeared to collectively gasp over a seemingly capricious, “anything goes” approach to drug pricing. The move also revived a recurring debate over whether pharmaceuticals should have free rein to charge outrageously high prices for important medications. Madness? Perhaps. But pharmaceutical companies are simply responding ...

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The other day, the mother of a nine-week-old baby girl called my office in a panic.  Her daughter was having terrible breathing trouble, with coughing and wheezing.  She asked to been seen that day, and of course I said yes. I asked mom how the baby had been doing overall, and she said that she’d had some noisy breathing as a newborn, but all was well until the past few ...

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The letter from the insurance company was addressed to my patient. The two pages of information boiled down to one simple sentence: “After a thorough review, our decision to not cover the medication Provigil (modafinil) is unchanged.” The letter went on to explain that there was no further recourse, and that the medication would not be approved because it was not Food and Drug Administration–approved for the condition my patient had: ...

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Last year, there was a rash of ill-researched articles in the press claiming a connection between the HPV vaccine and POTS (postural orthostatic hypotension syndrome) and CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome).  Toronto Star, The Independent, Daily Mail I’m looking at you. These articles read like propaganda for anti-HPV vaccine groups. They all followed such a similar format that I wondered if they had ...

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According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the use of dietary supplements sends an estimated 23,000 Americans to the emergency department each year. Approximately 25 percent of the ER visits that were supplement related were by adults who were using herbal weight loss products. Another 10 percent were caused by adults consuming “energy products” (although people using energy drinks were excluded from the ...

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