There was important news recently on statin drugs. As one of the world’s most effective and commonly used medications, statins provide great writing topics. Lots of people have high cholesterol–including cyclists. Lots of people are interested in avoiding our mostly deadly disease. I’d like to tell you about a recently-published landmark study in the Lancet that should quell safety concerns over statin drugs. The punch line after I tell you the study’s ...

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Since the passing of Michael Jackson and the recent trial of his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, I have been frequently asked by patients whether they will receive the drug that killed the singer. As have many of my anesthesiologist colleagues, I have taken this opportunity ...

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Today, I want to review another article I wrote in last year.  That article started with a confession: "I confessed that I ate lunch with a representative of a pharmaceutical company." I must now confess that I often eat lunch with representatives of pharmaceutical companies and I’m proud of it.  At this stage of my career, I can well afford my own lunch.  I could sit quietly and relax over a cup ...

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I have many, many patients and their families who are very active travelers. Business flights, vacation trips … some of you really rack up the miles. It is with shock and disappointment that I must report; Delta Air Lines has made a very poor choice. An ad, produced by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), is currently being shown to passengers on Delta flights through the month of November. The ad encourages ...

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Radiation oncologists offer curative cancer treatment to many.  Despite irradiating the spleen for over 50 years, why don’t we routinely offer pneumococcal vaccination to avoid complications after treatment?  Since we just had World Pneumonia Day to raise awareness for children, I want to do the same for cancer patients. A healthy spleen helps fight off pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. Publications on infection from spleen radiation date back at least thirty years, but were ...

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Have you heard the parable about the blind men and the elephant? Each is holding a different part of the animal and comes to a different conclusion about what he’s dealing with. The man holding the tail is sure it’s a rope; the one with the trunk fears a snake; the one holding the tusk is certain he has a spear. It’s all in their perspective. They’ll need to share ...

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At this point, few would argue against the need for increased oversight of the legions of so-called pain management clinics that have sprung up in the past decade. After all, an annually increasing majority of them are nothing more than lucrative cash and carries for the legal sale of prescription narcotics to anyone with a need or want -- and the cash in hand. They have become a public mental health ...

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A recent $3 billion settlement between drug giant GlaxoSmithKline and the FDA really got me thinking. On one hand, it’s a breathtakingly huge number, breaking the old record of $2.3 billion set by Pfizer a couple years back.  And there are some initial indications that the pharmas may be cleaning up their act a bit, expanding their compliance departments and reining in their sales forces in order to avoid ...

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The revolution in medicine brought about by greater understanding of genomics has led to a number of targeted therapies in cancer care. The basic concept is to first find the genomic change or mutation that leads to a disease, then learn its gene product and then develop a drug that inhibits the action of the aberrant gene product. The first was imatinib (Gleevec) for chromic myelocytic leukemia (CML.) When a ...

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One might assume that inmates in correctional facilities would not be influenced by big pharma’s direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) strategies. After all, their communication channels with the outside world have largely been silenced. However, many do have access to television. And despite an increase in online pharmaceutical marketing, TV remains a common medium for trying to persuade patients to “ask your doctor” about drug X. Inmates also read magazines, another common ...

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