The section of the Affordable Care Act, which calls for the creation of the biosimilar pathway, was recently upheld by the Supreme Court.  While not as headline-worthy as the news surrounding the individual mandate, the fact that the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) provision survived the process was significant for the biotech world. Biologics are some of the best treatment options for serious medical conditions such as cancer, autoimmune ...

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E-cigarettes seem to be a very popular product these days, so I thought I’d do a bit of research to figure out what the heck an e-cigarette is and to try to answer the question, “Are e-cigarettes safe?” It appears that the primary reason people use e-cigarettes is to avoid smoking, either as a way to get their nicotine in areas where smoking is prohibited, or as a means to try ...

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Media outlets are reporting the results of a small, but very important study regarding a new treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.  Most Americans are familiar with Alzheimer's because it is so common (President Reagan had it), so devastating, and without a cure.  This new study gives hope to people who have or are at risk for the disease. Recently at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2012 in Vancouver, researchers presented the ...

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One summer in college, when I couldn't think of what else to do, I lived near campus in a punishingly hot walk up apartment, held down three boring jobs, and took intensive Latin. Every morning we met in a blissfully air-conditioned classroom--that was the upside!-- to conjugate and decline: a whole year of Latin in 6 weeks. I remember nothing I learned, of course. I'm reminded of the great Woody ...

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Most of the American public doesn’t know that different pharmacies can and do charge drastically different prices for their prescription drugs. Does that surprise you?  It sure surprised me when I found this out a few months ago in my medical school class. I consider myself well educated. I’m a college graduate and in the throes of professional school -- in healthcare nonetheless. I have an open mind and I read quite ...

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I am acutely aware of the obesity epidemic in this country.  I’ve posted previously about how obesity may have surpassed smoking as the #1 preventabe cause of death in the U.S.  Still the FDA approval today of Belviq, a sertonergic drug that brings back memories of Fen-Phen, Meridia and Redux (dexfenfluoramine) over concerns with their association with valvular heart disease, pulmonary hypertension ...

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This weekend I tried to buy Plan B over the counter at a Rite Aid and was denied. Let me explain. It wasn’t for me, I have a Paraguard and my boyfriend had a vasectomy. Basically, the chance of me getting pregnant is so astronomically impossible that we’d be pimping the story out to every tabloid and we would aim for a reality show, which we would call The Second Coming. What ...

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Bath salts are a relatively new group of designer drugs sold as tablets, capsules, or powder and purchased in places such as tobacco and convenience stores, gas stations, head shops, and the Internet. They are stimulants that mimic cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methamphetamine, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy). According to a recent article in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing, the most common bath salts are MDPV, mephedrone, and methylone. These drugs cause ...

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A recent economic analysis concluded that patients with metastatic cancer value their treatments significantly more than regulators recognize, with many expensive new therapies looking like veritable bargains to most patients. Yet the study ignored the values really driving oncology spending—the warped incentives oncologists have to promote their own bottom line by prescribing expensive treatments. Let’s start with the economic analysis, another in a series of studies by a USC team of ...

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An article in the New York Times recently described the increasing use of stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin among high-school students.  Titled “The Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill,” the article discussed how 15 to 40 percent of students, competing for straight-As and spots in elite colleges, use stimulants for an extra “edge,” regardless of whether they actually have ADHD. I’ve written about ADHD.  It’s a real ...

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