Welcome to Friday night as a hospitalist in the ultimate Green State, Colorado: Time to gear up for some marijuana-facilitated paranoia, memory loss, nausea and vomiting, and memory loss. I’m not a teetotaler, but I do find the new surge in cases of preventable disease a bit disheartening if not occasionally humorous. Prior to this past year, it wasn’t uncommon for me to encounter an occasional marijuana medical problem, but ...

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India is not, yet, a wealthy country. Nevertheless its people experience many of the same expensive-to-treat illnesses as wealthier populations in the U.S. and Europe. Therefore, the country has made a series of policy decisions designed to lower the cost of medical treatments. For example, until 2005, it offered no -- I repeat, no -- patent protection for pharmaceutical products, thereby spurring the development of its robust and relatively inexpensive generic ...

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Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), the new hepatitis drug manufactured and marketed by Gilead Sciences, has garnered considerable media attention over the last several months. The drug was approved by the FDA in December after phase III clinical trials showed it was highly effective in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection. In fact, with an overall SVR (sustained virologic response) of 90 percent for the genotypes studied, Sovaldi may represent a cure for many of the 3.2 million Americans afflicted ...

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Doctors have a long and illustrious history of addicting people to narcotics.  In the 1800s this was largely because they didn’t know what else to do, they had no idea what was wrong with anyone, and they didn’t have any drugs that worked.  Apothecaries, pharmacists, and doctors made proprietary concoctions in which opium was always the active ingredient. And it worked, right?  Morphine works for anxiety, works for pain, works for ...

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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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shutterstock_154769528 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 ...

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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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shutterstock_190622306 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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