Antibiotic resistance is an alarming and increasing threat to global public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two million people a year become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics and lead to 23,000 deaths in the United States alone. Simply put, the bugs are getting stronger and smarter, our antibiotic arsenal has not kept pace, and we have overused our antibiotic resources in a manner ...

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shutterstock_133750277 In the movies, pain is glorious. The runner pushing to the edge. The magic of childbirth. The soldier battles impossible odds to conquer. Pain? “Suck, it up, maggot, pain is nature’s way of telling you that you’re alive.” But, to the cancer patient, in the real world? Pain is nature’s way of saying “you may soon be dead.” For a patient suffering ...

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shutterstock_32952331 As first-year family medicine residents, our patient care experiences really run the gamut, since our training truly encompasses “cradle to grave” care.  With the exception of most pediatric care, the issue of narcotic prescribing and addiction is seen in all specialties, as well as frequently in continuity clinic where we care for our own primary care patients.  As dangerous as opiate ...

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shutterstock_230894965 The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) called the question: Has criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, and of physician relationships with that industry, gone too far?  Are self-righteous “pharmascolds” blocking the kind of essential collaboration that brought streptomycin and other lifesaving treatments to market?  The editorial by Dr. Jeffrey Drazen and the lengthy threepart piece by ...

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shutterstock_150037820 Lately I've had the opportunity to work in an outpatient clinic where the regular doctor is out sick for a prolonged period of time. It is a breathtakingly beautiful little community, with green hills and a crystal clear river. It is also troubled by methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse. The little clinic in town is unwittingly a partner in this crime. Like ...

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Hepatitis C is one of the most common chronic infectious illnesses in the U.S. today and affects nearly 3.2 million Americans. Complications of hepatitis C infection include liver cancer as well as cirrhosis.  Many patients with chronic hepatitis ultimately develop liver failure and will die without liver transplantation.  In the last year,  a new drug class has entered the market and can produce cure rates in excess of 90 percent. These ...

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I recently was invited to participate in a research study, looking at the economic impact of a new drug for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection. The new drug, called fidaxomicin, has been available for a few years and has proven efficacy in thousands of patients but is generally very expensive. The study will follow patients after their hospitalization and delve into analyzing the monetary costs associated with the medicine, ...

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I recently completed the buprenorphine waiver training. Buprenorphine, itself a partial opiate, is a medication that can be prescribed to patients who have opiate use disorders (e.g., taking Oxycontins or injecting heroin to get high). A physician must complete an eight-hour training and take an exam to become eligible to prescribe this medication. The physician must then apply for a specific “X license” through the DEA ...

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In the old days, blockbuster drugs were moderately expensive pills taken by hundreds of thousands of patients. Think blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes pills. But today, many blockbusters are designed to target much less common diseases, illnesses like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis or even specific subcategories of cancer. These medications have become blockbusters not through the sheer volume of their sales, but as a result of their staggeringly high ...

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I argue that pharmacist should fill prescriptions even if their own morals do not agree. Pharmacists should not be limiting someone from getting something they may need because they do not agree with it. Pharmacists have no right putting their business (ideology) where it doesn’t belong. Women struggle enough when going to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for birth control or emergency contraceptive, now with the added possibility of not ...

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