The Mylan EpiPen debacle may have inadvertently weakened the grip of big pharma on U.S. lawmakers.  Recently, a bill proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders was narrowly rejected by a vote of 52 to 46.  Unexpectedly, 12 Republicans and 1 Independent voted with Senator Sanders in favor of allowing pharmacists and distributors to import cheaper prescription drugs from foreign countries.  The winds of change may finally blow in a bipartisan direction.  ...

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Years ago, after I suffered a deep personal loss, my doctor prescribed Prozac, and I joined the millions of Americans who have taken an antidepressant. A few weeks later, I had my first panic attack — heart racing, sweating profusely, gasping for breath — sensations of terror normally reserved for life-threatening events. Attacks continued every half-hour and were so incapacitating that I could not even leave my house. My doctors ...

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In the United States, the patent protection process — as it relates to the drug industry — has been distorted by the political system, intense lobbying and large campaign contributions. The result has been pricing contrary to the greater good of the nation. Patents originated in ancient Greece. This legal protection assumed greater importance in 15th-Century Venice as a means to protect the nation-state’s glassblowing industry. The first patent granted in ...

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My daughter and I were talking the other day and saying we would like to ask a doctor what his thoughts are about all these ‘natural’ remedies that are available. Recently a friend made the remark, ‘I do everything I can to avoid a doctor.’ I lean more toward the medical system and the knowledge they have acquired over the years rather than relying on these home remedies. What are ...

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A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reads like an expose. Well, at least three of the research articles do. So exciting! I don't want medicine — my field — to be ethically unsavory, but it is sometimes. It makes me proud to see that it polices itself and that such information is published in a high profile journal. The first article ...

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“Our son doesn’t get the flu shot, no one in our family does,” she said, with some emphasis on the "no one," inviting me to take a swing. Anticipating futility, I reminded myself that our pediatrics clinic was already forty-five minutes late. This was a scrap better deferred. “Alright,” I said flatly as I moved on with the encounter. This was of course not explicitly, but indeed, implicitly, approving the mother’s ...

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Years ago, when I was less flexible, I took up Pilates. My instructor, Jim, a charming chap with an infectious laughter, was a 9/11 truther. I’d egg him on to hear about his conspiracy theories. Jim believed that 9/11 was concocted by Bush and Halliburton so that the U.S. could invade Iraq to capture their oil. He thought that United Flight 93 never took off. Whatever happened after 9/11 became ...

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Rachel had a fair question, and I really haven’t answered it yet:

My daughter and I were talking the other day and saying we would like to ask a doctor what his thoughts are about all these "natural" remedies that are available. Recently a friend made the remark, "I do everything I can to avoid a doctor." I lean more toward the medical system and the knowledge they have acquired over ...

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As an infectious diseases specialist married to a pediatrician, I am going to propose, in most unhumble fashion, that I have the ideal perspective to assess the worthiness of vaccines. So when Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a notorious anti-vaccine crusader, announced that he was under consideration to head a government commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity, and is planning to step away from his environmental job to take that post, I ...

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I spent many sleepless nights in the months after my son’s autism diagnosis fretting whether I could have done something to prevent it. I recounted, in obsessive detail, the course of my pregnancy, the birth, and the two years of child-rearing that led to the moment when our pediatrician confirmed my fears -- and life as I’d known it tilted off its axis. In my spare waking hours, I pored ...

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