Like many scary health scenarios where patients seek some modicum of influence, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to patient demand for “immune-boosting” dietary supplements. Toilet paper wasn’t the only essential item being limited by stores; bottles of zinc and vitamin C flew off the shelves as consumers stocked up. The role of vitamin D in COVID-19 has been conflated and deflated depending on ...

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It was September 11, 2001. My dad had cheated on my mom again, the building that I worked in at that time had received an anonymous tip that we were a potential target for the terrorist attacks, and my mom, who needed a reprieve from my dad’s crap, was vacationing in Florida and was worried for me and my well-being. Plus, my dad was threatening to kill himself, and I ...

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Family lore recalls that my grandfather, succumbing to stomach cancer in the mid-1960s, “died addicted to morphine.” Decades before the AIDS crisis sparked the hospice and palliative care movements, the confluences of pain, dependence, and addiction were confused and regrettably moralized. Since then, the science has excelled, but our clinical understanding of how pain and addiction intertwine remains limited by stigma, assumptions, and the separation of the underlying science ...

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Do you know what it’s like to sit in a meeting and learn that something you hold close as a fundamental principle is probably not as fundamentally true as you thought? That’s the way I felt earlier this week while attending a meeting on the quality of pharmaceuticals, sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration and Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy. The meeting—a 
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Just this week, the administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling allowing women to receive telemedicine abortion services and pills delivered by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. If Trump wins, millions of women across the U.S. risk losing this essential health care.

I met one such woman in my clinic a few months ago. She was a teenager, and she was tearfully anxious. She ...

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An excerpt from Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook. Imagine two patients sitting in the waiting area of a clinic. The first is a man in his sunset years who has recently begun treatment for stage 2 lung cancer. His treatment involves the use of chemotherapy, which has ...

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President Trump recently signed two executive orders directly related to prescription drug prices in the U.S. One order would allow the "reimportation" of prescription drugs from Canada. This longstanding idea would allow U.S. pharmacies and drug wholesalers the ability to pay generally much lower prices for their prescription drugs by getting them from Canadian suppliers who benefit from government management of the system. Many consumers have been buying direct from Canadian ...

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Click through North Dakota's Division of Medical Marijuana website, past the addresses of every cannabis dispensary in the state, into the presentations and annual reports, and you'll eventually come to a 32-slide presentation about the state's medical marijuana program. You'll see the 26 diseases that can be treated with marijuana, a colorful flowchart showing the types of available marijuana, and a ...

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When I was in Sweden, I heard this phrase several times: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation.” They said this when we asked them what they did with their children in dead of winter. The proud parents made it very clear that no matter what the weather, when it is time to go outside for recess at school, or to get out of the house ...

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Much controversy surrounds whether or not hydroxychloroquine is effective in preventing or treating infection with COVID-19. While much of the data so far suggests that hydroxychloroquine is not effective at treating COVID-19, and perhaps that it might even be harmful, multiple clinical trials focusing both on prevention and treatment are ongoing. The controversy around ...

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