Thursday, March 30, 2006

Four out of five doctors surveyed

Cosmedicine™": endorsed by Johns Hopkins Medicine. (Seriously.)

"Our business relationship with KAA is an opportunity to apply our expertise to an industry that we believe can benefit from our research and clinical experiences and a company that has expressed a commitment to representing its products' capabilities based on quantifiable study."

"We look forward to exploring with KAA other ways we can bring value to their company and, perhaps, to the skin health marketplace generally."

"Johns Hopkins Medicine faculty members receive standard fees for consulting with KAA on both their service business and Cosmedicine™. Johns Hopkins Medicine receives fees from KAA, holds stock in the company, and has a voting seat on KAA's board."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Problems with Body World...

"An exhibit of real human corpses is the most popular show ever at San Francisco's Masonic Center. But problems uncovered by the ABC7 I-Team threaten to shut down the exhibit. The most obvious problem is the corpses are leaking...."

Monday, March 27, 2006

This little piggy went to market

Cloned pork, coming to a restaurant near you.

Life coaching goes mainstream

Life coaches are in the style section of this Sunday's New York Times:

"But behind the scenes life coaches are also finding plenty of work in the entertainment business. As their ranks swell nationwide — the International Coach Federation says its membership has doubled to 9,500 personal and business coaches since 2001, 56 percent of them in the United States — a growing roster is specializing in celebrities and Hollywood. "

"Although the federation does not keep track of coach specialties, coaches who devote themselves to the entertainment business — many of them former actors, television network executives, film producers or scriptwriters who sell their services as insiders — say they have seen more acceptance and a doubling and even tripling of demand for their services in the last three or four years."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Watching Coolhunters in action

Here are two PBS- Frontline shows that parallel the class discussion on Wednesday.
"The Merchants of Cool" is all about marketing strategies for teenagers with a section
where they show cool hunters hitting the streets looking for people and other pretty
sneaky marketing strategies,which are especially worrisome because they target younger
and younger kids. There's also another Frontline 90 minute documentary, "The Persuaders"
which is all about how we're so overwhelmed by traditional advertisements that marketers
have to come up with more creative strategies...there's this one guy in it who
is especially interesting (and creepy) because he makes millions selling his ad strategies
to big companies, but his way of extracting what customers are looking for is this strange
pseudoscience/hypnosis practice which he does on focus groups.

Provigil rejected for ADHD

An FDA advisory panel has recommended rejecting Cephalon's application to market Sparlon, a clone of its narcolepsy drug Provigil, for ADHD in children. "The advisory committee voted 12-to-1 against recommending Sparlon's approval, citing its concerns about Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare and vicious blistering of the skin that can be caused by certain drugs."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Doctor slipped a twenty

Doyle Redland reporting, from The Onion Radio News.

Put me in, life coach

The Daily Show, on life coaches.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Keep Things Moving

"This may seem a trivial matter, but it is not. You treat "patients" as if they were members of your family. You talk to them. You comfort them. You take time to explain to them what the future may hold in store. Sometimes, that future will be bleak. But you assure them you will be there to help them face it."

"You treat "customers" quite differently. Customers are in your place of business to purchase health care. You complete the transaction such a relationship suggests: health care for money. And then they aren't your customers any more. Taken a step further, you can make the case that the less time you spend with your customers, the better your bottom line will be. This gets everyone's attention."

Read the Op/Ed "The Doctor Will See You for Exactly Seven Minutes" in the NYT

Monday, March 20, 2006

Drug czar

"Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease." Read more...

British guinea pig update

More on the Parexel study from The Times of London: "Experts knew that drugs similar to the one that nearly killed six men at a London hospital last week could have had dangerous side effects. Trials last year in America of a similar “monoclonal antibody” caused severe toxic reactions in patients. But the UK study went ahead after the regulatory authority failed to consult outside specialists who would have warned against proceeding." The full story is here.

Provigil by another name

Cephalon wants the FDA to approve its narcolepsy drug modafanil (also known as Provigil) for ADHD. Why? Because the patent has expired; they have paid generic manufacturers not to make it; and approval for pediatric use will give Cephalon six more months of exclusivity. Merrill Goozner of the Center for Science in the Public Interest blogs the story in "Pawns in Their Game."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Psychotropic love affair

"When it comes to psychotropics, we are all men easily swept off our feet, composing bad love poems, willing to wine and dine at sky-high prices, only to break off our engagement with a stamp and a pout once we see our bride-to-be without her makeup." Lauren Slater writes about America's love affair with psychoactive drugs in the New York Times.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Six Hospitalized in British Drug Trial

"The drug, which is untested and therefore unused by doctors, has caused an inflammatory response which affects some organs of the body," Suntharalingam said."


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sleep-eating -- brought to you by Ambien

"mouthfuls of peanut butter, Tostitos in their beds, kitchen counters overflowing with flour, missing food, and even lighted ovens and stoves"

But a good night's sleep nonetheless.

Read NY Times article here

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Wrongful Birth?

"The reasons to oppose termination are both obvious and subtle and not necessarily tied to abortion views in general. (The question of abortion rests on a single issue: is it O.K. to destroy a potential life? Termination involves an infinite number of heartbreaking queries that boil down to this: what about this life in particular?) Some argue that our desire not to raise impaired children is based on prejudice. Others claim that a choosy attitude toward fetuses brings a consumerist attitude toward childbearing and undermines the moral stature of the family. Still others maintain that the act of terminating impaired children drags us into a moral abyss — or its opposite, that raising children with impairments increases our humanity."

A Wrongful Birth?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Don't forget to take your medicine...

you wouldn't want the drug companies to lose profits would you? The NYT reports on "take your medicine programs" run by drug companies as part of sales and marketing strategies. "Some medical experts worry about consumers' privacy or the possibility of undermining doctor-patient relations. There are also questions about the industry's motives. "

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Weighing risk and patient demands

"FDA Panel Recommends Return of MS Drug." The FDA pulled Tysabri from the market last year because of a rare, but serious side effect. It's back, but patients will have to enroll in a mandatory registry.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On Being Human

"I, Nanobot" by Alan H. Goldstein
"Scientists are on the verge of breaking the carbon barrier -- creating artificial life and changing forever what it means to be human. And we're not ready."

"Cheap Horror Movie"

Here's the story about the body organ thefts I mentioned in class today.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Meth Epidemic

PBS Frontline has links to view most of their programs online. I found this show on meth interesting for the purposes of our discussion, because of the role that the pharmaceutical companies play in ephedrine/pseudoephedrine production/regulation.

Read about it and watch it online:

The Tragedy of Andropause

"Tired? Lack energy? Find that you can't throw the football through the tire as well as the guy in the television advertisement who takes a drug for erectile dysfunction?

You may be experiencing the tragedy of andropause, the name now applied to something that was once called male menopause, and snickered at. That was before hormone replacement therapy."


Monday, March 06, 2006

The Bitter Pill Awards

Per our conversation on DTCA several weeks ago, I thought we might all get a laugh out of the Bitter Pill Awards. Here, you can nominate your pick for most heinous DTC drug campaign whether it air on TV, radio, Internet, or even in print advertising. Also, check out the winners from last year. My favorite is the Viagra ad described here:

"Pfizer ran ads for Viagra in 2004 that featured the drug's blue "V" logo as devilish horns behind a man's head, with statements like "Remember that guy who used to be called `Wild Thing?' The guy who wanted to spend the entire honeymoon indoors? Remember the one who couldn't resist a little mischief? Yeah, that guy. He's back." The ads were suggestive enough that the FDA issued one of its rare enforcement letters, asking Pfizer to stop running the ads."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Impressive Science Meets Unimpressed Patient

"It is medicine's eternal quest, these days, to sell impressive science to unimpressed patients, and it is hard to think of a group less equipped to do it than doctors. Doctors are specifically trained not to think like normal people, not to see what others see or to reason as others reason."

Read the Essay Here

Friday, March 03, 2006

Guinea pigs to the world

Half of all clinical trials are being conducted in countries like India, China, and Brazil, writes Jennifer Kahn in Wired. The consulting firm McKinsey predicts that the market in India for outsourced trials will hit $1.5 billion by 2010. See "A Nation of Guinea Pigs."

Lunesta v Sonata v Ambien

Alan Cassels weighs in on The Sleeping Pill Wars.

Cosmetic Surgery

Apparently one of the newest areas in cosmetic surgery is buttock augmentation. "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Bottom"