David Blackwell

One Free Meal From A Pharma Sales Rep May Be Enough To Change Doctors’ Prescribing Habits

Your physician may have any number of degrees, honors, certifications, and other framed pieces of paper mounted to their office walls, but does any of that make them less susceptible to a glad-handing pharmaceutical sales rep who comes armed with some reading materials, free samples, and a lunch charged to their expense account? [More]

Joel Zimmer

5 Reasons Prescription Drug Prices Are Going Up For Many Americans

If you feel like you’re paying more for medication, you’re not alone. A new investigation from our colleagues at Consumer Reports finds that one-third of Americans are seeing higher prices for prescriptions, and one-in-six people chose to avoid getting a prescription filled because of the cost. So what’s behind the increased cost of staying well? [More]

David Transier

Prosecutors: FedEx “Should Be Treated Just Like Any Other Drug Courier”

Two years after federal prosecutors charged FedEx with being criminally complicit in the transporting of illegal drugs from online pharmacies, the case is finally going to trial. In this morning’s opening statements, lawyers for the Justice Department urged the court to not be swayed by the famous brand name on the side of the planes. [More]

Joel Zimmer

FDA And International Enforcement Superfriends Take Down Online Peddlers Of Unapproved Drugs

Hundreds of millions of years ago, the seven continents that we know today were one big land glob called Pangaea. When choosing a name for an international operation to nab sellers of unapproved drugs, regulators and law enforcement agencies took this idea of one united world and called their project “Pangea,” or the International Internet Week of Action. Led by Interpol, agencies took action to look for unapproved drugs passing in the mail. [More]

Steven Depolo

Ads for prescription and over-the-counter drugs are everywhere, so much so that we’ve become accustomed to hearing and seeing the brand name of a medication immediately followed by a parenthetical containing the generic name [ex: Valtrex (valacyclovir)], but how well have we been paying attention to these ads? Are we now so savvy that we immediately know that Chantix is the trade name for varenicline, or have we become so inured to these ads that we aren’t paying any attention? [More]

In Wake Of Superbug Scare, Lawmakers Renew Push For New Antibiotics

In Wake Of Superbug Scare, Lawmakers Renew Push For New Antibiotics

Last week, military scientists confirmed the discovery of a patient in Pennsylvania infected with a bacteria that was not only resistant to many traditional antibiotics, but also contained a gene (MCR-1) making it resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort used when all others are ineffective. In response, Senators are making a renewed push on bipartisan legislation intended to speed up the approval of new antibiotics. [More]

frankieleon

Drug Companies Subpoenaed Over Questionable Charity Connections

Whenever there is a report of a drug company jacking up the price of a prescription medication, the pharma industry is often quick to point out that there are non-profit charities ready and willing to help patients get these drugs at a more affordable rate. However, those charities may have very close ties to the drug maker that could not only help the company turn a profit, but avoid some tax obligations. In recent months, several large pharmaceutical companies have been subpoenaed as part of an ongoing federal investigation into these connections. [More]

frankieleon

You know that scene in action movies where the hero has fired every bullet, thrown every piece of throwable furniture, set off every explosive, but still the bad guy lurches forward? At that point, there’s nothing left for the hero to do but run and pray. After the recent discovery in the U.S. of a bacteria that is resistant to a vital last-resort antibiotic, some scientists believe we’re inching dangerously close to that run-and-pray moment in the world of medicine. [More]

In Denial About America’s Opioid Painkiller Problem? This Map Might Change Your Mind

If you think the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being alarmist by urging primary care physicians to stop prescribing so many opioid painkillers, or that the fact that 10% of doctors are writing more than 50% of the prescriptions for opioids is not a concrete indicator of a problem, then perhaps this map of overdose deaths in the U.S. will help to drive the point home. [More]

CannaKorp

Of Course There’s A Keurig-Like Machine For Marijuana

As with any new consumer industry, now that more people have access to marijuana, there are businesses who want to offer them tools and gadgets to go along with their legal medical or recreational pot. And because consumers love things in pods, there’s a weed vaporizer that’s being called the Keurig machine for marijuana in development right now. [More]

Michael G. Chan

Health Insurers Looking To Pay Less When Drugs Don’t Work As Advertised

If a drug maker says their new prescription medication will reduce cholesterol by a certain percentage, or that it will counter symptoms of some chronic illness, but it doesn’t quite live up to its marketing, should the insurance companies still pay the price they originally agreed to? A growing number of insurers are making deals that tie the price of a drug to its real-world performance. [More]

Report: Makers Of OxyContin Knew For Decades That Pain Pills Could Wear Off Early

Report: Makers Of OxyContin Knew For Decades That Pain Pills Could Wear Off Early

When OxyContin hit pharmacies 20 years ago, its primary selling point was that a single dose of the opioid pain medication lasted 12 hours, “providing smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night,” per the press release. But a new report claims Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, have long known that the drug doesn’t always live up to this promise, resulting in an increased likelihood for abuse and addiction. [More]

At Least 52 People Hospitalized, 13 Dead In California After Overdosing On Counterfeit Painkiller

At Least 52 People Hospitalized, 13 Dead In California After Overdosing On Counterfeit Painkiller

Norco is a brand name for a prescription opioid painkiller that combines acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Unscrupulous jerks are also selling fake Norco that contains the powerful opioid fentanyl, resulting in dozens of hospitalizations and and least 13 deaths from overdoses in California, and that’s only in the last few weeks. [More]

Analysis: Sudden Hearing Loss Could Be Rare Side Effect Of Viagra And Cialis

Analysis: Sudden Hearing Loss Could Be Rare Side Effect Of Viagra And Cialis

Suddenly losing your hearing with no warning is a terrifying prospect, and that’s been a known side effect of erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and Levitra for almpst a decade, with the Food and Drug Administration publishing a warning about a possible link back in 2007. A new analysis by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices shows that while hearing loss is a very rare side effect, it is much more likely to happen when taking either of these medications. [More]

Feds Say Drug Company Illegally Blocked Lower-Cost Generics From Entering Market

Feds Say Drug Company Illegally Blocked Lower-Cost Generics From Entering Market

When a drug patent nears its end, drug companies sometimes do really stupid, potentially illegal things to delay or prevent their bottom line being dinged by a lower-cost generic version. One drug company is accused of not just paying off a generic drug maker to delay the release of its version of two medications, but further hurting consumers by agreeing to not compete with the generic. [More]

U.S. Customs and border protection

U.S. Customs Officials Find 755 Pounds Of Marijuana In Shipment Of Fresh Broccoli

Perhaps one might figure that one kind of green plant matter could easily pass as another kind, say, marijuana masquerading as a shipment of fresh broccoli. They’re the same color! But U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers weren’t born yesterday, and they can tell the difference between nutritious vegetables and weed. [More]

CharlesWilliams

New Warning Labels Coming To Opioid Painkillers

A week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on physicians to stop prescribing opioid painkillers when less-problematic therapeutic treatments will do the trick, another federal agency is joining in the effort to alert consumers to the potential risks of using these frequently prescribed medications. [More]

JessicaKRoach

Authorities Searching For Flight Attendant Accused Of Leaving Bag Full Of Cocaine At LAX

Although airline personnel and airport employees may not have to take off their shoes or undergo the same security procedures as travelers, there are still checks in place to keep workers from carrying whatever they want onto planes — like, say, a bag full of cocaine.

[More]