Category: Uncategorized

Why do they Hate YOU?

“Once in Chicago while performing with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West,” writes Roxane Dunbar, “Sitting Bull spoke through his translator to the huge crowd of ragged white men, women, and barefoot children: ‘I know why your government hates me. I am their enemy. But why do they hate you?’” Robert Altman’s great movie “Buffalo Bill and the Indians” depicts the context. It’s the dawn of the age of hucksterism, when corporations were first exerting their power and influencing American culture. Paul Newman plays Buffalo Bill, who runs and is the star attraction of a traveling show. One of the...

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The Drug-Testing Racket

January 3, 2018. Drug rehab clinics have added their own testing services to wring more profit out of their clients, according to a well-researched exposé by David Segal of the New York Times. Segal explains: “in 2010, as opioid abuse evolved into a crisis and the Affordable Care Act offered insurance to millions more young people, the cost of urinalysis tests soared. It was soon common for clinics and labs to charge more than $4,000 per test, and to test clients two or three times a week.  A retired insurance investigator describes the victims as “thousands and thousands of kids,” adding, “This...

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Neurontin, Lyrica Use Soaring

Choose your headline to publicize the news contained in Gabapentinoid Use in the United States 2002 Through 2015, a research letter from Dr. Michael E. Johansen published in JAMA Internal Medicine January 2. • “Neurontin, Lyrica Prescriptions Soar” • “Neurontin, Lyrica Use Soars” • “Neurontin, Lyrica Sales Soar” • “Pfizer Making Billions on Gabapentinoids.” They’re all accurate. Lyrica won FDA approval to treat diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia, post-herpetic neuralgia caused by shingles and spinal cord injuries. Neurontin was approved to treat epilepsy and post-herpetic neuralgia. Obviously, it’s the off-label uses that have turned these drugs into blockbusters.  Here is Johansen’s...

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What means “non-war?”

There’s a serious error in David Leonhardt’s December 31 op-ed bidding farewell to 2017: “I expect that future historians will look back on it as one of the darker non-war years in the country’s history…” How do Leonhardt and the Times’s editors and fact-checkers and style book define “non-war?”  US military personnel are fighting seven wars in concert with US contractors, and maintaining bases in more than a hundred foreign countries. We, the people, spent countless billions in 2017 on the machinery of war. (Countless because we’re not allowed to know how much is in the “black budget.”)  Those of us who follow the news are reminded every night that “we” are conducting military campaigns in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen… When, by Leonhardt’s reckoning, was the last “war” year in our country’s history? Fred Gardner, Alameda CA (print subscriber reachable at...

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Epidiolex getting priority review from FDA

Press release from GW Pharmaceuticals December 28, 2017: GW Pharmaceuticals plc, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for filing with Priority Review its recently submitted New Drug Application (NDA) for  Epidiolex® (cannabidiol or CBD), an investigational treatment for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, two rare and difficult to treat conditions of childhood-onset epilepsy. The PDUFA (Prescription Drug User Fee Act) goal date for completion of the FDA review of the Epidiolex NDA...

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