That Big Drug Deal

Just what we have been waiting on for a year or more….that big drug deal……this will be our biggest deal yet for affordable medication, right?

Bullah*t!

Trump and Sec of the mundane announced their new “blueprint” for lower drug prices……

Drug policy experts and price advocates on Friday panned a long-overdue speech by Donald Trump on drug prices.

As part of the speech, the US health secretary, Alex Azar, suggested drug companies should be required to disclose pharmaceutical prices in advertisements as an incentive to set lower prices.

Along with the speech, the president released a “blueprint” to lower drug prices. However, many proposals had already been made public in the administration’s budget and most were technical rule changes which can be accomplished without Congress. Drug policy analysts said most the proposals would be unlikely to “materially harm industry”. Following Trump’s speech, health stocks rose.

The administration’s blueprint also proposed lifting the pharmacist “gag” rule, so pharmacists can tell consumers when a drug is cheaper without their health insurance. Such provisions are written into contracts between pharmacists and benefit managers, who act as middlemen between the consumer and the health plan.

(theguardian.com)

Did you read that stocks soared because of this announcement?  If this did not benefit the drug industry massively would their prices have soared?  I think not!

President Trump’s long-awaited plan to bring down drug prices will mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of “getting away with murder” and instead focus on increasing private competition and requiring more openness about costs, per the AP. In Rose Garden remarks at the White House, Trump called his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.” (The plan is here.) But it does not include his campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the government’s Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors. The Washington Post notes that the idea was the one feared most within the industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that drugmakers and pharmacy-benefit managers “suggested privately they were relieved to avoid harder blows from the plan.”

Instead, the administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the drug-pricing system. Those include a proposal requiring drugmakers to disclose the cost of their medicines in their TV advertisements. Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would immediately examine requiring that information in TV ads. The proposals also include banning the pharmacist “gag rule,” which Trump said prevents druggists from telling customers about lower-cost options so they can save money, and speeding up the approval process for over-the-counter medications so patients can buy more drugs without prescriptions. It’s an approach that avoids a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but it could also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs.

Just another con job for the ignorant and lazy…..one good question to ask……”How the heck is this going to lower drug prices in this country?”

Officially ditching his campaign promise to challenge the pharmaceutical industry head-on and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices—a betrayal that may have something to do with the fact that the White House is currently occupied by former Big Pharma executives in key posts—President Donald Trump on Friday formally unveiled a plan ostensibly aimed at cutting medicine costs that analysts and progressive critics are already slamming as wholly inadequate and “pharma-friendly.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/11/trumps-pharma-friendly-drug-plan-denounced-doing-little-or-nothing-lower-prices

This is the same as it ever was…..A Huge Con Job By A Con Artist!

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Food Nazi Speaks (Again)

A few years ago I use to write a food blog, the Food Nazi, and after months of agony I abandoned it for more time on IST…..but to keep its memory alive I from time to time will post some things on food and cooking….

There are awards for everything and yes even in the food industry…..these are the Oscars of Food……

Though the Met Gala probably drew more eyes, Monday night also marked the “Oscars of the food world,” per Eater. Some 600 culinary professionals voted to honor some of the top chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs in the country at the James Beard Awards in Chicago. Since you’ll need to start booking reservations now, per Grub Street, check out the big winners:

  • Runaway winner’:Bloomberg reports Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Ala., stole the show. It was voted best restaurant in America by a panel of chefs, restaurateurs, and food journalists, while its pastry chef, Dolester Miles, was also awarded.
  • Seattle spotlight: Another big winner was Edouardo Jordan. He was named best chef in the northwest for his Seattle restaurant Salare, while his second Seattle eatery, JuneBaby, was named best new restaurant, per Eater. Both restaurants serve Southern-style food.
  • Service crown: The award for outstanding service went to San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe. But it was one of only a few awards to recognize the food scene in San Francisco and New York, per Bloomberg.
  • Women rule: In what Bloomberg calls “a very good year for women,” Gabrielle Hamilton of Manhattan’s Prune restaurant was named outstanding chef. Missy Robbins of Brooklyn’s Lilia was named best chef in New York, while Los Angeles’ Carolina Styne was named outstanding restaurateur.

Most of these eateries go by the rule of thumb…..less food more price….or as it is called in polite circles “Nouveau Cuisine”…..I understand why they went to this business models just I do not agree with it….another reason I am no longer a chef….

Enjoy your day

Closing Thought–11May18

It’s Back!

The disease that caught the world’s attention a couple of years ago has returned, I do not think it ever left, to the countries of Africa….this time the outbreak is in the Republic of Congo……

The world has a new Ebola outbreak on its hands. The Democratic Republic of Congo declared an outbreak Monday after samples taken from two of five patients in the country’s northwest province of Equateur tested positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola. More testing is underway, and NPR reports that more than a dozen people may have already died from the disease. Health officials first reported 21 patients with signs of hemorrhagic fever, of which Ebola is one type, in the village of Ikoko Impenge, about 20 miles from the town of Bikoro, per CBS News. Seventeen patients later died, though officials say no deaths have occurred among health workers or the hospitalized since the samples were collected Thursday.

The WHO has now released $1 million from a contingency fund as experts descend on Bikoro to identify patient zero and to help prevent further spread of the disease that has caused nine outbreaks in the Congo since 1976, reports CNN. The last, a two-month outbreak beginning in May 2017, killed four of eight people infected in the northeast province of Bas-Uele. “Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the government … and partners to reduce the loss of life,” says the WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response. “Responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease,” which is spread from human to human through bodily fluids. (This vaccine could help.)

Will this disease get out of hand again?  I mean Trump is withdrawing support from many international programs and after all this is Africa and NO one cares about Africa.

This is my final post of the day…..go out and enjoy the rest of your day….and the upcoming weekend…..chuq

Closing Thought–09May18

Pres. Trump has jumped on the problem the US us having with opioid abuse….Trump’s big deal is that he thinks people that push opioids should be put to death and abusers should be getting massive jail sentences……this, according to him, will alleviate our opioid problem…..

Seriously?  Is that all it will take?

Criminalization of drug use and possession has had almost no impact on actual levels of drug use. However, the criminalizing of drugs does practically ensure a cycle of criminality and greater prison sentences. As outlined in a January memo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants longer mandatory minimums despite their destructive impact on the United States. At this point, it’s evident that the War on Drugs is a frantic grasp for control in a broken system.

But enacting longer prison sentences does not help reduce the misuse or abuse of drugs. Instead, it worsens it. Thankfully, there are policy alternatives to the status quo. Legalizing drugs would allow us to focus on treating drug addiction and breaking the pattern of being labeled a “criminal.” If there is no victim, there is no crime—and that’s why the War on Drugs is a war on addicts.

http://theantimedia.com/locking-up-addicts-wont-solve-opiate-crisis/

As usual Trump has lots of opinions but little grasp of the causes and the effects……in other words he has NO idea about policy just of the mind that comes with the IQ of under 50.

Troop Morale

To successfully fight a war then the troops must have a high morale rating…..The US has been fighting a war since 2001…..after 17 years just how is the morale of our troops?

Since 2009, $287 million has been spent on programs aimed at improving morale within the US military, which has shouldered two major overseas combat deployments over the past decade.

But these efforts may have been largely fruitless, as 52% of soldiers across all branches remain “pessimistic about their future in the military,” according to an April USA Today report.

For decades, analysts have consistently reported on supposedly declining US military morale, even before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Brookings Institution report notes: “Observers regularly fretted over low morale during the defense drawdown of the 1990s, during the start of the Iraq War, during the Iraq Surge, during the Afghanistan Surge; and at practically all the points in between … After each report of troop morale hitting ‘rock bottom,’ troop morale seems to slip lower yet and, still, the military soldiers on.”

Plus a new study shows that the morale of our troops is continuing to erode……

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/05/left-behind/556844/

It is time for the country to take stock of all these wars…..wars that we are fighting for no other reason than to keep defense industries in business.

Some have suggested that low morale lead to drug use during the Vietnam War as a contributor to our failure.  Let’s not repeat the past.

Scary Medical News

Saturday and a day of rest and relaxation…..the garden will be the spot for my day’s work……

In the past we have had several different diseases that had the potential of becoming our next world-wide pandemic….Ebola and the Bird Flu are first to come to mind.

There is a theory that our constant trips to the doctor for every little sniffle is causing problems that could be disastrous……

“Nightmare bacteria” with unusual resistance to antibiotics of last resort were found more than 200 times in the US last year in a first-of-a-kind hunt to see how much of a threat these rare cases have become. That’s more than health officials expected to find, and the true number is likely higher as the effort involved only certain labs in each state, per the AP. The problem mostly strikes people in hospitals and nursing homes who need IVs and other contamination-prone tubes. Some 11% of those in close contact with these patients also harbored the superbugs even though they weren’t sick—a risk for more spread. Some of the sick patients had traveled for surgery or other health care to countries where drug-resistant germs are more common, and the superbugs were discovered after they returned to the US. “Essentially, we found nightmare bacteria in your backyard,” said the CDC’s Anne Schuchat.

These verge on untreatable infections” where the only option may be supportive care—fluids and sometimes machines to maintain life to give the patient a chance to recover, Schuchat said. About 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and 23,000 die, Schuchat said. Last year, public health labs around the country were asked to watch for and quickly respond to cases of advanced antibiotic resistance, especially to some last-resort antibiotics called carbapenems. In the first nine months of the year, more than 5,770 samples were tested for these “nightmare bacteria,” as the CDC calls them, and one quarter were found to have genes that make them hard to treat and easy to share their resistance with other types of bacteria. Of these, 221 had unusual genes that conferred resistance. The cases were scattered throughout 27 states.

It is only a matter of time before we have another pandemic like that of the Spanish Flu in the early years of the 20th century…..it killed millions……

Time to get artistic and do something for the woman folk (that is a clever use of words)……have a day my friends.

Public Enemy Number One: Opioids!

We have a new president and a new number one problem in this country….with Trump it is the opioids abuse.

He has put Kelleyanne Conway as the Opioid Czar and her take on preventing the abuse is for addicts to eat ice cream or french fries…..a sound medical advice from another Trumpian that has NO clue about the world around them.

I read an article written in “The Cipher” on this problem…..

Americans are facing one of their deadliest foes in recent history: not ISIS, but opioids, painkillers that are highly addictive and killing thousands of Americans annually. Drug overdoses took the lives of 64,000 people in 2016, with two-thirds related to opioids.

Congress has taken a good first step, providing the federal government an additional $3.3 billion to fight the opioid crisis in its fiscal year 2018 spending bill with a focus on public health efforts. Most of the money, $1.4 billion, will go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a new State Opioid Response Grant program and also for the Mental Health Block Grant, according to Vox. The second highest chunk of funding, $500 million, is for the National Institutes of Health for more opioid addiction research.

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/column/expert-view/targeting-one-americas-deadliest-foes-opioids

Interesting thoughts from an agent of the DEA….I would like to hear from my readers on their ideas on the opioid abuse situation.

I agree that abuse is on the rise but on the same token opioids do good for people that suffer with chronic pain.