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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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.

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.

You Are What You Eat

Seriously?  Easter on April Fools Day?  The jokes will write themselves…….I will stop here before some one decides to think that I am anti-religion (they would be accurate in most cases)……..

My Sunday and I am in the process of deciding what I will consume today…..a decision most of us make.  Some of us are on diets which is a good thing and some of us are trying this diet or that….but truly which diet is the best?

A question that we all have asked from time to time…..and the answer is….who f*cking knows?  Since there has never been an accurate study of these fads side by side.

I have this lady friend who goes from one fad diet to another….from drinking butter in her coffee to a steady diet of walnuts and she is always having one health problem after another and cannot understand why because the diets promise a long healthy life.

The big things these days is the “Paleo” diet……food our cave dwelling ancestors would have eaten…..some say it is a miracle….(btw I do not endorse one diet over another and I get NO compensation by offering these alternatives)

It’s beyond strange that so many humans are clueless about how they should feed themselves. Every wild species on the planet knows how to do it; presumably ours did, too, before our oversized brains found new ways to complicate things. Now, we’re the only species that can be baffled about the “right” way to eat.

Really, we know how we should eat, but that understanding is continually undermined by hyperbolic headlines, internet echo chambers, and predatory profiteers all too happy to peddle purposefully addictive junk food and nutrition-limiting fad diets. Eating well remains difficult not because it’s complicated but because the choices are hard even when they’re clear.

http://www.grubstreet.com/2018/03/ultimate-conversation-on-healthy-eating-and-nutrition.html

I have read many blogs about diet and losing weight…it seems that there are a wealth of experts on the subject and it might all be as simple as “when” you eat not a whole lot else……

It’s beginning to look like a concept called TRF—or, time-restricted feeding—is going to be around for a while in the arena of diet and nutrition. The Washington Post has a feature on it, while the Wall Street Journal and others have covered it previously. The idea is surprisingly simple but backed up by a growing body of research: It’s not so much what you eat as when you eat. More specifically, TRF suggests people should do all their eating in a 12-hour window, though research suggests they’ll get more benefits if they can shrink that to, say, an eight-hour window. One of the lead researchers on the subject is Satchin Panda of the Salk Institute in San Diego, who thinks that humans aren’t built to handle 24-hour access to food and the constant grazing that often results.

“If you’re eating all the time, it messes up that pattern,” he says of our circadian rhythm. His first studies on mice showed a range of health benefits—weight loss, less diabetes, etc.—and follow-up studies on humans seem to support the concept. Another researcher, Courtney Peterson of the University of Alabama, will report in a soon-to-be-published study that men diagnosed as pre-diabetic saw marked improvement after restricting their eating to between 8am and 2pm. Exactly how TRF results in benefits remains a little unclear, but in broad strokes, the body seems to better metabolize calories this way. “I think that within 10 years we will have some really clear guidelines for meal timing,” says Peterson. “But we are in the early stages.” Other researchers are more cautious, with one noting that it’s “extraordinarily complex to actually nail this down.” (Bad news on yo-yo dieting.)

Me?  I eat a balanced diet….meat, potatoes, greens, etc….I eat lots of eggs, cheese, honey, nuts, fruits and wine……I am old fashion….I do not push one diet over another and would never tell anyone to eat as I do……our bodies are complex and it needs a proper diet so all systems are fed and work as they were intended.

If one is constantly changing diets then the body is not getting the nourishment that it needs….

Be well, be safe……chuq

Opioids: The War

The big story these days to divert attention of the public is the new war on opioid addiction….I have a feeling that those people that need the meds to manage their chronic pain will suffer more than some street addict.

There are -people that have broken legs with massive metal it took to repair the damage and then then is those people that have had part of a foot amputated and need opioids to help with the pain…..and in some cases a person that has both problems and needs pain meds to manage daily chronic pain with a capital “P”……..these people that depend on pain management to get through a daily life could suffer and more so than some street dealer……

After years of having their condition misunderstood, sufferers of chronic pain now find themselves in the position of being, as one patient puts it, collateral in the country’s war on drugs. Harper’s takes a long look at self-described “pain refugees,” who need opioids to do everything from getting their kids dressed for school to just getting out of bed but who find themselves suddenly unable to get the necessary prescriptions as the US tackles its growing opioid crisis. Last June, overdose became the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The blame is falling squarely on the healthcare industry. “There’s a desire for something simple to latch onto as a way of explaining it,” one addiction specialist says. “A story that has a clear-cut villain, with doctors as dupes and patients as innocent victims, is about as easy to sell as any story.”

But the real story is a lot more nuanced than that. High-dose opioid prescriptions dropped 41% between 2010 and 2015 at the same time overdose deaths increased 37%. And the majority of opioid misuse is not committed by people with opioid prescriptions. But what really hurts sufferers of chronic pain is people confusing physical dependence on opioids for addiction. “Someone who is physically dependent on opioids as a result of the treatment of pain but who is not craving more or harming themselves or others is not addicted,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says. In fact, studies have found under 8% of Americans prescribed opioids for chronic pain are addicted. That hasn’t helped sufferers like Austin Sell, whose chronic pain has forced him from jobs and wrecked his marriage. “I’m a big black guy with tattoos,” he says. “They accused me of exhibiting drug-seeking behavior.” Read the full story here.

The death penalty for “dealers” will do little to curb the trend of opioid abuse….we could do what Kellyanne Conway, the czar for opioid abuse, says the need for users…..

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who is overseeing the administration’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, warned millennials on Thursday not to try the powerful drug fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid — most of America suffers from information underload when it comes to the horrors and dangers and really the toxicity and lethality of fentanyl,” Conway remarked at Generation Next, a forum for millennials.

She noted that fentanyl was significantly more powerful than opioids like morphine.

“On our college campuses, you folks are reading the labels, they won’t put any sugar in their body, they won’t eat carbs anymore, and they’re very, very fastidious about what goes into their body,” Conway said.

“And then you buy a street drug for $5 or $10, it’s laced with fentanyl and that’s it.”

“So my short advice is, eat the ice cream, have the French fry, don’t buy the street drug — believe me, it all works out,” Conway added.

So a quart of Rocky Road will do the trick that opioids have filled…..this is the person that is the head of the presidential program on opioid addiction.

Remove the make-up and exposure Yoda.