Sunday, August 29, 2010

Northwest and Northeast Passages are now open and ready for business

from the University of Bremen

The Northwest Passage, which is basically the sea route that Columbus was looking for, shaves a few thousand miles off the trip between European and Asian ports. This is the third year in recorded history that it's been open. The other two years were 2007 and 2008. In a few years time with increasingly warmer temperatures, it will become commercially navigable. Canada, Russia, the US and various Scandinavian countries are beginning to quarrel over who can control this traffic.

Denmark is also very excited that the ice melt has exposed possible mineral and oil deposits in Greenland. It will allow the Danes to give the territory independence and to get it off the welfare dole.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lab rats? Drugs for US children tried on Indian children

"by comparison with the reality, my story is as tame as a holiday postcard"

--afterward in The Constant Garderner, John Le Carre

This comes from The Times of India. American pharmaceutical companies are using Indian children in drug trials. The article discusses the Pediatric Exclusivity Provision, which allows drug companies an extra six months of patent exclusivity if they test drugs on children.

According to one critic: “We are now using vulnerable people in vulnerable countries as drug laboratories...It is all about dollars and cents.”

But the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says that there is no difference in the way trials are conducted in the US and abroad.

Except we get to that nasty little part about informed consent of the parents. One Pakistani doctor notes, “People actually have blind trust in their doctor in South Asia. They have no idea what drug development is, they have no idea what clinical trials are."

Scary and yet highly profitable if you're a drug company.

Friday, August 20, 2010

With Samaritans Like These, You Don't Need Highway Robbers

I have some friends that live in this town and I thought this was very bizarre. Has anyone else here seen anything like this? Full text of the article:

Samaritan Center opens pharmacy

Samaritan Center has enhanced their patient care by opening a pharmacy at the center’s Bayou office in Vincennes. Samaritan Center CEO John Manning says the goal is for the center to be a one-stop shop for patients. “A lot of folks come by Van Go and by being able to have their prescriptions filled here after their visit will save them a trip,” he said. “We want our patients to have the convenience of being able to have their prescriptions filled onsite, however they can still choose to go elsewhere if they wish.”

The pharmacy’s full-time pharmacist, Alan Kaffenberger says Samaritan Center’s pharmacy is full-service. “Patients of the Samaritan Center will not just be able to have their prescriptions filled here, but they will be able to have their family members prescriptions filled as well,” he stated. “Our pharmacy will also be servicing group homes and cluster apartments as well. For the customers in those places that have chosen our pharmacy, those medications will be packaged and distributed by us.”

The Samaritan Center vendors through QoL meds, based out of Pittsburgh, to bring pharmacy services to its patients. Manning said when the Samaritan Center was looking into the idea of starting a pharmacy he had come into contact with QoL meds at mental health meetings. “QoL did a feasibility study to see if it would be viable to have a full-time pharmacist on site,” Manning said. “We were pleased to learn that the study found we would pull in the volume to have our own pharmacy. It’s really going to be convenient for our patients.”

Kaffenberger has been a pharmacist in the Vincennes community since 1992. He is a Purdue University graduate. The pharmacy is located at the Samaritan Center’s Bayou Office, 515 Bayou Street, their phone number is 812-886-0907.

Samaritan Center - Since 1972, Samaritan Center has been the region's comprehensive mental health center, offering a full range of services for adults, seniors, families, teens and children. Samaritan Center offers counseling, inpatient psychiatric service, diagnostic evaluations, individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, addiction services and much more. All of the Samaritan Center’s services are designed to improve the quality of life for people of all ages, giving them a place to turn and helping them along the path to recovery.

I guess the mental health center needs extra money due to Medicaid cuts. The national pharmacy chain for behavioral health centers QoL lists an exciting career opportunity:

Title: Clinical Medication Coordinator

Job Summary:

The Clinical Medication Coordinator (CMC) meets with each Medicaid or insured consumer of their mental health center to educate them on the benefits of using QoL meds pharmacy as opposed to a local retail vendor. By developing relationships with the entire treatment team (clinicians, family and consumer) the CMC ensures that a Qol meds consumer receives the highest quality of prescriptive service. Some of the duties include:


Become point of contact on behalf of pharmacy for consumer and clinician. Answer patient medication and pharmacy questions.

Provide adherence counseling by contacting each consumer and Report medication count to the responsible party.

Tracking void (no refill) prescriptions through reports from pharmacy.

Occasional delivery of meds to consumers.


Clozapine/Clozaril Phlebotomy:

Set up clozapine clinic for patients on clozapine to have their blood drawn and receive next cycle of medication. Draw blood and send samples to lab. Monitor patient’s attendance at clinic as well as other questions/issues.

It just absolutely boggles my mind how these sorts of people can push poisons and live with themselves. They certainly have to have really good rationalization mechanisms.

With Samaritans like these, you don't need highway robbers.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

23 minutes of your time well-spent

The one thing I take away from this report is that under the New National Healthcare legislation, health insurance companies and the federal government are loathe to pay for the debilitating permanent side effects that drugs like Risperdal cause, so the psychiatrists had better find something else that doesn't cause so many adverse health problems. Or at least, that's what I take away from the current debate, litigation and proposed pharmaceutical guidelines.

The funny thing is that Big Pharma seems to be ready to leave psychiatry high and dry when it comes to new drugs. Perhaps pharma is tired of getting sued, although the video points out that drug settlements are negligible in the grand scheme of profits. Or they're embarrassed at being caught faking data as the video mentions. Or perhaps Pharma is simply tired of having its good name dragged through the mud. I don't know.

I just think it's sad that so many people have to be maimed or killed by psychiatric drugs before anyone else begins to take notice. My heart goes out to that poor guy in the wheel chair in the video. I would bet money that the last thing his shrink said to him as he walked out of the office for the last time was "You'll have to take those medications for the rest of your life. They help you so much."