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Archive for the ‘pharmaceuticals’ Category

By Lauren Fisher

According to the Washington Post, “prescription painkillers grease a slippery slope toward a relapse for former heroin addicts.” The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman is perhaps one of the most viral news stories of 2014 thus far, and indeed appears to be a case in point. I will be the first to admit that I initially had no remorse for the late actor, known for his former heroin use and found dead with a needle still in his arm. Despite inconclusive toxicology results, I assumed that like many other celebrities, Hoffman simply partied much too hard, leaving disheveled and mourning loved ones behind to deal with the aftermath of his actions.

As investigations ensued, more and more information regarding Hoffman’s incessant drug use surfaced. It was revealed that the actor, 46, had been taking prescription opioids, which include the addictive drugs OxyCotin, Vicoden, and Percocet. Hoffman then again turned to heroin – much cheaper than a pharmaceutical – typically $10 a packet for heroin compared with nearly $80 on the street for an 80-milligram of OxyCotin. These behaviors reflect those of a true addict, and so my initial callousness to the case morphed into sympathy. Though others tend to disagree, I believe addiction is a disease. Those individuals suffering must be provided help – medical, legal, and emotional – in order to live a healthy, normal life. If not tended to adequately, disease often results in death, yet common mental health diseases such as addiction are often stigmatized and overlooked. (more…)

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By Meredith White

I read an article on NPR News about the Blue Ribbon Panel urging for pharmaceuticals around the globe to fight the selling of counterfeit and substandard drugs. These drugs are a problem both in developing countries and in the Western world. You can Google various prescription medications online and find a way to purchase it. The truth is most of these are fake or made by someone unqualified to do so. They are often mixed with other ingredients to make it cheaper, which can be harmful to the consumer.  In the developing world they could be sold illegally on the street, in markets. Those selling these drugs might not have any education on the subject.

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90% of pharmaceutical research accounts for just 10% of the global burden of disease, while 10% of pharmaceutical research accounts for 90% of the global disease burden.  It should really be no surprise that the pharmaceutical industry is more focused on profits than universal accessibility to life-saving medicines. This is an industry comprised of businesses more motivated to develop financially lucrative medications than less expensive but more globally impacting medical solutions. How can we create a system compatible with the current pharmaceutical market will enable poor populations to obtain medical treatments, and encourage increased spending on researching and developing new medicines for the major global burden of disease? (more…)

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Instead of prioritizing to develop safe drugs to combat third-world diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and diarrhea, pharmaceutical companies are pouring their resources and money into developing what we call “lifestyle” drugs, drugs that target first-world problems.  As the aging population of America grows, more drugs are being developed to make us look younger and feel younger. Drugs are being developed to combat impotence, baldness, wrinkles, acne, and even more ridiculous, hangovers. These pharmaceutical companies constantly find niches in the market to develop drugs that target our society, instead of spending money in development of drugs which can save many lives in other countries. Only people living in poverty are afflicted with diseases, which are virtually eliminated in the United States. Although these diseases are not prevalent in the developed countries, an outbreak of these diseases will cost many lives because there are no new cures being developed. (more…)

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Finally, Indonesians will soon be more informed about the importance of rationalizing the use of antibiotics. Yayasan Orang Tua Peduli/Concerned and Caring Parents (YOP), a non-government organization formed in Jakarta Indonesia on November 2005, has proposed to engage and strengthen civil society organizations to address aspects of antibiotic resistance impacting child and maternal health in Indonesia. This proposal was presented to the ReAct, Action on Antibiotic Resistance Organization on the 23rd of March 2012 in Jakarta Indonesia. (more…)

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International drug trials are a major news topic in public health because many American drug companies are working with international drug companies to test their drugs outside of the United States.  One such country where major drug trials are often conducted is India. In recent years, the number of drug trials conducted in the United States has significantly decreased. Many Americans are choosing not to take part in trials due to their increased awareness of the health risks involved.  Only about 3% of American cancer patients take part in drug trials each year.  The number of American cardiac patients who take part in trials has decreased by half over the past five years (Kahn 3).  The recent drop in American drug trials has led to a great need for outsourcing drug trials to India.  Clinical trials in India have increased so much that some have categorized the country as a “hot spot” for global drug trials.  The souring number of trials has also brought about an increase in the practice of questionable medical ethics, which has led Indian communities to fall victim of international pharmaceutical drug testing.    (more…)

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Brand name drugs are too expensive. There’s no question about that. For those of us without health insurance the price of getting well can often be prohibitive. Imagine, then, how difficult it may be for men and women in developing countries who, for all intents and purposes, are affected by the same illnesses we are. With a perspective towards global health we must ask, what can be done? A recent development out of India sheds light on the answer.

On March 12th, the Indian government granted Natco Pharma Ltd., an Indian generic pharmaceuticals company, a compulsory license to manufacture a generic version of a Bayer cancer drug, called Nexavar, used to treat kidney and liver cancers. Nexavar had previously been prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of the Indian population, 40% of which lives below the poverty line, at a monthly cost of approximately $5,500 per person. The new generic drug will be sold at approximately $175 per person per month. Under the new license, Natco will pay royalties to Bayer at a rate of 6% of sales per quarter [1,2]. (more…)

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