I just finished my fourth year as a blogger on this website… starting out with no particular set direction. Just by chance it was about the same time that the war on drugs/pts started ramping up. It quickly got to a point that I had more material to blog about than I had time.
The ensuing four years really has been a education in many areas… first of all that there are many laws on the books that no state/federal agency is interested in enforcing.. particularly when they revolve around the DEA and law enforcement in general.
I have tried several things to help the chronic pain to create some unity and I have come to the conclusion that the chronic pain community is so dis-jointed, unconnected, not paying attention or some other unknown reason.. unity within the chronic pain community continues to seem illusive
Over the years, I have watched the number of Face Book pages literally EXPLODE… in regards to those focused on chronic pain.
I have watched time and time again that people have put up a petition to the WHITE HOUSE and others…needing 100,000 signatures for them to even look at it – doesn’t mean that they will even do anything at that point.. and few – that I have seen – have exceed 1,000 signatures.. let alone 100,000.
Now it seems like two different groups are planning a rally/protest on THE HILL in Oct… on the SAME WEEKEND… but different days… While all the members of Congress are in recess and back in their home districts campaigning for re-election. They are going to have a rally in front of a EMPTY HOUSE.
Over the next 60 days I am going to start pulling back from cross posting on most/all of other chronic pain FACE BOOK pages. IMO, I am just encouraging all the dis-unity within the chronic pain community by doing so. I am going to continue to post on www.pharmaciststeve.com, my Face Book page https://www.facebook.com/pharmaciststeve and my twitter account @pharmaciststeve and anyone can use the RSS feed at the top of the blog to get a automatic email when something new is posted, or follow my FACE BOOK page or Twitter feed.
I will continue to be a advocate for the chronic pain community.. just what form/shape that takes has yet to be determined.
My initial time frame was going to be after the Presidential election in November to see if the chronic pain community and other that should be aligned with the chronic pain community would be able to create some political unity. While there has been some attempts.. just like all the White House and other petitions that have been created over the last year +…I have seen little evidence of a sizeable cohesion.
The bureaucrats and the bureaucracy – IMO – are acting like the “school yard bully” and the rule that prevails in “the wild”… the most aggressive “take out” the weakest in “the herd”. To them, every causality/kill is a VICTORY.
All of those who should be allies or defenders of this pt abuse… are seemingly quite content to turn a blind eye or stand on the sidelines watching it all happen.
Our legal system has declared both that “opiate abusers” are criminals and those who are disabled, unemployable, elderly, etc… their “lives” have “little value” when it comes to damages for their lives or quality of lives being harmed that there is no financial upside for an attorney to take a case on a contingency basis. Justice is not only blind.. but.. it discriminates against a large segment of our population.
I expect that my posts will start containing more editorializing and quite critical of many of the parts of our system and our “civilized society”… that are involved in numerous human rights violations.
By pulling back posting on other sites… these more critical posts will not offend administrators of other sites or some of their readers and I don’t have to defend what I post.
Remember… if you DO NOTHING… you GET NOTHING… and PASSIVE PTS… normally get POOR OUTCOMES.
Amid concerns about new medical marijuana regulations in Colorado, an alliance of healthcare professionals, researchers and patient advocacy groups are joining forces to defend their access to cannabis as a medicine.
“Most patients turn to medical marijuana out of desperation when traditional medications have failed to relieve their suffering. When they find relief, they learn their fight is really just beginning because of the stigma they now face in their community” said Stacey Linn, a founding member of the IMPACT Alliance and Executive Director of the CannAbility Foundation – known for helping pass Jack’s Law, which ensures medically fragile children have access to medical marijuana at school.
The IMPACT Alliance members believe new regulations on medical marijuana by the Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) could restrict research and development on cannabis as medicine, and reduce outreach and education to patients.
“The Marijuana Enforcement Division met with government regulators and other stakeholders to determine the fate of patients, but did not talk to patient groups for input on how the rules would impact them,” said Bridget Seritt of Cannabis Patient Rights Coalition.
“We ask that the MED hold final adoption until the patient voice is represented in this discussion.”
The alliance claims that the “Department of Public Health’s Board of Medical Examiners (BME) has begun pulling the licenses of physicians who are recommending a patient try medical marijuana for severe medical conditions that require extended plant counts.”
Michele Ross, Ph.D. and cannabinoid medicine expert says, “They used no scientific evidence or research to support the decision to pull these physician’s licenses, nor have they offered guidance on what plant counts they believe are appropriate for each condition so physicians have guidance moving forward.”
In an announcement, the alliance noted that the Department of Health issued a statement last year restricting physicians from recommending cannabis to more than 30% of their patients or potentially face action against their license.
“How do you make a doctor choose which 3 out of 10 cancer patients deserve access to cannabis treatment?” questioned Dr. Ross. “What is the scientific basis for this decision?”
The IMPACT Alliance believes chronically ill people should have the right to grow their own medicine without having elected officials disrupt the doctor-patient relationship. They note that the dispensary model can be unaffordable for many ill patients, so growing plants provides access to needed medicine.
“We are here to be a resource to policy makers. We want to work together to protect our communities and patients,” said Ms. Linn. “We are asking for inclusion, reason and compassion in this discussion.”
The Clinton Foundation’s health initiative “likely increased” the risks of morbidity and mortality for HIV/AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa by distributing “watered-down” drugs, a report said.
A draft of a congressional report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation cited the Clinton Foundation’s “decade-long relationship with a controversial Indian drug manufacturer called Ranbaxy,” which the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) used as one of its main distributors of HIV/AIDS drugs to third world countries.
The congressional report, titled,“The Clinton Foundation and The India Success Story,” was initiated by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican and vice-chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The report also cited the work of Dinesh Thakur, a former Ranbaxy employee “who became a star whistleblower, permitting the U.S. government to launch a landmark lawsuit against the Indian firm. The company was vulnerable to U.S. prosecution because it also sold its generic drugs on the U.S. market,” the Daily Caller noted.
Ranbaxy pleaded guilty in 2013 to seven criminal counts with intent to defraud and the introduction of adulterated drugs into interstate commerce. The Department of Justice levied a $500 million fine and forfeiture on the company.
“This is the largest false claims case ever prosecuted in the District of Maryland, and the nation’s largest financial penalty paid by a generic pharmaceutical company,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein when Ranbaxy pleaded guilty.
“When companies sell adulterated drugs, they undermine the integrity of the FDA’s approval process and may cause patients to take drugs that are substandard, ineffective, or unsafe,” said Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice stated in its final settlement, “alleged due to the company’s diluted drugs, it ‘subjected patients to increased risks of morbidity and mortality,’” according to the report.
“The question becomes, ‘how many people lost their lives, how many people found it was a false promise,’ ” asked Blackburn in an interview with the Daily Caller.
The congressional report also highlighted the “unseemly ties” between Bill Clinton and two Indian-Americans who have been investigated and sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The most troubling revelations concern the Clinton Foundation’s vigorous promotion of Ranbaxy despite mounting evidence the Indian firm had persistently poor quality control and attempted to cover it up through either faulty or fraudulent reporting to the FDA,” the report said.
It is unclear at this juncture how many AIDS patients received the “watered-down” drugs.
“Substandard HIV medicines cause health problems for patients, perhaps even accelerating death from HIV-related infections,” Roger Bate, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute who researches substandard and counterfeit medicines, told the Daily Caller.
“CHAI was a part of the Clinton Foundation until 2010, when it spun off into a separate entity. The groups still have some overlapping board members and staff, and they continue to operate in close coordination. Bill Clinton, for example, is deeply involved with both organizations,” the Daily Caller report said.
The congressional report states that Bill Clinton may have relaxed quality standards in 2000 when he signed an executive order that “relaxed intellectual property policy standards,” promising the U.S. government “would not revoke or revise the intellectual property laws of any ‘sub-Saharan country’ relating to HIV/AIDS medicines or technologies.”
CHAI announced in October 2003 it was going to distribute generic, low-cost HIV drugs from four foreign drug manufacturers: Ranbaxy; Cipla of Mumbai, India; Matrix Labs of Hydrabad, India; Aspen Pharmacare of Johannesburg, South Africa.
CHAI’s endorsement also allowed Ranbaxy to manufacture HIV drugs that would be bought by the U.S. government under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief — a $15 billion initiative proposed by former President George W. Bush.
The flow of U.S. funds combined with Clinton’s endorsement allowed the four foreign drug manufactures to become “good acquisition targets,” according to the report.
The companies enjoyed great financial profits and they “exploded as they partnered with the Foundation for several years,” the report states.
Blackburn says the worst part of the story were the “false hopes” offered by the Clinton Foundation.
“You think about the emotional state of health care workers as they are dealing with these individuals and the emotional state of the patients. To me it’s disturbing and very sad,” she said.
IMO.. if this bill passes.. all it will assure is that the cost of prescription medications will INCREASE 10% per YEAR… because that is the “trigger” to justify price increases to HHS. That will mean that prescription prices will DOUBLE every SEVEN YEARS. Since about 90% of prescriptions are paid for by an insurance company… I am sure that the pharmaceutical industry will be quite happy to have a 10% across the board hike in prices.. regardless of what the rate of inflation is… in fact… it could cause the rate of inflation to take a UPTICK… as other companies seek to increase their profit by 10%.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the players in the pharmaceutical business, Mylan is a successful, midsized manufacturer of branded and generic drugs. One of their largest products is the EpiPen, which is an auto-injection device used to treat potentially fatal allergic reactions via a quick dose of the drug epinephrine.
The company and its CEO are under fire for a recent price increase of the product. Since Congress likes nothing more than to jump on the bandwagon of public outrage, the House of Representatives has entered the conversation of “outrageous” prescription drug pricing.
The national legislature doesn’t just intend to talk about how Americans are being gouged by big pharmaceutical corporations, but it intends to do what it does best: legislate the problem away.
The recently introduced Fair Accountability and Innovative Research Drug Pricing Act of 2016, otherwise known as the FAIR Drug Pricing Act, seeks to force drug-makers to rationalize any price increase over 10 percent to the Department of Health and Human Services at least 30 days prior to the effective date of said increase.
The bill requires manufacturers to file a report outlining costs associated with the research and development, manufacturing, and marketing of the drug as well as any associated net profits. HHS will then make public all of the information contained in the report. According to the legislation, failure to follow the federal government’s prescription will cost pharmaceutical companies $100,000 for each day filings are late.
Many of the public-relations wounds suffered by the pharmaceutical industry are self-inflicted — including Mylan’s current situation — but bringing the entire industry one step closer to government price controls through this legislation is not the answer. It’s clear that prescription drug pricing controls are exactly what many proponents of the bill ultimately seek. The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing calls the legislation, “a first step in repairing the broken prescription market.”
If you price a product too far above the cost of production, you’re inviting competition to enter the market, thereby offering consumers a potentially lower-priced alternative. In the pharmaceutical industry this is often difficult, not because there aren’t competitors willing to jump in, but because the barriers to entry imposed by the Food and Drug Administration are so high. The lengthy drug-approval process, the regulations governing product production, and the exclusive product marketing rights are just a few of the obstacles.
Should the government take this first step with drug companies, it will only be a matter of time until it turns its sights on other villains who are perceived to be price gouging the American people. Oil companies and their “obscene profits” would be next on the list, followed shortly by the “outrageous rates” of energy and utility companies, and on it would go.
Enhancing competition within the pharmaceutical industry, as with any industry, is the fastest way to impact pricing disparities. Instead of a slippery slope to price controls, Congress should look to the FDA with a message of “heal thyself.” The situation with Mylan’s EpiPen is just one symptom of a much larger sickness based in Washington.
Richard Kocur is an assistant professor of business at Grove City College.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana State Police has received nearly $1 million in federal funding to combat methamphetamine and heroin distribution and abuse.
The Indianapolis Star reports that the grant is part of a $12 million effort by the U.S. Department of Justice to curb the illicit drugs. Indiana received $350,000 from the department’s Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, and $600,000 from its Anti-Methamphetamine Program.
According to a Justice Department news release, state police will use the money “to address the significant increase in drug-related deaths in the state.”
There were 462 opioid-related deaths in Indiana in 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And in 2013 and 2014, authorities seized more meth labs in Indiana than in any other state.
ARLINGTON, Va. (ABC7) — Phyllis Quarles like a lot of seniors drinks CVS Pharmacies Liquid Nutritional Shakes for her health. After consuming a few new ones she says she got sick.
Quarles, 79, who lives in Arlington, says “Just nauseous and wanted to make me vomit.”
Grandson Donny Watkins checked the bottles and discovered something alarming.
Donnie Watkins says “That the bottles were over a year expired and they were on sale too.”
Watkins claims he bought the bottles on August 25 from the CVS on Columbia Pike in Arlington that turned out to have expiration dates of August 4 of last year.
Over in Alexandria, Watkins says the bottles purchased at this CVS on North Quaker show a Sept, 18, 2015 expiration date.
Both City’s Health Departments say the two stores have no violations of expired products in the past year.
Watkins says he spoke with CVS earlier this year and was assured all expired products were removed.
He returned to the CVS store in Arlington and claims he found the same product past its expiration date on store shelves.
Watkins says “They didn’t clear the shelves and the products were still expired.”
ABC 7 News Investigator Scott Taylor asked “So twice you found this?”
Watkins says “Yes.”
7 On Your Side reached out to CVS which emailed:
CVS Pharmacy has a clear product removal policy in place at all of its stores to help ensure that items are removed from store shelves before they reach their expiration dates. Any unintentional deviations from this policy that are brought to our attention are quickly rectified for customers.
We have apologized to our customer for the incidents at our stores in Arlington and Alexandria and we have requested copies of the documentation required to reimburse his grandmother for any related medical treatment. We have also followed up with our stores to reinforce adherence to our product removal procedures.
Donnie Watkins says CVS is now reaching out to him and his Grandmother.
He says “I’m very thankful you made some contact for us.”
We checked at the Arlington CVS and shelves are now stocked with current expiration dates on their Health Shake products.