A pharmacist's look at the supermarket and beyond

Updates & Tidbits

I am finding that writing a blog can have some unexpected results. Most of these are good, the best of which is the rebirth of my professional writing. I also tend to see plenty of new material relating to previous posts and I’ve commented on my own posts to add interesting updates. Right now I’m flooded with new info on previous posts so I’m using this post to rattle off a few…

Mosquitoes are being genetically modified to stem the spread of diseases like malaria, Dengue fever, and West Nile virus. The latest attempt is being made by a British firm working in Brazil with hopes of stopping the spread of Dengue fever by inserting a genetic stop sign into Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. Oxitec is creating male mosquitoes that can be released into the wild where it is hoped that will mate with many females and sire hundreds of offspring. These youngsters will have a self-destruct gene that will cause them to die before reaching sexual maturity. We’ll see how that works out, although I fear a Michael Crichton-like thriller on science gone wrong.

In July, FDA recommended that companies testing new products for “low-T” use sperm concentration and responder rates as good clinical measures of treatments under study. Now a company called Repros Therapeutics says it has an oral product called Androxal that is superior to all of the testosterone gels crowding the market and my pharmacy shelves. They claim higher sperm concentrations in a higher proportion of patients. They hope to apply for FDA approval by the end of the year.

Ina new report Business Week identifies the 60 separate government contracts, awarded to 33 companies, that contributed to building in this article, with chart and PDF. Total cost is in the neighborhood of $800 million.

Does the pairing of Burger King and Tim Horton’s mean we’ll be seeing donut burgers, cruller fries and glazed chicken nuggets soon?

Not everything coming out of the VA is negative. A new JAMA article from VA researchers finds that states with medical marijuana laws had fewer overdose deaths from Rx drugs and street drugs! They cite a 25% decrease. This builds on a 2011 UCSF study that showed patients got better pain management when prescribed marijuana to augment their narcotic analgesics. Nearly half of our states have some sort of law allowing access to marijuana.

WHO announced that they desire countries to regulate e-cigarettes and ban their indoor use until studies show that second hand vapor will not harm others in the area. This will be met with strong resistance by the profiteers in this growing $3 billion market.

IBM’s Watson, of Jeopardy fame, is being employed by big pharma to help identify new avenues for drug development. The big brain is on the job! Watson can not only understand the jargon of chemistry, biology, and pharmacology as it reviews thousands of research papers it can also consider legal ramifications such as intellectual property rights.

I think it’s pretty cool that 3-D printers are being used in medicine.

Baylor College of Medicine says it is close to having a vaccine for Chaga’s disease which is transmitted by the kissing bug.

With football season starting, FDA warns that dietary supplements are being marketed that may claim to prevent or alleviate the effects of concussion that are, in fact, untested, unproven, and ineffective if not downright dangerous. You may see these products being offered in your Facebook news feed if you’ve posted about football. Anything for a buck.

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1 Comment

  1. On the allergy front, researchers at the University of Iowa have developed a vaccine for dust-mite allergies.

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