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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 01-11-2010

 Quote of the day:

 Reading, after a certain age,

 diverts the mind too much

 from its creative pursuits.

 Any man who reads too much

 and uses his own brain too little

 falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)    







Good Morning!

Eat Any Good Books Lately?

During a episode of Star Trek the all powerful imp called "Q" asked the Klingon “Warf” a question "Eat any good books lately?" Well, how about you? Have you read anything but reports, the newspaper (including the funnies), or the TV Guide in the last 6 months?

I am really going out on a limb and disagree with Albert the genius. It is especially important for adults to read; to stimulate “the little grey cells” (Hercule Poirot courtesy of Agatha Christie). Reading can get you out of your lazy habits of thinking if you read something outside of your comfort zone. I try to read a book TOTALLY unrelated to my work or healthcare in general at least every quarter.

My most recent read was a novel called "My Visit to Hell" (would it be a documentary with a title like that?) by Paul Thigpen. This isn’t about a hellish time like war but the real Hell (as in the opposite of Heaven). The protagonist, Thomas Travis, gets into a bad situation on the street and during his flight into an abandon building he finds himself literally at the gates of Hell. The book is a quick read for even a slow reader such as me. It took me about a week in my spare time. It has been decades since I had read Dante's Inferno but there were numerous references to it. The sins, yes the book describes transgressions as something more than "bad choices", place souls into various rings of Hell.  The "hero" must travel through all of the rings of Hell if he wishes to escape. The author updates the sins that relegate souls to hell and includes very modern practices: some which weren't even "invented" in Dante's time. The book will make you think of things both temporal and more ethereal.

If you have some suggestions (other than “Twilight” or “Harry Potter”) just write a short description and I’ll see if I can work it in. (If you write it then I’ll have more time to read)

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "On top of my game!"

pps. Please note that some of the links may not be up for very long and that

     you should capture or print anything that you may wish to keep.



1) Minnesota ends “Canadian” prescription program.

Minnesota started a state sponsored program to assist its residents in buying drugs from Canadian pharmacies back in 2004. The program will stop on March 1st due to lack of interest. (Only 50 prescriptions were filled last month).


2) Arthritis Drug Blocks Flu Shot Effect.

Patients who are to receive rituximab (Rituxan) for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis should get there “flu” shots (seasonal and H1N1) before starting treatment or wait a few months. When the drug depletes the body’s store of B cells (which attach joints) the body can not produce an immune response that will protect in the future.


3) The Norwegian approach to infection

Norwegian hospitals do not have a problem with Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) because they use fewer antibiotics. Resistant strains of bacteria do not emerge in Norway because there is no antibiotic pressure for them to mutate, Many feel that we in the USA could benefit from the same approach and have the bacterial population become again sensitive to antibiotics, The trouble is that none want to be the first to not treat.



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4) More Pharma Job Losses Projected.

900 to lose jobs between 2 companies. About 36,000 more projected due to mergers.


5) Home Glucose Meters Superfluous?

Type II diabetics did not fair much better blood sugar was tested using at home meters than those who did not test. The important thing to remember is the amount and type of calories is what determines success in the fight against diabetes. The meter is there to reinforce good behavior.


6) FDA scorecard for 2009

Only 26 new drug entities were approved in 2009. Only 1 more than 2008. This is a far cry from the 1990 when the approvals were in the 50’s. The average for the last decade has been just under 29 per year.


7) ‘Bama medical device taxes cuts pay, retirement, hiring

This company has cut merit pay, 401 matching and has frozen hiring in response to impending new taxes on medical device manufactures. Company is considering price increases, shifting more production overseas, reducing employee benefits or less research and development expenditures. Welcome to the new paradigm.  






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Disclaimer: "Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle" (AKA "The Prattle") is the property of PHARMWORKS, LLC and Steven M. Pepin, Pharm. D, BCPS. The opinions expressed are those of the bald-headed author. To start or stop any drug without the advice and supervision of your physician would be stupid. So don't do anything based upon what you read here without professional advice.  To be added to or removed from the distribution list please e-mail your request to . All insightful comments from readers are thoughtfully considered (the rest are callously discarded). Copyright 1998-2010 PHARMWORKS,LLC all rights reserved.

Copyright 1998-2010 PHARMWORKS, LLC all rights reserved