Search this site

ppp- current issues

Contact Us



Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 01-25-2010

 Quote of the day:


 All you need in this life

 is ignorance and confidence;

 then success is sure.

      Mark Twain (1835 - 1910),

 Letter to Mrs Foote, Dec. 2, 1887





Good Morning!

I Bought a Castle for $600

Way back in 1992 I purchased a castle for only $600. Unfortunately it didn’t last. It was the 1992 St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace. Glorious in its splendor, it was viewed in person by over 1 million people. The castle was erected at Lake Phalen and was magnificent. Workers carved huge blocks of ice from the lake and electricians wired it with lights. It was the same year that the Twin Cities hosted Superbowl XXVI and the building was featured during the game.

How did I get to actually own it? A buddy of mine, Marak, and I cooked up a way to make some money from the very popular attraction. We would buy the ice from the Winter Carnival Association, melt it, bottle it, and sell it at the Minnesota State Fair. Not being a couple of blow hards we sprung into action. We wanted to use the actual ice from the structure (we both had well developed consciences and could not hawk anything that was not authentic). We contacted the Winter Carnival Association about our idea and were granted an appointment. We laid out our plans and much to our surprise, but after quite a long process, they finally accepted our proposal. On Good Friday that 1992 we went to the site and hauled away a pickup truck full of the ice. The castle was huge so even as late in the year as it was there were enough pieces left for our project. We kept the ice, now turned to water, in 50 gallon cans in my back yard until we could bottle it. Once we had the labels and the bottles we went into production. We were going to charge $3 per bottle so we only had to sell 300 bottles to recoup the original investment plus the cost of the bottles and the labels. Being a pharmacist I was worried about what might happen if someone would unscrew the cap and drink the lake water. The solution to that was to use PL400, a construction adhesive, to glue the caps on the bottles.

The Minnesota State Fair finally arrived but we could not secure a separate booth from which to hawk our wares. We ended up making them available to the public at the Winter Carnival Booth. Needles to say, the workers at the booth were not as interested in selling the stuff as we were. When the State fair was over we settled accounts with the Association and found that they had only sold $231 worth of our treasured product. This was about what we had paid for supplies so Marak and I each lost $300 on the deal. We learned many valuable business lessons along the way… too many to enumerate here. On the positive side we did have fun doing it and a $300 loss on a real estate transaction does not sound too bad relative to the bath that others have recently taken.  Besides, $300 seems relative cheap for the fun I have had telling the story of how I once bought a castle.

 The 2010 St. Paul Winter Carnival started this last week. A celebration of winter and the great outdoors. Ice sculpture carving, softball on ice, curling, parades, Vulcans (originated before Star Trek), and much more ( for a schedule).

 To see a YouTube video of the 1992 Ice Castle just click on the following link.

I have a few bottles of the old castle squirreled away but its going to cost you… I have a few hundred dollars to make up.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm free and thanking God for it!"

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) Float like a butterfly, sting like a unicorn!

FDA is warning about counterfeit Alli. The counterfeit diet pills do not contain any orlistat (which blocks the absorption of fat from the GI tract) but sibutramine, the active ingredient of the appetite suppressing diet pill Meridia. Only found through internet “pharmacies” and not in legitimate, brick and mortar stores.


2) A spoon full of sugar may help the medicine go down but 1/3 teaspoon of salt…

If we all reduced our salt intake by one third of a teaspoon per day we could expect health benefits equal to smoking cessation in half of smokers or a 5% BMI reduction in the obese. Just think what it could do for the few of us who are neither smokers nor (too) obese.


3) Pending pills

It appears from preliminary studies that a yet to be approved oral drug may be twice as effective against multiple sclerosis than present injectable forms. FDA due to rule soon (soon is measured in “drug approval years”… something like “dog years”). Expect them to be plenty spendy but cost less than the present injectable drugs.


4) Walk with me…

Ampyra (dalfampridine), an Irish drug, was approved to improve walking ability in patient with multiple sclerosis (MS). Lots of potential side effects, including seizures, and it should not be used in patients with impaired renal function but it could be a real boon to those with MS related gait problems.



 Click picture to learn about

     Hook or Crook

   Upscale, one-of-a-kind handbags accessories







5) HE is a she… and she is going to jail!

My barber tipped me off to my melanoma but another salon operator is going to jail for disreputable conduct. Counterfeit BOTOX and Restylane were injected into customers of Issaquah, Washington beautician, Xin (Faith) He. Clients suffered disfiguring infections. Not just one complaint but many… even after being busted.


6) Does PhARMA get to keep the billions pledged?

With the “Massachusetts Miracle“ and the apparent death of the Health Care Reform bill (in its present form) many are scrambling to decipher the best course of action. You may have to take the WSJ assessment of “the bill that was” with a shaker of salt (see also story #2 above). Don't expect the Dems to go down without a major fight.


7) Where have all the Pharma jobs gone? Long time passing.

Article chronicals the biopharm and “regular” pharmaceutical job losses of 2009. (And these were fairly healthy companies). So much talent… burned at the stake.;content






Welcome| |Contact Us| ||Shopping| |Privacy| |Corey Nahman Link|

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