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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 01-26-2009

 Quote of the day: I wanted you to see what real courage is,

                 instead of getting the idea that

                 courage is a man with a gun in his hand.

                 It's when you know you're licked before you begin

                 but you begin anyway and you see it through

                 no matter what.

                    Harper Lee (1926 - ), To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960  

Good Morning!

Prevention of Pharmacist Choice Act

 Why did we go into the helping professions? Sure there is the money, fame and fortune; but in reality it is to help the weak and the sick. If someone decided that nurses should not attend to the needs of anyone who could not walk on their own, then nurses would rebel and see to it that these patients received adequate care. If physicians were forbidden from setting broken bones, or psychiatrists from discussing depression, or surgeons from performing appendectomies then the entire medical community would revolt. If pharmacists could not prepare or dispense cancer chemotherapy or narcotics for pain relief to cancer patients SOMEBODY would hear about it. We have well formed consciences that require us to take actions where they are needed.

Before congress is something called the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which is billed as enabling individuals the right to exercise their freedom to make medical choices related to abortion. There are many in the medical professions who favor abortion and make a good living from it. There are also many who want nothing to do with abortion and chose, instead, to channel their energies to promoting wellness and life instead of ending it. In fact FOCA forces nurses, doctors, pharmacists and hospitals to act contrary to their well formed consciences and provide abortions. Hospitals dedicated to serving people in communities will not be allowed to withhold abortion “services” based upon religious, moral or ethical grounds but forced to take part in what some have called “the culture of death”.

Whatever side of the abortion controversy that you, as a healthcare provider, fall, I am pretty sure that you do not want the Federal government forcing you to do ANYTHING that they already aren’t forcing you to do (April 15th is right around the corner).  Under FOCA you can also expect your taxes to increase as abortions would be federally funded and the practice actively promoted (and you thought the Viagra ads were obnoxious). The one form of abortion that a majority of citizens reject, partial birth abortion, could not be prohibited by any state under FOCA.

What’s a pharmacist (nurse, doctor) to do? Contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators (assuming you are not from Minnesota, you have two of those now). If you feel as I do, then let them know you oppose FOCA or any similar legislation but that you want to retain the present prohibition on Federal funding of abortion. If you feel the opposite, you can still petition the government. You can find out how to contact the men and women who represent you by going to . You can use email or snail-mail but your handwritten cards and letters carry more persuasive weight than the electrons do.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "It's Thursday, which is almost Friday so I'm OK..."

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) Banned in Boston

I had a great time in Boston at the AMCP convention (the same year the Sox won the World Series) but the City fathers have not hit a home run with new rules. Three medical conventions have been canceled because of prohibitions on Pharma representatives or scientists from presenting to docs. My bet is that the bean town bullies will back off when they see that their targets are taking their milk money elsewhere.


2) Low serum cholesterol? You are not out of the woods.

Over a quarter of a million “heart attack” patient charts were analyzed for levels of cholesterol at the time of the MI. About half had low cholesterol levels. Researcher is pushing to lower the “normal range”. (Wonder if Dr. Fonarow has any stock in drug companies who make drugs to help lower cholesterol?) Many patients on these drugs are not reaching the present goals anyway so I doubt that lowering the target levels would have any effect.


3) Wyepf?

Pfizer is reported to be in talks to acquire Wyeth. All PHARMA is in a world of hurt due to patent expirations and smaller new drug pipelines. It might just make sense to spread the overhead over a larger organization (read layoffs of redundant personnel). A stronger economy would make the transition less painful.


4) One way to make up the Federal Deficit… fine PHARMA a million dollars every time they give away more than $100.

That’s right! A newly sponsored bill would allow for fines that high if physicians receive more that $100 per year in payments or gifts and it is not reported by pharmaceutical companies or medical device manufacturers. I wonder what financial limits are in place for political donations, how much regulatory reporting is necessary and how large the fines are… (just wondering…)


5) Recalled in a Jiffy

Peanut butter contamination with Salmonella bacteria is responsible for sickness and deaths. The story contains a searchable link to products that contain penut butter from the tainted plant. Includes brownies, cakes, dog food, ice cream, peanut butter (DUH!) and crackers. Major brands are unaffected, just the generic products. The Peanut Corporation of America was the source. No pharmaceuticals are affected to date.


6) Less vaccine MAY be linked to more disease?

HIB vaccines have been in short supply since one manufacturer halted production due to bacterial contamination. The CDC, resident of the Disease State (GA), has found an increase in HIB infections. First indications of problems were noticed in Minnesota (we tend to stay alert when the temperature drops).\ACQDJON200901231618DOWJONESDJONLINE000875.htm&symbol=MRK&symbol=PFE&symbol=JNJ&symbol=SGP&symbol=ABT&symbol=NVS&symbol=AZN&selected=MRK&selecteddisplaysymbol=MRK&coname=Merck%20&%20Company,%20


7) That time of year again (for those of you with kids in college)

If you will be seeking any type of assistance with college tuition you should go to the FAFSA on the Web site at, select the "Fill Out Your FAFSA" link and enter your identifying information.  While filling in the form takes time and should be done after you have done your taxes many delay filing because they do not have a PIN. If you are new to this system (or if you have forgotten your PIN), you can request a new (or duplicate) by going to   You may select one of the following delivery methods: view an online display of your PIN; receive an e-mail with your PIN; or receive your PIN by U.S. postal mail. You will be given the option to pre-fill your FAFSA with much of your application data from last year if have done this before.  You will need your Federal Student Aid PIN to access your 2009-2010 FAFSA on the Web application that is pre-filled.







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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 1998-2009 PHARMWORKS,LLC all rights reserved.

Copyright 1998-2009 PHARMWORKS, LLC all rights reserved