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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 02-09-2009

 Quote of the day: To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.

                                   Karen Sunde


 Good Morning!

Valentine’s Heart

I walked by the refrigerator this morning and was reminded by the bright pink heart stuck to it by a drug company magnet that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. We have had art on the refrigerator for more than 25 years held by magnets supplied by pharmaceutical companies. The kids all knew how to spell drug names before they could master their spelling lists from school.

          The “stimulus package” tries to make its way through Congress this week. Some of the spending has legitimately been questioned. It is interesting to note how some industries are more favored by Congress than others. Fred Barnes observed that "A bad bill is like a fish… the longer it sits in the sun, the more it stinks." Automakers are generally favored while pharmaceutical companies are mostly maligned. The big 3 car makers have already received a “small” amount of cash and are already back in line for more. Pharmaceutical companies are experiencing huge pressures and a push for legal “reimportation” looms as patents expire. Layoffs here are mostly ignored with Detroit gets the tears. Drug companies have supplied pens, paper, and trinkets to physicians and pharmacists for years. As of January the freebies have “voluntarily” curtailed. Pharmacists and physicians will be stimulating the economy as they purchase pens and scratch paper from office supply stores as any stashed supplies are exhausted.

          I have my daily reminder of my daughter’s love in front of me every day. While drug companies are not feelin’ the love, I hope that your loved ones remember to make your day as you remember to tell those about you how you feel about them.  You might also want to tell your Congressional representatives how you feel about how they wish to spend your money.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm just a little sort of Heaven!"

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) Vectical approved

FDA just approved vitamin D3 (Vectical) topical ointment for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. While this will not be a blockbuster, it will positively affect lives if it does for patients what it did for the test subjects.


2) Xigris Egregious?

On going safety review by the FDA of Xigris (Drotrecogin alfa) because of reports of bleeding (and death) in patients treated with Xigris for sepsis. Patients has risk factors for bleeding at the time they developed sepsis. This could turn into a contraindication. If the data were overwhelming then the FDA would not be going so slowly.


3) More is less

Glaxo sees Obama health reform as wider access but with price controls. The withdrawal of Tom Daschle’s nomination for HHS will slow things down but expect the same results. Sort of like the used car salesman’s pitch “We lose a little on every deal but make it up on volume!” (With recent nominations for cabinet posts and the payment of back taxes could we be said to be making progress toward a balanced budget?)


4) The next real blockbuster headed our way

New blood thinner, prasugrel, from Eli Lilly will be a blockbuster when finally approved. Has passed muster to date with a unanimous vote in advisory committee. Brand name selected  is Effient. It will compete with Plavix – a blockbuster. With patent losses looming and no new drug launches since 2005, Lilly really NEEDS this one to make it.


5) Drug Website satisfaction results

Lantus insulin came out on top of consumer survey. Abilify, Caduet, Januvia, Mirena,  Nexium, Prevacid and  Protonix were also highly rated.


6) Blacks and women bear the majority of HIV burden in US

Stats show 1/20 are infected in DC alone. Stats site 1.1 with the disease but do not know it. I expect that these figures are projections because I would think that the researchers would TELL the subjects that they are infected. More testing is urged so the spread can be curtailed.


7) The downside of Green Tea

Patients being treated with certain anticancer drugs should avoid the use of green tea. It appears that the green tea inactivated Velcade so that it does not hurt the cancer cells of multiple myeloma or lymphoma. This is one more example of something that is supposed to be good for you adversely interacting with drugs.  I will follow the example of captain Jean Luc Pichard… “Earl Gray, hot!”






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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