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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 03-01-2010

 Quote of the day:

"Why is infinitesimal such a long word?"

  George Carlin


Good Morning!

For Profit

I received a game for Christmas called Bananagrams. It consists of 144 tiles that look like Scrabble tiles without any numeric values. Each player starts with 21 letters and puts them together in Crossword format. When you have used your tiles you make everyone draw another tile. This continues until all of the tiles are used. First one with a completed set wins (assuming that all are correctly spelled words (no proper nouns). It has already provided hours of fun as “the little grey cells” are challenged. And now you know the rules of the game. There must be thousands of games out there but this one is truly fun.

During the game I have asked myself why the word abbreviation has to be so long. Why is eternal shorter than momentary? Decent and indecent are opposites. Why do inflammable and flammable mean the same thing? Don’t get me started with oxymorons like Congressional wisdom, budget deficit, ill health or anxious patient (think about it).

One oxymoron that appears on one list that I found was business ethics. I find it sad that this one is considered an oxymoron. There are many who say that businesses have social responsibilities. My youngest son, soon to graduate with a degree in Business Leadership from the University of Dallas, turned me on to a thought provoking article from the New York Times Magazine for September 13, 1970 by Milton Friedman titled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”. This runs counter to the then, and current, notion that these artificial persons are bound to provide jobs, eliminate discrimination, avoid pollution, or provide healthcare to everyone.

The author makes a distinction between the corporate entity itself and the people who run these companies and who voluntary assume responsibilities to family, church, community, and country. Any corporate officer who usurps the company’s funds to help prevent inflation, clean up the environment, or solve world hunger outside of wishes of owners/stockholders is stealing. Even non-profit corporations know that they must bring in more in revenue than they distribute to the needy (or for their chartered purpose)  or they, too, will be out of business themselves and unable to do the “good” that they were established to do. (Note: one non-profit’s “good” may be the “evil” that is fought by yet another non-profit). Profit is not a dirty word. It is the lifeblood of the non-living organisms created solely to produce profit. As long as the business is conducted in a legal manner (and we have seen the list of laws grow) and pays its legally assessed taxes (and we have seen them grow) the entity itself has no social responsibilities. Individuals do assume social responsibilities and spend their own time, talent, and treasure as they see fit. If a corporation devotes resources to improving the community it may find that it can attract desirable employees, reduce the wage bill or reduce the amount of stealing from the company by its workers. If it is in the company’s perceived best interests to act in this manner for the corporate good it is not for “social responsibility” reasons. Pharmaceutical companies are no different. Sure they make drugs used to treat all sorts of human maladies and get accolades for it but the ONLY reason to do it is corporate profit. If they made drugs that did nothing then they would make no profit and go under. The quest for new drugs is a quest for competitive advantage and profit. They just need to stay within the rules of the game.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm so good that it should be illegal to be me!"

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) Elderly Medicare appointment schedule abbreviated

Because physician Medicare reimbursement is to be cut 21% in the next week at least one doctor has postponed his elderly patient appointments by 4 months. How other docs handle this is unknown but you don’t think that this a premonition of Medicare under ‘Bamacare do you?


2) Dang. Med. abbrev

Here is a list of DANGEROUS abbreviations that have lead to medication errors.


3) Dang Meds.

The list of the top 15 dangerous medications that were linked to the most fatalities in 2009.

An antidiabetic and an antipsychotic lead the list.


 Click picture to learn about

     Hook or Crook

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4) FDA has new program to encourage safe use of drugs

FDA trying to get Federal agencies,  healthcare professionals and professional societies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other health care entities as well as

patients, caregivers, and consumers to cooperate and make the use of prescription and over the counter drug use safer. (That sentence was anything but abbreviated).


5) Back Talk

Talk therapy appears to help patients with back pain. I suppose if antidepressants help back pain and talk therapy (aka cognitive behavioral intervention) helps depression then maybe this just might work.


6) Generic use drives profits

Express Scripts (a former employer) is ahead of 12month and 18 month earnings predictions after the acquisition of Wellpoint’s PBM business last December. Increasing the percentage of generics to 69.1% is given the credit.


7) OASIS scrapped for PREDICT

FDA is changing the way it screens food and rugs as they ATTEMPT entry into the USA. Sounds like product profiling to me. Contains a link to a 4 minute video about the program… better than Gili and Popeye together.  





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Disclaimer: "Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle" (AKA "The Prattle") is the property of PHARMWORKS, LLC and Steven M. Pepin, Pharm. D. 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