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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 03-09-2009

 Quote of the day: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually,

                   run out of other people’s money.”

                          - Margaret Thatcher


 Good Morning!


The first can of SPAM rolled off the assembly line in Austin Minnesota on July 5, 1937 and the rest, as they say, is history.  Monte Python have songs and a play dealing with SPAM. Hawaiians are quite partial to the canned meat and many a GI during WWII was grateful for the treat. My father, a vet of 10 landings in the Pacific, introduced the Pepin kids to SPAM. Ever have SPAM and eggs? Who about fried SPAM? There are many ways to fix the canned meat most everyone makes fun of.  Even the HORMEL COMPANY has fun with their own product. They give tours of their SPAM MUSEUM in Austin, Minnesota and are perfectly willing to sell boxer shorts emblazoned with their logo as well as other memorabilia. or for the SPAM site itself (includes recipes and fun).

The term SPAM also refers to unsolicited email… electronic junk mail. Most systems have utilities to filter out most SPAM. Businesses know that they must include originator’s name and address and the option to “opt out” whenever they do mass email campaigns. Although there are many pharmaceutical ads that pay for television shows there is a surprising dearth of pharmaceutical spam email. I suspect that it has much more to do with FDA regulations that altruism. Now that I think of it, I do receive a lot of pharmaceutical CE spam.

Every now and then I’ll know when my mother is home and otherwise not busy… I will receive a series of email messages that she has received from others. Stories she thinks are cute, inspiring or just fun she shares with me and most everyone in her address book. There are usually about 8 in a row. “FW: I’ll know you love me if I get this back”,  “FW:So Sven says to Ole….”, or “FW:Quotes from 1956”  are common. If I see one with 2 forward marks then I know that it must be special “FW:FW: Ruth”.  I can see the names of everyone she sends them to because she has yet to discover BCC. One of my mother’s friends wrote to me to have her email address hidden because she doesn’t want others to have her email address but did not want to offend the sender. I’m sure you have friends or relatives who do the same and have seen many titled “FW: ____ (fill in the blank)”. Irritating? They can be a source of irritation until you consider that the sender is thinking about you and sharing something which s/he enjoyed. I just smile, thank the Lord that my mother is still with us and able to function in the age of computers, and the delete them. I consider it “Love SPAM”. I know I’ll miss them when she is gone. I’ll visit her next weekend and show her how to use the BCC option to protect the email addresses of those who are worried about identity theft.

I had better go now. I have to answer an important email from a representative of the Nigerian government who urgently needs my help getting money into the United States. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm vertical"

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) Pfizer top dog wants it both ways

CEO of Pfizer will support health coverage of all Americans (read higher drug sales) but isn’t too hot about using evidence to determine which drugs will be reimbursable by the government (read potentially lower sales of some of Pfizer’s drugs). If the Dems have their way then expect both. I’m sure THAT will do wonders for the Pharma stocks.


2) Cover your cough… I don’t want to catch diabetes.

Study shows that viruses may be responsible for diabetes. Gaining too much weight doesn’t help either. Viral infections may be yet another trigger in concert with genetics, poor diet and lack of exercise. Maybe there will be a vaccine against diabetes someday. Until then… watch the Twinkies and Spam.


3) CDC against $4 prescriptions

The CDC is worried that the availability of inexpensive prescription antibiotics will lead to increased antibiotic resistance as more people take them. I agree that drug chain promotion of antibiotic use is inappropriate. I am more worried about the inappropriate PRESCRIBING of antibiotics! The answer is as much in education of physicians as it is in education of the demanding public.,0,3750679.story


4) Wellpoint PBM up for sale?

“NO COMMENT” (Can we quote you on that?) about the proposed divestiture of Wellpoint’s PBM business. Others are confirming the auction. The business is worth more if long term contracts can be made with existing business under its umbrella. I ask… if you are a business up for PBM renewal… why not look for a less leaky umbrella?


5) Remove drug patches before that MRI… or burn!

Some transdermal patches contain a metal backing or have metal as a component. The FDA is warning health professionals to remove such patches before performing MRI procedures to avoid producing thermal burns.


6) A little video on the demise of biotech drug companies

Sorry… only available as video of stock analyst interview on "The STreet". About 3 min. “Bio-eqivalants” also discussed. No... this is NOT Kramer.


7) “Reimpotation” bill of 2004 is resurrected.

Although dangerous and a dishonest approach to reign in spending for pharmaceuticals this bill has been resurrected and will likely be pushed through Congress faster than the porkulous spending bills passed since the end of January. This will create a few FDA jobs for those who want to travel to foreign lands to inspect pharmaceutical plants.  






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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