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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 04-20-2009

 Quote of the day:   Life engenders life. Energy creates energy.

                     It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

                           Sarah Bernhardt (1844 - 1923)    


Good Morning!


Back around the time of the first “Earth Day” my physics professor admitted that his classes were being audited by the FBI. He was taken in for questioning when he revealed to the class that he could tell when a nuclear bomb had been detonated by monitoring the electromagnetic fields of the Earth. It seems that the force of a nuclear blast is enough to literally blow the electromagnetic fields off of the Earth for a short time. The Feds did not want this generally known.

Those of you who saw Ocean’s 11 were introduced to a physics device called a “pinch”. In the movie the “pinch” caused a temporary power outage though the emission of a large electromagnetic pulse (EMP). See for a layman’s explanation of the physics and whether or not this is just another “bad physics movie”. (Examples of bad physics movies include: The Core (the ship made of Unobtainium tries to restart the revolution of the Earth’s core), The Day After Tomorrow (with simultaneous flash Winters across the upper Northern Hemisphere due to global warming), Twister (you really can’t hear a cow moo as it swirled in a tornado), and Armageddon (one big rock hurling toward Earth when split in half just makes 2 craters).  See for reviews.

Now author, William Fortchen, is warning us that a nuclear bomb (Korean, Iranian, French) detonated above the States would produce an EMP that would knock out the entire electric grid. This would include not only wall plug power but would knock out automobiles and anything that relies on electrical power. We would be plunged back to preindustrial America in seconds. Projections of a congressional investigation are that 90% of the population would be dead in 1 year.

Would this be serious? Indeed. (especially for those at ground zero) What would be the cause of death for the rest of Americans subject to the EMP? I think that lack of television would be high on the list, followed by “unconnectivity” as cell phones and the internet would be down. Everyone would once again be stupid because they could not “Google” everything. Those now using Wikipedia are already doomed. Survival skills would be at a premium and every day spent scouting, hunting, fishing, in the vegetable garden and the great outdoors would be invaluable. Those in warm climates might miss their air conditioning but they could survive. Those of us in the north might have to chop wood and modify our heating systems but we’d get by. In any case, a positive attitude would be essential in overcoming any “slight inconvenience”.

I really think that the impact on America would not be as great as the doomsayers expect. The power was restored to the city of Hiroshima 24 hours after the nuclear bomb was detonated so I think our recovery would be relatively quick. We want to do everything we can to avoid such a scenario but if the worst would happen, we have good engineers and good ol’ American ingenuity on our side. To those who would do us harm: remember also that we have Chuck Norris and an endless supply of Unobtainium.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm not at shore yet but still rowing!"

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) FDA reduces a black box warning!

Previously, administration of ceftriaxone (Rocephin) and IV calcium treatment within 48hours of each other was considered contraindicated due to fear of precipitation of crystals in the blood. While the warning still goes for those under the age of 28 days the FDA has removed the warning for all others provided that they follow other safety precautions (such as flushing IV lines between dosing and not using y-site administration). Read the whole press release before you change your policies. Will wonders never cease?


2) Maybe the kids will need some Krypto-10 or Clear-onite.

Super bug acne on the rise which is resistant to conventional antibiotics. Some dermatologists are discussing limiting antibiotics use against acne in order to counteract the development of resistant strains.  One antibiotic trial and you are done. Sounds harsh as we approach Prom season but the Super-bugs must die.


3) Hurry…hurry! Step right up…Change healthcare and win a prize!

In this case the prize is $10 million. All you have to do is change the health outcomes of a small town or business. Measures include increased ability to climb stairs, reduce health costs, and reduce ER visits. You have 18 months to develop and submit a plan. I’ll bet someone includes stair steppers or moving all business to the top floor of a building without an elevator.


4) My old employer gets bigger

Express Scripts to buy the PBM business of WellPoint. This would make it the largest PBM. In a business where size matter this is a bid deal!


5) BYO-stem cells

Stem cell infusion has helped diabetics regenerate insulin producing cells in their pancreases. These are NOT embryonic stem cells… the cells that were effective were taken from the patient’s own bone marrow. Not all recovered completely or forever but promising all the same.


6) Could the old “Cost-effectiveness” approach bring down Pharma?

The Pharma Phear is that older, cheaper, generic drugs could be pronounced the favored treatment modality decreasing their bottom line. Generally they want any studies comparing products to only look at effectiveness. Lobbying to remove cost from the equations could mean big buck for the industry and Pharma has already had it removed from at least one part of the “stimulus” package passed 3 months ago.


7) Bird flu retardant?

It may take another 8 years but scientists have isolated a compound that inhibits the replication of influenza viruses; normal and H5N1 (bird flu). In theory, the substance would arrest the virus and allow the normal body defenses to eliminate the threat. With all of the recent developments on bird flu fighters, every year that the pandemic is averted is another year closer to effective defense.  






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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