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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 04-27-2009

Quote of the day:

The memory should be specially taxed in youth, since it is then that it is strongest and most tenacious. But in choosing the things that should be committed to memory the utmost care and forethought must be exercised; as lessons well learnt in youth are never forgotten.

                      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)  

Good Morning!


Waking to the sounds and smell of bacon frying and fresh, strong coffee can transport me through time and space to the kitchen of my Grandparents’ lake cabin circa 1957. The scent of a freshly cut pine tree takes me back to Christmas of 1964 (no Red Rider BB gun) with my whole family gathered in the living room. The lobby of the Lowry Medical Arts Building in St. Paul can be conjured by the strong smell of the chemical phenol which emanated from the many dental offices housed there.

          For some, the sound of certain songs can transport them to a different time and place. “Our song” can instantly carve away the years when shared by sweethearts.  “The music of my people” (also known as Dinosaur Rock) can instantly grow my Beatle haircut back and infuse some swivel into my hips. I know there is power in nostalgic songs when I hear Led Zeppelin music as the theme in a Cadillac commercial. The shape of a vintage Coke bottle can be found on cans of Coca Cola although Coke has not been bottle in the classic glass bottles for a long time.

          Pharmaceutical companies have not tapped into the nostalgia movement with the notable exception of the “Viva Viagra” (al la Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas”) commercial. While other consumer goods advertising can build to a crescendo of good feelings the FDA requires that both the pros and the cons of drugs advertised directly to consumers be presented. Nostalgia is not easily turned on (during the positive) and off (during the risk presentation) quickly enough within a 60 second commercial. Because patent life on pharmaceuticals is 20 years or less there is no opportunity for a brand name drug to build its own nostalgia. One attempt was a short-lived “The new purple pill” campaign as one company replaced one brand name PPI losing its patent with another new PPI, keeping the same color capsule.

Sounds and smells can be triggers to memories of happy or comfortable times. As kids we would hold our noses and produce a chorus of “eeww”s as we passed every dairy farm. I couldn’t figure my father’s reaction until now. He raised goats as a kid (pun intended) and this would have just been a nostalgic trigger. I still prefer the mossy smell of the deep woods during hunting season or the smell of the onions in my mother’s turkey stuffing to cattle on the hoof. If you have any special triggers that you would like to share, send them my way and I’ll try to work them into a future Prattle.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm UltraBodaciuos" (said with a Ninja Turtles accent) as found on my son's site


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) Shrinking global pharmaceutical sales

For the first time in 25 years the global sales of drugs has fallen. I wouldn’t call this a trend yet. I’m pretty sure that, short of nationalization, pharmaceutical sales will rise again as the global economy improves.


2) Amgen blames economy but I blame outcomes

Amgen profits are down> I’ll give them Enbrel because patients are having a tough time making high copayments as many companies are shifting costs to employees. A drop in Aranesp sales is more likely due to outcomes studies and FDA directives about who might benefit from the blood stimulants and who might be at unacceptable risks. (Just my opinion… I could be wrong)


3) Previously thought to reduce Alzheimer’s

NSAIDS (like ibuprofen) were originally though to reduce the incidence of Alzheiner’s disease but a recent study finds the obverse is true. 2,736 patients over 12 years… will be awhile before THIS study is reproduced.


4) Financial worries keeping you awake?

It appears that the sale of OTC sleep aids are on the rise as economic worries rise. Even in good times about 30% of the population has trouble sleeping.




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5) First 100 day move

Federal court orders PLAN B, the abortifacient, “morning after” pill to go OVER THE COUNTER within 30 days. (Not to be confused with RU-486, the prescription only abortifacient available only through Planned Parenthood).


6) A not so pleasant memory returns…Swine flu…

Swine flu was one of the lethal influenza strains of the 1980’s. Multiple lethal cases of swine flu have recently been reported in Mexico and New York. Many in Mexico are hunkering down to avoid public contact. You know they are taking it seriously when they close bars!


7) Ralph Lauren would not approve

Twenty one polo pony deaths linked to compounding pharmacy’s calculation error. All of the horse died within 4 hours after receiving a vitamin/nineral supplement to enhance their stamina. I suspect that the pharmacy will have to pony up.,0,7779310.story






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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