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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 06-22-2009

 Quote of the day:  It seems to me that people have vast potential.

                  Most people can do extraordinary things if they have

                  the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people

                  don't. They sit in front of the telly

                  and treat life as if it goes on forever.

                            Philip Adams    


Good Morning!

Risky Business

She had been told not to use her brother’s skis but slipped them on for a trial run when her mother went to town. This first time skiing for my mother scarred her for life. She tipped over on her first run and cut her hand badly on a broken bottle hidden under the snow. The surgeon crossed the ligaments in her little finger causing it to be forever crooked at a 90 degree angle. The other mark it left on her was an almost unquenchable desire to ski. In her skiing prime my mother would alternate between the Alps and skiing “out West” every year. Once on convention in the state of Washington she saw a ski slope in the distance, found a bus to take her there in her high heeled shoes and “city clothes”, bought a new ski outfit and rented skis for the day.

          As she was teaching her brood of 5 kids to ski she would show us how to perform various turns and verbally encourage us. As I learned to ski I often heard her say as she loomed over me as I lay in a self made snow crater “if you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning anything!”. There were many early days when there was “a whole lot of learnin’ goin’ on”.

          The lesson applied to other things in life and I heard her words ringing in my ears whenever a new venture or project had a setback. While I “fell” many more times than I would have liked, I always took the setback as an opportunity to learn. Edison railed against his critics as they demanded results, “Results? Results? Why I know thousands of things that won’t work!”. The important lesson I took to heart was that it is OK to try new things… to stretch… and that often it is only really our pride that get bruised. The lesson taught and learned was how to be resilient.

My mother stopped Alpine Skiing at the age of 70. She fell very hard on her hip. Although she did not break anything she knew it was time to stop before she did herself permanent harm. She knew when the risks outweighed the benefits (sound pharmaceutical doesn't it?).  It was a wise choice as she is still alive and kicking at 80. There will come a time when I figure that “falling” is not worth the risk for the experience and learning I could garner. I haven’t reached that time yet and don’t expect to for a long time. I think that I also have succeeded in passing this trait on to the next generation.

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm as good as gold!"

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) Genzyme’s Gaucher’s Goop Gone

Genzyme had to shut down a plant that make Cerezyme (an enzyme used against a rare disease call Gaucher’s) due to a viral contamination. The drug can run from $150,000 to $300,000 per year but there is no alternative for those with this inborn error in metabolism. Patients and their families are in a panic. Expect some genius to suggest that the patent be voided so that others can also make it. A redundant Genzyme plant might be an option some day but the drugs is already expensive enough… right?


2) The down low on Hi-Tech

FDA has issued a recall of Stamina-Rx (a “dietary supplement” for ED) which contains an unapproved drug chemically similar to the sildenafil in Viagra. The doses are high enough to pose a real threat to patients taking nitrates. Company founder was jailed for 4 years and fined $3 million in a previous import case.


3) FDA recall of insulin due to stolen shipment

Someone pinched a truckload of levemir insulin and vials have been showing up on the market. This is dangerous because the insulin may not have been properly stored or may have been adulterated in some other way. Check your lot numbers against those listed in the article. What to do if you have insulin from one of the lots? Read on…


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4) Pharma “cheerfully” throws in $80 billion

The administration’s drive to turn the US healthcare system into a European-like system is underway. I suspect some major arm twisting (“ do it or else”) was behind the PHARMA offer. It is not surprising that the Democrats want all this healthcare reform signed into law by October as the approval rating of Obama’s policies have plummeted nationally.


5) How to raise taxes on PHARMA? Void the legitimate business expense of advertizing!

That right. Lawmakers want to single out PHARMA and no longer allow tax deductions of drug advertizing as one way to help fund and overhaul of the heathcare system. Sounds VERY unfair to me. How would it be if the same were applied to automobile companies and ads? Maybe we would have to suffer through fewer of THOSE as well.


6) Sanofi shares swine serum

Sanofi will donate 100 million doses of vaccine against H1N1 (swine flu) when production line is pumping out doses. That amounts to 10% of production which will go to WHO for use in (theoretically) the poorest nations.


7) Something zinc stinks… but you may not know it

FDA has found that the OTC product called Zicam which has been used against the common cold and its symptoms can cause permanent loss of smell. Before you turn up your nose at this idea remember that most of what you perceive as a sense of taste is related to what you can smell. That just stinks! (Note: I had advised a few people who had asked about the product not to use it. I received one “THANK YOU” already this week).






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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