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Pepin's Pharmaceutical Prattle for 08-24-2009

 Quote of the day: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince,

                  and dinner like a pauper.

                    Adelle Davis (1904 - 1974)

Good Morning!

The Minnesota State Fair kicks off this again this Thursday.  Twelve days of food, fun, and festivities. The food includes just about everything deep-fried, on-a-stick, or both. Fun can be fast and furious (midway rides) or slower like booth browsing. Music plays a big part in the festivities at band shells to the Grandstand shows (complete with fireworks).

Thursday is a great day for the Fair to start because my final weigh in for a weight loss challenge, “the new me”, is Wednesday. I lost about 10 lbs in 7 weeks by increasing my activity using my Wii and avoiding snacks. It was a little disheartening when I plugged in the Wii and it asked where I’d been for 383 days. (I moved the TV and didn’t hook it up again while having a life.) I have since been able to find 40 to 60 minutes each day to sweat. Diet and exercise have not been easy but definitely do work.

The “new me” won’t binge at the State Fair but I see a carmel apple and a Pronto Pup in my future. With the results I have achieved it should be easier to avoid the French fries, cotton candy, deep-fried Snicker bars, veggie-fries, ribs, corn-on –the cob, all the milk you can drink, pizza, mini-donuts…

Have a GREAT week!



ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm better than you! (after my standard "superfantastic!") "

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 warns about topical ibuprofen gels, ointments and creams.

Topical ibuprofen has not been show to be either safe OR effective (let alone both). Ibuprofen in strengths above 200mg tablets are prescription only (although even high school drop outs can probably do the math and take multiple tablets).


2) Good news for Gaucher’s patients… organic glucocerebrosidase

FDA is allowing physicians to write for the plant derived form of Genzyme’s product due to contamination of Genzyme’s drug manufacturing sites were contaminated and the drug became unavailable. Protalix BioTherapeutics is supplying the plant derived drug for free to patients while phase III studies continue.


3) Casper the Friendly Ghost writer has an enemy

Senator Grassley of Iowa is “fed up” with ghost writers of medical literature. He is upset when physicians put their names on drug research that they did not conduct or papers that they did not write. I wonder if he will get equally upset by professors who take credit for their grad students’ literary efforts. Ethical publishers will insist that every contributor takes credit only for work that they actually performed. Some research well… others analyze data well… others write well.



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4) ED drugs for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Cialis once a day has the edge over 3 doses of the active ingredient in Viagra. No one knows if Levitra will enter the fray.


5) FDA proposes ELECTRONIC Med Watch forms.

Most of the adverse drug reports that the FDA now receives are in paper format. Great efficiencies will be gained by requiring electronic submission. Unless this is made easy the FDA will see fewer reports (which is more dangerous that receiving the data by snail mail or FAX)


6) Fighting that middle age spread

The proposed ‘BamaCare legislation targets PBMs. Democrat Senators want public disclosure of the prices actually paid for drugs..  PBMs may disclose this “spread” to clients but don’t let other PBMs know how well they did in negotiations. The industry started moving to a “transparent” model almost 10 years ago so there has to be more behind this push. Expect the PBM business to deteriorate into a fee for adjudicated claim service industry if this provision goes through. The loosers? Employers, Health Plans, and just about anyone covered by a pharmacy benefit plan as negotiations will not result in the large savings presently seen. The winners would be the drug companies who no longer have to discount their drugs as much.


7) Embryonic Stem Cell Study Halted by FDA

Very vague reasons are given right now for halting the use of embryonic stem cells in spinal cord injury patients. I expect that this administration did not halt it on moral grounds but because of either injuries (stemm cells can theoretically grow into anything) or lack of efficacy (or both). Will be VERY interesting to see the real reasons.





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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