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Prattle for 08-31-2009
The Minnesota State Fair draws over a million and a half visitors each year. We went on Saturday morning and lasted until about 5pm. With about a square mile to cover we were happy to have done our homework and know the scheduled events that we wanted to see. It was interesting to observe the different FAIR TYPES just in our little group. What interested one did not enjoin enthusiasm from the others. Some people went for the food (see last week’s ppp for a list of SOME of the food on a stick that was available). Others like the farm animals; the only chance they get to meet dinner on the hoof all year. For others it was definitely the pig’s ears. Arts and craft demonstrations are trigger trippers for others (quilts, stuffed animals, furniture, apple pies and ceramics are all sub groups). Shoppers are shoppers and there were plenty of opportunities to buy the necessities (a new lawn sprinkler, hand soap, and a few neckties).
Healthcare is a little like the State Fair, everybody has their own special desires. Some want unfettered access to any physician while others want low costs. Free care and prescriptions may be nice but are Americans willing to have their care rationed in order to pay for it? I'm sure there are some who would like to see plastic surgery covered. As long as somebody else is paying why not go for the whole enchilada? The trouble is that, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, "eventually you run out of other people's money". One thing that everyone can agree on though is that we all want the care we need.
Our little State Fair group could agree on one thing; no one wanted to go anywhere near the midway and the rides (thank goodness). We did stop at one of the many band shells and enjoyed some swing/jazz and people watching. By that time we were all ready for a rest anyway and all agreed on THAT. All in all, it was a good day to spend outside with 189,077 of my closest friends.
Have a GREAT week! (The Fair goes through Labor Day!)
ps. Best answer this week to the question "How are you?" was "I'm Fair-bulous!"
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) Half will get H1N1 and 90,000 will die.
New projection by White House advisors: 30,000 to 90,000 deaths from the new swine flu. They project 1.8 million people will make it to the intensive care units. This is projected to cut down the number of elective surgeries. Doesn’t seem like a great time to be putting additional pressure on hospitals and health care with the ‘BamaCare initiative… but they again, I am not a politician. Be sure to get your “SEASONAL FLU” shot ASAP so you’ll be ready for the two shots of H1N1 vaccine when THEY are available. (Please don’t tell me that you are skipping the vaccinations!)
2) First pediatric “PEP” on the market this fall
Just Approved! Zenpep will be the first pediatric pancreatic enzyme product (PEP) to come to market. Will be available in 4 strengths to treat infants, toddlers, teens and adults. Will be used in cyctic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. (Creon is already marketed but no pediatric testing was done. Creon may lose marketability after April if they can’t jump through some FDA’s hoops.)
3) The “Red Star” reports on reduced copays
The Minneapolis Star (aka The Red Star) reports that United Healthcare (supported by the pharmaceutical manufacturers) will discount copays for certain drugs IF PATIENTS GET THEM FILLED ON TIME. This PAY FOR COMPLIANCE plan will benefit patients (lower copay and better health), employers (cost neutral but healthier employees), and Pharma (they keep selling their wares). I’m certain that there will be a little something left on the table for UHC. The targets are depression and asthma right now but expect this to expand if successful.
4) FDA on zits
Tome on acne by the FDA includes types, causes, myths and treatments. Everything you really did not want to know but may need to know.
5) Paltry Placebos Pack Phenomenally Powerful Punch (pooh-pooh plethora of promising pharmaceutical products) Panic Pervades Pharma!
As more drugs are tested against placebos, the sugar pills are showing better results than in the past. Some initially promising drugs have been relegated to the ash can because they proved no better than placebo. Industry analysts are pulling out their hair trying to figure out why. Could it be that the recently tested drugs are less pharmaceutically active than previous drugs or the researchers and industry gurus are selecting lower doses in order to avoid “excessive” side effects? (Just a theory… I could be wrong!) Placebos are also showing double their previous effect against already approved drugs. Could the new breed of subjects be more susceptible to suggestion? (note the rise in popularity of “reality TV”)
6) Depression did not hinder Part D enrollment
Intuitively I would have thought that depression or schizophrenia would have gotten in the way of signing up for the prescription drug benefit. Study shows otherwise. Could it be that friends or relatives saw the need and helped?
Walgreen pharmacies make a direct connection to an employer. Caterpillar employees get sweetheart pricing on a list of prescription drugs. This could be a sentinel event as the PBM is cut out of the pharmaceutical equation. Look for small consulting firms to investigate this option for other employers as they attempt to bring value.
Have a SUPER-FANTASTIC week.
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 email@example.com . 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