Not Enough to Swallow

On Denialism Blog, Mark Hoofnagle writes that a wide array of drugs, from antibiotics to steroids to diuretics and chemotherapeutics, are in short supply around the country. Hoofnagle explains, “The drugs affected span all classes, what they have in common is they are all generic.” Because of the low profit margin on generic drugs, “manufacturers try to cut costs where they can, they export production abroad (and away from FDA oversight), and keep supplies low.” Quality suffers, and with only a few companies producing certain drugs, disruptions can have far-reaching (and deleterious) effects. Should government subsidize the manufacture of generic medicine, or take it away from the free market? On Respectful Insolence, Orac covers a far simpler course of treatment: wishing, and hoping, and thinking, and praying. New studies show that alternative medicine is no more effective than a placebo, but one advocate says the placebo effect is proof of the Law of Attraction. Maybe surgical patients can just visualize more anaesthetic? Finally, Abbie Smith cannot believe that the FDA has granted expedited approval for a daily pill to protect against HIV infection. Smith writes that in large clinical trials, “Tenofovir didnt work well at all […] There is *no* experimental evidence to suggest that is a good idea right now.” The drug could actually lead to more new infections—and cause permanent kidney damage.

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Double Standards

i-abd7e1519c650778c8deef6a5321f3ea-doublebuzz.jpgOn Terra Sigillata, Abel Pharmboy reports on “sporadic, worldwide shortages of Arimidex,” a drug officially approved by the FDA for inhibiting hormonal transitions in breast cancer patients. But up to a thousand times more men use this drug than women, as a non-FDA-approved therapy for testosterone deficiency. Pharmboy wonders if men taking Arimidex has resulted in some women “facing shortages of a drug essential for their survival.” On Christina’s LIS Rant, Christina Pikas asks if men are at a professional disadvantage in women-dominated fields such as “Nursing, Librarianship, Elementary School Teaching, and Social Work.” According to a study, men may run into a “glass escalator” rather than a glass ceiling, as they “were pushed towards administration roles, even when they stated a preference for staying in the classroom or library.” And on Respectful Insolence, Orac explains a case in Texas where a registered nurse faces felony charges for reporting a doctor’s questionable ethics. “A dedicated nurse does what her professional code of ethics demands that she do,” writes Orac, “and the end result is that the good ol’ boy network in Texas tries to throw her in jail for years on trumped up charges.”

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