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April 12, 2019

Genetic Testing: Is it Worthwhile?

Genetic testing is a major area of growth in the healthcare industry recently, with several companies posting large returns for investors and a number of people receiving the services from molecular diagnostics companies.  (more…)
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March 29, 2019

Drug Company Patents Versus the Public Good

Should a biotech giant holding a valuable patent be forced to give it up if doing so would serve the public good?  (more…)
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February 15, 2019

FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Ketamine for Depression

A new drug developed by Johnson & Johnson named Esketamine may become the first new treatment in years for depression.  An expert panel composed of psychiatrists and consumer representatives was nearly unanimous in recommending that the FDA approve a nasal spray that delivers the active ingredient ketamine.  (more…)
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November 9, 2018

Merck Backs Out of Vaccine Commitment to Africa

What is the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies to provide life saving medicines to countries that cannot afford top dollar prices? Merck & Co. Inc. recently received approval to sell their rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, in China, while simultaneously ending a long-term agreement to supply the vaccine for children in West Africa.  Rotavirus is the leading cause of death due to diarrhea, and is responsible for half a million deaths annually, half of which are in Africa. Worldwide, most children are exposed to rotavirus by the time they are 5 years old. In the Western world, rotavirus can be severe but is rarely lethal.  Contrast the 70 deaths per year reported in industrialized nations versus the more than 500,000 deaths reported in developing nations. In 2011, Merck agreed to sell its rotavirus vaccine to low-income countries, via Gavi, a vaccine alliance, for a steep discount — about $3.50 per dose as opposed to the approximate cost of $70 per dose for the United States. For six years, Merck…
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October 1, 2018

HIV Controlled by Antibody Therapy

Today, an estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States, and improvements in antiretroviral therapy have turned HIV into a manageable condition.  Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer—and with a better quality of life—than ever before.  Yet even the most effective drugs only suppress the virus, which hides in the body, ready to rise to dangerous levels should a patient stop their medication regime. To continue suppression of HIV, patients must adhere to strict daily medication schedules, which can be burdensome and expensive.   (more…)
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September 26, 2018

Latest Research Offers Alternative to Addictive Opioids

  The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a growing national crisis affecting public health and creating an enormous burden on the healthcare system.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total economic impact of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. (more…)
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August 24, 2018

Can an Asthma Drug Reverse Dementia?

Dementia is a term describing a variety of diseases that develop when nerve cells in the brain die or become impaired. The death of neurons causes changes in memory, behavior, physical capabilities and personality. In many of these diseases, such as Alzheimers, the associated changes often prove to be fatal. (more…)
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