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Practice Medicine Or “Advise” For $3,000 A Day?

It’s very generous of Sanolfi-Aventis’s marketing department to make this offer for me to serve as an “advisor” for dronedarone (Multaq), but seriously–I was a bit skeptical that they wanted my “feedback on the reasons for and against utlilization of Multaq® in the appropriate patient as well as to understand communication and educational needs with regard to Multaq® and the atrial fibrillation state in general.”

Where were they when the drug launched? Might it be because this drug hasn’t quite been the blockbuster they’d hoped for?

But, of course, I’d never be swayed to use more of this drug by such important consulting work. No, really.

P.S. Sanolfi-Aventis marketers: Please update your prescriber database with my correct workplace.

Musings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

The “No Viagra For Sex Offenders” Amendment

There’s been some buzz on Twitter that the Democrats in the Senate have killed an amendment which would have prohibited federal funding for erectile dysfunction (ED) medications for sex offenders, which means in the upside-down logic of Washington D.C. that the Democrats favor giving Viagra to pedophiles. Right? Well, not exactly.

First, just a point of procedure: Remember, healthcare reform (HCR) is now a law, on the books, signed by the President. But there was this reconciliation sidecar bill which was meant to fix the HCR law as originally passed—it was passed in the House pretty much as soon as the Senate bill was passed. But it had to pass the Senate in the identical form, word for word, in order to go directly to Obama’s desk for signing. If the Senate mucked things up by tacking on amendments, it would have to go back to the House for approval, and given the razor-thin margin in the House, Democrats very much wanted to avoid that. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

Do Pharmaceutical Companies Have “Social Media Anxiety Disorder?”

There’s been an ongoing discussion about how the Life Sciences industries can face and integrate recently-evolving media which the Web has been and continues to sprout. Remarkable as they are, the discussions are endless and most loop back into themselves without generating sufficient voltage to power an army of macrophages. Additionally, pharmaceutical companies (pharma) –- beset by a myriad of constraints –- are anxious about flipping on social connection switches which the Web furiously creates every day. We could say that pharma has a sort of social media anxiety disorder. What to do?

The answer isn’t in social media. It’s not in what the FDA decides to do. It’s not in echo chambers found within Twitter or blogs or conferences. It lies in simple, basic economic truths. It lies in radical acceptance and in brave recreation. It lies beneath the proverbial nose of obviousness. It lies far beyond any discussion about the meanings and promises and purposes of new media on the Web. Pharma’s social media anxiety disorder is merely a peripheral symptom of deeper pathologies. Let’s assess the patient. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

Pillbox: Identify Pills By Color, Shape, Size And More

Pillbox is the result of a partnership between the National Library of Medicine and the Food and Drug Administration. It helps you identify unknown pills and tablets by parameters such as form, color, size or imprint. The constantly updated database now has more than 7,000 entries with images.

Pillbox was developed to aid in the identification of unknown solid dosage pharmaceuticals. The system combines high-resolution images of tablets and capsules with FDA-approved appearance information (imprint, shape, color, etc.) to enable users to visually search for and identify an unknown solid dosage pharmaceutical. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Poppy Tea Claims Another Life

Papaver somniferum.jpgThe Boulder County coroner announced today that the July death of a Boulder teen was indeed due to opioid intoxication from preparation of a poppy pod tea.

Jeffrey Joseph Bohan, 19, of Boulder, was found dead in his friend’s Boulder home about 6 p.m. July 21 after drinking poppy-pod tea the night before with his brother, according to Boulder police.

Investigators suspected the Fairview High graduate, who was going to Colorado State University, died from the psychoactive tea, which is brewed from the plant that produces opium. But they couldn’t be sure until the Coroner’s Office confirmed Monday that Bohan’s cause of death was morphine overdose, and his manner of death was accident.

Here is also coverage from The Boulder Daily Camera.

This marks the second death in Boulder from young adults mixing up decoctions of seeds or pods from the poppy, Papaver somniferum. We reported in March on the death of CU-Boulder student, Alex McGuiggan, in March.

In a subsequent post, we expanded on a commenter’s story of his own efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of poppy seed tea following the death of his own son. Commenter Tom’s site can be viewed at Poppy Seed Tea Can Kill You (http://poppyseedtea.com).

Extracts from poppy pods can contain up to 10% morphine and 1-5% codeine together with several other benzomorphan compounds. Seeds themselves are intrinsically devoid of morphine but the drug can remain on the seeds in reasonable quantities simply from their processing. The Santa Clara County crime laboratory investigating the death of Tom’s son determined that a tea made with the same seeds he used contained 259 µg/mL of morphine.

Depending on the starting material, however, the extract may also contain thebaine, a natural intermediate used for semi-synthetic opioid synthesis that causes intense nausea, vomiting, and even convulsions.

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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