Monday, February 28, 2011

February Ends With A Jolt Of Hepatitis C News Today Folks

In Portsmouth, Ohio parents are engaged in a war void of any sustanial ammunition needed to combat the enemy. OxyContin continues to hold their children hostage in some cases even taking the lives of young and impressionable adolescents. The epidemic is so severe that located in the communities downtown store window is a memorial to those people who have died from prescription drug overdoses. The town is overcome with IV drug use with the cases of hepatitis C reaching new heights. Prescription drug use has become a national crisis, according to a 2010 released White House study detailing that substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers increased by 400 percent between 1998 and 2008.

MIAMI, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army veteran who turned up positive for HIV following a colonoscopy has filed a $20 million suit against the Veterans Administration.

Transmitted resistance to HIV drugs sharply increases the risk that a patient's first anti-retroviral regimen will fail, researchers reported.

CROI: Nurses Can Manage HIV Therapy19 minutes ago BOSTON --
Patients with HIV whose antiretroviral therapy was managed by nurses at regional clinics in South Africa did just as well as those whose care was handled by physicians at larger hospitals, researchers reported here.

By: MARY ANN MOON, Internal Medicine News Digital Network02/24/11A sustained virologic response to antiviral therapy signals a favorable prognosis in patients with decompensated cirrhosis due to chronic hepatitis C, reported Dr. Angelo Iacobellis and his colleagues in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded four new grants to help improve awareness, prevention and care of hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) in China and India. The grants total nearly $1 million USD and bring...

Big Pharma; Johnson & Johnson

Vertex and partner Johnson & Johnson= Telaprevir
Johnson & Johnson=TMC435
Outsourced; Extra Strength Tylenol Rapid Relief Gels
In 2009/2011 Recalled because of safety concerns; Johnson & Johnson’s Children’s Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplets, Extra Strength Tylenol Rapid Relief Gels. The latter was traced to a fungicide that originated from a Puerto Rican plant.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M. D., said in July 2011, according to The Buffalo News.“Up to 40 percent of the drugs Americans take are imported, and up to 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in those drugs come from foreign sources,”

Telaprevir; Vertex, supposedly has hooked up with Shasun chemicals headquartered in India, as noted; Shasun pharmaceutical chemical manufacturer obtained a contract from Vertex Pharma for manufacturing telaprevir. Vertex will source the entire supply from Shasuns UK subsidiary
Feb 25
The lawsuit was filed by Scott Bartz, a New Jersey resident who worked as a sales compensation manager from 1999 until 2007, when he alleges he was terminated in retaliation for repeatedly complaining about illegal marketing practices. His lawsuit also names the Omnicare nursing home operator and McKesson, the pharmaceutical wholesaler.

Feb 25
Here’s a lesson for a board of directors: never let a few setbacks deter you from giving your chief executive a raise, however modest. Consider Johnson & Johnson ceo Bill Weldon. Despite a breathtaking number of recalls spanning nearly every corner of the health care behemoth - over-the-counter meds, contact lenses, syringes, hip replacement devices - he received a 3 percent pay hike. His new base salary is $1.92 million, up from $1.86 million, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Feb 25
The health care giant just can’t seem to do anything right. On top of all the quality-control problems that have led to tens of millions of product recalls for over-the-counter meds, syringes, contact lenses and hip replacement devices, now Johnson & Johnson is recalling more than 660,000 Sudafed packages because the labeling has an extra ‘not’ in the instructions. Really.

Hall Of Shame ; Pfizer
Feb 25
Two years ago, Pfizer trumpted a deal in which Aurobindo, a large supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients that is based in India, would make a few dozen generic meds for the brand-name drugmaker. The move was part of a grand plan to expand into generics with lower manufacturing costs and revive growth as patents on big-selling, brand-name meds began expiring.

Healthy You

Taking too many dietary supplements
Very little convincing evidence exists that shows supplements are important to slow or prevent illness, said Dr. Ann Zerr, Indiana University School of Medicine physician specializing in women's health.
Calcium and vitamin D are exceptions, and omega-3 fish oil supplements may be worthwhile, she added.
If you don't focus on fruits and vegetables and whole grains in your diet, then a multivitamin is probably a good idea, Zerr said. But taking other vitamin pills is expensive and unnecessary - and those that are fat-soluble can be harmful.

One alcoholic drink a day seems to be beneficial for the heart and for diabetes prevention, Zerr said. Women have less muscle mass than men, so their ability to metabolize alcohol is different, and they can't safely handle as much.

"I see a lot of professional women drink more than one alcoholic drink a day," she said. "More than one seems to increase the risk of head and neck cancers and liver irritation."
Drinks Companies Spread Liver Disease as Surely as Mosquitoes Do Malaria
Opinion Anna Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, and a Health Foundation clinician scientist; and Jeff Collin, director of the Global Public Health Unit at Edinburgh University (The Guardian, London, online, February 21, 2011)"While the government sees food and alcohol companies as partners in health policy, public health increasingly recognises them as vectors of disease. The vector concept, adapted from infectious disease control, is simple: liver disease and myriad other health and social problems are being spread by alcohol companies just as the mosquito vector spreads malaria. The conduct of these corporate vectors should therefore be studied and where necessary countered."
Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine News
Do Home Remedies for Hepatitis C Work?
February 28, 2011
Determining if home remedies for Hepatitis C actually work depends on which remedies are being used and what the treatment goal is.
Off The Cuff

In case you missed it.......

Vertex (Telaprevir) and Merck (Boceprevir) .

In its RESPOND-2 study, Merck defines a null responding patient — someone who is faring the worst under the current standard of care — as a patient whose viral load decreased less than 1 log after four weeks of standard treatment. That's a considerably different criteria from the US Food and Drug Administration, which defines null responders as 'less than a 2 log10 reduction in HCV RNA at week 12'.

Vertex used the FDA's definition of null responder in its study, REALIZE. Since both companies are trying to show that their protease inhibitor works better for patients for whom current options have failed, there is a remote chance that Merck's numbers might paint an artificially rosier picture."The original article from In Vito ; Notes from AASLD: Apples and Oranges and Null Responders
Most Medical Devices Recalled Because of Serious Risks Did Not Undergo Clinical Trials
Most medical devices recently recalled by the Food and Drug Administration because of very serious risks were initially approved through an expedited process or were exempt from regulatory review, ...

Amber Dance(Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2011)
"Heart bypass patients may soon be able to get new arteries without having to sacrifice vessels from other parts of their body, thanks to ready-made, off-the-shelf artificial blood vessels…Artificial vessels could also be useful for people on kidney dialysis machines…There is plenty of testing left to do, in terms of safety and effectiveness of the transplants."

What's the big deal about accepting gifts from drug companies, especially if they are small? Does the medical profession's code of conduct apply to medical students?
Response from Sarah Averill, MD Resident, St. Joseph's Hospital and SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York
When a new pain medication came out last year, the staff in the office where I was rotating discussed how many prescriptions they were writing for that drug and how much they liked the fruit smoothies and gelato that the drug company representatives were bringing. "I don't like gelato," one secretary quipped. "More for us," laughed the physician assistants.
It was weird for me to overhear their conversation, and it made me wonder, did a fruit smoothie actually motivate them to write those prescriptions?

Indeed, evidence suggests that gifts do influence prescribing habits. An article in JAMA, Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Is a Gift Ever Just a Gift?, illustrates the ways in which gifts appear to influence prescribing.[1] A recent radio broadcast, How to Win Doctors and Influence Prescriptions,[2] documented how the pharmaceutical industry promotes their products. Even under new rules, there is strong evidence that the pharmaceutical industry takes a sophisticated approach to "educating" physicians and their staff....

From The Big Guys At Wall street

Question: What does silver mining have to do with selling plane and hotel tickets online? What do either of these activities have in common with the treatment of hepatitis C? Answer: Companies behind these endeavors boast some of the hottest stocks on the market today. Over the past year, priceline's share price has doubled, while shares of InterMune and Silver Wheaton have both gained roughly 170%.
In Closing
Members of the Peer Education Project in Fife talking about the impact it has had on their life and dealing with Hepatitis C. The project is run by the Hepatitis C Resource centre -


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