The Right to Try

“Right to Try” (Again): A history of the experimental therapy movement

 

In recent weeks and months, momentum has increased on Capitol Hill to craft “right to try” laws that would profoundly change the medical landscape. The national legislation will allow terminally ill patients more access to experimental therapies (drugs, biologics, devices) that have completed Phase 1 testing. Powerful pharmaceutical and biotech concerns have been largely quiet. The Trump administration, for its part, has underlined the issue, not only in the State of the Union Address but in VP Mike Pence’s active support.

Critics in academia and medical circles argue that the proposed “right to try” legislation would undermine public health and circumvent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight, while supporters argue that severely ill patients ought to have more freedoms to take experimental pharmaceutical products. Current reportage of the movement has rightfully referenced the HIV epidemic, the film Dallas Buyers Club (2013), and the drive for improved access to unapproved drugs in the 1980s. However, these are not the only ways to view contemporary deliberations about the nation’s drug regulatory architecture.

The right to try movement – and any legislation – embody long-standing struggles about the most appropriate treatment for public and individual health. These struggles have pitted mainstream medical practitioners against interlopers, and regulators against drug companies.  Compassionate language about desperate patients with few options has run alongside intense legal wrangling, consumer activism, and prolonged discussions about the validity of medico-scientific data.

THE FULL POST CAN BE FOUND HERE

 

And a song called ‘Try Again’!

 

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Supple bodies, healthy minds: yoga, psychedelics and American mental health

Supple bodies, healthy minds: yoga, psychedelics and American mental health
Abstract.
Much discussion about mental health has revolved around treatment models. As interdisciplinary scholarship has shown, mental health knowledge, far from being a neutral product detached from the society that generated it, was shaped by politics, economics and culture. By drawing on case studies of yoga, religion and fitness, this article will examine the ways in which mental health practices—sometimes scientific, sometimes spiritual—have been conceived, debated and applied by researchers and the public. More specifically, it will interrogate the relationship between yoga, psychedelics, South Asian and Eastern religion (as understood and practiced in the USA) and mental health.

The full article can be read here.

 

Radical Health

Bill Booth kindly invited me on to his podcast to discuss health and medicine. Bill is one of the founders of Radical Americas, an academic network for scholars and activists with interests in radicalism in the Western Hemisphere.

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New Editors at Social History of Alcohol and Drugs

The ADHS is pleased to announce that the editorship of its journal, *The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs*, will be taken over by Prof. Nancy D. Campbell (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Prof. David Herzberg (Buffalo) and Dr. Lucas Richert (Strathclyde). The society would also like to express its gratitude for the work that outgoing editor, […]

via New editors for SHAD — Alcohol and Drugs History Society

ADHS 2019

The ADHS is excited to announce that its next bi-annual conference will be held between 12 and 15 June 2019, at the David F. Musto Center for Drug Policy Studies, Shanghai University, China. The conference will be organised by Prof. Jim Mills, of the University of Strathclyde and Prof. Yong-an Zhang of Shanghai University, who […]

via ADHS conference at Shanghai, 12-15 June 2019 — Alcohol and Drugs History Society

CFP. Temperance and Teetotalism.

RADICAL TEMPERANCE: SOCIAL CHANGE AND DRINK, FROM TEETOTALISM TO DRY JANUARY UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE, PRESTON, 28-29 JUNE 2018 FEATURING KEYNOTE ADDRESSES BY: Professor Scott Martin, Bowling Green University, Ohio Professor Betsy Thom, Middlesex University This conference seeks to explore the radical aspects of the avoidance of alcohol. We are looking for contributions […]

via From teetotalism to dry January (CFP) — Alcohol and Drugs History Society

 

Big Pharma Round-Up III

A lot happened in the world of pharmaceuticals this year. The opioid crisis worsened. The FDA got a new chief. There were big failures and prices reemerged as a major issue. Industry needed to contend with the new Trump administration and gene therapy ‘came of age.’

By the way, here is one year in review article that showcases some of these ideas:

https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i48/year-in-pharma-2017.html

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The following article is a short version of BP Round-up. Why? Happy New Year and Hogmanay!

Let’s start with cannabis:

 

Money-making? Here are some tips and stories:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/pharmaceuticals/pharma-cos-revenues-seen-clipping-at-9-over-next-3-yrs/articleshow/62281680.cms

https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2017/12/29/pharma-trends-2018/

http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/stocks/look-at-sun-pharma-says-prakash-diwan-2469797.html

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Also, I’ll be speaking in Glasgow about Big Pharma and other topics on January 22nd.

Image result for lucas richert

Big Pharma Round-Up II

Here is a snapshot of the past week in Big Pharma news.  This is coming at you a little early because of the Christmas slowdown. Happy holidays.

To kick off:

The drug industry spent big!

Here’s another one on the lobbying money spent over the past months and years…

https://www.statnews.com/2017/12/19/pharma-lobbying-spending/

A lot of money was splashed out. ‘“Does that surprise you?” said Billy Tauzin, the former PhRMA CEO who ran the organization a decade ago as Obamacare loomed. Whenever Washington seems interested in limiting drug prices, he said, “PhRMA has always responded by increasing its resources.”’

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In Canada, there’s efforts to reduce “sticker shock” when purchasing drugs.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/drug-cost-surprises-1.4454803

“A Toronto family doctor thinks she has a prescription for the nasty surprise many patients experience when they go to the pharmacy and learn just how much their medications will cost.”

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What about other countries besides the US? Say, Poland. It spends a lot on pharmaceuticals – but on the right drugs?

http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/18/poland-spends-billions-on-drugs-but-are-they-the-right-ones-

Then, more on opioids. Ravaged by Opioids!

Away from the young, and to the old: could drugs slow ageing?

“Some pharmaceutical companies are exploring whether [certain] genetic traits could be used to create anti-ageing drugs.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42273362

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And in BC, Canada: illicit placenta and stem cell therapies were seized!!!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/illicit-placenta-and-stem-cell-therapies-seized-from-b-c-beauty-shop-1.4459518

‘The drugs confiscated from Before & After Beauty Lab on Hazelbridge Way “may pose serious risks to health,” according to a Health Canada press release.’

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There was a also mysterious double murder in the world of Big Pharma!

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Here at Strathclyde, CMAC welcomes Pfizer as newest partner…

https://www.strath.ac.uk/whystrathclyde/news/cmacwelcomespfizerasnewestpartner/

“CMAC (Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation), a pre-competitive consortium led by the University of Strathclyde to accelerate progress in pharmaceutical manufacturing, announces that Pfizer Inc has joined as a strategic member, alongside GSK, AZ, Novartis, Bayer, Takeda, Lilly and Roche.”

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Lastly, St Thomas University (Canada) is hiring a cannabis/marijuana scholar. As the cannabis industry consolidates and the medicine is refined further, the job is a useful chance to contribute to the discussion. And it looks spectacular.

2017-12-15 Final REVISED Cannabis HRC advertisement

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Here is a flyer for my book on Big Pharma! Cheap, cheap, cheap.

Richert_Flyer_2017

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Big Pharma Round-Up

A round up of the recent Big Pharma and FDA stories.

Antibiotics in Farm Animals Drop:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/12/antibiotics-farm-animal/547904/

Teva Pharmaceuticals is being reshaped:

Rebooting the FDA:

https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/12/13/fda-approval-alternatives-000593

On AstraZeneca:

https://www.digitallook.com/news/broker-recommendations/astrazenecas-drug-pipeline-call-reinforces-barclays-top-pick-in-sector–3031953.html

 

Top 5 Stories of 2017:

https://investingnews.com/daily/life-science-investing/pharmaceutical-investing/5-top-pharmaceutical-stories-2017/

FDA clears the Apple watch:

The FDA is going to go after price gouging:

And supplement makers:

Bipartisanship on Drug Prices:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-14/bipartisan-approach-on-drug-prices-emerging-after-health-fights

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/890002

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I’ve more than likely missed some angles and stories. Drop me a line if you have suggestions.

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Here’s a flyer for 30% off my Big Pharma book!

Richert_Flyer_2017

To publish, or not to publish, that is the question!

No, not Hamlet. This is the question Joseph Stromberg asked himself while writing for Slate.

In a fabulous piece on Lambert Academic Publishing, he decided (as a laugh) to publish his Master’s dissertation.

The joy of seeing your work in print.

He wasn’t moving on in academia. He didn’t care. Rather, this was a good way to write an article about taking “a trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.” It’s a great piece, and well worth a read.

Now, I’ve been asked by Lambert Academic Publishing to move ahead and turn an article of mine into a full-on book.

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Last month I published a short piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on heroin and end-of-life discussions in the 1980s. I’m proud of it.

Now Lambert wants a piece of the action. The message was polite enough.

A few things struck me, though.

One, I’m not a medical doctor. But I do have a PhD. Perhaps try the proper salutation – namely, Dr Richert.

Second, they don’t want to see the ‘potential’ wasted. Not sure what that means? It sounds nice, I must admit. Lambert’s looking out for me.

Third, I’m advised to ‘take a moment’ to consider before I blindly say no. My half-thought-out retort to this: sometimes even a blind man can see. So there.

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I’m not even close to the first (or 10th or 100,000th) person to raise the issue of predatory publishing and book mills.

But now I’ve got my own story, apart from the mountain of spam emails I get every week.

For more in-depth info, here’s a short excerpt from the Stromberg piece I mentioned above:

‘…I did a bit more research into LAP Lambert and found that it’s really just the tip of the book-mill iceberg. Both it and AV Akademikerverlag GmbH & Co. KG are part of an enormous German publishing group called VDM that publishes 78 imprints and 27 subsidiary houses in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Russian, and plans to soon open up shop in Turkey and China. It has satellite offices in Latvia and Uruguay, but the majority of its English- and French-speaking staff are based in the tax haven of Mauritius, off the coast of Madagascar. Founded in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2002 by a man named Dr. Wolfgang Philipp Müller, the company is notorious for using on-demand printing technology to package all sorts of strange content in book form and selling it online. The company declines to release financial data but claims to publish 50,000 books every month, making it, by its own accounting, one of the largest book publishers in the world.

‘How can it possibly churn out this many titles? Although a huge number are academic texts, hundreds of thousands result from an even stranger process: They’re built entirely from text copied from Wikipedia articles. On VDM’s own online bookstore, Morebooks.de, the listings for books like Tidal Power, Period (number), and Swimming Pool Sanitation (published by VDM’s Alphascript and Betascript imprints) directly acknowledge this fact. Thousands are listed for sale on Amazon, all with the same cover design (albeit with different stock photos swapped in) and the same three names (Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, and John McBrewster) listed as the “authors.” Some go for as much as $100. Though the practice is technically legal—most Wikipedia content is published under licenses that allow it to be reproduced—critics say that it’s unethical and deceitful for the company to profit from content freely available on the Web.’

Watch out, folks!

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