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:


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:



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…

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.”’


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

“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.”


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

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.”


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

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


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


Here at Strathclyde, CMAC welcomes Pfizer as newest partner…

“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.”


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


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



Big Pharma Round-Up

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

Antibiotics in Farm Animals Drop:

Teva Pharmaceuticals is being reshaped:

Rebooting the FDA:

On AstraZeneca:–3031953.html


Top 5 Stories of 2017:

FDA clears the Apple watch:

The FDA is going to go after price gouging:

And supplement makers:

Bipartisanship on Drug Prices:


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


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


US Political History: More than Trump

2018 HOTCUS Winter Symposium

The State of the State: What is American Political History Now?

9.30-11.15: Session 1

New Ways of Re-envisioning African American Political History through the Archives

‘Sex, Lies and Photography: An Alternative Civil Rights Archive’, Althea Legal-Miller, Canterbury Christ Church University

‘Reframing Black Participation in Southern Courts’, Melissa Milewski, University of Sussex

‘Writing in Opposition: Congressional Correspondence of White Backlash, 1964-1968’, Neal Allen, Wichita State University

‘“The Mau Maus are Coming!” World Affairs and White Segregationist Media in the 1950s and 1960s’, Scott Weightman, University of Leicester

Conservatives and the State in Postwar America

‘Restlessness Under Reaganism: Conservative Visions of the State and the Origins of the Culture Wars’, Karen Heath, University of Oxford

‘Competing Visions: Conservatives and Reagan and Nixon’s Vision of the State’, Tom Packer, University of Durham

‘A New Policy History of the Nixon Presidency’, Mitchell Robertson, University of Oxford

‘Intervention Out of Sight: The Reagan Administration and the US Automobile Industry’, Daniel Rowe, University of Oxford

Reinterpreting International and Diplomatic History

‘Where Transnational and Diplomatic History Meet: Cultural and Scholarly Exchanges and US-China Relations Below the Nixon Summit’, Pete Millwood, University of Oxford

‘The Israeli-American Special Relationship: Beyond Political and Diplomatic History’, David Tal, University of Sussex

‘A Field That Never Was: Intelligence and the History of US Foreign Relations’, Calder Walton, Harvard University

‘Patrolling the Beat: Police Actions at Home and Abroad, 1919-1934’, Benjamin Welton, Boston University

11.15-11.30: Break

11.30-12.30: Plenary

‘“As God Rules the Universe: Reflections on the People and the State in Early America”’, Professor Ira Katznelson, Columbia University and University of Cambridge

12.30-1.30: Lunch

1.30-3.00: Session 2

Race, Representation, and the Politics of Respectability: The Problematic Memorialisation of African American Female Activists

‘The Politics of Respectability and Gender: “Passing” in Early African American Photography’, Emily Brady, University of Nottingham

‘The Radical Repercussions of Respectability: The Activism of Dr Dorothy Height’, Lauren Eglen, University of Nottingham

‘“Heroic Souls”: The Memory of Tubman, Truth and Black Female Abolitionists’, Charlotte James, University of Nottingham

Social Movements Embracing the State, or Vice Versa?

‘The Road to Self-Determination: Aboriginal Policy in the United States and Australia, 1960-1993’, Dean Kotlowski, Salisbury University

‘The Right Treatment: Alternative Medicines, Anti-Science and the Ascension of Conservatism’, Lucas Richert, University of Strathclyde

‘How to Build a Man Bomb: Matriachalism and the Men’s Rights Movement’, Keira Williams, Queen’s University Belfast

Beyond the Beltway? Executive and Legislative Politics

‘“The Last Election Means the Buck Stops Here”: Gerald Ford, the House Democrats and the Limits of Congressional Government, 1974-1977’, Patrick Andelic, Northumbria University

‘A White Backlash? Rumford, Riots and the Rise of Reagan’, Dominic Barker, University of Oxford

‘Reading Ronald Reagan in the Age of Donald Trump’, Daniel Geary, Trinity College Dublin

3.00-4.30: Session 3

States and Anti-Statism in an Era of State Building

‘Anti-Intellectualism, Anti-Statism and the Study of American Politics: Rethinking the “Demise” of American Political History’, Louisa Hotson, University of Oxford

‘“Democracy is Sweeping Over the World”: A Transnational American Twenties’ Andreas Meyris, George Washington University

‘All Policing is Political: The Municipal and National Dimensions of the Politicization of Security in New York City, 1918-1945’, Yann Philippe, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne

‘Rethinking the New Deal in an Age of Trump and Brexit’, Jason Scott Smith, University of New Mexico

Connecting Ideas, Culture, and Ideologies

‘Middle Class as a Historical Category of Legitimation in the American State’, Matteo Battistini, University of Bologna

‘Inverted Totalitarianism and Political Protest in the 1960s and 1970s’, Sophie Joscelyne, University of Sussex

‘Diplomats in Chief: Culture, Politics and the Presidency’, Thomas Tunstall Allcock, University of Manchester

4.30-5.00: Break

5.00-6.00: Roundtable: What is American Political History Now?

Professor Jonathan Bell, UCL Institute of the Americas

Dr Kate Dossett, University of Leeds

Professor Ken Osgood, Colorado School of Mines

6.00: Close


As my advisor recently put it, ‘there are many more important things in the world than Trump’s rants!’

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.


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.


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,, 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!



Frightening Pharma

My book is on sale for a spooky 30% off right now. This is the absolute best time to get this award-winning book on the history of the scary pharmaceutical industry! Click on the link for your promo code and form!


Blood, Sweat, and Tears


It was probably one of the most bizarre medical cases a team of Italian doctors had ever seen.

A 21-year-old woman was admitted to hospital with a condition that caused her to sweat blood from her face and from the palms of her hands. This despite any sign of skin lesions.

The case was highlighted Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Doctors say the patient had a three-year history of bleeding. There was no obvious trigger, and the spontaneous bleeding could happen while she slept and during physical activity. More intense bleeding happened when the patient was under stress, with episodes lasting anywhere between one and five minutes.


Canadian medical historian Jacalyn Duffin says at first she was skeptical whether people could sweat blood. She thought the Italian doctors were being duped. But after an exhaustive review of historical literature and more recent reports on cases of hematohidrosis, or sweating blood, she’s a believer.

“After all the research that I’ve done, I am convinced of the plausibility and the possibility that it exists,” she said. Duffin, who is also a hematologist, wrote a commentary that accompanies the journal article.

She acknowledges that hematohidrosis syndrome is incredibly rare. The medical history has been “muddled” with references in religious literature to the crucifixion of Christ, she says and the two are very difficult to separate.

“But case reports start appearing in the 16th century, and quite distinct from anything to do with the crucifixion, or Christianity”, she says. “There are mentions of the phenomenon as far back as Aristotle … prior to the time of Jesus,” she told CBC News from her home in Kingston, Ont.

Read the full article here.

Yoga, 2018

According to Becky, over at The Art of Healthy Living, there are even more yoga trends than I first thought. Below she talks about what’s going to be hot in the yoga world during 2018.


Novelty Yoga

Seriously I’m not even too sure what’s left, because it certainly feels as though everything has been given a yogic twist this year. There’s been…

Goat Yoga

You’ve heard of dog yoga (the experts like to call it ‘Doga’)…well the next level up is goat yoga (does that mean it’s called ‘Goga’?). Basically it’s a load of people doing yoga outside in the presence of some goats. Riiiiiight….and the benefit is what exactly? Well, the organisers say that the goats help create more feel good hormones, lower anxiety, provide comfort and reduce loneliness. OK so let’s get this straight, you’re doing downward dog and a goat jumps onto your back and that is….relaxing?..pleasant?..painful?…The goats are certainly having a lot of fun jumping around in a human playpark, but we’re not entirely convinced that the risk of being pooped on by a goat is all that worth it!

Beer Yoga

Really? Yes…really! Originating in Germany, the land of beer…but perhaps not yoga, the idea is that by swigging from a bottle of beer whilst practicing yoga it helps to encourage participants to relax more in an environment they feel more familiar and at home with i.e. the pub. We think this could really take off, especially in terms of getting more men out there trying yoga. What next…? Gin Yoga? Jäger Yoga? Proseccoga?

Couple Yoga

Grab your partner and get up close and personal with them whilst flowing through some yoga positions. Take a fitness friend by all means, but if you don’t know them well you’re certainly going to after one of these sessions! We think yoga is verging on the tantric anyway, so we see this getting big in 2018 among the trendy fit couple crowd. Apparently couple yoga improves levels of communication, encourages trust and is the ultimate way to add some sparkle back into a relationship.

Floating Yoga

The ultimate in core stability, float yoga is all about perfecting those tricky yoga positions whilst balancing on what is effectively a surfboard. Can be done on or off the water, depending on how good you are and whether you mind getting wet, but if you want next level yoga then this is deffo it. We think this will become a huge thing in 2018, especially as all the trendy fitsters are trying it out in LA…it’s only a matter of time!

And the list could seriously go on and on, there’s…Disco Yoga, Rooftop Yoga, Chromayoga (colour therapy yoga), Yoga on Ice (Snow-ga), HIIT Yoga, but we reckon it’s all about the animals. Hey if you can have Goat Yoga surely there’s a need for…yoga with frogs (Froga) or how about yoga with alpacas (Alpacoga), deffo gonna be a ‘thing’ 😉


Becky also discusses other fitness trends coming your way in 2018:

Slacklining (which sounds like a chapter in the hangman’s ‘guide to successful neck-breaking’)

Boxing Mashups (like an afternoon of recycling old cardboard in the garage?)

Bounce Off (a kid’s game, right?)

Napping (uh, ok)

Water Workouts (as in swimming…)



Thanks for reading. For more of my own writing on yoga, see here

Drug Tweets

A great day for historians of drugs and alcohol! Told in tweets.

Check it out.