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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Big Pharma Round-Up V (#Cannabis edition)

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Large Indoor Marijuana Commercial Growing Operation With Fans, Greenhouse, Equipment For Growing High Quality Herb. Cannabis Field Growing For Legal Recreational Use in Washington State

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

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!

Richert_Flyer_2017

Heroin in the hospice: opioids and end-of-life discussions in the 1980s

Which drugs should be available for people nearing the end-of-life and suffering pain? What are the limits of appropriate opioid use in modern medicine and within society? The story of heroin in palliative care during the 1980s remains largely untold, and it’s one thoroughly infused with politics, social values and cultural norms of the time.

I write about this in my forthcoming book and in the newest edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Here are the highlights.

1. In 1979, a celebrity doctor and syndicated columnist, Kenneth Walker, who wrote under the pseudonym W. Gifford-Jones, launched a nationwide campaign to legalize heroin (diacetylmorphine) for Canadian patients with terminal cancer.
2. This story showcases how the politics of pain, opioid addiction, and proper end-of-life therapies present enduring challenges in Canadian society, challenges which remain vital today
3. The early 1980s was an historical moment that saw a renewed discussion of opioids in end-of-life care, but also a time in which the prescribing of strong opioids such as oxycodone began to increase in the United States and Canada.
Please read my full article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Harnessing the Fierce Energy of Counterculture

Mental health knowledge and practice was highly contested in the 1960s and 70s. Struggles over homosexuality and radicalism, drug use and replicable drug trials, were part of a unique countercultural moment. These were wild times. Transactional analysis, developed by Eric Berne and Claude Steiner, was also part of this fiercely energetic moment.

In January 2017 Claude Steiner (pictured above), a clinical psychologist, passed away in California. According to his obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Steiner’s last words were, ‘Love is the answer’ and ‘I’m so lucky’. He had led a long and full life, and left behind an important legacy in psychology. Steiner was a founder of the Radical Therapist Collective, protested at American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association meetings, and edited a collection of Readings in Radical Psychiatry in 1975. Steiner also published a short children’s story called The Warm Fuzzy Tale in 1969 and Games Alcoholics Play in 1970. In 1974, he followed these books up with Scripts People Live, which was a bestseller in the United States. Most importantly, Steiner was influential in developing and popularising transactional analysis.

Steiner was born in France, relocated to Mexico, and then moved to California in 1952 to study physics. But in the aftermath of atomic explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and seeing how physics was associated with nuclear weapons, he rejected the field. The link to bombs and bomb-making put him off. Transferring to psychology and eventually obtaining his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1965, he became a close associate of Eric Berne. Set against the backdrop of a topsy-turvy mental health landscape, it is clear that their story had an important impact on psychology – during a unique moment in time – through the creation of transactional analysis.

The full article can be read here

Enjoy. And I’ve written similar work on the 1960s and mental health:

with Social History of Medicine…

https://academic.oup.com/shm/article-abstract/27/1/104/1707848/Therapy-Means-Political-Change-Not-Peanut-Butter?redirectedFrom=fulltext

and Hidden Persuaders…

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/hiddenpersuaders/blog/agents-of-pacification/

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Fracture

Playing soccer has been a hobby/passion/thing to do for the majority of my life.

There’ve been no significant injuries to speak of. Until now.

So let’s talk about ‘the knee’ and pain.

new brace and crutches

A reckless and ridiculous challenge during my last game resulted in a minor fracture of the knee – and some major sit-on-my-butt time.

(Probably best that I go no further in describing the tackle, lest my blood begins to boil once more.)

So, I’ve got a near future filled with crutches, an immobilizer brace, ice, anti-inflammatory drug. Luckily, the future doesn’t hold surgical interventions! For now.

A swollen left knee

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Treatment for dummies (like me):

The treatment depends on the type of fracture. If you have an open wound with the fracture (I didn’t!), you may need treatment to control bleeding or prevent infection. You may need surgery to:

1) Remove all small fragments of bone
2) Wire the kneecap fragments together, if possible
3) Remove the kneecap if it has shattered
4) Your provider may put your leg in a brace, splint, knee immobilizer, or cast to keep your knee from moving while it heals.
5) Your healthcare provider may prescribe pain medicine.

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Pain medication? Well yes. I have been using Extra Strength Advil. And the occasional beer. Sometimes I think I need something stronger. Other times, no.

The National news last night discussed the rise of the opioid crisis and located one of the hot zones in Ohio. The story by Vik Adophia was powerful, well-conceived and executed.

(It’s worth noting that the state of Ohio is suing 5 major drug companies for precipitating the opioid epidemic. The manufacturers of the prescription painkillers are: Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc unit, a unit of Endo International Plc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s Cephalon unit and Allergan Plc.)

Here are some of the top stories related to pain and opioids in the past few days.

Trump declares opioid abuse a national emergency in U.S.

Drug industry faces ‘tidal wave’ of litigation over opioid crisis

Canadian health advocates eye Portugal’s drug model to combat opioid crisis

Record number of drug-related deaths, as opioid crisis hits UK

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After the knee injury, I immediately thought of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

So what’s the future hold…

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I also thought of Kobe  Bryant’s injury history. And as you can see – the Mamba’s knees featured regularly.

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Stay tuned for periodic updates.

Cancer controversies and traditional medicines

Today I write for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post.

The story of cancer patient Ric Richardson, a Métis man from Green Lake, challenges us to think about patient autonomy, medical traditions and Saskatchewan health care.

Just as crucial, his story forces us to reconsider the use and acceptance of traditional Aboriginal knowledge — not only in medicine but in society more broadly.

The full story can be read here:

http://leaderpost.com/opinion/columnists/cancer-controversies-and-traditional-medicines