Tag: drugs

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: ‘5 Star’ by Michael Henry

 

In a good mystery, whatever the medium, the audience should not be able to tell very early on what really happened. It should be a journey of discovery for the audience as it is for the characters of the mystery. I was recently at a play which was a form of Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction wherein at the end, it turns out that Doctor John Watson is the real hero, but prefers to keep a low profile behind Holmes. It was hardly the first time I have encountered such a twist in Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction, but it was fairly well done. In this case, the writer was a little too cute in winking at the audience as he puts dialog into Holmes’ mouth about how writers can never be trusted.

I had been summoned to report for jury duty for yesterday. For those who have never been through the process, bringing a good book is always in order. Usually there is quite a bit of waiting time before selection. What is more appropriate than a mystery/legal thriller to read while awaiting empaneling or dismissal? I brought along Michael Henry’s latest Willie Mitchell Banks novel, 5 Star. To quote from a description of the book from the author’s Website:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is the Opioid Crisis Mainly a Story of ‘Late Capitalism’ or Something More Complicated?

 

For capitalism’s critics, the opioid crisis is a powerful witness for the prosecution. They charge that inequality, stagnant wages, immobility, job loss — the four horsemen of the neoliberalism endgame — have generated a massive surge in “deaths of despair,” especially from overdoses of opioid drugs. Case closed.

But a new NBER working paper “Origins of the Opioid Crisis and Its Enduring Impacts” suggests a different theory of the case, one that focuses on a supply rather than demand explanation.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Drug Pricing Made Easy

 

President Trump was both lucky and smart this week in his approach to the thorny issue prescription drug pricing. Lucky, because a district court threw out on First Amendment grounds his executive order that drug companies supply list prices for all the drugs that they produce. Smart, because at the eleventh hour he decided against issuing an executive order that would have required pharmaceutical companies to offer a system of “most-favored-nation” pricing, which would cap the prices that drug companies could charge in the United States to the lowest price charged for that drug in any country outside the United States. Eliminating poor price signals is a modest benefit. But the implementation of the executive order would have slashed revenues, putting pharmaceutical companies at serious financial risk and perhaps ruin.

The basic flaw behind both proposals is that they assume that there is a unique “price” at which pharmaceutical drugs sell. That assumption often works in competitive markets in which the costs of development are low relative to the marginal (i.e. additional) cost of production for each unit. But so-called marginal cost pricing does not work for new pharmaceutical drugs whose development costs are already high and getting ever higher. Companies are constantly researching and trying to develop new drugs with strong therapeutic properties and tolerable side effects. They also face huge costs in shepherding promising drugs through three stages of clinical trials, each one more complicated than the last. Many promising new drugs wash out in these clinical trials, which means that a pharmaceutical company can remain solvent only if its blockbuster drugs yield enough revenue to offset the costs of its duds. And finally, companies incur huge financing costs as they bring drugs to market. Development and clinical trials take years to complete, and drug companies have to find ways to finance expenditures made in year one with revenues that will only start, typically, some eight to 10 years later.

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No need for my comments, only yours: https://nypost.com/2019/07/12/teen-violin-prodigy-is-latest-casualty-of-calvin-klein-drug-craze/ More

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Not one of which is any kind of surprise. Courtesy of the KOMO Web Site. Some Seattle Restaurants Struggle with $15 Minimum Wage After Five Years. More

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So I’m in this long-term, low-grade struggle to understand why/when conservatives began to view libertarianism with such suspicion and disdain, and I just came across the below from Ricochet’s favorite libertarian interloper. It sounds very conservative (to me), but it also sounds very libertarian. He’s arguing against throwing money (private money, in this case, but could […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Is My Mind on Drugs

 

I’ve debated writing this post for a long time—not because I’m ashamed of being on an anxiety medication, but because I was concerned that it might change people’s perception of me. But for reasons I won’t go into now, I’ve decided to tell the story. Some of you may say it’s “too much information”; others of you will say I’m weak for taking the drug. Since it changed my entire life and my relationships, I think it’s been worth it.

I’m not talking about the statin I’m taking — high-cholesterol runs in the family — but the generic Lexapro. Here is a description of the drug and how it helps with general anxiety disorder and depression:

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Donald J. Trump has been president for two years. He’s at the border and is asking for a wall, oh wait, no – now a steel fence, and compromise and dialogue with the Democratic Party. He was asking for a little over five billion to shore up the Southern border. He said “I’ll take less […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Former CIA Operative Unloads on Brennan and Politicized IC

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had former CIA operative and leader of CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center’s WMD unit, author of the must-read and highly relevant 2009 book Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and outspoken critic of the politicized leadership in America’s intelligence and national security apparatus, Charles Sam Faddis on to discuss among other things:

  • Why Faddis supports revoking John Brennan’s security clearance — and the bureaucratization and politicization of the leadership of the intelligence community versus the rank-and-file analysts and operatives in the field
  • Whether politics dominates over merit in the ranks of intelligence and the national security apparatus more broadly
  • What members of the national security establishment really mean when they talk about “protecting the institutions
  • Why President Trump has been deemed a threat to the power of the political leaders within the national security establishment in a qualitatively different way than any of his predecessors — and that’s a positive thing
  • What Faddis would do to reform intelligence
  • The poor state of America’s counterintelligence capabilities
  • The lessons of Iraq regarding U.S. intervention and the national interest
  • Whether America has the capability to use intelligence to engage in ideological warfare and bring down Iran’s Khomeinist regime
  • How China’s liquidation of our spy network reflects the problems plaguing America’s intelligence apparatus
  • The long-term dire ramifications of China’s OPM hack
  • The implications of China’s attempt to infiltrate Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office
  • The threat to the U.S. homeland of a collapsing Venezuela and Mexico, combined with drug cartels, organized crime groups and Hezbollah in our hemisphere
  • Faddis’ optimistic assessment of the Trump administration’s North Korea policy
  • Why China poses the greatest long-term threat to America of all, and our willful blindness towards it

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found, and download the episode directly here.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Let’s Blow It Up

 

In a recent comment, Ricochet member @DonG wrote, “The drug industry in the US is a giant racket enabled by a corrupted regulatory system.” After over 20 years of working in medicine, and doing occasional part-time work for pharmaceutical companies in the cardiovascular field, I find that statement to be precise and accurate. Fascism is an explosive word, almost like Nazi. But this is, precisely, fascism. It’s not socialism. Our government does not want to own the means of production; it just wants to control it. Regulate the heck out of it, get private industry to do what you want, then tax the crap out of it to fund a welfare state huge enough to buy sufficient votes to get you re-elected. It’s simple, really. It’s too bad that the term “fascism” is widely viewed as a pejorative because it’s a perfect description of much of our government.

To get back to Don’s point regarding the pharmaceutical industry: This is what excessive regulation creates. You destroy everybody, except for the few corporations enormous or well-connected (usually the same thing) enough that they can withstand the regulatory pressure with top-flight, very expensive legal departments. Then you control and profit from those few. You can’t control 1,000 drug companies, but you can control six of them; maybe eight. Note that this type of evolutionary pressure selects out those who are good at government, not those who are good at creating new drugs. As is true in every industry.

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Recently I listened to the Remnant podcast hosted by Jonah Goldberg with Charles C. W. Cooke as the guest. They discussed several very interesting issues, including Brexit and the debates within the conservative community regarding support for Donald Trump. But they also discussed whether drugs should be legalized. Jonah Goldberg is very skeptical of the […]

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Last week I watched the Tom Cruise movie American Made, which is an admittedly fabriciated account of the life of smuggler/pilot Barry Seal, who allegedly graduated from TWA to arms running for the CIA to drug smuggling for the Colombians, but when you check the wikipedia page, nearly all of it seems to have been […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Checkpoints and No-Go Zones

 

Amidst the daily drama of #NeuterTrump collusion with the unconstitutional administrative state and their allies of convenience, the Democrats — and with the latest instance of President Trump actually trying to oppose the Russian regime with which he is willfully falsely accused of colluding — soldiers of the National Guard prepare to respond once again to a threat at our southern border. But what is the nature of that threat? Is it just a group of women and children, even if organized by an open-borders socialist group? Two vignettes may help clarify the real stakes.

A Tale of Three Check Points

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Well for me this was a first. This morning I took the wife for her initial visit to a neurosurgeon, his hair was just beginning to gray. He has a good reputation, is part of the Vanderbilt system, and his medical questions and the way he conducted the exam I appreciated. His plans for follow-up and […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Addiction, Homelessness, and Healthcare

 

I’m really tired today after coming off of working three days in a row. That may not seem like a lot to the regular work-a-day folks, but when you’re in healthcare, the hours are often long and arduous. I’ve worked about 40 hours in the past three days, and I work in a busy Emergency Department in Portland, OR. Every day that I worked, the ED was on divert — meaning ambulances were directed to not come to us because we were so busy.

When I left work last night, there were 30 patients in the waiting room. Many had been waiting three to five hours just to be put in a room; the wait time to see a physician after being roomed was even longer. Staff scurried about looking haggard, pulled in a million directions. At one point I counted 17 patients in the department that had been admitted to inpatient services waiting for a bed, but since the hospital was full they continued to board in the ED. Multiple patients were there with mental health crises that had landed them with psych holds.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Give Me Misery or Give Me Death?

 

Doctors retire. That’s the context of my recent experiment in “detoxing” from two prescriptions, both of which strike me (but not yet the FDA) as good candidates for over-the-counter (OTC) sale. (Most striking detox effect so far: a massive earache.) One is Celecoxib, an anti-arthritis drug. The other is Montelukast, an anti-asthma and anti-allergy drug. What’s scary about selling both these drugs OTC is allegedly death.

Celecoxib is a Cox-2 inhibitor, and those drugs as a class still haven’t completely aired out the stink of death brought on by Vioxx. Montelukast maybe sometimes cause psychiatric side-effects, according to postmarketing reports, raising the specter of suicide (though postmarketing reports could report anything as a side-effect, short of “pet turtle died”). But the most frightening thing about Montelukast appears to be that it’s an effective asthma control medicine, and the FDA is apparently nervous about making effective asthma control medicines available to consumers directly.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Burning Man 2017 in Review

 

With 70,000 hippies streaming past my back window, I believe we can safely say that Exodus is underway. And with Exodus underway, we may safely conclude that the 32nd Burning Man has ended. Thus, for those who are interested in such things, I thought I might provide an overview of this year’s version of the World’s Most Dangerous Art Festival from the perspective of someone who has been going since 1995.

I’m unsure of exactly how many times I’ve been to Burning Man. Somewhere between 19 and 21. I skipped the year my daughter was born, and possibly one other for work reasons back in the 1990s. It’s hard to remember exactly. Nevertheless, I was there for the formative (and highly unsafe) HELCO year of 1996; the “bad year” of death and mayhem which led to co-founder John Law renouncing the event, leaving forever, and the introduction of the entire slew of laws which govern the festival to this day.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Dreamland – A Review

 

Billed as “the true tale of America’s Opiate epidemic,” Sam Quinones’s Dreamland is a pretty quick read considering it’s about 350 pages. The blurbs on the back promise “expert storytelling,” and I suppose it is. The storytelling is good enough to make me wonder how heavily Quinones selected for stuff that would make a good story, while other stuff, equally true and relevant, but less dramatic, got discarded along the way. Quinones focuses on the marketing of OxyContin as a safe prescription drug, its subsequent abuse, the spread of a new means of dealing black tar heroin, and the connection between these, telling the tale of several colorful characters along the way.

To Quinones, the spread of opiate use to white America – not just to impoverished “rust belt” regions, but also to the offspring of the wealthy, managerial class – is fraught with moral meaning, though perhaps contradictory moral meaning. Heroin tempts us when we’re too wealthy, when we’re too poor, because we feel entitled to pain relief, because we don’t feel entitled to stop when it hurts but instead succumb to pressure to tough it out by any means necessary; it tempts us when we’re underwhelmed by life, it tempts us when we’re overwhelmed… Opiates are both the new party drug and the new drug of social isolation… Addiction is simultaneously a moral indictment of American consumerist excess during the pre-crash boom, a testament to post-crash misery, and an illness which deserves less moral stigma than it gets. Forgive me for suspecting at times that, to Quinones, opiates serve mostly as a random moral generator.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Friday. After it appears, I post it Sunday on Ricochet. More

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With all the insanity of 2016, marijuana legalization has gone more or less unnoticed in this current election season, except occasionally in association with Gary Johnson. I suppose there are a few reasons for this. There are plenty of other things going on in the news cycle to drown it out. It’s not technically a national […]

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