Drugs & Pharmaceuticals

The CDC just released "Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts," which seems to imply that opioid overdose deaths are falling for the first time. Some will doubtlessly take credit for "ending the opioid crisis." They shouldn't.
Scientists from two universities and the National Institutes of Health are developing a vaccine to defeat norovirus' defense mechanism: mutation. By targeting a "conserved region" -- the part of the viral capsid that does not mutate -- they have discovered an antibody that may cover most strains that circulate now, as well as those that might circulate in the future.
Predictably, Big Pharma is resisting the call to include pricing information to their advertisements. A lawsuit and the testimony of the expert make a good case ... for not running the ads at all.
Harvard's Chris Gerry, Ph.D. has previously written about Zolgensma, the world's most expensive drug, and some of the economics behinds its price. Is Zolgensma, the only treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, too expensive, a bargain, or somewhere in between? As Oscar Wilde once said, “the truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
In his second article of a series, Harvard's Dr. Chris Gerry expands the discussion of his first piece, "The Science of Zolgensma, The World’s Most Expensive Medicine" and considers whether Zolgensma merits a price tag of $2.125 million. A look at some of the ethics and complexities of drug pricing.
Recently, the FDA met to discuss CBD, the non-psychoactive component of marijuana. It made us realize that we'd never really considered the definition of a drug. Any process involving lawyers hinges on the meaning of words, so what actually does the FDA regulate?
For those of you who reflexively think that "big pharma" is an amorphous, evil entity that could be replaced by government research, think again. The industry exited antibiotic research in the 1990s (largely because FDA statisticians decided that impossibly large clinical trials were required for new antibiotic approval). Now, the antibiotic marketplace is broken. ACSH advisor Dr. David Shlaes discusses how to lure companies back into the field.
It's no secret that people have bad reactions to some prescription drugs. But not all drugs are equal. Here's a look at four drugs that are rather unpopular.
It's time to take a look at the newest gold rush. The one not related to sustainable energy, but to the cannabinoids: THC and CBD.
WebMD, the medically and scientifically dubious website, regularly puts out some pretty ridiculous advice, hence the moniker "WebDUMB." Those folks are back at it, this time with an absurd article about "non-drug" sleep aids -- all of which just happen to be drugs. Perhaps, whoever wrote this thing took a real sleep aid and slept through chemistry class.
Uh oh, we're in trouble. The "Mexican Blood Flu" is upon us. We've never heard of it, but it sure sounds nasty. Rumors of a superbug virus that kills 70% of the seniors over 55 who become infected are flying around the internet via emails and a Facebook Page, which is hosted a group called Wake Up America and Stand United. Is this something you should worry about? Better read this.
Since the focus of pharmaceutical research has shifted from oral, small molecule medications (pills) to biologics (injectables derived from living sources) the price of new drugs has soared. Biologicals are more difficult to manufacture and purify than traditional medications. Biosimilars are analogous to (but different generic versions of traditional drugs). But the difference creates a unique set of issues. ACSH friend Dr. Robert Popovian and colleagues recently wrote about some of the complexities of biosimilars.