Pharmacology

Most savvy citizens and policy makers are concerned about the departure of the world's best and brightest researchers from antibiotic discovery - regulations are up and everyone wants generic prices from the moment products are approved - but a paper in BMJ takes the contrarian approach and argues new antibiotics probably wouldn't help with antibiotic resistance anyway.

Associate Editor and Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Peter Doshi, like many academics, comments academically because the real world is a simple black box - he believes authorities should not be approving drugs unless they are certain they can tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance.
The first phase 1 trial of an Ebola vaccine based on the current (2014) strain have shown it to be safe and provoke an immune response.  The big question, whether it can protect against the Ebola virus, remain unanswered for now.

A team of researchers led by Professor Fengcai Zhu, from the Jiangsu provincial center for disease prevention and control in China, tested the safety and immunogenicity of a novel Ebola vaccine, based on the 2014 Zaire Guinea Ebola strain, and delivered by a virus-like structure (known as a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vaccine). The experimental vaccine was developed by Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in Beijing, China, and Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology in Tianjin, China.


By Benjamin Plackett, Inside Science

There is an ongoing competition of bureaucratic one-upmanship between the U.S. government and renegade pharmacists. The government is playing defense. When they ban a variation of a drug, pharmacists then quickly create a newly formulated and therefore legal variation.

Insulin has been in use since 1923 so why isn't it generic?

It is a corporate conspiracy, say government-funded academics. It is constantly being improved because so many people rely on it, which leads to a new patent, say companies.
In the world of technology, tools can be fast, cheap or easy to use - but you only get to pick two of those three.

Everyone knows that, it is common across all product development, yet a surprising number of people think medicine is somehow exempt - they want new, better drugs fast, they want them to be safe, and they want them to cost $4.

We want to keep smart people developing, not milking old technology cows, so we have a patent on drugs that eventually expires. Then the drugs can be made by someone else. Since they did no research, and incur no clinical trial expenses, these generic companies will produce them much cheaper and the high-end market can move on to solving new problems.

High prices for cancer drugs are affecting patient care in the U.S. but there are no magic buttons to push to make that go away. Development takes longer than ever and is under more government rules than ever, while the patent window remains small and lawsuit judgments if things go wrong are unlimited.

Writing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a group of oncologists say they have answers. Unfortunately, their simplistic take on economics would mean pharmaceutical development will become the modern generation's version of the steel industry and leave the country and never come back. 

New Hepatitis C drugs are terrific - but like every new drug they cost a lot of money to develop and took a lot of time to navigate the regulatory system and as a result they are not cheap. Most cost-benefit analyses have found that these new treatments save a lot more than treatment without them would cost, but with the Affordable Care Act already straining under gigantic expenses that politicians didn't consider when approving it, it may be more economical to force people to do without the best treatment in the short term and incur more costs later, after the economy has time to inflate away the ballooning costs of today.
Adverse Drug Reactions are the biggest safety concern in the health field and they refer to harmful and unintended effects of drugs administered for the prevention and treatment of illness, both at normal dosages and in cases of incorrect usage or errors in medication. They are the fourth highest cause of death for patients in U.S. hospitals and  up to 15 percent of hospital expenses are due to drug-related complications despite the fact that clinical trials are larger, longer and more expensive than ever and pharmacovigilance area is high.
Healthy young adults who don't consume caffeine regularly experienced greater rise in resting blood pressure after consumption of a commercially available energy drink than those who had a placebo drink, according to a Mayo Clinic study.

The researchers alternately gave a can of a commercially available energy drink or a placebo drink to 25 healthy young adults, age 19 to 40, and assessed changes in heart rate and blood pressure.  Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded before and then 30 minutes after energy drink/placebo drink consumption, and were also compared between caffeine-naive participants (less than 160 mg of caffeine per day, a cup of coffee) and regular caffeine users (more than a cup of coffee equivalent of of caffeine per day). 
Guanabenz is an FDA-approved drug for high blood pressure but a new study also finds that it prevents myelin loss and alleviates clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models.

The drug appears to enhance an innate cellular mechanism that protects myelin-producing cells against inflammatory stress. Multiple sclerosis is characterized by an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation in the brain and the destruction of myelin - a fatty sheath that protects and insulates nerve fibers. MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide and has no known cure.