Pharmacology

How do drug prices get picked? Some of it is simple economics. If you develop 20 drugs and 19 of them fail at various stages and one succeeds after a billion dollars in costs and bureaucracy, you are going to price it to make back all that lost money before generic companies are allowed to come along and sell your product without doing any work at all.


A new technique involves wrapping chemotherapy drugs in a liposome - a fatty cover - and it reduces heart damage that would otherwise occur, according to a presentation by Professor Jutta Bergler-Klein and Professor Mariann Gyöngyösi from the Medical University of Vienna, at
EuroEcho-Imaging 2014.


Some new mothers who are breast-feeding (and some who should have stopped by now) have turned to medications to help increase their milk supply - and that meant off-label use of domperidone, a nausea medication, to stimulate breast milk production.

Some studies have suggested it may be related to negative side effects, including irregular heartbeat and sudden cardiac death, but a new article in Journal of Human Lactation,
finds that there is no risk to the babies who drink the milk, though the risks to women may be a concern.   


Some paper have suggested a link between the diabetes medication pioglitazone and bladder cancer but a new analysis, including more than 1,000,000 people in six populations worldwide, has found no link between either pioglitazone or rosiglitazone (also known as Avandia) and bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the world, with 430,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012. Europe and North America have the highest incidence of bladder cancer, with an even higher incidence in people with diabetes.


Just for yucks, let’s go back a few years and see how well people did in forecasting drug prices in the future.

Within the past decade, we began to hear the term “patent cliff”—the consequence of most blockbuster drugs losing patent protection during a short period of time. Perennial critics of the pharmaceutical industry were experiencing paroxysms of joy as the holy grail of health care savings—generic drug companies—became able to sell cheap copies of formerly multi-billion dollar products. 

In epidemiology, matching curves are often enough to imply causation and so it is often done, even if there is no evidence to warrant the link.

There has been an increased use of antibiotics and there are an increased number of diagnoses so some epidemiologists looked at those two curves in the same direction and suggested one may be causing the other. A new analysis of about 500,000 children published in BMJ dismisses those claims and finds that exposure to antibiotics during pregnancy or early in life does not appear to increase the risk of asthma. 


 have to warn everyone that there is going to be a little math at the start, but not much, only one easy equation that you need to have a sense of if you are going to understand what drugs that inhibit enzymes do.  

This equation is universal and can be easily expanded to describe most molecular interactions.  Actually the most basic form of it is the IC50 equation which has been used as a crutch for describing drug interactions for years.  So if nothing else you might get a sense of what researchers are referring to when they get excited about IC50 values. 
Good news for Christmas party season: A new compound has been shown to reduce the harmful side-effects of ‘binge drinking’. It also has the potential for new ways to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases that damage the brain but showing that would take $1 billion in clinical trials and 10 years of approval and then some generic company would just poach it a few years later anyway. If they simply go the alternative medicine route, the inventors could save themselves the double-blind clinical trials and get right to selling it.

People know that antibiotics won't help viruses. So why ask doctors for antibiotics? Subbotina Anna/Shuttstock

By David Broniatowski, George Washington University; Eili Klein, Johns Hopkins University, and Valerie Reyna, Cornell University