Pharmacology

Ever wonder how much it costs to develop a new drug? The independent, non-profit research group, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, estimates US$2.6 billion, almost double the centre’s previous estimate a decade ago. But how accurate is this figure?
The return of diphtheria in Spain after nearly three decades highlights the challenges posed by infectious diseases that had been mostly eliminated from Europe.

Falling vaccination rates, complex population movements, and the disappearance of international health practices perceived as redundant, all contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases that were thought forgotten.

At the same time, such public health crises throw light on the delicate relationship between state and citizens, and competing concepts of responsibility for health.

A variety of factors including questions about risk and reluctance to offend patients limits clinician willingness to prescribe a potentially life-saving medication that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose, according to a Kaiser Permanente Colorado study published today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The number of fatal overdoses from opioid medications has quadrupled in the U.S. since 1999. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day 44 people die of prescription painkiller overdoses. In the event of an overdose, opioids depress respiration until breathing stops. The drug naloxone reverses these effects on the body and can be life-saving.


Scientists have found that a drug candidate with anticancer potential can be activated by one of the body's natural responses to cellular stress.

Once activated, the agent can kill prostate cancer cells.

The study highlights the potential of the natural compound called leinamycin E1 (LNM) for development as a "prodrug," a medication converted through a metabolic process in the body to become an active therapy.


A new psoriasis drug, ixekizumab , has resulted in 40 percent of people showing a complete clearance of psoriatic plaques after 12 weeks of treatment and over 90 percent showing improvement.
Much media attention is being given to the rising toll of methamphetamine-related harm in Australia, fuelled by the increased availability and use of high purity crystalline methamphetamine (crystal meth or ice).

Unlike other forms of methamphetamine available in Australia (speed or base), ice (crystalline methamphetamine or crystal meth) can be smoked. This gives a rapid drug effect because it gets into both the bloodstream and the brain quite quickly.

A single dose of the bivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Cervarix) offers a similar level of protection against the HPV-16/18 infections - which cause about 70% of cervical cancers - as current two- and three-dose schedules, according to data from two large phase 3 trials.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. The bivalent vaccine targets HPV types 16 and 18 that are responsible for about 70% of cervical cancers. The HPV-16/18 vaccine was initially approved to be given in three doses over 6 months, but many countries are moving to a two-dose schedule in adolescents.

A new study gives insight into the behavioral medications that medical caregivers sometimes prescribe for kids with Down syndrome.


An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended the approval of the drug, flibanserin, for premenopausal women who are distressed by a lack of sexual desire. The little pink pill has been hailed as “Viagra for women”.

In  the United States, there are calls from the environmental fringes to put more labels on food - but not for a USDA federal standard label on GMOs, mandatory ones chosen by lobbyists in state governments. 

Labels are political, and everyone says they want more information on labels. But we know few people really read them on food, that is why so many people are fat. And few seem to read them on medicine or, if they do, they still think more will work better.