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Friday, January 10, 2014

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

January 10, 2014

L.A. Times/Business Section

Drugs
Forest to buy Aptalis Pharma

Forest Laboratories Inc. will buy Aptalis Pharma for $2.9 billion, adding treatments for gastrointestinal ailments and cystic fibrosis.  Aptalis generated $688 billion in sales in the 12 months ended in September 2013.Forest Laboratories, with $3.09 billion in sales in the last fiscal year, is seeking new products after the loss of patent protection for its former top seller, the antidepressant Lexapro.  Forest shares jumped 18% to $69.30, the company's biggest one-day advance since 1980


DECEMBER 1, 2013

Healthful eating has taken a dive, poll finds. As reported by Emily Alpert Reyes (emily.alpert@latimes.com) for the Los Angeles Times. Summarized and paraphrased by me, Graham Becker.

For most of this year, 2013, healthful eating has been at its lowest point since 2008, according to the Gallup-Healthways poll. In a poll of 150,000 Americans, we're eating worse than previously. You know what they say: Calories are cheap. It's food that's expensive. The survey found that every month this year, Americans said they were eating worse than during the same months in 2012. For instance, 63.4% of Americans surveyed this September said they were eating healthfully, compared with 67.6% in September of 2012. When asked about eating their fruits and veggies, fewer Americans said they were regularly eating at least five servings of fruits and veggies compared with last year. The only exceptions were in March and October.



NOVEMBER 24, 2013 As reported in the L.A. Times by lisa.girion@latimes.com Paraphrased by me, Graham

"Spending on drugs may top $1 Trillion"

Global spending on pharmaceuticals is expected to surpass $1 trillion for the first time next year, thanks to demand in China and other emerging markets, according to a new forecast from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

More than two-thirds of all pharmaceutical drug spending occurs in eight countries: The U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Spain, Japan and China, the institute found.

In the next five years, drug spending is expected to grow in China and other developing countries, while the U.S. will continue to lead the world in per capita spending on pharmaceuticals. Patients in the developing world are primarily buying generics, which sell for a fraction of the cost of brand-name drugs. The increase in doctors' diagnoses and prescriptions across large populations is driving the surge in drug spending, the institute found.



NOVEMBER 21, 2013 MSNBC NEWS TICKER:

RESEARCH: People who eat a diet rich in nuts are less likely to die of heart disease or cancer.


NOVEMBER 16, 2013

Article: L.A. Times/November 16, 2013/Business Section

"Putting Big Mac on the fast track"
McDonald's will add a third window
at some of its eateries to cut
service time to cars

Article by: Tiffany Hsu Summarized by Graham Becker

McDonald's is trying to put the fast back in fast food.

McDonald's opened its first drive-through in 1975. Back then, fast food restaurants in general derived 40% of their sales from drive-throughs; today, it's easily 65%, according to John A. Gordon, principal with Pacific Management Consulting Group.

In the year ending in September, there were 47.9 BILLION total visits to quick-service restaurants, a 1% increase from the previous year. In the same period, drive-through visits dropped by 1% to 12.3 BILLION visits.

McDonald's told investors this week that it plans to spend $3 BILLION opening as many as 1,600 new restaurants in the next year while revamping 1,000 other locations. The company already has more than 14,000 restaurants in the country, which together generate more than 30% of McDonald's total revenue.


NOVEMBER 13, 2013

WIDER USE OF STATINS URGED

My Editorial Note: They did it in 2001 and they're doing it again...It amazes me, the arrogance in some corners of modern medicine. That we as a species have lived approximately 200,000 years only to find out we need statins. As if nature deliberately left some ingredient for good health out of the equation. Billions of years of life on earth and these corners have the audacity to claim victory. More doctors convincing us that statin treatment is the way to control our lives (and our fear of death). With a $21 BILLION DOLLARS a year business at stake, and with generics coming onto the market, modern medicine and big pharma again conspire to create new, broader guidelines that will try to double the number of Americans on statins, from 36 million to 70 million. These new guidelines will go far to see that drug makers and modern medicine will continue to sustain their growth and profits for their shareholders.

Hoowee, I'm living in an upside-down world. Here's the article, summarized by me.

Front Page: Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2013
Reported by Melissa Healy

"Wider use of statin drugs urged" by Melissa Healy

The nation's cardiologists have rewritten the guidebook on how Americans should be treated with statins and unveiled a plan that could double the number of paitients taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs to about 70 million.

The new approach, presented Tuesday November 12, 2013, by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, represents a stark shift from the way doctors have prescribed the popular drugs for most of the last decade.

Cardiologists will now urge doctors to focus their efforts on a wider range of at-risk patients, many of them still healthy, to drive down their odds of a heart attack or stroke. At the same time, doctors are being instructed to discontinue their efforts to meet strict targets for LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins), the "bad" cholesterol that's most closely linked to disease risk.

According to IMS Health, a research firm that tracks prescription drug trends, in 2012, Americans filled 255 MILLION PRESCRIPTIONS for these and other cholesterol-lowering drugs. Yearly spending on this class of drugs peaked at $21.3 BILLION DOLLARS in 2011, declining since then as more of those brand-name medications become available as generics.

Until now, treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs in the U.S. has generally been limited to patients with a 20% probability of a heart attack over the next decade - about 36 million Americans. According to the authors, the expanded guidelines would roughly double that figure to 70 million.

By explicitly counting stroke-prevention among statins' benefits for the first time, Dr. Neil Stone, chief author of the new guidelines along with the other contributing authors, hope to extend statin therapy to more of the patients who are most susceptible to stroke, including women, African Americans and the very elderly.

According to Dr. Stone, a cardiologist and professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, "Statins treat risk, not only cholesterol. They (statins) lower risk by lowering cholesterol."

Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic and not involved in the drafting of the current recommendations, said "The result should be fewer premature deaths and patients disabled by heart attacks and strokes, though it will take years before such reductions can be tallied."

Doctors will now be switching to new tools to identify patients newly eligible to take statins, including the "cardiovascular risk calculator" available online.

Although current treatment practice, according to Dr. Michael Johansen, a professor of family medicine at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, targeting primarily LDL cholesterol, "haven't been shown to make people live longer or happier lives," Dr. Johansen called the new guidelines "far simpler and more effective to implement" than the current approach.

The new guidelines will be published in the 'Journal of the American College of Cardiology' and in the American Heart Association journal 'Circulation.'



NOVEMBER 8, 2013

LA TIMES.COM/BUSINESS BRIEFING

Drug Maker Salix to buy Santarus

Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., based in Raleigh, N.C., will buy San Diego-based Santarus Inc. for about $2.12 BILLION DOLLARS to add to its roster of drugs focused on gastrointestinal disorders. In after-hours trading, Salix shares rose 9.4% to $78/share, while Santarus stock rose 37% to $31.90 per share.


November 5, 2013

L.A. Times/Times Staff and wire Reports

Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company promoted powerful psychiatric drugs of unapproved uses in children, seniors and disabled patients, the Justice Department announced November 4, 2013.

the allegations include paying kickbacks to physicians and pharmacies to recommend and prescribe Risperdal and Invega, both anti-psychotic drugs, and Natrecor whcih is used to treat heart failure.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said, Motivated by profit, these companies made false claims that jeopardized the health of California's most vulnerable patients...and left California taxpayers with t eh bill." California's share of the civil damages is $89 million.

The agreement is the third-largest U.S. settlement involving a drug maker and the latest in a string of legal actions against drug firms that allegedly put profits ahead of patients.

Although doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for any use, drug makers cannot promote them in any way that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The pharmaceutical industry has been known for overly aggressive marketing tactics, which include pushing medicines for uanpproved, or off-label, uses. The off-label prescribing of Risperdal added to millions of dollars in federal and state spending by health programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veteran's affairs.