A Fish Named Heather: Another casualty in the drug wars

We have had a crazy drug policy in the U.S. since 1914, and we dictate it to most of the world. The War on Drugs is masterfully covered in Johann Hari’s important new book, “Chasing the Scream.” The small players in the drug wars are easily entrapped. Witness the sad case of Heather Alfonso, a Connecticut nurse practitioner who has been indicted for getting kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics, the maker of the powerful pain medication, Subsys. Ms. Alfonso is being pilloried while thousands of physicians give worthless CME lectures on medications every day in the U.S. She was a dupe to her handler (a PhARMA product manager) in the company’s … Continue reading


Waiting for Toctino

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Listen to the Patient…

Notes from the Xanadu Clinic, Norfolk Island, South Pacific The patient is a 65 yo man with a one week history of intense lancinating pain in the right upper quadrant.  He was examined by his internist who suspected gall bladder disease and ordered an abdominal ultrasound.  It was negative, so an abdominal CT scan was scheduled.  Between the ultrasound and the CT scan the patient developed a rash on the abdomen and back.  He attributed it to one of the new drugs he was prescribed for his abdominal symptoms. I saw him today for elective surgery of a skin cancer.  I greeted him with “How are you today?” He answered, … Continue reading

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