Posts Tagged ‘pharmaceuticals’

Medical roundup

Feds overreach in prosecution of FedEx for failure to snoop

“Federal prosecutors have accused FedEx of knowingly shipping illegal drugs in interstate commerce and laundering money by merely doing its job: delivering packages (in this case, from online Internet pharmacies) to their intended recipients and getting paid for the service. …To avoid the very sort of ‘gotcha’ prosecution at issue here, Congress inserted exceptions for common carriers in each of the relevant statutes” authorizing shipment of prescription medications and controlled substances when done in the usual course of business.

While courts have generated no case law authoritatively interpreting these exemptions in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act (FDCA), “the need to do so had never presented itself because no prosecutor had ever dared to bring such a dubious indictment in the previous 45 years of the CSA’s existence.” [Cory Andrews, Washington Legal Foundation; earlier (“Feds indict FedEx for not snooping into packages”)]

“New Hedge Fund Strategy: Dispute the Patent, Short the Stock”

Like a sports team getting to bet on its own game? “A well-known hedge-fund manager is taking a novel approach to making money: filing and publicizing patent challenges against pharmaceutical companies while also betting against their shares.” [WSJ; ten years ago on selling short, then suing] More: Bainbridge on an academic paper analyzing the effects when a litigant holds long or short positions in its opponent.

Medical roundup

Medical roundup

  • “No, Donating Your Leftover Tissue To Research Is Not Like Letting Someone Rifle Through Your Phone” [Michelle Meyer answers “Henrietta Lacks” author Rebecca Skloot; related, Richard Epstein/Hoover]
  • “Women Should Not Have to Visit a Doctor for Birth Control” [Jeffrey Singer, Time/Cato]
  • Lawyer ads can scare TV viewers into discontinuing medically indicated therapies. But is more regulation the right answer? [reform group Sick of Lawsuits]
  • Johnson & Johnson followed federal government’s own advice on labeling a drug, and got slammed by a jury in consequence [WSJ editorial]
  • U.S. opinion resistant to ratifying treaties that would create an international-law right to health care, so how about smuggling it in via congressional/executive agreement? [Nicholas Diamond, Harvard “Bill of Health”]
  • Denmark, like other Scandinavian countries and New Zealand, has replaced malpractice suits with iatrogenic injury compensation scheme [Pro Publica]
  • Has liberalized patient access to opioids been a net harm? Study suggests no [Tyler Cowen]

“The biggest obstacle to proper treatment, in Dr. DeVita’s view, is the FDA.”

Longtime director of the National Cancer Institute Vincent DeVita has a new book out (with daughter Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn) on the fight against cancer. (DeVita is also a former director of the Yale Cancer Center, and a former physician in chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center). From a New York Times review, via Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism:

The regulatory caution of the Food and Drug Administration has been a thorn in his side for decades: “I’d like to be able to say that as cancer drugs have become increasingly more complex and sophisticated, the F.D.A. has as well. But it has not.” In fact, he writes, “the rate-limiting step in eradicating cancer today is not the science but the regulatory environment we work in.”

And Laura Landro covers the book at the Wall Street Journal:

The biggest obstacle to proper treatment, in Dr. DeVita’s view, is the FDA. The agency, he believes, acts with an overabundance of caution, approving a drug for one cancer but restricting its use for another. It has created a lot of “Dr. No’s,” who are “prone to saying no to cancer drugs.”…

Dr. DeVita calls on regulators to allow testing at earlier stages of a disease rather than only after current treatments have failed, and he argues that more drugs should be available, before approval, for “compassionate” use in the absence of other treatments. “People are not dying because the drugs don’t exist,” he writes, “but because they can’t get them.”

Medical roundup

  • Surprised this story of interstate lawsuit exposure hasn’t had national coverage: “Texas docs threaten to stop seeing New Mexico patients” [Hobbs, N.M., News]
  • More on the Daraprim episode and the fiasco of FDA generic-drug regulation [Watchdog, earlier here and here] More: Ira Stoll/N.Y. Sun;
  • Warrants, HIPAA be damned: Drug Enforcement Administration agents pose as Texas medical board to get at patient records [Jon Cassidy/Watchdog, Tim Cushing/TechDirt via Radley Balko]
  • Litigation finance and champerty: the reaction is under way [MathBabe, earlier on pelvic and transvaginal mesh surgery speculation]
  • No longer alas a surprise to see JAMA Pediatrics running lame, politicized content on topics like “youth gun carrying” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “Shame, blame, and defame”: in alcohol regulation as in other public health fields, government-funded research can look a lot like advocacy [Edward Peter Stringham, The Hill]
  • More adventures in public health: study finds dry counties in Kentucky have bigger problems with methamphetamine [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]

Bryan Caplan vs. “Scott Alexander” on labor economics

A rejoinder worth reading on labor markets by George Mason economist Bryan Caplan to the pseudonymous “Scott Alexander,” who writes the popular Slate Star Codex blog [Caplan first, second, third posts, all responding to this critique-of-libertarianism FAQ] If you don’t read Alexander, some of his top posts are here (especially strong on questions of medicine/health care and the way social justice language has developed into a tool of power). Also check out his recent post on the Daraprim mess and the wider failure of generic drug regulation [earlier on which].