Sunday, February 14, 2016

Miracles and profits in medicine and pharmaceuticals

The never-ending - and often profit-driven - hope for miraculous cures and the reality of the health-care business was displayed again over the last few days.

Miracles and profits in medicine and pharmaceuticals


The never-ending - and often profit-driven - hope for miraculous cures and the reality of the health-care business was displayed again over the last few days.

The New York Times provided the latest story about three big pharmaceutical companies trying to figure out how to get the right molecules to overcome the wrong molecules and thereby  cure forms of cancer.

The link to the story is here.

There are doctors and bench chemists who get into the medical and pharmaceutical businesses hoping to save lives, maybe millions of them, and feed their families.

We hear about the miracle drugs and read about hero doctors. And PhillyPharma is among those with family that benefited from so-far successful cancer treatment.

But in this holiday season, keep the reality of the Santa Claus story in mind when you think about health care.

There is a cost. It is not free. There are limits. There are incredibly self-less people who give their lives to help other people and worthy causes. And there are people who have no qualms about pushing medication not meant for children to youngsters - through paid-for doctors - in pursuit of profits.

And sometimes there are mistakes, by the well-meaning and profit-seekers.

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration passed along an announcement from Mylan, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based pharmaceutical company, which was conducting a voluntary recall of three lots of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets. This is a pain killer that might have too much pain killer in the tablet. According to the Mylan statement, "The three lots were manufactured by Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, and Mylan Institutional repackaged and distributed the product in unit dose (CD100) under the UDL Laboratories, Inc. (n/k/a Mylan Institutional Inc.) label." Qualitest is a division of Chadds Ford-based Endo Health Solutions.

A link to the FDA's pass-along press release is here.

Earlier last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mylan's executive chairman Robert J. Coury has a side business: a record label promoting the fledgling music career of his son, Tino Coury. The Journal's team of reporters found that, according to federal flight records, one of Mylan's two jets has frequently flown to the same cities in which the younger Coury was playing a concert. On some occasions, the jet — a Bombardier Global Express the size of a regional airliner — flew directly from one of Tino Coury's concert locations to the next.

The Journal said that Mylan spokeswoman Nina Devlin said Robert Coury's employment contracts have allowed outside personal activities, "including those related to his son Tino's career."

A link to the Journal story is here.


Staff Writer
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About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at or 215-854-4506.

David Sell Staff Writer
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