Thinking of you, Grant Thompson

An 18-year-old’s death in July from multiple cobra bites has been ruled a suicide, the Austin American-Statesman reported…

Thompson had a love for animals and would often rescue and rehabilitate animals in need of help, according to his obituary. He had become an animal expert that people could come to for advice…


When the DEA finds out about chocolate pills, all the fun will be over. 🙂

It’s an idea Willy Wonka’s evil twin might have dreamed up: Chocolate that’s healthy, calorie-free, and no fun at all. Behold, the chocolate pill. Candy-makers are pumping up production of nutritional supplements with flavanols, a cocoa extract said to improve blood circulation. Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s No. 1 maker of bulk chocolate, is planning flavanol pills that have been approved by European health authorities as a supplement that’s beneficial to the heart, and Mondelez International Inc. is researching the benefits of flavanols for potential future products…

The flavanol extracts will enter a dietary supplement market that has grown 23 percent, to $51 billion, in the past five years, according to Euromonitor. Scientists, though, caution that buyers shouldn’t count on such products to really improve their health, and the U.S. Justice Department has just charged more than 100 makers of nutritional products with fraud in the sale and marketing of dietary supplements…

Wait a minute… The chocolate pills are “no fun at all”? Well then, I guess the DEA won’t be interested after all.

Will this make Express Scripts suck even more?

Express Scripts ($ESRX) will put its money behind a new value-based reimbursement model next year, using comparative data and indication-specific pricing to favor “clinically superior” meds. The pharmacy benefits manager will roll out the approach in cancer first, with anti-inflammatory meds close behind…

If Erbitux’s price were linked to results, it would run $10,319 in premetastatic head and neck cancer, where it delivers the best results, Bach suggests. For head and neck cancer that has recurred or spread–an indication where it’s less beneficial–the price would be $471 per month, Bach suggests…

Roche CEO Severin Schwan thinks indication-based pricing is a reasonable approach, Bloomberg reports. “The value of a cancer drug can be very different for different indications,” Schwan told the news service this week. “It makes a lot of sense to align the price with different indications.”

What’s the insurance industry up to now?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt does Janet Jackson

Who said white guys can’t dance?

Now let’s compare, who does it better? (Please note Janet’s key earring, very similar to the one I sported in the 1990s.)

Winner?  It’s obvious to me — no one does it better than Janet. 🙂

Rhythm Nation Lyrics, by Janet Jackson

With music by our side
To break the color lines
Let’s work together
To improve our way of life
Join voices in protest
To social injustice
A generation full of courage
Come forth with me

People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation

This is the test
No struggle no progress
Lend a hand to help
Your brother do his best
Things are getting worse
We have to make them better
It’s time to give a damn
Let’s work together come on

People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation…

America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs

In the first of a series of dispatches from the US’s poorest communities, we visit Beattyville, Kentucky, blighted by a lack of jobs and addiction to painkillers

Leading the blight is a powerful and highly addictive opioid painkiller, OxyContin, known locally as “hillbilly heroin”…

Getting the drugs isn’t difficult. Elderly people sell their prescription drugs to supplement some of the lowest incomes in the US. The national average retirement income is about $21,500. In Beattyville it is $6,500…

Late last year the Beattyville Enterprise reported that pharmacists in the town were appealing to drug companies for greater control over another prescription medicine, Neurontin, which is increasingly in demand and has been found at the scene of overdose deaths. Heroin use is also on the rise.

Ask where people get the money for drugs and just about everyone blames it on welfare in general and the trade in what is known locally as “pop” – soft drinks – in particular.

Close to 57% of Beattyville residents claim food stamps. They are paid by electronic transfer on the first of the month. That same day, cases of Pepsi and Coca-Cola are marked down sharply in supermarkets and disappear off the shelves, often paid for with food stamps.

They are then sold on to smaller stores at a lower price than they would pay a distributor, in effect turning several hundred dollars of food stamps into cash at about 50 cents on the dollar…

Woodstock Elementary Supports RSD Awareness

On the morning of November 6th, in a suburb just north of Atlanta, GA, the students and teachers of Woodstock Elementary School arrived wearing orange in support of individuals living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/RSD. “It was a sea of orange today,” said Principal Kim Montalbano, who organized the awareness event…