Pharmalot, Pharmalittle: Rising drug prices cost workers’ compensation programs

first_img [email protected] About the Author Reprints Alex Hogan/STAT PharmalotPharmalot, Pharmalittle: Rising drug prices cost workers’ compensation programs By Ed Silverman April 5, 2016 Reprints Tags drug pricesGilead Sciencesopioids Good morning,  everyone, and how are you today? A bright, shiny sun is enveloping the Pharmalot campus, although it is not yet enough to counteract the bitter cold. In fact, our short person, who is under the weather, is staying home to avoid the frosty air. As for us, we are keeping warm with cups of stimulation — our flavor this week is Mocha Java for those keeping track. Meanwhile, here are a few items of interest. Have a smashing day and keep in touch …Rising drug prices contributed to a 2.2 percent increase in pharmacy spending for American workers’ compensation payers last year, according to a report from Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefits manager. Opioids were the costliest type of medicine at $450.90 per-user-per-year, although on average, injured workers received 2.91 opioid prescriptions per year — down from 3.33 prescriptions in 2014.Gilead Sciences is paying $400 million to buy a subsidiary of Nimbus Therapeutics, which is developing a drug to treat an non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, which is an increasingly common metabolic disorder that causes life-threatening fat buildup in the liver, the Associated Press writes. NASH can cause inflammation, cell damage, progressive scarring, and cirrhosis of the liver, and affects up to 15 million Americans.advertisementcenter_img Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. @Pharmalot Ed Silverman The Indian Supreme Court is seeking a response from the Health Ministry concerning allegations that Ranbaxy Laboratories supplied adulterated drugs in the country, the Economic Times reports. A so-called Public Interest Litigation was filed by a consumer advocate who seeks to shut down three plants run by Ranbaxy, which is now owned by Sun Pharmaceutical.Sanofi launched the first public immunization program for dengue fever and plans to administer the world’s first licensed vaccine to 1 million schoolchildren, the Associated Press says.advertisement Catalent missed its forecast for returning a suspended softgel facility back to full production, but says production of essential drugs has begun at the French plant, Outsourcing Pharma reports.The Food and Drug Administration approved Descovy, a combination HIV drug developed by Gilead Sciences, according to Business Insider.Even as Indian regulators are upgrading their review standards, plant inspection reports show that Indian facilities had a high rate of data integrity issues last year, PharmaBiz writes.Pfizer reported positive Phase 3 trial results with its PCSK9-inhibitor cholesterol-lowering drug bococizumab, paving the way for a regulatory filing in coming months, PMLive tells us.UK regulators say that an Indian plant run by Rusan Pharma continue to break regulatory rules due to quality-control issues, according to InPharma Technologist.last_img read more

Natural Selection Is Empty

first_imgOrigin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Evolutionary science is (in part) natural history, and in natural history real evolutionary understanding can be found. But we must keep in mind that natural history is history. It is the recounting of real events, which are generally “one damn thing after another.” True things, and important things, but narrative, not law. Natural history is not law-based science. It is narrative science.  The adaptive value of a phenotype depends critically on its ecological niche. Fins help if you live in water. Fins don’t help if you live in the desert. Are fins adaptive? It depends. There is no “Law of Fins” that determines the adaptiveness of fins, independent of the ecological niche the finned critter inhabits. Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini’s book What Darwin Got Wrong was published in 2010. Having read it now, perhaps belatedly, I can report that it is a masterpiece. Fodor is a leading philosopher, and Piatelli-Palmarini is a leading cognitive scientist. Their analysis of natural selection is meticulous and devastating. They are both atheists — they do not come to this debate with theistic presumptions. They demonstrate that natural selection is, in their word, empty. It’s a meaningless concept that should be abandoned. F&P-P propose that there are two ways in which natural selection could be a genuine explanation: if natural selection can be understood as acting on counterfactuals, or if natural selection can be understood as acting according to physical laws (of evolution). When we say that natural selection acts, how do we know which phenotype is the object of selection, and which are free-riders? Preservation of one trait preserves linked traits. Gould and Lewontin recognized this dilemma. In their paper “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme” they take to task the adaptationist (strict natural selection-ist) view that natural selection can select for specific phenotypes that are linked to other phenotypes. They call the ostensibly selected phenotypes arches, and the free-rider unselected phenotypes spandrels, referring to the difference between the structural arches in cathedrals and the decorated spandrels — the spaces between the arches — that serve an artistic, but no structural, purpose.  Endogenous constraints, of course, raise the specter that haunts evolutionary biology: namely, teleology. Endogenous constraints are front-loaded. Evolution hews to ends. So merely invoking “natural selection” fails to provide an explanation for the survival of a trait, because natural selection is blind to the difference between traits that enhance survival and traits that are free-riders and irrelevant to survival, as long as the traits are linked. But F&P-P point out that there seem to be no laws of selection: TagsScience,Trending And there is another way to understand evolution: Gould and Lewontin point out, correctly, that phenotypes in nature are composed of arches and spandrels — traits that enhance survival, and traits that are linked to survival traits genetically, but which provide no survival advantage themselves. They argue that adaptationist (natural selection-ist) explanations fail to take into account the fact that natural selection cannot distinguish between arches and spandrels, and that therefore invocation of natural selection, which is blind to the arch/spandrel dichotomy, is often an inadequate evolutionary explanation. F&P-P unpack Gould’s and Lewontin’s critique, applying logical rigor. They point out that genetically linked traits are coextensive. Ya’ select for one, ya’ select for the other. They come as a package. F&P-P ask: How can natural selection distinguish between, on the one hand, phenotypic traits that affect fitness and, on the other hand, their endogenously linked phenotypic correlates… selection [cannot] apply differentially to coextensive properties. Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man The explanation for a critter’s phenotype vis-a-vis its fitness is its natural history, not its history of natural selection. But natural history is a narrative, not a law. I’ll try here to give a précis of their argument. I heartedly recommend buying their book. It’s available on Kindle, and although it’s not an easy read, it is written with as much clarity and brevity as the subject permits. The last chapter is a very nice summary of the argument. What follows is a summary of the summary. Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share [I]f you wish to explain the effects that a phenotypic trait has on a creature’s fitness, what you need is not its history of selection but its natural history. And natural history offers not laws of selection but narrative accounts of causal chains that lead to the fixation of phenotypic traits. Although laws support counterfactuals, natural histories do not; and, as we’ve repeatedly remarked, it’s counterfactual support on which distinguishing the arches from the spandrels depends.  Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Natural history is just one damned thing after another. This should seem, on reflection, unsurprising since, to repeat, natural history is a species of history, and history is itself just one damned thing after another… Darwin made the same sort of mistake that Marx did: he imagined that history is a theoretical domain; but what there is, in fact, is only a heterogeneity of causes and effects. Natural selection is not a level of explanation. In F&P-P’s cogent phrase, natural selection is empty.center_img F&P-P sum up their argument: So natural selection can’t select according to counterfactuals. “If these traits weren’t linked, this is the trait I’d select for” is a thought specifically denied to a blind watchmaker. Natural selection is mindless, and is blind to counterfactuals. [T]he problem is that it’s unlikely that there are laws of selection. [I]t’s just not possible that there are laws that relate phenotypic traits per se to fitness. What (if any) effect a trait has on fitness depends on what kind of phenotype it is embedded in, and what ecology the creature that has the trait inhabits. So How Do We Understand Evolution? A counterfactual is a statement of what would be the case if something untrue happened. An example of a counterfactual is: “If I were PZ Myers, I wouldn’t say such silly things on Pharyngula.” I’m not PZ Myers, but if I were…. For natural selection to be a genuine explanation for the survival of a specific trait that is linked to other traits, it would be necessary to invoke a counterfactual about natural selection: “If the selected trait were not linked to free-riders, it would still be selected.” Which is the way that we generally try to invoke natural selection of linked traits. Selection is for the pumping function of the heart (selected trait), not for the sound it makes (linked free-rider). If pumping and noise-making weren’t linked, it is the pumping, not the noise-making, that would be selected. Evolution Natural Selection Is EmptyMichael EgnorAugust 30, 2013, 12:59 PM “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide F&P-P are surely right. Endogenous constraints are profoundly important to phenotypes and to adaptation, and much of the rational study of evolution is properly the study of endogenous factors that establish adaptation. What’s essential about adaptationism, as viewed from this perspective, is precisely its claim that there is a level of evolutionary explanation. We think this claim is just plain wrong. We think that successful explanations of the fixation of phenotypic traits by ecological variables typically belong not to evolutionary theory but to natural history, and that there is just no end of the sorts of things about a natural history that can contribute to explaining the fixation of some or other feature of a creature’s phenotype. Natural history isn’t a theory of evolution; it’s a bundle of evolutionary scenarios. That’s why the explanations it offers are so often post hoc and unsystematic. F&P-P begin their argument with the observation that phenotypic traits on which natural selection acts are often linked at the genetic level. It is unusual to find a specific trait that can be selected without selecting for other traits. Cellular genetics is a complex interconnected affair. A change at the level of the gene generally has complex effects on phenotype. Michael EgnorSenior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial IntelligenceMichael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.Follow MichaelProfile Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All But F&P-P point out that counterfactuals are intentional statements — they refer to concepts in a mind, not to external physical things. And of course natural selection has nothing to do with a mind. That is the whole point of natural selection. It pays no mind at all. Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis F&P-P point out that the other way that natural selection could provide an evolutionary explanation is if selection followed a natural law, like a law in physics. If there is a law-like correlation between a type of trait and selection for that trait, then a correspondence between natural selection and one of several linked traits could be established. If we are to provide real explanations for evolution — natural history and teleology — we need now to go to the closet and get out the dustbin. We need to discard some junk. Natural selection is empty junk, and no explanation at all.  Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share There aren’t, and never were, pigs with wings. That there aren’t and weren’t needs to be explained; but the explanation surely cannot be selectionist. Mother Nature never had any winged pigs to select against; so pigs not having wings can’t be an adaptation. We think such considerations strongly suggest that there are endogenous constraints — quite possibly profound ones — on phenotypes. As far as we can tell, this is slowly becoming the received view in evolutionary biology. Recommended F&P-P put it succinctly:last_img read more

Warsaw Police warning about counterfeit $100 bills

first_img Google+ By Nick Deranek – December 3, 2019 0 386 WhatsApp Google+ Twitter Twitter Pinterest Warsaw Police warning about counterfeit $100 bills IndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend Market (Photo supplied/Warsaw Police Department) The Warsaw Police Department is warning area residents about fake $100 bills that were used on Monday, Dec. 2.The fake bills were used at several businesses. Police say while the bills look pretty close to a real one, there are two big giveaways, the magnetic strip is on the wrong side of the bill, and the watermark face is that of Alexander Hamilton and not Ben Franklin.They say also look for the serial number, D-F-4-5-2-4-8-9-9-1-A, which has been on all the fake bills so far. Anyone with information, or if you have received one of the bills, is asked to contact the Warsaw Police Department.When held in light, the bills show the improperly placed magnetic strip and the wrong face watermark. (Photo: Warsaw Police Department) Pinterest Facebook Facebook Previous articlePolice Looking for Missing Woman in Benton TownshipNext articleSen. Kamala Harris ending her run for the presidency Nick Deranek WhatsApplast_img read more

‘Lions Of The Sea’

first_imgIn August 2015, the Long Island Shark Collaboration — a group of friends, scientists, and organizations, including the South Fork Natural History Museum— was the first to deploy a satellite pop-off tag on a young-of-the-year juvenile white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in the North Atlantic Ocean.The shark was caught, tagged, and released a few miles south of Shinnecock Inlet. After the shark was released, the tag popped off a few days later off the coast of Maryland, some 240 miles south. This information was groundbreaking to the scientific community, establishing migration data for this species. Once announced publicly, the LISC embarked on the research initiative to continue the work necessary to better understand, protect, and sustain white shark populations along the south shore of Long Island.The following years, in 2016 and 2017, our tagging efforts were joined by Chris Fischer and his non-profit organization, OCEARCH. The focus of this incredible conservation group is to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean. It has knowledge and experience in tagging large pelagic sharks and it provided us with the opportunity to continue the goals of the research study. With the two teams working together, we proceeded to tag an additional 20 juvenile white sharks along the south shore.Thanks to OCEARCH’s support, these additional sharks were tagged with the most advanced tags used by researchers, known as Smart Position and Temperature tags. These tags are primarily designed for use on animals that are commonly found at the ocean’s surface, where regular transmission to a satellite is made possible. When a deployed tag, mounted to a shark’s dorsal fin, breaks the surface of the water, the tag sends a signal that is transmitted to the satellite and back down to Earth, where it’s received by a shark tracker program on OCEARCH’s website.The technology of these SPOT tags allows scientists to detect immediate location sites of these sharks in real-time. The data retrieved from these hi-tech tags presented facts that these juvenile sharks were staying in this area for days, weeks, months, and even years. This groundbreaking information confirmed the resident data necessary to call the south shore of Long Island a nursery for young-of-the-year juvenile white sharks, making it one of only three known white shark nurseries in the world. The others are in South Africa and Australia. What an amazing discovery in our own backyard!Fish nursery grounds are vital and extremely delicate environments, which have evolved and exist for the reproduction and juvenile rearing of many species. Juvenile white sharks move along the inshore marine waters and consume mid-sized fish such as bunker, mackerel, striped bass, bluefish, and squid during their developmental years before they grow large enough to venture further offshore and prey on larger marine mammals. Due to the slow growth (20 years to reach reproductive maturity) of white sharks and their vulnerability to human impacts and climate change, these habitats need to be managed properly and protected to sustain a robust marine environment.In 2018, the South Fork Natural History Museum took on the leadership of this exciting research initiative. Once known as the LISC, it is now the SOFO Shark Research and Education Program. The museum’s mission is to create awareness, educate, and foster appreciation of our natural world. Ecosystems are ruled from the top of the food chain by animals such as wolves, bears, big cats, and sharks. The health of our planet depends on their existence. These white sharks are apex predators, and are truly the “Lions of the Sea!” Sharelast_img read more

NFL VP of Officiating Still Maintains Correct Call Was Made on Duke Johnson Fumble Sunday

first_img Related TopicsBrownsDean BlandinoDuke Johnson JrRedskins The NFL continues to do damage control over the obvious missed call from Sunday’s Browns 31-20 loss to the Redskins in which the team lost a fumble when it appeared to everyone it should have been their ball.Everyone knows about the call – Duke Johnson fumbled the football when the Browns were in position to build on a 20-17 lead, and right away the officials ruled the ball belonged to the Redskins – literally seconds after the ball hit the ground.This all took place despite Johnson coming out of the pile holding the ball in his hand.Two days later the call is still being talked about, and tonight NFL Vice president of officiating Dean Blandino chatted about the missed call on NFL Network. Here’s what Pro Football Talk wrote about the botch. NFL Vice president of officiating Dean Blandino discussed it Tuesday night on NFL Network and said that officials “had already ruled possession” by the time Johnson came out of the pile with the ball and that “no clear evidence” from several replay angles showed that Johnson or another Browns player had recovered the ball.Though Blandino admitted that there’s “no question it’s a bad visual” to see Johnson holding the ball while officials pointed in the Redskins’ direction, he said he didn’t believe the call came too quickly.“It’s quick but we want our officials if they have clear evidence we want to rule immediately,” Blandino said. “We don’t want an extended scrum. It’s a player safety issue.” Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE.center_img Matt Loedelast_img read more

MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina must get an oppertuniy to play…

first_imgLet Dhoni and Raina play Dhoni and Raina have also demanded that they not be considered for the Indian team’s selection. Chopra said he felt there was nothing wrong with allowing them to play in foreign leagues.There are two sides to this issue. One is the workload. The BCCI does not allow contract players to play in foreign leagues because of the potential for injury. For that, Chopra explained, the board pays players more than they get if they play in foreign leagues.Dhoni is unlikelyLet us see what is the second reason why the BCCI does not allow Indian players to play in foreign leagues. If India’s marquee players play in other leagues, it will affect the IPL as well. India’s greats face off only in the IPL. If the Indian players come face to face in other leagues, the appeal of the IPL will diminish.However, he feels that Dhoni and Raina should be allowed to play in foreign leagues. Consider both playing in foreign leagues. It will entertain everyone. Despite the approval, Dhoni will probably not play in a foreign league. But Raina is only 33 years old. Chopra explained that he would like to play more matches.Yuvraj is playingFormer legendary all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who retired in June last year, is a colorful presence in foreign franchise leagues. Yuvraj played for the first time since his retirement at the Global T20 tournament in Canada.Yuvraj was later spotted by cricket fans at the T10 League in Abu Dhabi. However, cricket fans can only see the shadow of the old Yuvraj in these two tournaments. Recently, Punjab Cricket Association secretary Yuvraj Singh was asked to withdraw his retirement and consider playing for Punjab in domestic cricket. But UV has not yet responded to this.last_img read more