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HEALTH
March 22, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Watching Alzheimer's diseaseĀ steal away the memory, talents and very selves of its victims is hard enough for the people who love them. Now, a new pill formulated by a respected pharmaceutical company and approved by the Food and Drug Administration will do little to help most patients and will bring misery to some, say two medical investigators. The drug, Aricept 23 mg, is no more effective on the whole than the disappointing ones already on the market - but is more likely to cause gastrointestinal problems, wrote Drs. Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz of Dartmouth Medical College in an article published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ. The new formulation was devised to serve commercial objectives, they say, and was approved despite a poor showing in company-sponsored tests.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
March 19, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
A month from now, if all goes according to plan in Oklahoma, two convicted murderers will be executed by lethal injection, and without knowing exactly how the killing cocktail was put together or by whom. Without that knowledge, they could well be denied their basic constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The death penalty, as we've written before, is an indefensible mess of immorality, gamed judicial processes, misapplication based on race and class, and public expense.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2000
With surprising speed, Congress and President Clinton have tentatively agreed on a bill that would allow consumers to buy imported prescription drugs that are cheaper than the same drugs now sold in the United States. The measure, drafted by Sen. James M. Jeffords (R-Vt.), is a roundabout and imperfect way of lowering U.S. prescription drug prices, which are up to three times higher than those in other nations.
OPINION
March 12, 2014
Re "Prices of new drugs tough to take," March 10 I understand the necessity for drug companies to recoup research and development costs. But in regard to a medication that can cure hepatitis C, a spokesman for the maker of one drug that costs about $1,000 per pill says that the price reflects the "value" of the drug. This is unconscionable. I have multiple sclerosis, and my drugs are costly. In my case, prices should have dropped once all research and development were recouped; instead, they have increased.
OPINION
December 27, 2006
Re "The myth of the big bad drug companies," Opinion, Dec. 22 Thank goodness someone has finally come to the defense of those victimized, abused and overregulated pharmaceutical goliaths. It makes sense that Richard Epstein, a consultant for the drug industry, should be the one to do it. I look forward to his next piece in which he'll explain how necessary it was for those giant companies to threaten to cut off supplies to Canadian pharmacies that sell their cheaper pills to American consumers.
OPINION
February 2, 2012
Mitt versus Newt Re "Florida win won't seal race," Feb. 1 Why is Mitt Romney smiling in your front-page photograph? In order to win Florida, he apparently had to lavishly outspend the thrice-married ex-House speaker whose second wife recently went public with new details of his adultery with the lady who succeeded her. Romney's may be a victory, but it's pyrrhic at best and does not speak well for his ability to prevail going...
BUSINESS
October 23, 1996 | From Times Wire Services
Major drug companies on Tuesday reported generally stronger-than-expected earnings, led by Eli Lilly, which showed continued gains in sales of the antidepressant Prozac. If last year's profit from Indianapolis-based Lilly's medical devices unit, which has been spun off, is excluded, the company's net income would have improved 33%. The company earned $415.6 million, or 76 cents per share, during the period ended Sept. 30, compared with $1.23 billion, or $2.14 share, during the 1995 quarter.
BUSINESS
January 29, 1997 | From Times Wire Services
Speedy government approval of new drugs, rising demand from HMOs and stable or increasing prices are all helping the pharmaceutical industry post double-digit profit increases. Of nine major U.S. drug makers that have reported fourth-quarter earnings this month, the average gain is 20%. Merck & Co., American Home Products Corp. and Warner-Lambert Co. all beat analyst predictions with their reports Tuesday. Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., boosted net earnings 22% to $1.
BUSINESS
January 15, 2001 | Reuters
A group of more than 40 drug companies is taking the South African government to court in a bid to stop the uncontrolled importation or manufacture of cut-price versions of patented AIDS drugs, officials said. The action, brought by the South African pharmaceutical manufacturers association on behalf of its members, will be heard in the Pretoria High Court on March 5, bringing to a head a three-year intellectual property dispute.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 26, 2005 | From Bloomberg News
California accused GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Laboratories and 37 other pharmaceutical companies of defrauding the state's $34-billion Medi-Cal health program for the poor by inflating prescription drug prices. In a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Boston, California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said the companies supplied inflated prices to industry publications used by Medi-Cal to reimburse healthcare providers for drug costs.
OPINION
August 16, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The growing death toll from prescription drug overdoses reflects the increased use of powerful painkillers and psychotherapeutic drugs, many of which are addictive and toxic when misused. Since The Times' Scott Glover and Lisa Girion began highlighting the problem late last year, state lawmakers have responded by trying to plug the information gaps that enable patients and doctors to abuse the system. Those efforts are slowly yielding results, although not to the extent that's needed.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2013 | David Lazarus
"Good news - you've been accepted!" the letter says. "Get up to 75% off when you use these free cards at your favorite pharmacy!" Enclosed are two plastic cards from National Prescription Savings Network that include personal "member identification numbers" and the pledge that "you will not be turned down for a pre-existing condition. " The cards are "pre-activated and ready to use immediately," the letter says. "They entitle you - and every member of your family - to discounts on every FDA-approved prescription medication sold at pharmacies everywhere in the United States.
OPINION
July 16, 2013 | By Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein
Your doctor hands you a prescription for a blood pressure drug. But is it the right one for you? You're searching for a new primary-care physician or a specialist. Is there a way you can know whether the doctor is more partial to expensive, brand-name drugs than his peers? Or say you've got to find a nursing home for a loved one. Wouldn't you want to know whether the staff doctor regularly prescribes drugs known to be risky for seniors or overuses psychiatric drugs to sedate residents?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - California has dropped its legal efforts to win approval of a three-drug method of lethal injection and will instead proposeĀ  single-drug executions, a prisons spokesman said Wednesday. At the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation decided against challenging a unanimous California appeals court ruling that blocked the three-drug method on the grounds it had not been properly vetted, said Jeffrey Callison, a corrections department spokesman.
NEWS
June 17, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The Supreme Court struck a blow for consumers Monday in a closely watched patent case, ruling that manufacturers of brand-name drugs don't have the right to buy off generic-drug makers by giving them a share of their monopoly profits. The 5-3 ruling was messier than the elegantly simple results advocated by the Federal Trade Commission on the one side and the pharmaceutical industry on the other. But it should deter drug companies from holding off competitors by gouging consumers.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A government attorney urged the Supreme Court to allow authorities to crack down on cash deals among prescription drug makers that delay the introduction of generic drugs and keep consumer prices high. The so-called pay-for-delay deals, which allow brand-name drug companies to keep cheaper generic drugs off the market for a time, violate antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Commission argued Monday. "It's unlawful to buy off the competition," said Malcolm Stewart, the deputy solicitor general who represented the FTC and the Justice Department.
BUSINESS
August 10, 2000 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A sell-off in shares of big drug companies dragged down blue-chip stocks Wednesday in the wake of a court ruling that could speed up the sale of a generic version of the antidepressant drug Prozac in the United States. The broader market, however, fared relatively well, though share prices in general pulled back from their highs. In commodity trading, crude oil futures surged in the wake of surprising data Tuesday showing that U.S. inventories are at 24-year lows.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 25, 2005 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer is expected to file suit today against dozens of pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of fraudulently inflating the cost of drugs billed to the state's Medi-Cal program by hundreds of millions of dollars. Lockyer's lawsuit would amend an earlier complaint filed in 2003 against Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. to include "dozens of major drug companies," said Teresa Schilling, a spokeswoman for the attorney general.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2013 | David Lazarus
Bob Toomajian worked for 16 years as Kaiser Permanente's drug purchasing manager for Southern California, giving him an insider's knowledge of how medications are priced before reaching consumers. When it comes to patented name-brand drugs, he told me, pharmaceutical companies try to get away with the highest prices possible. On the other hand, they're typically recovering millions of dollars in research and development costs, so those sky-high prices are perhaps understandable. It's a different story for generic drugs, Toomajian said.
OPINION
March 17, 2013
One of the most promising frontiers in healthcare is biologic medicines - complex substances derived from living cells that can help fight chronic diseases and cancers. To encourage investment in biologics, Congress in 2010 gave drug companies what amounts to a 12-year monopoly on the substances they developed. Now, supporters of biologics are pushing lawmakers in Sacramento and other state capitals to put new hurdles in the way of knock-off compounds, called "biosimilars. " The debate over biosimilars is grounded in doubts about their safety; none have yet been approved for use in the United States.
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