US Drug Manufacturing Is a Mess

• Farah Stockman, writing in her NYT opinion piece “How Much Can You Trust That Generic Drug You’re Taking?” takes a hard look at how our national drug manufacturing capability has dramatically eroded, and how dependent we now are on offshore manufacturers with sometimes dubious quality controls.  This is an important topic, and definitely worth a read.  An excerpt that should concern you:

“A recent study based on data from Clarivate, an analytics firm cited in the White House report, was even more alarming. It found that, of the top 100 generic medicines that Americans consume, 83 had no U.S. source of active pharmaceutical ingredients. No American source existed for 97 percent of the most commonly prescribed antivirals and 92 percent of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

2021-09-19T08:57:14-05:00September 19th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

COVID Vaccination Reduces Transmission to Family Members

Research correspondence e-published on September 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, looking at rates of COVID infections in 194,362 household members of 144,525 health care workers, pre and post vaccination of the workers:

“We provide empirical evidence suggesting that vaccination may reduce transmission by showing that vaccination of health care workers is associated with a decrease in documented cases of Covid-19 among members of their households”

“Relative to the period before each health care worker was vaccinated, the hazard ratio for a household member to become infected was 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 0.78) for the period beginning 14 days after the first dose and 0.46 (95% CI, 0.30 to 0.70) for the period beginning 14 days after the second dose”

Shah A, Gribben, C, Bishop J et al. Effect of Vaccination on Transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Vaccination – it’s NOT just to protect you, but to protect others – including your family.

2021-09-18T16:17:55-05:00September 18th, 2021|Home, Musings|

How many lives could have been saved…

An epidemiologist and data computer scientist model how many lives might have been saved in the US since July if all states vaccinated their populations as well as our best state (Vermont). Emma Pierson, Jaline Gerardin and The Lives Lost to Undervaccination, in Charts.”  They estimate that number is at least 16,000. 

Someone needs to let Republican governors know that stemming the Delta spike would be a lot better for the economy than their specious railing against vaccine and mask mandates.

2021-09-14T08:43:01-05:00September 14th, 2021|Home, Musings|

Linda Greenhouse expounds on the incursion of religion into Supreme Court opinions

• I always find anything done by Linda Greenhouse, who writes in the NYT on the Supreme Court and the law, worthwhile reading.  Her latest opinion piece, “God Has No Place in Supreme Court Opinions“, is especially worth reading (unsurprisingly, it reflects my own sentiments on the matter). An excerpt:

“Religion is American society’s last taboo. We can talk about sexual identity, gender nonconformity, all manner of topics once considered too intimate for open discussion. But we have yet to find deft and effective ways to question the role of religion in a public official’s political or judicial agenda without opening ourselves to accusations of being anti-religious.”

2021-09-14T08:31:19-05:00September 11th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Ezra Klein speaks wisely on the Afganistan withdrawal

• Just an excellent column by Ezra Klein, writing on the perils of our collective national hubris in his NYT column “Let’s Not Pretend That the Way We Withdrew From Afghanistan Was the Problem“; an excerpt:

“It is callous to suggest that the only suffering we bear responsibility for is the suffering inflicted by our withdrawal. Our wars and drone strikes and tactical raids and the resulting geopolitical chaos directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis.

This is the deep lacuna in America’s foreign policy conversation: The American foreign policy establishment obsesses over the harms caused by our absence or withdrawal. But there’s no similar culpability for the harms we commit or that our presence creates. We are much quicker to blame ourselves for what we don’t do than what we do.”

Food for thought.

2021-08-26T10:16:42-05:00August 26th, 2021|HomeRecommended|

Our byzantine hospital health care payment system

• The NYT has a good discussion (with examples) of the byzantine intricacies of US hospital billing practices.  Hospital data seems deliberately obscured by interested parties (typically both hospitals and insurers).  The money being made by third parties is often spent lobbying to prevent health care reform, especially any form of the feared universal single party health insurance. Read “Hospitals and Insurers Didn’t Want You to See These Prices.  Here’s Why.” by Sarah Kliff and Josh Katz.

2021-08-22T13:22:02-05:00August 22nd, 2021|HomeRecommended|

The Quiet Rage of the Responsible

• Paul Krugman has it right in his NYT opinion piece “The Quiet Rage of the Responsible.”  An excerpt:

“So how do you feel about anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers? I’m angry about their antics, even though I’m able to work from home and don’t have school-age children. And I suspect that many Americans share that anger.

The question is whether this entirely justified anger — call it the rage of the responsible — will have a political impact, whether leaders will stand up for the interests of Americans who are trying to do the right thing but whose lives are being disrupted and endangered by those who aren’t.”

2021-08-20T14:08:23-05:00August 20th, 2021|HomeRecommended|
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