The PrEP Diaries: A safe(r) sex memoir

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The PrEP Diaries: A Safe(r) Sex Memoir, now available from Lethe Press. The book chronicles the before-and-after of using Truvada PrEP, a recent breakthrough in HIV prevention that has prompted a new sexual revolution--except that most individuals have no idea it exists. Through sex positivity, explicit openness, and fun, I hope to make many more people aware that PrEP is an option for them in not just preventing HIV but having a better, braver sex life.

Insulin prices spike by 1123%, sending parents to the black market to keep their kids alive

Gabriella Corley is a 9 year old with Type I diabetes who's allergic to the insulin covered by her low-income parents' healthcare; to live, she must take Sanofi's proprietary Apidra brand insulin, which has increased in price by 1,123% since 1996, and which is only covered to 25% by her insurer's Pharmacy Benefit Manager, CVS. Read the rest

Dollar-a-dose, off-patent drug being marketed in the US for $89,000 as a muscular dystrophy treatment

Deflazacort, a steroid, can be purchased online from non-US sources for $1.00, but now it's being marketed by Illinois's Marathon Pharmaceuticals for $89,000 as Emflaza, to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which predominantly affects men in their 20s. Read the rest

Senate Democrats boycott Trump cabinet confirmation hearings

After a wrangle on tactics that pitted the party establishment -- who feared that filibusters would provoke procedural reforms that allowed for a 51-Senator vote to overrule a filibuster, making future Trump appointments easier -- against party activists who want Senate and Congressional Democrats to stall, refuse and resist trumpism by every means necessary (perhaps banking on early impeachment, before a rule-change could do much damage), the Senate Democratic caucus has announced that it will boycott the confirmation hearings for Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary. Read the rest

CVS is making a generic epipen: $110/2 pens

The price of Epipens -- purchased annually by people with severe allergies and stocked in the first-aid cabinets of schools, businesses, and ambulances -- more than quintupled in a decade, thanks to the tactics of Mylan CEO Heather Bresch (daughter of Senator Joe Manchin [D-WV]), who took home a 671% raise for her work, which raised this lifesaving technology's pricetag beyond the reach of many people, who turned to low-cost DIY alternatives. Read the rest

One year 40% HIV infection dropoff in London attributed to grey-market generic pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs

Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs like Truvada before having unprotected sex with HIV+ people can significantly reduce the risk of infection (the drugs can also be taken after potential exposure); though this use is approved in England, the NHS does not yet cover Truveda prescriptions, so people who wish to take the drug are expected to pay £400/month. Read the rest

Children synthesize $2 version of Martin Shkreli's $750 malaria drug

The smirking, villainous pharma-hedge-douche-bro Martin Shkreli (previously) bought the rights to the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim -- used to treat malaria, a disease that disproportionately affects the poorest people in the world -- and jacked the price from $13.50/dose to $750/dose. Read the rest

Everything Belongs to the Future: a tale of pharmadystopian, immortal gerontocrats

Laurie Penny's first science fiction book, Everything Belongs to the Future, is available to the public as of today: if you've followed her work, you're probably expecting something scathing, feminist, woke, and smart as hell, and you won't be disappointed -- but you're going to get a lot more, besides.

Johnson & Johnson says people with diabetes don't need to worry about potentially lethal wireless attacks on insulin pumps

Rapid7 security researcher Jay Radcliffe (previously) has Type I diabetes, and has taken a personal interest in rooting out vulnerabilities in the networked, wireless-equipped blood-sugar monitors and insulin-pumps marketed to people with diabetes, repeatedly discovering potentially lethal defects in these devices. Read the rest

Timelapse of pills dissolving: "decaying clowns"

Kottke nailed it when he said that the timelapse video of these colorful pills dissolving looks like "decaying clowns." Read the rest

Epipens have more than quintupled in price since 2004

Epipens -- self-injection sticks carried by people with deadly allergies, which have to be replaced twice a year -- were developed by NASA at taxpayer expense, were patented by a government scientist who receives no royalties, require no marketing, and have gone from as little as $60 each to up to $606 in a few short years (during which time the company has switched to selling them exclusively in two-packs). Read the rest

Tolkien elf or prescription drug name?

I scored badly enough on this that I'm thinking that my fallback career will be raiding The Silmarillion for Elvish names to sell to Big Pharma. Read the rest

US trade rep threatens Colombia's peace process over legal plan to offer cheap leukemia meds

Colombia wants to produce Novartis's leukemia drug imatinib under a compulsory license, something it is allowed to do under its trade agreement with the USA, to bring the price down from $15,161/year (double the annual average income) to prices like those charged in India ($803/year). Read the rest

How a pharma company made billions off mass murder by faking the science on Oxycontin

When Purdue Pharma's patent on the MS Contin was close to expiry, the Sackler family who owned the company spent millions trying to find a product that could replace the profits they'd lose from generic competition on MS Contin: the result was Oxycontin, a drug that went on to kill Americans at epidemic scale. Read the rest

This man's medication cost jumped from $400 a month to $40,000 a month

Neven Mrgan takes a prescription drug called Cuprimine. Without it, he would slowly die from liver disease. Unfortunately, the price of Cuprimine has gone from $400-$1,700/month to $44,000/month. Curprimine is made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, run by billionaire J. Michael Pearson. He's stepping down, not because he jacked up the price of Cuprimine and other medications, but because the company's misstated earnings hurt its stock value.

Read the rest

Doctors who get pharma money prescribe brand-name drugs instead of generics

It's an open secret that the pharmaceutical industry spends billions marketing to doctors, deliberately misleading them about their products, raking in record profits that they shift into offshore tax-havens through legally questionable means, while lobbying for global treaties that benefit them at the expense of the sick. Read the rest

Profile of James Love, "Big Pharma's worst nightmare"

Jamie Love is one of the founders of Knowledge Ecology International (formerly the Consumer Project on Technology), a super-effective activist NGO that helped to establish low-cost, global access to HIV/AIDS drugs. Read the rest

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