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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday


While the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education does not ban religious promotions at its 14 universities, a civil liberties advocate called it "discriminatory," and officials at other universities said they would not offer discounts to religious groups.

Cal U offered the discount at yesterday's matchup of its women's and men's basketball teams against Millersville University as part of "Faith and Family Night."

With healthcare costs continuing to rise, generic drugs are looking more attractive than ever. The prospect of getting the same drug at a lower cost is tempting to anyone with a large drug bill — patient or insurer alike. The savings are massive: Lipitor lost patent protection last month — it was a $10 billion drug, and the generic versions are priced at a fraction of the original cost. In 2012, Plavix and Seroquel, two other blockbusters, will lose patent protection too — that’s another $10 billion in drug costs that will shrink. This “patent cliff” will shrivel about $255 billion in worldwide patented drug sales over the next five years. If you’re taking a prescription drug and not already on a generic, you probably will be soon. And depending on where you live, you may be automatically switched to a generic version of your prescription drug as soon as it’s available.



Have you seen this video of a crow using a jar lid to go sledding?

Don't know how I feel about the Cal U thing - in terms of discrimination. It's disenheartening, to be sure, and if they offered discounts to other groups...sigh. But it's true that teams ain't never havin an atheist night - just won't happen.

This article was written by a fine athlete and discusses her having to "come out" as an atheist. The article makes me both proud and sad. Proud - it's well written and takes the high road in each instance. Sad - I had no idea that religion was being pushed so much in sports in general and at Drake in particular. Drake isn't Creighton, Luther, or St. Olaf, so wtf? In any case, it's a worthwhile read.

re: generic drugs

My informal survey of everyone I know who takes thyroid medicine (including myself), say that the generic Levothyroxine is not as effective as brand name Synthroid. EVERYONE says that. We are forced to the generic by unsustainable copay punishments if we demand a brand name. And, of course, are branded as irrational cuz everyone know that generic means 'equivalent but cheaper'. Yea right. So, I was relieved to see in your referenced article, that indeed:

"Levothyroxine as an API is unstable, and the FDA recently tightened manufacturing standards for all versions. There are no well-documented cases of therapeutic inequivalence between brands deemed to be bioequivalent. Most health professionals still recommend using a consistent brand, however."

knew it all along.

My informal survey of everyone I know who takes thyroid medicine (including myself), say that the generic Levothyroxine is not as effective as brand name Synthroid.

And what evidence do you offer for that view?

There are no well-documented cases of therapeutic inequivalence between brands deemed to be bioequivalent.

The question is why do health professionals recommend using a consistent brand, what evidence to they offer to support that view.

What is it that you knew all along, that humans are not always rational, and make decisions based on feelings and hunches rather than on objective evidence?

Perhaps it is a good idea to be consistent in which brand you use, "just in case," but I'd rather make my decisions based on good evidence, not anecdotal statements, even if they do come from those I love and who love and care about me.

Wow, a google ad for Liberty University on OGM - it can't get much worse than that.

Just because there isn't a 'study' proving something doesn't mean Betty's experience is psychosomatic. I too, have had first hand experience at being switched to a generic that wasn't as effective. As a child, the brand name drug Theodur went off patent, and our insurance demanded we switch to the generic theophyline. My asthmatic episodes went through the roof, and subsequent increases in dose (so much the doctor ordered blood tests to make sure I wasn't cheeking the meds) only helped moderately. Finally, my parents opted to pay out of pocket for the brand name, and my asthma returned to baseline.

I always opt for the generic whenever possible (except hydrocortizone and guaffinacin), and am usually pleased both with the price, and the results, but I wouldn't discount an individual's personal experience out of hand.

Had to sign in through the forum.

There is nothing wrong with anecdotal evidence if it is later confirmed. It's those first reports that lead to further investigation and sometimes confirmation, but humans are extremely fooling themselves. Having just read Kahnemann's book Thinking, Fast and Slow perhaps I'm overly sensitive to the problems. Your experience with theophyline may have been real or your increase in attacks may have just been regression to the mean.

my evidence that neither I nor my superstitious cohort thyroid users are crazy, is the statement in your article that ""Levothyroxine as an API is unstable, and the FDA recently tightened manufacturing standards for all versions."

Which, FINALLY, explains why we have trouble with it. The few other generic meds I've taken appear to not have this problem of prescription batches seemingly so different in efficacy. I think perhaps it's because when it comes to hormones, it takes so very little to have such a huge effect, that "close enough to the same thing" just isn't. So, I'm pretty glad that the FDA is finally doing something about it. I used to think with some batches, that somebody was just buying then reselling bogus blackmarket make believes.

The instability may or may not have had any effect on the efficacy of the product, in fact further on they say there was no documentation of that happening. It is certainly possible that it could have occurred, but that's not the same as claiming that was the cause. I was looking for something that wasn't subjective, I felt better or I felt worse since that could result from any number of different causes. What I was looking for was did you take the Levothyroxine and then the doctor tested your T4 levels or whatever it is they test and the product failed to deliver, that would at least be something measurable and not just a subjective evaluation. Now that they have tightened manufacturing standards it should no longer be a problem if it ever was, so there should be no reason to pay the extra for nothing. Of course folks get caught up with their brand loyalty and their subjective evaluations and spend more money on lots of different things. I'm not immune, and perhaps if you have the money to spare buying the name brand drug is a reasonable choice, though even then there is no guarantee that there manufacturing standards are any better.

Re: Bird bites cat.

Was the bird really being all naughty as the writer surmises? Or, did the bird think the two cats wanted to be together but the one was not knowing how to cross the gap so bird tried to help - first by demonstrating, then by pushing. Bird was as appalled as the other viewers when the two cats then went at it. Maybe this was actually a simple case of inter-species miscommunication. It's been known to happen. Sadly the video clip ends before we know for sure that upon the cats' roll off the roof, the Bird then sauntered off saying (sotto voice) "Heh heh."

re: birds learning to share

saw the oddest thing the other day, two of the chickens were standing next to each other, one was grooming the other - picking away at head lice while the first leaned her head over to make it convenient. I'd thought that a strictly mammalian thing.

I prefer your explanation.


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