Serialisation of Individual Pills to Defeat Counterfeiters

At present, proposals to prevent falsified medicines entering supply networks has focussed on increasingly sophisticated packaging including tamper evident seals, electronic recording of unique serialised package identities, or the use of assays in the sampling of purported therapeutic drugs. An alternative solution, being developed by Dr Phil Harrison and colleagues, is to use sets of four and six machine-actuated pins to add micro-indentation codes on […]

Drugs with two lives – changing paradigms in drug development

From chance discoveries to seeking ‘magic bullets’ and now computer-aided technologies for drug discoveries. A number of drugs have been ‘rediscovered’ or ‘redeveloped’ for completely different conditions – they get ‘a second life’:

MacPherson, R. (2015). “The curious stories of drugs with two lives: a new paradigm in drug development.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 108(7): 255-258.

On the value of medicines – a NICE perspective

In our research we are concerned with the value of medicines. Michael D Rawlins’ account of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence’s early years and founding principles is inspiring. It reminds us that judging value of medicines in the NHS involves judgements about science and social value judgments to do with ‘distributive justice’, here expressed in the form of […]

UK Gov. struggles as both regulator and sponsor of the pharmaceutical industry

In this age of austerity the NHS drug budget has a clear opportunity cost to add to the total of ~£12bn expenditure.  But a profitable pharmaceutical industry can contribute to economic growth and export income.
The UK government is anxious to retain and enhance our domestic science base, incentivising investment from domestic and overseas companies by using a variety of […]

Medicines and assemblages

We argue that medicines are hybrids and assemblages.

Research in the placebo effect seems to support this view. In a recent article in NEJM, Kaptchuck and Miller explain:
“placebo effects are improvements in patients’ symptoms that are attributable to their participation in the therapeutic encounter, with its rituals, symbols, and interactions. … This diverse collection of signs and behaviors includes identifiable […]

Novartis on digitizing medicine in an aging world

McKinsey published an interview with Joseph Jimenez the CEO of Novartis on the theme of digitizing medicine (or is that medicines?).

Key takeaways ….biology and technology coming together as in Novartis’ work with Google on their smart contact lens … shifting from a transactional (e.g. pill as product) approach to an outcomes-based approach .

And, though it reads a bit garbled, […]

The materiality of medications matters – from a paper in Social Science and Medicine

“… the GP explained that these visits gave him a chance to familiarise himself with the ‘stuff’ he had ‘no opportunity to see during day-to-day work’ as he ‘just jots down [a name]’ when issuing a prescription (GP19). The opportunity to see and hold the physical objects in his hands, the GP explained, gives him a chance to regain […]

Don’t keep taking the tablets – from the Guardian, 25 May 2015

Does paracetamol do you more harm than good?

The US and UK are reviewing guidance on paracetamol (sales and prescribing) based on recent research.

““Paracetamol can actually be a very dangerous drug,” says Dr John Dickson, who retired from general practice in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, last year. “It can cause kidney and liver problems, and causes as much gastrointestinal bleeding as […]

‘drugs just stopped scheduling and fell off the drug chart’

There is something material in this description of the effects of a digital bug in the ePrescribing system that was piloted at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2004:

‘drugs just stopped scheduling and fell off the drug chart’

As if they physically fell and actively stopped appearing on time…

The full story on the eHealth Insider (recently renamed Digital […]

Battles for market control in the field of generics – news from The Economist

“This week Mylan, based in the Netherlands, rejected a $40 billion bid from Teva, of Israel, arguing that it “lacks industrial logic”. To be on the safe side it has enacted a poison-pill defence against hostile takeover. Combining the world’s largest generic-drug maker, Teva, with the third-largest, Mylan, would create a company with around $30 billion in annual revenues […]