The FDA approves and endorses a new pattern of AIDS prevention

Federal health officials recommended Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that causes it.

If broadly followed, the advice could transform AIDS prevention in the United States — from reliance on condoms, which are effective but unpopular with many men, to a regimen that relies on an antiretroviral drug.

It would mean a 50-fold increase in the number of prescriptions for the drug, Truvada — to 500,000 a year from fewer than 10,000. The drug costs $13,000 a year, and most insurers already cover it…

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long been frustrated that the number of H.I.V. infections in the United States has barely changed in a decade, stubbornly holding at 50,000 a year, despite 30 years of official advice to rely on condoms to block transmission…

Nevertheless, advocates for the drug regimen were elated at Wednesday’s announcement.

RTFA for all the social pros and cons. Something the NY TIMES is all concerned about. Rightly, I suppose.

They also skipped quietly over the question of cost – although looking around on the Web it appears to me the generic made and sold in Asia costs about $800/year or less. Versus $13,000 to Gilead.

FDA pimps for Big Pharma — working harder than ever to stop Canadian prescriptions

For more than two years, Jean and Lee Edes have saved hundreds of dollars by ordering their prescription drugs from Canada…But when they called their Canadian pharmacy recently to check on an order, the Mount Dora couple learned the pills had been seized at the U.S. border.

They ended up paying for the medications twice: $276 for the Canadian package that was shipped but never arrived — and almost two times that amount to fill the prescriptions locally for drugs to treat osteoporosis, high cholesterol and a thyroid condition.

The frustrated couple complained to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is one sponsor of a bill in Congress that would make it legal to order prescriptions from Canada.

The Florida Democrat said the incident involving the Edeses’ pills is part of a growing crackdown on an illegal — yet widespread — practice that the Food and Drug Administration has mostly ignored in the past.

Nelson said the government’s tactics include confiscating drugs at the border, pressuring Visa and MasterCard to stop paying for the purchases, threatening legal action against insurance companies that cover Canadian drugs and, in one instance, having FDA agents board a bus carrying Minnesota seniors to inspect the medications they purchased across the border…

William Hubbard, FDA associate commissioner for policy and planning, said the agency has not stepped up actions against U.S. consumers…”We are not being aggressive in enforcing the laws,” Hubbard said…

Hubbard is a liar. His function is to police and threaten folks who resent the inflated prices paid for prescriptive drugs inside the protected American territory for Pharmaceutical corporations.

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Prostitution and drugs to be included in Italy’s GDP data

Italy’s gross domestic product is poised to rise with the addition of estimates for its narcotics, prostitution and contraband trades in its calculations.

Estimates of black market revenue will be included to comply with new European Union rules, Italy’s statistics agency Istat announced Thursday. Hidden economic activity, including prostitution, the drug trade, contraband tobacco products and illegally manufactured alcohol will be included, an Istat report said.

The information will be blended into gross domestic product (GDP) data beginning in 2015.

The new list of illegal revenue producers will be included so the European Union gets a better picture of member states’ true economies. An accurate depiction of a country’s economic status is useful in ascertaining if certain target ratios, such as debt-to-GDP, are being met.

Har. Imagine some of the other places we could use this kind of interpolation?

Congress? Non-profit charities with CEOs receiving 7-figure salaries? Twelve-step religion-du-jour?