The perilous path of biotech drugs
“The idea for a revolutionary new drug to treat allergies and asthma came to scientist Tse Wen Chang in a dream …
It would take 16 years and cost the Changs and their partners, Genentech and Novartis, hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the drug and win government approval. And it still may fall short of expectations.”
Feds to Biotech: No More Fibbing!
“A little-noted change in drug-approval procedures is a step toward avoiding more ImClone-style stock scandals “
Pfizer Wins One For Sane Patents
“What’s in a patent? For the drug industry, everything. And that’s why a court appeal that Pfizer won late Friday [Feb 13] is so important. At issue was whether a researcher must actually discover a drug in order to patent it. “
Hospital ventures into stem-cell reimplantation
“Physicians at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center recently launched an adult stem-cell reimplantation study to battle acute cardiac disease.
Project managers at the center, which is the teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine, say it is the first such program in the world.”
Cloning Creates Human Embryos
“Scientists in South Korea report that they have created human embryos through cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells, the universal cells that hold great promise for medical research.
Their goal, the scientists say, is not to clone humans but to advance understanding of the causes and treatment of disease. “
Doctors Call for Abbott Boycott on AIDS Price Hike
“A group of AIDS doctors on Tuesday called for a boycott of drugs made by Abbott Laboratories Inc. to protest the company’s recent price hike on an important HIV medicine.”
What makes this case particularly interesting is that the price hike is seen by many as a tactic to make using other company’s AIDS drugs more expensive, as they are typically prescribed with Abbott’s Novir, and compensate for profit shortfalls from the the lower than expected doses of Norvir that are being prescribed.
See also: Kaisernetwork, Natap.org.
FDA a Big Winner In ’05 Bush Budget
“One of the biggest winners in President Bush’s proposed 2005 budget is the Food and Drug Administration, which would receive an almost 9 percent increase in funding to expand a ‘food defense’ program, to respond to the mad cow disease crisis and to continue construction of its new campus in suburban Washington. “
Plants to uncover landmines
“A genetically engineered plant that detects landmines in soil by changing colour could prevent thousands of deaths and injuries by signalling where explosives are concealed.”
Drug may give cells a fresh start
“Chemists in California have found a synthetic molecule that seems to reprogramme adult cells to make them more like youthful ones. If the discovery pans out, it could provide an easy source of cells to regenerate tissues damaged by disease or injury.”
On thin ice: how the quest for a billion-dollar microbe is running out of control in Earth’s last wilderness
A new UN study implies that searching for exremeophiles in areas such as the Antarctic “is threatening to plunder the planet’s last wilderness.” The body of the report, however, seems to focus on intellectual property issues.
While are cases where pharmaceutical companies have patented indigenous products (eg. neem), there are no Antarctic natives! The aim of the report seems to be to establish guidelines to level the playing field, because “ethical companies felt they could not assert their intellectual property rights with government agencies.”
I’m not sure I really understand what any of this has to do with plundering the wilderness. Seems more like the sort of crisis-by-equivocation that the United Nations is famous for.