Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drug Channels News Roundup: June 2012

Summer is just around the corner. Time to clean the barbecue, buy a new bathing suit, and pack the kids for camp. In the meantime, enjoy my latest selection of noteworthy news stories from the Drug Channels universe.

In this issue:
  • Rethinking health care jobs—More is not better?
  • Trust No One—The FDA’s useful primer on supply chain vulnerabilities
  • Pharmacist T-1000—Meet your new robot overlords
Plus, Paula Deen sponsors an important .05k walk for diabetes research. You go, girl!

The Health Care Jobs Fallacy
Per Health Care and the Coming U.S. Fiscal Disaster, current trends suggest that health care spending could sink our country. This worthwhile New England Journal of Medicine article explains a sensible but oft-forgotten point: “Salaries for health care jobs are not manufactured out of thin air — they are produced by someone paying higher taxes, a patient paying more for health care, or an employee taking home lower wages because higher health insurance premiums are deducted from his or her paycheck.” Put another way, one person’s cost is another person’s revenue. Sobering news for anyone who thinks cost control will be easy.

FDA Efforts: Counterfeit Drugs
The FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein delivered this powerpoint deck at March’s APhA meeting. It’s a concise summary of drug supply chain vulnerabilities and the FDA’s responses. Kudos to Dr. Bernstein for helping the FDA improve its understanding of drug channels. As an example, the slide below points out the typical weak points that a manufacturer should understand. Just think back to the FDA’s misguided 2004 counterfeit drug recommendations, which inflated a technology hype bubble when the FDA prematurely endorsed (but didn’t mandate) RFID as the magic bullet against counterfeits.

Meet ROBOT-Rx, The Robot Pharmacist Doling Out 350 Million Doses Per Year
Singularity Hub, a breathless techno-futurist website, has a fascinating profile of McKesson Automation’s ROBOT-Rx. (McKesson acquired the technology from a start-up called Cyberdyne Systems.) According to the article, one-third of medium and large U.S. hospital pharmacies are already using ROBOT-Rx to fill 350 million medication doses annually. Apparently, the machines are more accurate than pharmacists and never complain. Enjoy this blatantly-promotional, public-access quality video about our future robot overlords. Paging Skynet!

Paula Deen Sponsors .05K Walk For Diabetes Research
Paula, Deen, spokeschef for Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes in a New Light campaign, is behind a new charity walk to support diabetes research. The Onion, America’s favorite news source, reveals new details about her efforts, including the course map reproduced below. We’re proud of you, Paula!


  1. All Pittsburgher's love a good Rick Seaback video. 

  2. AnonymousJune 14, 2012

    LOVE the Paula Deen story! I have the butter tingles!