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Emptying the drawer of the editorial mind
October 2008
by Chris Anderson  |  Email the author

Every now and then, I find it is helpful to simply clear my head of random thoughts that are jangling around inside my head that have been suggested by the work I do or simply what I see in my everyday life.

As the election rolls around this year, it is apparent of the many things that separate the major candidates, there is very little either Obama or McCain disagree about that will have any kind of profound affect on the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Stephen Albainy-Jenei provides some insight about what may happen in the generic biologics area on the following page. And last month, Washington-based journalist Stephen Barlas ran down (in the same space) what lay ahead for industry in 2009 in terms of generics, reimportation of medicines, Medicare Part D and the like.

Regardless of the candidates' positions, I think it is safe to say the fresh air either will deliver is a lifting of the ban on NIH's funding of stem cell research. It has been eight too-difficult years under the Bush administration in this regard and it is time for many U.S.-based researchers to play catch-up with their colleagues overseas.

I think I've finally had it with direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals with the usual request that I should "ask my doctor" if a particular treatment is right for me. What finally pushed me over the edge was a piece of mail I received the other day offering to help me understand more about ADHD.

Seems that somewhere out there a marketing person from this unnamed pharmaceutical company found a list of names of parents of little boys who are in elementary school. Inside this mailer was a picture of a boy, not unlike my little third-grader, with a pen raised and obviously distracted from the schoolbook in front of him.

The message to me, at least, was clear: If little Johnny is having some difficulties in school, lets see if we have some drugs for him.

This ad angered me on many levels. First, ADHD is not an easy condition to diagnose and usually requires multiple visits and interviews to make a determination. Second, because it is so hard to diagnose, there is the widely accepted notion that ADHD drugs are over-prescribed.

To my mind, if this company really wanted to do some good for the kids of America, it could still target the parents, but instead provide them with information about how a proper diet with less processed sugar, salt, fat and other dietary no-nos can be the best medicine your child could ever have.

Once these kids are eating well, if they are still having attention problems, then it could be time for an evaluation.

Simplistic? Maybe. But it's my feeling that we should be trying to find ways to give our kids less medication as opposed to more. DDN



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