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Small molecule offers hope for cancer treatment
CTV.CA ^ | 1/17/06 | Staff

Posted on 01/17/2007 6:33:23 AM PST by Michael_Michaelangelo

A small, non-toxic molecule may soon be available as an inexpensive treatment for many forms of cancer, including lung, breast and brain tumours, say University of Alberta researchers.

But there's a catch: the drug isn't patented, and pharmaceutical companies may not be interested in funding further research if the treatment won't make them a profit.

In findings that "astounded" the researchers, the molecule known as DCA was shown to shrink lung, breast and brain tumours in both animal and human tissue experiments.

"You typically get this eureka type of feeling. It's the most exciting thing a scientist can get," Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the University of Alberta department of medicine and a key study author, told CTV News.

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Cell.

The molecule appears to repair the damage that cancer cells cause to mitochondria, the units that convert food into energy.

"Cancer cells actively suppress their mitochondria, which alters their metabolism, and this appears to offer cancer cells a significant advantage in growth compared to normal cells, as well as protection from many standard chemotherapies," Michelakis said in a written statement.

As mitochondria regulate cell death, cancer cells can resist being killed off.

For years, DCA -- or dichloroacetate -- has been used to treat children with inborn errors of metabolism due to mitochondrial diseases.

Until recently, researchers believed damage to mitochondria in cancer cells was permanent.

But Michelakis questioned this theory and began testing DCA, which activates a critical enzyme, as a way to "revive" cancer-affected mitochondria.

He says one of the most exciting things about this compound is that it might be able to treat many different forms of cancer because they all suppress mitochondrial function.

Therefore, DCA can primarily affect the cancer cells without affecting the normal ones.

Researchers also say DCA may prove to be effective because it is a small compound, thus easily absorbed in the body.

After oral intake, it can reach areas in the body that other drugs cannot, making it possible to treat cancer of the brain, for example.

In addition, because DCA has been used in both healthy people and ailing patients with mitochondrial diseases, researchers know it is a relatively non-toxic molecule that can be immediately tested in patients with cancer.

The compound, which is sold both as powder and as a liquid, is widely available at chemistry stores.

But because it's not patented or owned by any drug firm, it would be an inexpensive drug to administer. And researchers may have a difficult time finding money for further research.

Dr. Dario Altieri, of the University of Massachusetts, said the drug is exactly what doctors need because it could limit side-effects for patients. But there are "market considerations" that drug companies would have to take into account.

Michelakis remains hopeful he will be able to secure funding for further research.

"We hope we can attract the interest of universities here in Canada and in the United States," said Michelakis.

With a report from CTV's Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St. Philip


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cancer; cures; dca; therapies
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1 posted on 01/17/2007 6:33:24 AM PST by Michael_Michaelangelo
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo

bump


2 posted on 01/17/2007 6:35:28 AM PST by alecqss
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo

I'm hopeful, but skeptical.............


3 posted on 01/17/2007 6:36:48 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo
But because it's not patented or owned by any drug firm, it would be an inexpensive drug to administer.

It'll never get off the ground because course drug companies want to own a drug so they can charge the moon for it.

4 posted on 01/17/2007 6:43:46 AM PST by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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bump


5 posted on 01/17/2007 6:47:50 AM PST by true_blue_texican (...against all enemies, foreign and domestic...)
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To: alecqss

Governments at various levels seem to be bending over backwards to fund embryonic stem cell research despite little evidence of utility.

I don't advocate government funding of research, but if its going to happen, this cancer treatment seems like a better use for it.


6 posted on 01/17/2007 6:50:56 AM PST by CertainInalienableRights
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To: mtbopfuyn
It'll never get off the ground because course drug companies want to own a drug so they can charge the moon for it.

This seems to me (full disclosure: retired former R&D scientist in a large proprietary pharmaceutical company) a great opportunity for one or more "generic" drug companies to show their worth since they supposedly thrive on selling off-patent drugs.

7 posted on 01/17/2007 6:53:26 AM PST by FairWitness
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo

This is the sort of research foundations should be funding. What billionaire wouldn't want the publicity of helping to fund a cheap treatment for cancer?


8 posted on 01/17/2007 6:55:16 AM PST by Our man in washington (The Democratic party is an alliance of narcissists and parasites.)
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To: mtbopfuyn

They will alter the chemical slightly, claiming it increases potency or solubility, patent it and then make billions. Assuming, of course, there is something to this.

A good example: Prilosec=Omeprazole, Merek was making 11 million/day on it when the patent was to expire. They brought out Nexium=Esomeprazole and claimed it to be better. Omeprazole was the first in the class, little was known about it. Originally it was approved for 20mg/day, no more than 6 weeks. It was learned to be realatively safe over time. Nexium has a recommended dose of 40mg/day, it should work better. Trust me, drug companies know how to work the system.


9 posted on 01/17/2007 7:00:18 AM PST by millerph
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To: neverdem

possible ping


10 posted on 01/17/2007 7:03:32 AM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/Ron_Paul_2008.htm)
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To: mtbopfuyn

Do you have any idea how expensive it is to take a drug from the labratory to the market? Would you invest in any project or financial instrument if you were offered no return?


11 posted on 01/17/2007 7:14:06 AM PST by monocle
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To: Our man in washington
We have a federal institution called the NIH. They fund billions in research. Regrettably, the research they fund is almost all basic research and not clinical trials. Clinical trails are expensive to design and administer and can take a decade to complete to get a drug on the market. So don't expect this to ever be approved by the FDA (Forcibly Deny Access).

I take a fat soluble form of Thiamine (Benfotiamine) that is off patent. It was shown to help protect against damage that diabetics experience in their eye, nerves and kidneys. It will never go through a clinical trial and is hard to find (thank goodness for the web). Dosing is a problem but the form is is considered relatively safe and nontoxic.

The FDA and the medical profession should be ashamed in the way that they refuse sick individuals right to experiment on themselves. ALL DRUGS should be over the counter. The only role the FDA should have is a stamp of approval. One should not have to obtain a prescription to buy life saving medicine. End of rant...
12 posted on 01/17/2007 7:16:38 AM PST by Investment Biker
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To: mtbopfuyn

I would not be so skeptical. Drug companies could use it in an "additive" formulation. DCA plus X plus Y and patent.


13 posted on 01/17/2007 7:16:52 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: mtbopfuyn

Sorry, chemicals already being used for treatments, so there is clearly already some sort of medical market for it....

Market or no, you get cancer, and you know about this chemical, you are going to take it, whether Bayer or Bristol or whoever wants to sell it to you or not.


14 posted on 01/17/2007 7:24:26 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: mtbopfuyn

Sorry, chemicals already being used for treatments, so there is clearly already some sort of medical market for it....

Market or no, you get cancer, and you know about this chemical, you are going to take it, whether Bayer or Bristol or whoever wants to sell it to you or not.


15 posted on 01/17/2007 7:24:30 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Investment Biker

Ditto to rant!

"Prescriptions" should be recommndations, and you should not need them. Many of our prescription drugs are otc (over-the-counter) in Canada and part of Europe. Don't see their populations dropping like flies.


16 posted on 01/17/2007 7:24:31 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: monocle

Assuming a 15% cost of capital it cost approximately $1/2 billion. see http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/econ/howmuch.html


17 posted on 01/17/2007 7:26:50 AM PST by Investment Biker
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To: Investment Biker

The figure you cite is somewhat on the low side, but my response was based on the uninformed opinion to someone who should be posting at the Democratic Underground.


18 posted on 01/17/2007 7:33:12 AM PST by monocle
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To: From many - one.

I'm not sure I'd go that far because of the problem of addiction. Addiction can be considered a market failure. The drug causes people to make a different choice than they otherwise would have made.

When I was recovering from surgery last year, I was glad to have a physician who managed my pain medication. He first gave me strong stuff. He then gave me prescriptions for weaker and weaker stuff. I realized how easy it would have been to get hooked if my physician wasn't being careful. Given how many people get addicted to painkillers now, how many more would get addicted if we didn't have any controls?

The solution is not to get rid of the prescription system, but to make it a lot more flexible. People should be able to make their own choices about risk versus reward. If people want to get something that hasn't gone through all phases of testing, they should be allowed to take that chance.


19 posted on 01/17/2007 7:37:23 AM PST by Our man in washington (The Democratic party is an alliance of narcissists and parasites.)
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To: Our man in washington

Whenever there is a discussion of legalizing medication for over the counter there is always someone that brings up narcotics. My response is.. Keep these illegal and requiring a prescription. Now can we get on with legalizing the rest as OTC?


20 posted on 01/17/2007 7:40:58 AM PST by Investment Biker
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To: From many - one.
"Prescriptions" should be recommndations, and you should not need them. Many of our prescription drugs are otc (over-the-counter) in Canada and part of Europe. Don't see their populations dropping like flies.

When my wife got here (originally from Russia) she was amazed at how many drugs were restricted that were over the counter for her back home.

21 posted on 01/17/2007 7:46:01 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Judges' orders cannot stop determined criminals. Firearms and the WILL to use them can.)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo; Willie Green; Wolfie; ex-snook; Jhoffa_; FITZ; arete; FreedomPoster; ...
A small, non-toxic molecule may soon be available as an inexpensive treatment for many forms of cancer, including lung, breast and brain tumours, say University of Alberta researchers.

But there's a catch: the drug isn't patented, and pharmaceutical companies may not be interested in funding further research if the treatment won't make them a profit.

"Further research"? Marketing research, how to make this drug VERY EXPENSIVE? Why they did not DISCOVER it in the the first place?

22 posted on 01/17/2007 7:46:38 AM PST by A. Pole (Working three jobs - uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic, oooh yeah, yeah, hehe.)
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To: Our man in washington
Given how many people get addicted to painkillers now, how many more would get addicted if we didn't have any controls?

So what? It's a painkiller not a hallucinogenic. REstricted everyone's rights for the benefit of the stupid does not strike me as a well thought out law.

23 posted on 01/17/2007 7:47:08 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Judges' orders cannot stop determined criminals. Firearms and the WILL to use them can.)
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To: CertainInalienableRights
I don't advocate government funding of research

Do you think that science is possible without basic research not based on profit?

Free Market ideology is as dangerous to the science as Political Correctness is.

24 posted on 01/17/2007 7:51:42 AM PST by A. Pole (Working three jobs - uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic, oooh yeah, yeah, hehe.)
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To: mtbopfuyn
It'll never get off the ground because course drug companies want to own a drug so they can charge the moon for it.

Or, since it's a readily available drug, someone can donate $1 billion to get it through the FDA's approval process so doctors can write prescriptions from chemical supply stores. /sarcasm

25 posted on 01/17/2007 7:56:28 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Our man in washington

Yeah. Morphine is GOOD. I can see how one could very easily become addicted to it. Something I didn't quite 'get' before I needed it (exploded pancreas).


26 posted on 01/17/2007 8:00:20 AM PST by null and void (Propaganda doesn't have to make sense. Hell, it often works better if it doesn't.)
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To: Centurion2000

Ditto!


27 posted on 01/17/2007 8:00:50 AM PST by Investment Biker
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To: A. Pole
Do you think that science is possible without basic research not based on profit?

Research not based on profit does not infer research based on government. The concept of a free market does not preclude the existance of philanthropy. It does not have to be forced at the point of a government gun.
28 posted on 01/17/2007 8:01:26 AM PST by CertainInalienableRights
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To: millerph
Nexium has a recommended dose of 40mg/day, it should work better. Trust me, drug companies know how to work the system.

As someone who suffered from acid reflux let me be the first to say that I'm very happy the drug companies know how to work the system. Nexium not only controls my reflux better than Prilosec, it also repaired the significant amount of damage done to my throat by the reflux. I'm no longer a candidate for throat cancer thanks to this treatment. You criticize them for attempting to protect patents for drugs that cost them $800 million to develop and that the FDA slow plays. However, you and your children better hope the drug industry remains as profitable as possible. The U.S. is the last country where they can still make the money necessary to fund their massive R&D expenditures. Ninety percent of all new drugs are discovered in the U.S. There's a very good reason for that.

29 posted on 01/17/2007 8:06:01 AM PST by Mase (Save me from the people who would save me from myself!)
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To: Mase
Ninety percent of all new drugs are discovered in the U.S.

Two questions:

Do you have a source for this "ninety percent" claim?

How much of the discoveries in US involved government funding?

30 posted on 01/17/2007 8:08:36 AM PST by A. Pole (Rubicon: the border between Republic and Empire(www.unrv.com/fall-republic/crossing-the-rubicon.php))
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo
There's a real need to adjust our drug development system, in view of the fact that it typically costs HALF A BILLION to create and market a drug. Pharmaceutical companies are trying hard to reduce the cost of development, but how about increasing patent duration, at least for some drugs? Whatever measures are taken need to make them more available to those who need them AND lower the bar for development. It is a major problem that many cheap drugs with a lot of potential have become orphan drugs because nobody wants to spend half a billion for little or no return on the investment. Orphan drugs include a CHEAP cure for juvenile diabetes. (Search Dr. Denise Faustman.)
31 posted on 01/17/2007 8:16:14 AM PST by Missouri gal
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To: A. Pole
Free Market ideology is as dangerous to the science as Political Correctness is.

Then please tell us about all the new drugs those countries without free markets are producing? Then tell us why nine out of ten of all new drugs are discovered in the U.S.

Only a socialist like you would argue that it's the drug companies responsibility to the state to create innovative therapies. The profit motive is insidious to people like you because you have no clue as to what drives innovation. I'm sure we can count on Poland, or any other nanny state for that matter, to supply us with new classes of antibiotics and effective cancer therapies. Yeah, right.

Ayn Rand, like her or not, had people like you pegged a long time ago when she said:


32 posted on 01/17/2007 8:19:14 AM PST by Mase (Save me from the people who would save me from myself!)
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To: A. Pole

Yep.

Example: The standard model of particle physics.


33 posted on 01/17/2007 8:20:02 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo

THANK you for posting this article..


34 posted on 01/17/2007 8:23:58 AM PST by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo
Hmmmmmmm, I wonder if DCA can keep mitochondria alive in the presence of ricin?
35 posted on 01/17/2007 8:31:22 AM PST by null and void (Propaganda doesn't have to make sense. Hell, it often works better if it doesn't.)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo
It is already on the market. CTV reports that the compound is widely available at chemistry stores in powder or liquid form.

I don't know if anyone can go get some or if they need a license or permit or something. If a permit is needed, someone with a permit could make mega-bucks on ebay.

36 posted on 01/17/2007 8:33:09 AM PST by Grig
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To: Investment Biker
ALL DRUGS should be over the counter.

I'd agree with that if you said "ALL DRUGS should be over the counter, except antibiotics".

If antibiotics were over-the-counter, there'd be all sorts of idiots stoking up on penicillin and erythromycin and everything else "just in case I encounter a germ", and today's problems with drug-resistent germs would become "the good old days".

37 posted on 01/17/2007 9:00:06 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo
Thanks for posting this. I'm on my second bout of lung cancer. I've googled the article and the chemical and faxed the results to my clinical trials nurse. It looks quite interesting and hopeful, IMO.

Carolyn

38 posted on 01/17/2007 9:00:18 AM PST by CDHart ("It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the b@#$%^&s."--Claire Wolfe)
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To: A. Pole
Do you have a source for this "ninety percent" claim?

National Review: The Drug Importation Hoax

How much of the discoveries in US involved government funding?

To answer this you'd have to understand the role our universities play in partnering with drug companies and hospitals. You'd also have to understand that much of the primary research is done in universities who are supported by grants, charity and other contributions from drug companies. Then you'd need to understand how that primary research is used by the drug companies in applications to commercialize new drugs.

Once you understand how these partnerships work you can begin to determine how a particular discovery was funded. Be aware that research today, especially at our universities, has become more about grabbing money than discovery. It's unfortunate but true. This is one of the disappointing byproducts of government trying to play a role in the process. However, if government funding of research were to stop it would seriously impact the primary research drug companies rely on.

Maybe the better question to ask is why our funding yields new drugs while others do not. Could it have something to do with the profit motive? Only a fool would think that government funding could support the infrastructure and motivation necessary to create 90% of all newly discovered drugs.

39 posted on 01/17/2007 9:29:47 AM PST by Mase (Save me from the people who would save me from myself!)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo
But because it's not patented or owned by any drug firm, it would be an inexpensive drug to administer. And researchers may have a difficult time finding money for further research.

Not really, if they're doing basic science in an NIH-funded lab.
40 posted on 01/17/2007 9:34:50 AM PST by aruanan
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To: Mase
[Me:] Do you have a source for this "ninety percent" claim?
"The United States, which does not currently have price controls, produces nearly 90 percent of the world's supply of new pharmaceuticals." [from National Review]

National Review is a paper of opinion which for example was peddling the false myth of Bosnian and Kosovo genocides. You need some hard source.

Also what percentage of "new" drugs are old drugs repackaged or modified for marketing reasons?

41 posted on 01/17/2007 9:44:55 AM PST by A. Pole (Napoleon Bonaparte:There, is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.)
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To: Investment Biker
The FDA and the medical profession should be ashamed in the way that they refuse sick individuals right to experiment on themselves. ALL DRUGS should be over the counter. The only role the FDA should have is a stamp of approval. One should not have to obtain a prescription to buy life saving medicine. End of rant...

I agree. And that goes for doctors as well. End the socialism for the rich - licensing.

42 posted on 01/17/2007 9:53:27 AM PST by secretagent
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To: A. Pole
Do you think that science is possible without basic research not based on profit?

We don't need government to fund basic research. Voluntary subscription works already.

43 posted on 01/17/2007 9:55:52 AM PST by secretagent
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To: A. Pole
National Review is a paper of opinion which for example was peddling the false myth of Bosnian and Kosovo genocides. You need some hard source.

Could you possibly be any more ignorant? Find me a hard source that refutes the ACSH's claim. This information comes directly from NIH statistics. Why do you insist on debating topics you know nothing about?

Also what percentage of "new" drugs are old drugs repackaged or modified for marketing reasons?

Modified drugs have to be proven to be uniquely different and efficacious or the FDA will not approve them. The FDA is no friend of industry. In the past 10 years more than 300 "new" drugs have been approved by the FDA. Of all the drugs in use today, more than half have been created in just the past 25 years. If you'd ever bother to do some of your own homework, and learned about the subject you choose to debate, you'd realize the pipeline is filled with lots of promising new drugs for cancer, fighting infection and managing other diseases. Profit is driving that innovation despite what you and your socialist allies would like us to believe. Kill that motive and you'll kill the golden goose. Then we can all be equally sick and equally miserable in socialist utopia.

44 posted on 01/17/2007 10:05:22 AM PST by Mase (Save me from the people who would save me from myself!)
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To: Michael_Michaelangelo

A molecule big enough to be named DCA is big enough to not be considered small.


45 posted on 01/17/2007 10:06:59 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: Our man in washington

I understand the arguments for both narcotics and antibiotics being restricted.

As for narcotics, I'd turn control over to the pharmacists and would de-criminalize them anyway, preferably one at a time over a period of several years. Worked for alcohol. I seem to recall that in Canada you can get codeine without a prescription. Sine the overwhelming majority of people are responsible, and will follow the doctors' or pharmacists' recomendations.

Antibiotics are another matter, and one that concerns me more. Perhaps last-resort antibiotics should be controlled.


46 posted on 01/17/2007 10:11:34 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: Centurion2000

Yet Russians aren't dropping dead in the streets from mis-use.


47 posted on 01/17/2007 10:13:28 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: Mase
This information comes directly from NIH statistics.

How do you know? If you know it, why don't you provide a direct source instead of this very partisan magazine. After the wars on Serbs I lost my confidence in National Review completely (and I canceled my long time subscription).

48 posted on 01/17/2007 10:21:22 AM PST by A. Pole (Napoleon Bonaparte:There, is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.)
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To: DuncanWaring

We almost agree. I think some antibiotics might safely be otc, but not the major new ones.


49 posted on 01/17/2007 10:21:44 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: From many - one.
""Prescriptions" should be recommndations, and you should not need them. "

Ditto that.

"Many of our prescription drugs are otc (over-the-counter) in Canada and part of Europe. Don't see their populations dropping like flies."

It's really a concern to maintain and further the professional monopoly. It's an income thing and a jobs program for ninnies.

50 posted on 01/17/2007 10:23:16 AM PST by spunkets
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