Lectures

On borrowed time: Living with chronic terror in the United States’ insulin crisis

As the United States began closing its borders in March 2020, Americans with diabetes, already under threat from the coronavirus, faced another pandemic hazard: pharmacies were regularly running out of insulin. As Americans emptied store shelves of toilet paper, cleaning detergents, and canned foods, they also stocked up on the prescriptions they needed to obey stay-at-home orders. Health insurance companies …

Lectures

Becoming ‘not ready’: the case of the moving threshold in a dementia prevention trial

This article is part of the series:

In a behavioural testing room of a clinical research facility, a well-dressed, white-haired woman is undergoing a battery of cognitive, neurological, and physiological tests. The facility, flanked by huge beech trees and set back from the road, was once a place for the severely mentally ill; known in the 19th century as a lunatic asylum, and later, a secure …

Lectures

Standards and urgency in times of pandemics: hydroxychloroquine as a pharmaceutical and political artefact

This article is part of the series:

Separated by two meters of water from the crowd, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, infected by COVID-19 and wearing his mask, rallied up his supporters, “If by chance your mother or grandfather catches it, will they take chloroquine or not?”

“They will!” shouted back the crowd in unison, across the narrow strip of water.

Hydroxychloroquine has turned from being a commonly …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Pharmaceuticals, ‘Pharmascolds,’ and Conflicts of Interest

Over the past month, a number of researchers, institutions, and pharmaceutical companies have come under pressure for relationships between medical research, clinical treatment, and corporate profits. An investigation by the New York Times and ProPublica looked into Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, who has since resigned, and his failure to disclose important financial relationships …

Features

Pricing the EpiPen: Drug Prices, Corporate Governance, and the Financialization of Biomedicine

Why does Mylan’s EpiPen cost so much?

That was a question many parents of food allergic children found themselves asking this past August, as a flurry of news reports revealed that the standard two-pack now costs patients as much as $600 out of pocket. The device, a type of epinephrine auto-injector, looks like an oversized marker. Inside is a …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Controversy and Commerce

There have been many controversies about substantial and sudden jumps in pharmaceutical prices, the most memorable/infamous surrounding Martin Shkreli, the [widely despised and thoroughly unrepentant] former CEO of the drug company Turing, and the 5000% increase in the price of a drug used by many AIDS patients. Similar questions of impropriety have been raised by the practices …