Sunday, May 1, 2011

News Alert: U.S. drug shortages threaten patients


Huh. Who needs a pulse, anyway. 

For the record, morphine (in doses 1/5 to 1/2 the pain-killing dose) is used in heart attacks and congestive heart failure. Why? Not just because it's fun... 

Morphine opens the blood vessels in and around the heart and lungs. When you're having a heart attack, that's exactly what you need: nice wide vessels. In congestive heart failure, opening up that circulation means that the fluid that got stuck in the wrong spaces can get cleaned up and carried away by the blood pumping through the lovely spongy tissue in your lungs. Suddenly you can breathe!

Also, in both these life-threatening conditions, your mind gets filled with a sickening sense of dread that can only make matters worse. However, even in small doses, morphine alleviates that terrible feeling and you can perceive things more normally again, deal with people around you, and get a grip on things. 

Clinically, I love morphine. It's a life-saver. I only wish I could use it myself, but I have an odd reaction to narcotics; it's liable to stop my insides so fast and so completely I get poisoned to death by my own waste. It opens up the core circulation, but it closes down my bowels!

I don't even need to editorialize that. Go wild. 

As for this article, let me be clear: the pharmaceutical companies' whining, in the face of a decade of stunningly lax corporate regulation and world-record profits year after year, utterly fails to impress me. 

The article discusses "consolidation" as contributing heavily to these problems. That refers to large companies buying up smaller ones, then cutting away the parts that don't make outrageous amounts of money or that don't fit the buying company's self-image. "Consolidation" is news-speak for megacorps. The ways the pharmaceutical consolidations were handled was pretty interesting, if you can forget about the body count. 

Begin forwarded message:

From: "The Washington Post" <>
Date: May 1, 2011 6:42:31 PM PDT

Breaking News Alert: U.S. drug shortages threaten patients
May 1, 2011 9:41:07 PM

Doctors, hospitals and federal regulators are struggling to cope with unprecedented drug shortages in the United States that are endangering cancer patients, heart attack victims, accident survivors and a host of other ill people.

For more information, visit


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