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Tag: Scientific Method (Page 1 of 218)

Lawsuit: Mylan’s epic EpiPen price hike wasn’t about greed—it’s worse

Enlarge / Mylan Inc. CEO Heather Bresch testifies on Capitol Hill in a hearing on "Reviewing the Rising Price of EpiPens." (credit: Getty | Alex Wong)

When Mylan dramatically increased the price of its life-saving EpiPen devices, it drew sharp rebuke all around for what seemed like a purely greedy—and heartless—move. But according to a lawsuit filed by French drug maker Sanofi, the move wasn’t just out of simple greed. Instead, it was part of an underhanded scheme to “squash” competition from Sanofi’s rival device, the Auvi-Q.

With the lofty prices and near-monopoly over the market, Mylan could dangle deep discounts to drug suppliers—with the condition that they turn their backs on Sanofi’s Auvi-Q—the lawsuit alleges. Suppliers wouldn’t dare ditch the most popular auto-injector. And with the high prices, the rebates wouldn’t put a dent in Mylan’s hefty profits, Sanofi speculates.

Coupled with a smear campaign and other underhanded practices, Mylan effectively pushed Sanofi out of the US epinephrine auto-injector market, Sanofi alleges. The lawsuit, filed Monday in a federal court in New Jersey, seeks damages under US Antitrust laws.

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Drugs already in medicine cabinets may fight dementia, early data suggests

Enlarge / Oh, there's that cure I was looking for. (credit: Getty | Harold M. Lambert)

Tried, true, and FDA-approved drugs for cancer and depression—already in medicine cabinets—may also be long-sought treatments for devastating brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other forms of dementia, according to a new study in Brain, a Journal of Neurology.

The research is still in early stages; it only involved mouse and cell experiments, which are frequently not predictive of how things will go in humans. Nevertheless, the preliminary findings are strong, and scientists are optimistic that the drugs could one day help patients with progressive brain disease. Researchers are moving toward human trials. And this process would be streamlined because the drugs have already cleared safety tests. But even if the early findings hold up, it would still take years to reach patients.

In the preliminary tests, the two drugs—trazodone hydrochloride, used to treat depression and anxiety, and dibenzoylmethane (DBM), effective against prostate and breast tumors—could shut down a devastating stress response in brain cells, known to be critical for the progression of brain diseases. The drugs both protected brain cells and restored memory in mice suffering from brain diseases.

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Nuclear waste facility receives its first shipment since 2014 accident

Enlarge / A truck from Idaho arrived at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant at night. (credit: WIPP)

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, began accepting shipments of transuranic waste (PDF) this month for the first time since February 2014 when an explosion of a drum of plutonium and americium waste halted all deliveries.

WIPP is the only facility that accepts waste from the nation’s Cold War-era nuclear weapons production sites. The waste has been kept at those production sites for decades and includes “contaminated items such as clothing, tools, rags, residues, debris, soil.” The New Mexico facility, carved into a 2,000-foot-thick salt bed in the 1980s, is intended to be a long-term storage solution (a very long-term solution) for all the waste that's distributed at facilities across the country.

The 2014 accident at WIPP occurred when a worker packed a shipment of waste in the wrong kind of kitty litter, which started a “complex chemical reaction” causing “white, radioactive foam” to explode from the drum, according to the Los Angeles Times. No one was in the WIPP shafts at the time of the explosion, so no one was hurt, and workers on the surface were only exposed to minimal radiation. But the facility’s state-of-the-art ventilation system was damaged, meaning shipments to the facility couldn’t continue.

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Despite delays, Boeing’s Starliner moving steadily toward the launch pad


Last October, during a White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh, President Obama sat down in a simulator of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, which will begin transporting astronauts to the International Space Station within a couple of years. The commander-in-chief wanted to try his hand at a task astronauts would eventually have to perform. After taking the controls and cleanly docking to the station, Obama gleefully exulted, “Your ride is here, baby."

So when I sat down in the same simulator on a recent Friday morning, at the FIRST Robotics Competition in Houston, I felt a little pressure to match the president's success. Even though this simulator has been "dumbed" down for the general public from the real thing, it still wasn't trivial to guide the Starliner, nose first, into a docking port on the station's Node 2 module.

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Soylent recalls powder after dairy accidentally slips into 1.8 powder

Enlarge (credit: Soylent)

Those swigging Soylent are in for another hiccup—but, it seems, no belly aches this time.

The high-profile meal-replacement company issued a voluntary recall Monday after finding that a small amount of milk product may have slipped into some batches of its Soylent 1.8 powder, which is supposed to be free of lactose and milk products. Soylent fans with an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk face serious or even life-threatening allergic reactions if they chug any of the contaminated product.

In an announcement of the voluntary recall on the Food and Drug Administration’s website, the company noted that it has not received any reports of illnesses related to the offending dairy. The company also said it has figured out what went wrong and identified the batches contaminated, and the problem won’t affect future products or interrupt supply.

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