Friday, August 13, 2010


The feds are investigating drug companies for their payments to foreign doctors:
Of even greater concern to prosecutors are unusually large payments made to foreign doctors who conduct the growing number of clinical trials that drug and device makers conduct abroad, according to Kirk Ogrosky, a former top federal prosecutor who now represents drug and device makers at a Washington law firm.

More than 80 percent of the drugs approved for sale in 2008 had trials in foreign countries, and 78 percent of all subjects who participated in clinical trials were enrolled in foreign sites, according to a recent investigation by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. Medical ethicists have long worried that many of these trials are conducted in countries that federal auditors rarely visit and where ethical research controls are scant.

Now, prosecutors are investigating the payments made to doctors who run clinical trials for drug makers abroad. If evidence surfaces that such payments have influenced the results of these clinical trials, prosecutors will respond aggressively, Mr. Ogrosky said.

Pharmacists are becoming more prominent in health care decisions.

Obama is supporting the close-to-Ground-Zero mosque. Good for him.

How will health care reform affect state finances?

Medical device prices fall for first time in 35 years.

Some interesting speculation here about (separately) the Mexican drug war and how robots in the military will acquire greater autonomy.

Why is James Dolan obsessed with Isaiah Thomas?

How the Dream Team was unique (Joe Posnanski)

I’ve only begun to dig into this Philadelphia Inquirer series on high-speed rail in Europe and the U.S., but it appears to be comprehensive and excellent.

Can the government justify suing homeowners in default?

Robert Gates is warning the Marines that they may be cut or changed:
The review would seek to define a 21st century combat mission for the Marines that is distinct from the Army's, because the Marines "do not want to be, nor does America need" another ground combat force, Gates said in prepared remarks for a speech at Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco on Thursday to a group that included retired Marines and foreign policy experts.

Gates is seeking $100 billion in budget savings from the military services and Pentagon bureaucracies, though he intends to invest the money in weapons programs. Given the unwavering support for the Marines in Congress, there is little chance the service would be eliminated or see its budget significantly reduced.

Gates noted that anxiety about the future of the Marines stems from the "perception … that they have become too heavy, too removed from their expeditionary roots."

In a question-and-answer session with sailors aboard the Higgins earlier in the day, Gates said, "I think they've gotten too big," and he predicted that the service would shrink in coming years.
The most interesting theory I’ve heard in regards to military reorganization is that the Air Force should be abolished.

Will fast food be served with statins?

Bad day for Google: an ornery Larry Ellison (probably so because of the whole Warriors thing) is suing Google, and China is creating its own search engine.

An anonymous Mexican blogger is providing perhaps the best coverage of the drug war.

Malaysia considering all-gold currency. This will definitely work out!

An excellent Malcolm Gladwell TED talk on tomato sauce.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic piece establishing that Israel wants to bomb Iran is highly interesting; Fred Kaplan and James Fallows follow up well on it also.

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