Issue 31: Amazon, Epidiolex, Insulin Pills, Humanimals, and more

Amazon Buys a Pharmacy

Nobody can stop this man from laughing. Or buying. Image: The Technews

'Alexa, buy me the best online pharmacy,' said Jeff Bezos this week. Amazon has already penetrated into every corner of our lives. It's reaching for even more, now to our medicine cabinets. At a price tag of $1 billion dollars, Bezos bought PillPack, one of the best funded online pharmacies that deliver your prescription drugs by mail. It's easy to imagine Amazon utilizing its Prime logistics to get this one right; they can be really good at pushing drugs with all their smiley-faced-trucks. But it must also overcome hurdles involving Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). I know, you're not even surprised of what Amazon can do.

Update on Insulin Pills (finally?)

Needles are needlessly painful. Image: BrowseLiveNews

Okay, this one has been hyped for quite a long time. Diabetes is an annoying disease that is hated by many patients because of the way insulin is delivered; through injections. It's especially important for patients with Type 1 diabetes, because their pancreases don't produce any insulin. The options so far have been either to get injected multiple times a day, or to put an insulin pump in your body. Neither of these options look cool. So why don't we already have insulin in pill form? That's the billion dollar question that researchers all over the world are trying to figure out but have been unsuccessful. But recently, a group in Harvard published a study that claimed that they figured out the right packaging and liquid that will get the insulin absorbed without letting it get broken down by stomach enzymes. This can be a game changer, but we'll write on this again after some animals are tested and and humans go through clinical trial.

The FDA Officially Says Yes to Marijuana 

Harolled a Kumarijuana

We told you this was coming. Earlier this week the FDA approved the use of an oral CBD solution called Epidiolex to treat 2 rare forms of epilepsy in kids older than 2. These rare forms of epilepsy are known as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome, which affects 50,000 patients. To be hella explicit though the drug does not contain THC meaning those little babies ain't gonna get baked, however maryj is still a controversial drug and remains labeled as schedule 1 by the squares at the DEA. Why does this matter? Kids with epilepsy who need to get this drug which does not contain THC are still gonna have to go through major hurdles to get it. GW pharmaceuticals, the company that sells Epidiolex, has been building up political capital with regulators in DC and plans to expand its cannabis treatments for tuberous sclerosis, cancer pain, as well as a host of various neurological diseases.

The Future is Gettin' Freaky 

completely relevant picture of rapper 6ix9ine

You ever heard of a centaur? You know that creature in Greek mythology that has the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse. Well scientists are working on experiments that are raising a whole host of weird ethical questions. Last year a group of research scientists were able to grow an embryo that was a cross between human and pig cells. 1 out of 100,000 of the cells were human and the rest were pig. That's so small! IDGAF playaaa.......wellllllll you shouldn't be that fast to dismiss. This year scientists have raised the stakes and grown an embryo with sheep cells and human cells. 1 out of 10,000 of the cells were human. A factor of 10 improvement in just 1 year. Ethical guidelines place a limit of 28 days on how long the embryos can grow but scientists at Stanford are advocating hard to push the limit to 70 days. The ultimate long term goal of this research is to be able to grow human organs inside of animals for transplantation - not necessarily to produce a man-bear-pig but you know the future-ezyyy be unpredictable af.

Stick With the Same Doc, Says Research 

The ZdoggMD

A recent paper looked at health outcomes and showed that patients who see the same MD have a lower chance of dropping dead. AKA continuity of care is actually good for you. British researchers recently published their results in the journal BMJ Open which looked at 22 different studies in various countries including the USA, Israel, and South Korea. However the paper is far from perfect as the Guardian sums up: "the study does not definitely show that seeing the same doctor is what is driving the reduction in mortality. The research also had a number of limitations, among them that many of the studies involved looking back at patient records rather than recruiting and then following individuals over time, while not all of the studies took into account the whole range of other possible influences such as age, sex, smoking status and socioeconomic status". Word.

New Flu Drug Under Review by FDA

FDA is not known for acting fast, but it's reviewing this new drug with a difficult name, baloxavir marboxil with fast consideration. Flu drugs like Tamiflu are neuraminidase inhibitors and work by stopping the virus from spreading. This new drug with an impossible name has a different mechanism of action. It stops the virus from replicating. The Japanese have already jumped on this and approved it. A study from 2017 in Japan showed that the duration of fever was reduced by 42 hours, as well as a reduced load of the viral shedding, all after just one pill. This sounds great, but just find a cool name other than Xofluza that they use to market in Japan. Pay close attention to Genentech stocks before it goes viral (pun intended) by the end of this year; fast consideration still takes 6 months.

Pillow for Acid Reflux Approved in Europe

Those dreamy eyes. Image: Amenity Health

Do you suffer from symptoms of acid reflux at night?  Coughs or bitter taste on the back of your throat? Stop reading and go see a doctor. But for those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it's best for them to sleep on their left side so that the stomach is not hanging off the right side. Specially designed pillows to relieve symptoms of acid reflux is not new, but this is the first time MedCline has been approved as a medical device in Europe. Our counterparts in Europe can now buy these pillows with their Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Account equivalents. If you didn't know, those are what some Americans use to pay for their medical care. Or just go on Amazon if you don't have HSA or FSA but can afford $240 on a pillow you can put your left arm through.