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Pills

Glaxo says it will stop paying doctors to promote drugs

andrew witty
© Neil Hall/Reuters
Andrew Witty, Glaxo’s chief executive, said the changes are part of an effort “to try and make sure we stay in step with how the world is changing.”
The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.

Andrew Witty, Glaxo's chief executive, said the changes are part of an effort to "to try and make sure we stay in step with how the world is changing." The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company - although others may be considering similar moves - and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales.

Andrew Witty, Glaxo's chief executive, said in a telephone interview Monday that its proposed changes were unrelated to the investigation in China, and were part of a yearslong effort "to try and make sure we stay in step with how the world is changing," he said. "We keep asking ourselves, are there different ways, more effective ways of operating than perhaps the ways we as an industry have been operating over the last 30, 40 years?"

For decades, pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors to speak on their behalf at conferences and other meetings of medical professionals, on the assumption that the doctors are most likely to value the advice of trusted peers.

Comment: Let's see: A bribery investigation underway in China and changes in healthcare legislation that will reveal Big Pharma payments to doctors publicly next year...the timing of Glaxo's new changes is simply spot on, no?


Nuke

51 U.S. Navy sailors fall ill from Fukushima radiation




USS Ronald Reagan Captain tells the crew they have moved the ship to fresher water
and radiation is now down to acceptable levels, so they can begin using the water again!



Crew members in their mid-20's from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are coming down with all sorts of radiation-related illnesses after being deployed less than 3 years ago to assist with earthquake rescue operations off the coast of Japan in 2011.
It looks as though the on-board desalinization systems that take salt out of seawater to make it drinkable, were taking-in radioactive water from the ocean for the crew to drink, cook with and bath-in, before anyone realized there was a massive radiation spill into the ocean.

Charles Bonner, attorney representing sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan said "the crew members were not only going to the rescue by jumping into the water and rescuing people out of the water, but they were drinking desalinated sea water, bathing in it, until finally the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan alarmed people that they were encountering high levels of radiation."

Bonner says that as a result of this exposure, the 51 sailors have come down with a host of medical problems, "They have testicular cancer, they have thyroid cancers, they have leukemias, they have rectal and gynecological bleeding, a host of problems that they did not have before ... people are going blind, pilots who had perfect eyesight but now have tumors on the brain. And it's only been 3 years since they went in."

Bonner pointed out that these service men and women are young people, ages 21, 22, 23 years old and no one in their family had ever suffered any of these kinds of illnesses before.


What the Captain told the crew when the ship WAS HEADING BACK INTO the radiation!

Family

One minute you're walking down the street. The next, you're arrested and jobless. What did you do?

At what point did we lose all common sense? Aren't there actual, you know, criminals who we should be spending our resources on?

The stats at the beginning are absolutely jarring. The story that unfolds is sad and wrong. If smoking a cigarette on a street corner can ruin your entire life, we've got problems.


Life Preserver

Ukraine scores $15 bln from Russia, 33% gas discount

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovich
© RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev
Presidents Vladimir Putin (left) of Russia and Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine meeting in the Kremlin, December 17, 2013.

After stringing along Russia, the EU and the Ukrainian people, President Viktor Yanukovich has inked an agreement worth $15 billion in securities and from January 1, can start buying Russian gas for $268 instead of $400 per 100 cubic meters.

The Russian government will essentially buy $15 billion in Ukrainian debt by buying Ukrainian securities using money from Russia's Welfare Fund, President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday at a meeting with Yanukovich in Moscow.

"For the purpose of supporting the Ukrainian budget the Russian government has made a decision to invest part of the National Welfare Fund, to the tune of $15 billion, in Ukrainian government securities," Putin said.

Russia will invest roughly 17 percent of its $88 billion National Welfare Fund, which, together with Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund is used as a sort of buffer for the country's oil-dependent budget.

Ukraine and Russia need to learn lessons and avoid mistakes in future bilateral cooperation, Yanukovich said.

"We have this need to draw lessons for the future and not to repeat such mistakes," Yanukovich said at the conclusion of the bilateral talks held in Moscow on Tuesday.

Ukraine "is our fully-fledged strategic partner beyond any doubt," Putin said at the meeting, where the two presidents signed 14 separate agreements on space, engineering, defense and trade.

Heart - Black

Three men convicted in gang rape of American tourist in India

india rape
© RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
Indian protesters shout anti-government slogans during a protest against rape in New Delhi on January 2, 2013.
Three men were convicted Tuesday in the gang rape of an American tourist in India.

All Nepali men in their 20s, they were convicted of sexual assault and robbery, police said. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Officially, they were sentenced to 20 years each for sexual assault and five years for robbery, but the sentences will run concurrently.

The men will also have to pay about $250 each in fines.
Fighting sexual harassment in India.The incident took place in June in the Indian mountain state of Himachal Pradesh.

The men were accused of raping and robbing the American woman, who had sought a lift from them in their small truck, Vinod Kumar Dhawan, the state's police superintendent, told CNN.

Comment: Swiss tourist gang raped in India, say police
India: Six held over new gang rape on a bus
Rape cases in New Delhi jump 23 percent in 2012
Gang-rape epidemic: India mourns victim, proposes chemical castration for offenders


Ambulance

Apathy: Texas school fails to call 911 when six-year-old severs finger

Image
© KRIV
6-year old Amazing Johnson
Amazing Johnson, 6, severed the top of her finger when it was accidentally caught in a door at school. Instead of calling 911, school officials only called her parents.

Latesha Coleman, Amazing's mother, received a call from Hughes Road Elementary administrators about her daughter's injury, but tells KRIV Fox 26 they downplayed just how severe the injury was. Coleman was told the "nurse was working with Amazing, that Amazing was fine...She's being loved on by the nurse."

Emergency medical help was not called, even as it became clear that Amazing was missing a piece of her finger.

Dollar

Swiss banks urge U.S. tax dodgers to come clean to beat deadline

ubs
© AP
Swiss banks are quietly warning wealthy U.S. clients with secret accounts to come clean with the tax man in the next two weeks - or risk jail time, according to several letters obtained by POLITICO.

The letters come ahead of a New Year's Eve deadline the U.S. government set for about 300 Swiss banks to take deals protecting them from prosecution. In exchange for confessing and shelling out mountains of Americans' account information, they'll get immunity. It is a new twist to the traditional bank-client relationship.

"The banks have every incentive right now to shove their American clients into compliance in order to reduce the penalties," said tax attorney Jeff Neiman, who prosecuted Swiss banking giant UBS for the U.S. government.

The effort is part of a U.S. crackdown on American tax evaders and the banks that help them, which ramped up when Swiss banking giant UBS admitted as much with a $780 million settlement in 2009. The Justice Department is currently probing 14 major Swiss financial institutions - including Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and the Swiss arm of HSBC - for shielding U.S. tax cheats.


Bad Guys

Serial rapist: Houston software CEO guilty of transporting and sexually assaulting female employees

Henri De Sola Morris, 66, president and chief executive officer of Solid Software Solutions LLC, which does business as Edible Software Inc., has been convicted on five counts of transportation, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Morris, a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Houston, admitted that between February 2010 and February 2012, he traveled in interstate commerce and committed, and attempted to commit, the drug-facilitated sexual assaults of several women. Three of the women were present in the courtroom Friday as he acknowledged his guilt.

According to the plea agreement, five women relayed similar experiences of being in compromising situations with Morris after he provided each woman with a drugged alcoholic beverage he had prepared. Each woman reported instances of memory loss that followed the encounter consistent with being administered drugs commonly used in drug-facilitated sexual assault. The women also reported unwanted contact with Morris and, due to their impairment, were unable to defend themselves against him. One woman described how she knew what was happening but had lost physical control of her body and could not stop Morris from even undressing her.

Comment: Update: One of the victims of the sexual assault has filed a lawsuit against her former employer.


Candle

Influential group of 5,000 U.S. scholars votes to boycott Israel

Boycott Israel
© Reuters/Francois Lenoir
A powerful group of US scholars has voted to launch an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities. With a membership in the thousands, the group has become the largest academic collective to protest Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

The American Studies Association (ASA) announced Monday that its nearly 5,000 members voted in favor of the boycott by a 2-to-1 margin on Sunday night. A total of 1,252 members voted on the issue, with 66 percent voting 'yes' and 30 percent voting 'no.' Three percent abstained from voting altogether.

The boycott calls on US schools and academic research groups to end all work with Israeli groups. It does allow individual Israeli scholars to still attend conferences and speak at American universities, as long as they do not do so in any official capacity of the government.

Dollar

Republican Senator explains his wife's 'fiasco' on Obamacare website

Image
© AP
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
When it comes to Obamacare, "many members of Congress are feeling the very same pain that the rest of America is feeling," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told Americans in a radio address on Saturday.

Toomey said he, his wife, and three children are among those "forced" to buy government-mandated health insurance on one of the new exchanges, and last week, his wife tried to sign up the family on an Obamacare exchange website.

"Now, my wife is a very sharp woman. She's a former computer software consultant," Toomey said. After entering the family's personal information, the website wouldn't let her browse the various plans. "When she called someone and asked for help, she was told the system just wasn't working right now and it was best to try again later."

According to Toomey, "The fiasco my wife just faced with the health care website is being experienced by Americans across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance. If this were just a matter of a slow-moving computer glitch, well, then maybe that would be excusable, but it's much more than that.