Pharma-Funded FDA Gets Drugs Out Faster, But Some Work Only ‘Marginally’ and Most Are Pricey

Dr. Steven-Huy Han, a UCLA liver specialist, has prescribed Ocaliva to a handful of patients, although he’s not sure it helps. As advertised, the drug is lowering levels of an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase in their blood, and that should be a sign of healing for their autoimmune disease, called primary biliary cholangitis. But “no one knows for sure,” Han said, whether less enzyme means they won’t get liver cancer or cirrhosis in the long run. “I have no idea if the drug will make them better,” he said. “It could take 10, 20, or 30 years to know.” Ocaliva came to market through an FDA review process created 30 years ago called accelerated approval, which allows pharmaceutical...

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Opioids @ Work: Hidden Scourge Sapping the Economy

Strung out on drugs half her life, Brandi Edwards, 29, said the longest she held a job before getting sober four years ago was “about two and a half months.” “I worked at an AT&T call center, a day-care center for a month, fast food places, but I had to take drugs to get out of bed in the morning and when I did show up, I wasn’t productive,” the West Virginia mother of three told RealClearInvestigations. “The first paycheck came along and I was out of there.” In jail for the ninth time on drug-related charges, and separated from her children, Edwards had an awakening in “looking hard at what I’d lost.” Now clean for four years after rehab, she is married and back in her children’s...

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Miami Herbert Professor Karoline Mortensen, PhD finds the perfect fit

WOMEN IN MEDICINE SERIES After completing an arduous learning journey that took her from Tallahassee, Florida to Ann Arbor, Michigan and spanned 13 years, Dr. Karoline Mortensen started her teaching career as an Assistant Professor of the Practice at Rice University in Houston. A two-year consultancy for the Mental Health Policy Analysis Collaborative was followed by another Assistant Professorship, this time at the University of Maryland. In 2015 the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School came calling and Dr. Mortensen decided to return to Florida. At the beginning of this year, she ascended to her current role as Associate Dean, Business Programs. She also serves as...

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This Hurricane-Ravaged Town Has Waited Years for Long-Term Aid. It Could Happen Again.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Series: Disaster After Disaster Growing Storms, Faltering Aid   LAKE CHARLES, La. — Hilda Brown ambled down a wooden walkway with the help of a cane and gingerly took a seat at a table between her badly damaged house and a FEMA trailer. It had been more than a year and a half since Hurricane Laura, but the then-64-year-old widow still didn’t know where to turn. She didn’t have the money to finish repairs on the home, which she couldn’t afford to insure. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had lent her the trailer as a temporary...

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