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By Robert Geimer

Twenty-three Illinois hospitals will be penalized about $12 million for high infection rates, according to the Chicago Tribunehttp://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-hospital-infection-rate-1217-biz-20151216-story.html

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By Robert Geimer

The FDA has issued a warning that the coatings on intravascular devices may peel off and cause serious injuries to patients.  In a Safety Communication, the FDA has warned that it has received about 500 reports since early 2014 of these coatings flaking or peeling off intravascular devices such as guidewires, catheters and introducers, which have been used in many different types of medical procedures.  Adverse events include stroke, embolism and heart attack.  Though the FDA has taken the position that the overall benefits of these devices continue to outweigh the risks, it is urging caution in their use and urging physicians to follow a set of recommendation to reduce the risk of flaking and peeling.

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By Robert Geimer

Martin Shkreli, the 32 year-old hedge fund manager who profited by jacking-up the price of drugs needed by the seriously ill and then flaunting his wealth by blowing $2 million on a single record album, was arrested this morning by federal authorities at his Manhattan apartment.  He has been charged with securities fraud related to his time as a hedge fund manager and running the biopharmaceutical company Retrophin. Let’s just say karma is a 5 letter word!

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By Robert Geimer

If you’re a channel-flipper you may have run across infomercials for Wen shampoo, touting a unique formula “that cleanses hair thoroughly without lather or harsh sulfates found in some ordinary shampoos.”  Celebrities including Brooke Shields and Angie Harmon have endorsed the product, and it is promoted by marketing firm Guthy-Renker, famous for Tony Robbins and other infomercials.  Unfortunately, this “unique” shampoo makes your hair fall out, at least according to a complaint filed by more than 200 consumers in 40 states.  In a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of California (link), which is itself unique as the pleading document contains pictures of consumers with chunks of hair missing, consumers allege that Wen shampoo contains harsh ingredients that cause hair loss, and further allege that the manufacturer knew about consumers’ complaints but refused to do anything about them.  As we wait to see the outcome of this litigation, it is important to remember to be a diligent consumer and be appropriately skeptical of slick marketing campaigns.

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By Robert Geimer

Previously I wrote about Martin Shkreli, the 32 year-old “hedge fund” manager who acquired a 62-year-old drug used to treat infection and then jacked-up the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Shkreli has now gone out of his way to make sure he has a first class ticket to Hades. First, he told a Forbes magazine healthcare conference that if he could do it all over again, he would have raised prices even higher. Then, as reported by Bloomberg Business, rap group Wu Tang Clan put the only copy of its new album up for auction to the highest bidder and – you guessed it – Mr. Shkreli was the winning bidder, paying $2 million for a record album. All the while millions of sick, elderly, and otherwise hard-working Americans cannot afford the outrageous prices of prescription drugs. And this guy - who has been gouging these Americans with no remorse - spends $2 million on a record album? You may want to order your flame-retardant suit now, Mr. Shkreli, you’re going to need it.

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