Tobacco Could Provide Anthrax Vaccine

In a Reuters report that sounds too good to be true it has been reported that a molecular biologist, Professor Henry Daniell of the University of Central Florida, has developed a method of using genetically engineered tobacco to grow anthrax vaccine.

The anthrax vaccine gene is injected into the chloroplast genome of tobacco cells. The plant then grows seeds — roughly a million seeds per plant — which contain the vaccine.

According to Daniell this technology produces anthrax vaccine that is free of the anthrax toxin contamination that plagues traditionally fermented vaccines. The process could also be used for growing treatments for diabetes, hepatitis C, plague and cholera.

But don’t go putting tobacco into the back forty just yet. Seeds are so plentiful in the tobacco plant that if this process works, one acre of tobacco would produce enough vaccine to supply the entire U.S.

Websites Selling TamiFlu Vaccine Identified by British Authorities

According to an AFX report, 18 websites worldwide have been identified as claiming to sell Tamiflu online. Seven sites were in the US, three in the UK, and two in Canada. Sting operatings have been mounted to track down and catch the would-be drug suppliers.

Tamiflu is made by Roche Pharmaceuticals of Switzerland, and is condidered the most effective treatment against the much-publicized H5N1 strain of bird flu.

US, Austrian and Dutch authorities have traced counterfeit pills back to producers in Asia. Online sales of counterfeit copies of hard-to-get drugs are widely feared to pose serious risks to public health.

Women Still Live Longer, but Men Are Closing the Gap

The current “Longevity Index” put out by Credit Suisse First Boston indicates that the longevity gap between men and women is gradually decreasing. Women (in the U.S.) now live to be an average of 82.6 years, and men 78.1 years.

The average annual improvement rate for the last 10 years has been 2% per year for men, and only 1% per year for women. So the gap is slowly closing.

The reasons, according to researchers, are that men are smoking less (less lung cancer), and learning better how to avoid heart disease. Women, on the other hand are smoking more (relatively speaking), and living more stressful lives, and are therefore more susceptible to more heart disease.

Pharmacists set to Challenge Contraception Law

An Illinois law passed in August, requires pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control “without delay” if they have the prescribed contraception medications in stock. If the medications are not in stock, they must either get it or transfer the patient to another pharmacy that has it.

Some pharmacists object to this law on moral and religious grounds claiming their opposition to specific kinds of contraception. But the law does not make exception for these pharmacists. Abby Ottenhoff, a spokesperson for the Illinois governor said, “If a pharmacist objects (to the rule), he or she is free to work in a pharmacy that doesn’t stock and dispense” emergency contraception.

A group of pharmacisits who object to dispensing contraceptives is challenging this law in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Illinois. The group is funded by evangelist Pat Robertson’s organization, American Center for Law and Justice.

Finding a College in Chicago

If you live in the city of Chicago, you can earn a college degree from one of many available institutions. Below are three reputable Chicago colleges and the choices that they offer.

University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago is an open campus that is not marked by a fence at its boundaries. There are houses, apartments and shops inside the campus itself. UIC is located in the heart of downtown and is split into two parts: the East campus (engineering, liberal arts and sciences) and the West campus (medicine, nursing, pharmacy). There is also a South campus which has a large recreation center and dorms.

UIC offers programs in Applied Health Sciences, Business Administration, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work, and Urban Planning & Public Affairs. Depending on the program, UIC offers Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs along with doctoral degrees.

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago is located in the heart of Chicago’s South Loop, where you can also find the Art Institute, Chicago Symphony and the Museum Campus. CCC is one of the most diverse private arts and media colleges in the country, with nearly 12,500 students and more than 120 academic programs.

The College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in majors and minors such as Acting (B.F.A., Minor), Dance, Graphic Design, Directing-Theater, and Fashion Design as well as a general Fine Arts degree, among others. CCC also offers Bachelor of Arts programs in other programs that include Art & Design, Art History, Digital Media Technology, Early Childhood Education, Film/Video, Music Composition and Journalism.

Westwood College – Chicago Loop

Westwood College is located in the heart of downtown Chicago and is near a variety of captivating Chicago attractions such as the Theater District and Millennium Park. This Chicago college is easily accessible by the Metro transit system and the Chicago Transit Authority, which makes getting to school from home or work much smoother than suburban campuses. Sears Tower is close by and Lake Michigan also offers recreational options for those who want a break from their daily grinds.

The Chicago Loop campus offers degree programs among four schools in Westwood College. The School of Design provides degrees in Animation, Game Art, Computer-Aided Design/Architectural Drafting, Graphic Design & Multimedia, and Visual Communications. The Criminal Justice degree can be earned from the School of Justice. The School of Technology can prepare students with a degree in Information Technology that can be specialized in Network Management or Systems Security. Westwood’s School of Business offers Business Administration degrees in Accounting and Financial Management, Healthcare Management, Marketing Management and Construction Management.

A Spoon Full of Sugar – How to Save on Prescription Drugs in Texas

With the cost of prescription drugs continuing to skyrocket, you need to stay savvy regarding the use of money-saving strategies. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, prescription drug expenditures, in Texas as well as throughout the U.S., grew at double-digit rates during almost every year since 1980. Senior citizens who depend on Medicare, which doesn’t cover outpatient prescriptions, shell out the most. But even people whose health insurance pays for medications sometimes find they have hefty co-payments or deductibles. The prescription drug costs of private insurers are rising even faster than the overall total costs. The following are tips to help you stretch your prescription-drug dollar:

First, and most importantly, if you get your prescriptions from a variety of sources, remember to provide a complete list of ALL your medications — including over-the-counter — you’re taking to each pharmacist. This allows them to check for possible dangerous drug interactions.

Make Sure Your Doctor Knows. If you pay for prescriptions out of your own pocket, make sure your doctor knows. In many cases, there are less expensive medications that can be used to treat the same condition, and your doctor should be able to prescribe the most economical ones.

Go Generic. Instead of brand name medications, ask your doctor if he or she will prescribe generic equivalents. You can save between 30% to 50% or even more. Also inquire about over-the-counter medications that might be able to meet your needs.

Know Your Plan. Before signing up for an individual health insurance plan, check your co-payments for prescription drugs, as well as the maximum amount the plan pays annually. Also find out whether your health plan has a formulary — a list of drugs they’ll cover. A health insurance plan with a closed formulary pays only for certain pre-approved drugs. If the one you need is not on the list, you pay the entire cost of the drug. Open formularies offer most drugs, but the prices may vary. If your plan has a closed formulary, you may be able to request an exception by having your doctor fill out a form. But with HMOs, you may have to go through an appeals process.

Compare Prices. Shop around for a pharmacy that offers the best prices on prescription drugs. For example, some pharmacies offer cheaper prices but no extra services, such as home delivery or pharmacist consultations. It may also be worthwhile to compare prices on a prescription-by-prescription basis, since stores sometimes offer specials on popular drugs. In addition, your pharmacist may match the lower price, if you find a cheaper price on-line.

Bulk Up! If you’re prescribed a drug for a month or longer, ask your physician if you can order it in a bulk supply. It’ll cost less than buying the prescription weekly. Bulk purchases work to your benefit if you are insured. Most insurers charge the same co-pay whether you buy a 10 day or 30 day supply of a medicine. Furthermore, the co-pay for a 90 day supply, particularly if you order by mail from the insurer’s mail order drug supplier, is usually less than three times a 30 day supply.

Order Online or by Snail Mail. According to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, mail-order pharmacies now make up 10 to 12 percent of the total prescription market. Ordering by mail can lower your co-pays if you are insured or can save you 10% to 15% of the total cost if you are uninsured. It’s perfect for patients who take medication regularly and can place orders in advance. If you are insured, ask your insurance company for mail order information. Otherwise, some resources that offer discounted mail-order drugs are: Medi-Mail, 800-331-1458; and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 800-456-2279.

While you can save money by purchasing online, be careful. Many web sites are not reputable and are selling medications without any authorization. And avoid pharmacies outside the U.S. — you may not get the proper formulation of the drug or the drugs you need. Also, some shady Internet pharmacies are set up overseas to avoid U.S. law. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) developed a system to verify licensure of Internet Pharmacies — the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SiteTM (VIPPS) certification. NABP is located in Park Ridge, Illinois. The organization can be reached at (847) 698-6227. For more information, check out The Food and Drug Administration’s site on buying medical products online, http://www.fda.gov/buyonline.

Split the Difference. You can get certain prescriptions at double their appropriate dose and then split the tablets in half. This can result in a 50% savings. It’s no wonder some health care providers ask or even require their patients do it. To find out if pill splitting is right for you, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Some drugs are in a time-release formulation, so they should not be split because you might get a full dose all at once. Also, since pill splitting can often result in uneven dosages, your doctor may not like the idea, especially if you need a very precise dose. But once you’re given the okay, you can purchase a pill splitter to help make the cutting easier and more accurate.

Manufacturer Aid. Many major drug companies now have programs to cover patients who can’t afford medications they need. Program details vary widely depending on the manufacturer, but all of them require that your doctor put the application in for you. If your primary care physician is unfamiliar with these kinds of programs, he/she should call the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (202-835-3400) and ask for a program guide. You will not be able to get this information on your own.

If you’re looking ways to lower your prescription bill in Dallas, Houston or anywhere in Texas, why not go with an individual health insurance plan that will cover the majority of your prescription drugs, with no deductible? Take a look at the revolutionary comprehensive individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for young, healthy individuals. For more information, visit us at our website, [http://www.precedent.com]. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled “real time” application and acceptance experience.