NTMD

We should know soon how this company is doing. Are doctors writing prescriptions for BiDil (Nitromed’s only product)? And are insurers accepting those $2,500/year prescriptions or substituting the $300/year generic alternative? My smart doctor friend says that the generic alternative has long been known to most cardiologists. Of the 750,000 African Americans with congestive heart failure, about 20% are already on the generic, and unlikely to switch. Quite a few of those not on it are not on it because their doctors don’t feel they need this therapy yet – and that opinion may not change. The uninsured will be getting BiDil free or nearly free. And that leaves (he guesstimates) something under 20,000 insured patients who will receive prescriptions for BiDil that may or may not be honored by their insurers. At $2,000 a year to NTMD, those 20,000 patients at $2,000 each work out to $40 million a year in gross revenue, versus expenses the company has estimated at above $100 million. So – if these guesses are right, and they could of course be wildly off – we would be looking at more than $60 million a year in losses. Yet the company is currently valued at nearly $700 million. A lot to pay for a single product if it yields $60 million a year in losses.

What’s interesting is that the weekly prescription figures should be available soon. (As, too, the determination of insurers whether to reimburse for those prescriptions or switch insureds to the generics.) Whether my guru is right or wrong, it shouldn’t take years to find out. It’s . . . show time.

FIREFOX v. I.E.

Mike: ‘I hate to find myself in the position of defending Microsoft, but . . . browsing with Internet Explorer 6.0, XP SP 2:

‘5. Find.’
I can also press Ctrl-F to search the page for anything. Microsoft didn’t miss that one.

‘4. No pop-ups.’
IE also has a built-in pop-up blocker. [Ah, but is it as good?]

‘3. Security. FAR more secure than IE.’
I don’t doubt this is true. Nobody cares about knocking off the little kids on the block.

‘2. Tabbed browsing.’
OK.

‘1. Painless install.’
IE comes installed with Windows – it’s hard to get more painless than that.

‘I’m not knocking Firefox, and I’m not necessarily defending IE – but if you’re going to argue for something, give me one irrefutable point, not five insubstantial ones.’

☞ I haven’t tried Firefox yet, but I’m not sure I’d call #2 and #3 insubstantial.

Paul Langley: ‘There are many reasons to use Firefox and I do about 80% of the time. The tab feature, the ability to use add-ons and plugs ins that allow you do such things as automatically open to the pages you last had open, or display (up to) a seven-day weather forecast and current time/temperature in the browser are strong reasons to use Firefox. There are also reasons not to use it. Other than compatibility problems, the biggest shortcoming is its inability to ‘send page’ or ‘send picture’ in emails. Instead it sends a link to the page or picture. I have read why it does it this way (standards that the developers adhere to). But the bottom line is when you want to send someone an article or picture and you know that the article/picture at the link changes every day, then you need to mail them the actual page/picture and so you have to use another browser – in this case Internet Explorer because it has the capability to send pages and pictures directly.’

THE SOUTHERN STRATEGY

Jason Colin: ‘Isn’t it ironic that the Republicans have finally confessed to their racial divisiveness for the last 30+ years, and apologize to the NAACP for it now. They continue to spread hatred and fear towards gays and lesbians. Will it take them another 30+ years for them to figure out they are wrong again? Why aren’t the Democrats or the media picking up on this? The Republicans will continue to do this until everyone understands their control stems from fear, and the only way to do this is to make an issue out of it.’

KOOL-AID

Frank Ryan: ‘I have a friend who was raised on that particular version of Kool-Aid. His mom was a member of The Way International early on and he grew up nurtured by this group. His whole family belonged to this group. He went on to college, got a degree in engineering and then worked at short-term jobs while running small fellowship groups. I hired him (in a very small business) and he flourished. We had many discussions about religion and Christianity (I’m Roman Catholic) and we spent a great deal of time discussing facets of our faith. He eventually left to go to one of their seminaries for a couple of years and then worked at their main campus in Ohio.

‘Five years later (in 2002), he called out of the blue. He needed a job. And a home. And a family. Things had seriously fallen apart in the hierarchy and he saw what these people really were. His whole life had fallen apart, and his family and circle of friends with it. I re-hired him and we spent many an evening talking. He really needed to rebuild the foundation of his life. They had raised him as a nearly empty shell spiritually. It was painful to see how they had taught him to distrust mainstream churches; some of the people best suited to help him. I am sure this was not a coincidence.

‘He now belongs to a mainstream denomination Protestant church. Much of his family (including his parents) gradually figured out what he saw: the people running this group were not people of God. They were running a cult and a business. In the meantime, they ruined many people’s lives. I fear that it will take many years for him to learn to forgive them, despite the fact that he has a forgiving heart.

‘I also had a friend in college who had become ensnared in Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church in the 1970’s. His description of their ‘indoctrination’ is chilling. It was, in my opinion, simply several days of psychological torture and brainwashing.

‘These groups are not real religions. Many of them are run by scam artists who use our ‘freedom of religion’ to evade any regulation. They are a blight on our free and open society. Most Christian groups are legitimate, but we all need to be on guard for those who are willing to defile religion for power and money.’

☞ What is a real religion? What is a cult? One possible answer: the more unquestioningly and literally one takes matters that defy logic (in seven days – really? 72 vestal virgins – really?), the further one moves from a comforting spirituality that inspires kindness, hope, and good works toward something – call it what you will – that, at its extreme, leads to intolerance, hatred, and even mass murder. Strong faith? Swell. Certainty? Uh, oh.

Or maybe a cult is just a religion with relatively few followers. But to put it that way is, I think, disrespectful of religion.

AND SPEAKING OF INTOLERANT NUT JOBS

Click here. My favorite part:

Besen tracks down a dizzying array of former ex-gay leaders who later came out of the closet for good, including the two founders of Exodus.

 

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