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Pharmaceutical Companies Buy Rivals’ Drugs, Then Jack Up the Prices

By JONATHAN D. ROCKOFF and  ED SILVERMAN  WSJ
April 26, 2015 9:00 p.m. ET
 
On Feb. 10, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. bought the rights to a pair of life-saving heart drugs. The same day, their list prices rose by 525% and 212%.
 
Neither of the drugs, Nitropress or Isuprel, was improved as a result of costly investment in lab work and human testing, Valeant said. Nor was manufacture of the medicines shifted to an expensive new plant. The big change: the drugs’ ownership.
 
“Our duty is to our shareholders and to maximize the value” of the products that Valeant sells, said Laurie Little, a company spokeswoman. “Sometimes pricing comes into it, sometimes volume comes into it.”
More pharmaceutical companies are buying drugs that they see as undervalued, then raising the prices. It is one of a number of industry tactics, along with companies regularly upping the prices of their own older medicines and launching new treatments at once unheard of sums, driving up the cost of drugs.  
 
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Hospital Discharges Rise at Lucrative Times

Long-term-hospital executives sometimes pursued that goal for financial reasons rather than medical ones, say doctors, nurses and former long-term-hospital employees interviewed by the Journal.
 
The Journal analysis of claims Medicare paid from 2008 through 2013 found long-term hospitals discharged 25% of patients during the three days after crossing thresholds for higher, lump-sum payments. That is five times as many patients as were released the three days before the thresholds.
 
 
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GPG Suite for Mac – Privacy for People

The GPG Suite for Mac provides everything you need to get started with secure communication and encrypting files in one simple package.  While no longer free unless you compile the code yourself, it is still worth the cost  ($24 per major relase) untill Apple builds encryption into Mac Mail.  
 

Use GPG Suite to encrypt, decrypt, sign and verify files or messages. Manage your GPG Keychain with a few simple clicks and experience the full power of GPG without too much hassle.

One shouldn't need to set up sophisticated encryption tools to protect their private mail, documents and records.  Amendment IV to the U. S,. Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
 
 

 

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The Sun Sets on Radio Shack

Founded in 1921, Radio Shack and their catalogs were part of my formative years.    Allied Electronics / Radio Shack was one of the great catalogs of the 60s.  Page through the 1967 catalogue.  The company filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday and stores are liquidating inventory this weekend.  If you need some toggle switches, panel lamps in various colors or some 2N107 transistors they are 80% off today – but most people don't need those things.  At 50% off normal prices, most other items can still be found online for about the same price and from companies that will take returns.  In many ways Radio Shack was ahead of it's time and never managed to change with the times.    Photo – Radio Shack Store Duarte CA

 

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L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award nominations announced

Seven nominees are vying for the best production award: "Firemen" at the Echo Theater "Floyd Collins" at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts One in the Chamber" at the Lounge Theatre Deaf West Theatre's "Spring Awakening" at Inner City Arts "Stupid … Bird" at the Theatre @ Boston Court "Taste" at Sacred Fools Theaterand  "The Behavior of Broadus" at Sacred Fools.  read more …

 
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A Fix for Mac OSX Archiver Hanging Up -Update

A few years ago I experienced problems with Mac Archiver under Mountain Lion and posted a fix related to permissions.  Today Archiver again would not function and just hung when called.  The following fixed the problem and is much faster.  Start Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder.  Sort the list alphabetically by process by clicking on the process name column heading.  Find the process “appleeventsd” and click the "force process to quit" button in the upper left of the Activity Monitor window.  The process will return the next time you uncomress a file.

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YouTube to Launch Music Subscription Service

 
Google’s YouTube division plans to launch a test of its long-awaited music subscription service next week, the company said Wednesday.
 
Called YouTube Music Key, the service will be available on personal computers as well as smartphones running Google’s Android operating system to start. Beginning Monday, users will be able to listen to music without ads on the YouTube site. On smartphones, they will be able to play music in the background while they browse in other mobile apps, and store music for offline playback.
 
The service will be available free for the first six months, but by invitation only. It will then be offered for a promotional lifetime price of $7.99 a month, and thereafter, $9.99 a month. Subscribers to YouTube Music Key will also get a free subscription to Google Play Music All Access, a separate subscription music service offered by Google. A version of the Music Key app for iPhones is currently under review in Apple’s App store, a Google spokesman said.  Read more @ Wall Street Journal
 

 

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Amazon Prime Photos – Unlimited Photo Storage Free with Prime

Amazon has added free “unlimitted” cloud storage of photos called Prime Photos as another benefit of it’s Amazon Prime subscription.  The $99 a year subscription now includes free two day shipping, Prime Instant Video: unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes, and expected by the end of the year, free 4K video streaming.

The terms of Amazon Photo limiot a single image to 2GB and a video to 20 minutes.  A wide range of formats are supported.  According to the Amazon website:

Supported File Types

For photos:
.bmp
.gif
.jpeg
.jpg
.png
.raw
.tif
.tiff
For videos:
.mp4 (including mov, 3gp, m4v)
.avi (including divx)
.mts (mpeg transport stream)
.mpg (mpeg program stream)
.asf/.wmv
.flv
.ogg
Note:
 
Supported RAW photo formats include: Adobe (dng), Canon (cr2, crw), Epson (erf), Fuji (raf), Kodak (dcr), Minolta (mrw), Nikon (nef, nrw), Panasonic (rw2), Pentax (pef), Sigma (x3f), and Sony (srf). Other RAW formats may be supported, but we cannot guarantee them fully.(emphasis added)
 
Supported video codecs include: h.264, mjpeg, mpeg4, mpeg2, mpeg1, h.263, Sorenson. Supported audio codecs include: aac, mpeg1/2, amr, wma, qcelp, pcm.
Photos or video file types that do not meet the above requirements can be found in Cloud Drive Files, but not viewed in Cloud Drive Photos & Videos. Unsupported photo file types are not covered under the Prime unlimited storage benefit and will count against your Cloud Drive storage limit.
 
Left unclear is wether RAW formats, generally used by advancewd amatures and pro photographers will count against the regular Cloud Drive Storage limit.  (Lets test it). Assuming “may be supported” means RAW images are included  makes this a valuable benefit to Amazon Prime members.  OSX users will be limitted to using the web sintyrface to upload images until Amazon completes work on a Mac client.