We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for western patients who can afford it.
—  Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers • Explaining, rather bluntly, why he feels that India’s efforts to genericize the company’s uber-expensive cancer drug Nexavar is wrong. Now where that falls on the scale of wrong that leads the CEO of a multibillion-dollar company to say that giving cancer drugs to people who are not rich is wrong, I’m not sure. But either way, let’s call this guy a prick, especially since said drugs would cost a person who lives in India $65,000 per year.

This statement by Bayer CEO sums up everything that is wrong with the multinational pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies are singularly focused on profit and so aggressively push for patents and high drug prices. Diseases that don’t promise a profit are neglected, and patients who can’t afford to pay are cut out of the picture. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Read our response:

Breaking news: A terrifying new study has found that the exact same pesticides causing the massive global bee die-off are now killing birds as well.

The global bee die-off has been happening so fast that scientists are still scrambling to detect all the impacts. And now, this new study also finds that neonic pesticides are killing warblers, swallows, starlings and thrushes nearly as fast as the bees – at current rates, 35 percent of the bird population will disappear in just 10 years in the areas studied.

In Europe, there’s a moratorium on bee and bird-killing neonics. Ontario, Canada’s biggest province, is close to becoming the first major territory in North America to ban them as well.

But Bayer – one of the biggest producers of these toxic pesticides – has an army of lawyers suing to overturn Europe’s ban, and their million-dollar lobbyists are fighting to kill Ontario’s bee protection bill. The only way we can win is if we all fight back together. 

(Learn More).


Beginner’s Guide to German Football

Disclaimer: This is not funny, because I have no humour. This is an honest guide to the German competitions for all new fans of the sport in Germany.

I ALSO NOTICED A MISTAKE WHEN I SAW THAT JUST NOW: The third lowest ranked Bundesliga team plays the third highest ranked team in second league for the relegation I was also made aware of the fact that I claim Freiburg got 5th - they didn’t, Wolfsburg did

More Art Monday: Love is in the Air

We’re celebrating love and Valentine’s Day all week, but artists seem to celebrate it more than the rest of us. Enjoy!

The Kiss,” 1916, Constantin Brancusi © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

As Passion Took Over,”c. 1775-80, Artist/maker unknown, India

In the Night,” 1943, Marc Chagall © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

The Kiss,” 1931-32, Herbert Bayer Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst 

Venus and Adonis,” 1777, Charles-Joseph Natoire

Jacqueline Bauer, Miss Angora & 1ere Cover-Girl de France on Flickr.

French postcard by L. Giletta & Cie., Nice, in the Cote D'Azur series, no. 3. Caption: Miss Angora Jacqueline Bauer, 1ere Cover-Girl de France.

Made with Flickr

Aspirin: From Ancient Remedy to Commercial Patent

On March 6, 1899, German scientist and chemist Felix Hoffmann was granted a patent for and released the first commercially available Aspirin by the Bayer company. The two key ingredients of aspirin (acetic acid and salicylic acid) were both known to antiquity for their medicinal properties.  The main source of acetic acid was the meadowsweet plant ( Filipendula ulmaria ), known by its common Latin name spirea.  This was the first commercially available formulation that did not have many of the side effects (and dosage questions) of earlier formulations. The explosion of medicinal remedies in Europe in general and Germany in particular led Germany to pass a law requiring patents for medicine to have strict nomenclature for the sake of the doctors prescribing. Hoffman and Bayer thus named their new product aspirin, adding the a- prefix to the Latin spirea to indicate the source of acetic acid.  Hoffman is also credited with the first commercial and stable formulations of heroin (diacetylmorphine), used as a morphine substitute as cough supressant and pain killer.  Etymologically, the trade name applied for heroin came from the Ancient Greek heroe meaning a demi-god or heroic man, as the drug induced feelings of invincibility.

 Image of Meadowsweet () courtesy chrsjc, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.  Check out their awesome flickr feed-like me a big fan of track cycling, and a very talented photographer.

Vintage Bayer Aspirin bottle courtesy Wolfgang Stief, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.