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Daily Rounds: Studying Pot As Treatment; Gold-Plated Health Plan Ads; Silence On Climate Change; Compounding Pharmacy As Family Affair

Research Into Marijuana's Benefit's Limited: Scientists Cite Challenge Of Studying An Illegal Drug (Boston.com) — "The Massachusetts Medical Society opposes the referendum, but sent a letter to the US Drug Enforcement Administration this month urging that marijuana be reclassified to make it easier to research...Individual doctors and patient advocacy groups, including the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and the state chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, have endorsed the ballot question, saying marijuana can help patients and is available now."

Democrats Use Health Law To Assail Republicans (The New York Times) — "The provision, written into the law at the behest of a Republican senator, says members of Congress must get their health benefits through new insurance exchanges being established in every state. Republicans have voted repeatedly to repeal the whole law. Now, in a barrage of television ads, Democrats are roasting those Republicans, saying they voted to give themselves “taxpayer-funded health care for life.”

Why The Chill On Climate Change (The Washington Post) — "Not a word has been said in the presidential debates about what may be the most urgent and consequential issue in the world: climate change. President Obama understands and accepts the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is trapping heat in the atmosphere, with potentially catastrophic long-term effects. Mitt Romney’s view, as on many issues, is pure quicksilver — impossible to pin down — but when he was governor of Massachusetts, climate-change activists considered him enlightened and effective. Yet neither has mentioned the subject in the debates. Instead, they have argued over who is more eager to extract ever-larger quantities of oil, natural gas and coal from beneath our purple mountains’ majesties and fruited plains."

Merging Of Families Fueled Drug Businesses Linked To Meningitis Outbreak (The Boston Globe) — "It would be more than a wedding of two licensed pharmacists. A special alliance would evolve between Cadden and his wife’s older brother, Gregory Conigliaro, a go-getter with an eye for niche businesses. Together, they started New England Compounding Center in Framingham, as well as Ameridose, and turned them into some of the fastest-growing drug-compounding businesses in the country. With Cadden’s scientific know-how and Gregory Conigliaro’s enterprising spirit, their fortunes grew. They launched a half-dozen related corporations and brought in relatives, including Lisa, as employees and corporate officers. Together with their wives, each built handsome homes in Massachusetts, bought vacation homes, and gave generously to their favorite charities or political causes. The creative energy of the two families seemed unstoppable, until last month, when public health authorities linked an outbreak of fungal meningitis around the country to one of their injectable steroids. Now New England Compounding is blamed for potentially exposing thousands of patients to contaminated products. So far, 19 people have died, and more than 200 people have become ill."

This program aired on October 19, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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