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Law firm hoards anti-flu drug
By adamg on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 12:55pm
The Globe reports that Ropes & Gray bought up enough Tamiflu to hand out to all its employees for them and their families.
Or as Above the Law puts it, who knew lawyers in expensive suits were as at high risk as young children, pregnant women and people with immune disorders?
... The old, the young, and the weak become seriously ill from swine flu. Hypochondriacs take swine flu medication. Swine flu gets stronger. Humane reason = Epic Fail. ...
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Do they even know how to store it?
It is a danger that hasn't been mentioned in the articles ... pharmaceuticals have shelf lives and storage requirments that a law firm might not be able to maintain.
Not to mention that they could end up wasting the stuff on every executive sniffle.
flu shots or teraflu?
Is Above The Law confusing flu shots with anti-virals? There is no indication R&G is cutting in line for H1N1 flu shot ahead of pregnant women, children, people in their mid 20's, the elderly and other high risk groups.
Here’s how I look at the substance of the Globe's argument: The article’s essential complaint is that R&G, by virtue of this health contingency preparedness plan (in the face of a pandemic), could cause this medicine to be misallocated but that is true if and only if two other conditions exist 1) thousands of people at R&G acquire it and don’t use it, [in fact about 5% of R&G employees have used this program] and 2) thousands if not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of companies do the same.
Whether conflict exists as part of the original story or not, it gets drawn out by the journalist’s research and written into the story. This is done so that so the story has an edge. By constructing the story as opposing views – Deb’s view, Dr X’s view - you get am implied conflict. A story without conflict has no value in selling the “news.”
They are also making an implied elitist argument premised on unfavorable opinions about lawyers and law firms, If it were another profession, the implied elitist argument might not be so easily tolerated by readers.
It will also be a problem if every sniffly partner walks up to medical and demands tamiflu.
That is a waste, too.
It is also unlikely that all these people are receiving all of their health care and primary care at work. In other words, their other conditions and prescriptions are not known, and the law firms medical department handing out doses could cause some serious problems if people were unaware of or didn't report contraindicating conditions and medications.
spell out the symptoms in detail
Presumably the doctors did too but I think you're right. If you're going to have people self-diagnose, you'd better spell out the symptoms in detail. LINK
swirrly, do yo know if viruses respond to anti-virals the same way way bacteria respond to anti-biotics? That premise is central to Above The Law's argument.
If it's true, then why does the FDA allow the anti-viral to be prescribed as is being done by the doctor who's going to Ropes & Gray offices and writing prescriptions?
was R&G aware of Kirkland's flu woes?
That is disgusting. I cant believe that someone can actually do this and then try to justify it. Terrible.
Oh no! Evil lawyers who
Oh no! Evil lawyers who spent years in school and work hard! No way they should be allowed! I am outraged. Lets give it to the homeless drunks!
From a public health perspective ...
I'd give it to the homeless drunks. Lawyers have been called a plague, but crowded shelters could breed an epidemic and get it started in a major city.
See also: Boston Navy Yard 1918, Fort Devens 1918, etc. Conditions in camps and on ships, which are similar to shelters, resulted in a disasterous epidemic which then exploded into the wider communinty within a very short time.
That is true. The well
That is true. The well educated lawyer is more likely to do things, like wash their hands, that will reduce the spread of the flu. They also tend to have more space at work and more space at home as well. Where as poor people tend to work more to a room and live more to a building. If the top 20 percent of Boston had the flu we may have never known it happened. If the bottom 20 percent were to suddenly get it... well it would be kind of ugly. It would spread like wild fire. There would be no realistic way to stop it from spreading from that point.
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Airborne Virus, Succeptable Hosts
Even washing hands hasn't really been shown to prevent transmission in large groups of people. I've read the studies where they had college students playing cards, and they introduced a couple of sick players. One group had cones of shame to prevent touching of eyes, nose, and mouth. They all got sick at the same rate, both groups.
This stuff travels through the air. I've worked on studies where we trapped virus particles that matched snot from workers in the adjacent cube farms. The spread of the 1918 flu could not have been accomplished through dirty doorknobs and telephones alone ... it had to have ripped through the war bond rallies and military barracks via air. The transmission parameters don't match the speed otherwise.
So, if you are crowded into a dorm all night in an open sleeping area full of people with somewhat weak immune systems, ... KABOOM!
Yes for the lower half of
Yes for the lower half of society it is harder to prevent. Many lawyers though live in work in less congested conditions. The lawyers I know spend a good deal of their day in an office by themselves looking over paper work for 16 hours. It is a hard job with a sometimes limited social life. The lawyers at a firm are less likely to be at big events with many people crammed into a room. Protecting the lawyers in firms does not help stem the tide for the rest of us at all. I would rather McDonalds hoard it to be honest. One sick McDonald's employee at a busy urban location could easily infect a whole community.
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I am not upset because of
I am not upset because of the current Swine Flu epidemic rather this just shows that companies and people should not be trusted in times of national crisis. They are causing a run on something that could save lives because they feel their law firm needs to keep running. In the future will this extend to other situations? Will I need to work for a big company to be protected from rising sea waters due to global warming? If I do not work for a large company will I still be able to see a doctor?
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...not a mutated drug-resistant virus, about which we might expect the doctor to have some expertise?
... not being taken superfluously?
... but "fairness to society" in other words allocating an extraordinarily small amount of the drug to a few hundred people is the primary concern of this medical ethicist. She is a medical ethicist, isn't she?
Is there enough of this stuff to go around?
Or could the situation ever arise where an elderly H1N1 victim can't get the antivirals when he or she needs it because so much has been set aside for employees of prestigious law firms and the like "just in case"?
And if there is plenty to go around,
Then why stockpile it, make special deals with the manufacturer, etc? Why would such a measure be necessary?
Will I need to work for a
If you think the Rising Sea Water Monster is coming to get you, you have more problems than catching the flu.
Is anyone (who is familiar
Is anyone (who is familiar with Boston law firms) surprised that Ropes & Gray is acting douchy? They can't afford to have one of their minions, ehh, I mean, employees, miss even an hour of work or else the partners' share will tumble down lower than $2M this year.
cue the Eggnog of Christmas Past and Associate R. Cratchit
Douchey lawyers? Go figure...
Ropes & Gray deserves...
...all the bad press the firm is getting. The selfishness and monstrously misplaced sense of self-importance are so palpable, I can't even begin to say.
Anti-virals are for people who contract the flu. It is said to shorten the illness. 1 in 20 employees took advantage of the medical consult and obtained a prescription. How many of those people filled the prescription promptly is unknown. the argument the firm is hoarding the medicine is not substantiated by the facts.
The H1N1 vacine, which prevents the illness, is reported to arrive in large quatity in Boston mid-November. If the firm pushes to the front of the line and takes inoculations in front of pregnant women, children and kids up to their mid 20's than I'll have a complaint about their behavior.
No, Ropes & Gray provided a preview of our viral future
Hmm, let's see: A wealthy, powerful law firm arranges access to a limited-supply flu treatment in a way that most folks do not enjoy, in the midst of growing fears over H1N1.
For now, the Ropes & Gray scenario is just a teaser, a window into the priorities of a large corporate law firm. Fortunately (fingers crossed), it appears that H1N1 is not a reprise of 1918 or plagues of centuries past. Hopefully, most of those Tamiflu doses will stay in medicine cabinets around Greater Boston, unused.
But a lot of people in the know say that we're overdue for a truly horrible pandemic of sorts. So...what happens if the flu or some other virus goes truly nuts and there are limited supplies of what are believed to be effective vaccines or treatments? Answer: You'll have firms like this one quietly working behind the scenes to provide their own people with unusual access.
A public health crisis will strike at the nexus between public health policy, which is largely voluntary and does not provide and allocation mechanism for medicine, and free market access to pharmaceuticals by organized enterprises.
That was my point as well.
That was my point as well. If they did it now of course they will do it when we see a real pandemic in our midst. My concern is that this will be the health care fiasco all over again. What starts off as an employee benefit quickly becomes a disaster as people have a hard time moving from job to job and those who are unemployed or employed by less gracious companies are left out in the cold. I believe we need to whack these companies when they do something like hoard Tamiflu so they know it will not be acceptable later either.
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