Saturday, February 2, 2013

Generic drug substitutes have wide variances

BEWARE: Not all generic substitutes are alike. The FDA allows a generic to be approved if it is 80% to 125% as effective as the brand it is copying. My own blood pressure went out of sight when MEDCO (now ExpressScripts) changed its approved generic. Since I monitor my BP, I caught the change within a few days and worked with my physician to find an appropriate other generic substitute. 
ExpressScripts requires that a physician write an explanation as to why its "lowest price to them generic" is not suitable (you pay the same co-pay no matter which generic is used). You can't tell them anything. However, you can use the local pharmacy.

The problem is called "bioavailability." The FDA permits generics to be approved if they provide the same benefit as the brand within a confidence interval of 90%-hence within 80% and 125% of the effectiveness of the brand. In terms of the active ingredient, both generics and brands can vary within a narrow band (95%-105%) so if you get a generic that has bioavailability of 80% and it happens to have a batch that contains only 95% of the active ingredient, the pill you are taking is only 76% as effective as the brand.
I'll also caution you on the one a day pill pop. The manufacturers want you to be consistent, so they bundle their formula and convince physicians to prescribe daily dosing. This is especially true of statins for high LDL cholesterol and can lead to side effects, especially muscle pain and worse. I have cut my dosage to twice a week, keeping my LDLs controlled and saving a bundle on the 50c a day CRESTOR pill I had been taking.

Learning Dye Sublimation: Fun Way to Put Art and Photo's on Gift Items

When we began showing our art and photo's at Hillside Market last July, one of the owners kept remarking on how much she loved the pastel kitchen goddesses she saw on my website and was there a way that I could do something with them. I didn't want to sell the originals so how to use them?  Then my friend Regina suggested I put them on tiles.  Good idea but again how.

Driving to Steamboat Springs, Colorado from our home in Santa Fe, we stopped in Buena Vista exploring various shops and discovered Rock Run Gallery.  The owner/artist, Nora Larimar was putting her watercolor art work on tiles.  We had a lovely conversation and she graciously shared the process she was using and how I could find out more about it.

I googled dye sublimation and visited several websites explaining how to do it.  The best explanations were at a supplier.  They have video's that are helpful and I placed an order with them.  Much to my delight I was up and running within a few days of receiving the printer and heat press.  And the fun began and continues.

Images of pastel paintings that were sitting on a shelf, unframed and which I like very much are now on trivets and coasters (ceramic tiles) and on tea towels.  Murray's photographs and some of my oils are also great images to put on gift items.

Over the past few months we have seen several images receive repeated sales from the goddesses to sunflowers to Murray's photo of the Chama River.

It is great fun to come up with different images to fit a time of the year or a holiday.  For example we are featuring this rose on trivets and coasters for Valentine Day.