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Pharmaceutical manufacturing and sales is a highly profitable business in the United States where drug prices and marketing and sales techniques are not well regulated. While drug manufacturers have to include side effects in TV ads, pharmaceutical companies' marketing to doctors and healthcare facilities remains largely unknown by patients.

Are you getting the best drug for your treatment or the drug that offers your doctor the biggest incentive?

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The future that TED Talks have long promised is one step closer to reality, thanks to a new deal between pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and home DNA-testing kit service 23andMe.

The four-year agreement will grant GSK exclusive access to 23andMe’s database of genetic information, with the goal of developing new, targeted drugs and therapies. This isn’t the first time that 23andMe has offered its customers’ data to another organization for research, but those partnerships have previously been transparent. What does this new deal mean for genetic privacy and who will benefit from the partnership?

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Humanity’s consumption of drugs is making its way down the food chain. Prescription drugs ranging from antidepressants, blood thinners, erectile dysfunction drugs and birth control pills to illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine are working their way through human bodies and plumbing systems and into lakes, rivers, and oceans, where they are affecting fish and other wildlife. Eventually, they make their way up the food chain and return to us via the plants and animals we eat. Their impact on human health remains unclear, but some scientists are finding troubling impacts on aquatic life.

“We have every reason to suspect that the release of stimulants to aquatic environments is on the rise across the globe, yet little is known about the ecological consequences of this pollution,” said Emma Rosi-Marshall, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute.

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MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2017/02/11: Several hundred pro-choice, anti-Trump administration demonstrators gathered in Washington Square park to rally & demand that Planned Parenthood continue to receive federal funding, which the Republican Congress has targeted for defending under the Trump administration. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Banning abortion does not stop abortion. It just changes where it happens, how it happens, when it happens, and increases the risk of the procedure. A 186-page report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine unequivocally concludes that modern, legal abortion in the United States is safe and effective. However, states that seek to limit abortion by mandating waiting periods, pre-procedure counseling, or by placing onerous restrictions on facilities that perform the procedure actually succeed not in making the procedure less frequent, but in making it less safe.

"Abortion is safer when it's performed earlier in gestation," said Dr. Hal Lawrence, CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "And so delaying and making people wait and go through hoops of unnecessary, extra procedures does not improve the safety. And actually by having them delay, can actually worsen the safety."

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Residents of the Irish town of Ringaskiddy report that fumes from a local Viagra factory have been giving local men (and male dogs) random erections. Since the factory opened in 1998, residents have reported that you don’t need to ingest the drug to enjoy its famous reaction; just inhale.

“One whiff and you’re stiff,” said Debbie O’Grady, a bartender at the Ferry Boat Inn. “As they say, there’s something in the air—not that we need it, of course. But for some fellas with problems in that department it can be a blessing.”

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In America 2017, where proper health insurance is guaranteed to almost nobody, many cities, counties and school districts are finding a way to beat the system.

Medicinal drugs are often much cheaper overseas — up to 80 percent, in some cases — so employees are getting the help they need from their employers, municipalities or even their counties, in procuring medication at these highly reduced costs.

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Young woman in a section of a chemist's, hygiene products (Photo by: Andia/UIG via Getty Images)

With the ongoing healthcare war between Republicans and Democrats, as well as discretionary standards among pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, pharmacies and others within the medical community, many Americans are facing an unfortunate — and little understood — predicament.

They may actually pay more for prescriptions while using their, often long-defended and hard-earned, insurance.

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