The prospect of an avalanche of generic-like drugs has an unfortunate side effect: It keeps biotech executives up late at night.

But wait, aren’t generic medications perfectly ordinary? Many of us buy store brands of medications and rely on cheaper generic drugs to treat everything from depression to heart disease.

Ah, but there’s a catch: So-called “biologic” drugs — derived from proteins — aren’t currently offered in the equivalent of generics.

But health-care reform may change all that, and the biotech industry is girding for battle.

As our story explains, allowing the generic-like drugs “poses a threat to the biotech business model, which depends on drugs being expensive so companies can make back all the money they spend discovering the drug and getting it approved and developed.”

While biotechs fret over bad tidings, the local housing industry is rejoicing over good news: home sales rose 20 percent in June over last year.

Yippee! Let’s celebrate. What could possibly go … Oh dear. Our real-estate columnist Rich Toscano has some reality to rain on our parade: “Every month so far in 2009, more existing San Diego homes have gone into foreclosure than have been sold.”

In other news, we have another update on Assemblyman Marty Block, who decided not to take a salary during the state budget impasse after we wrote about a campaign promise he had made.

Block is still taking a per-diem payment when the legislature is in session. But there’s a catch.

Meanwhile, the U-T reports that Block makes $46,288 a year in pension proceeds due to his 26 years at San Diego State.

In medical news, a study out yesterday says volunteers who learned they’re at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease didn’t dissolve into despair.

A researcher told me that some people just happen to be “information seekers.” I fall into that category myself: Earlier this year, I got the results of my own genetic test and didn’t fall apart. And I hardly ever pass up an opportunity to panic.

Like us, the U-T is having problems getting its hands on internal city emails. The mayor’s office is way behind on one request, which spawned errors including “some kind of glitch” and a data specialist’s failure to follow instructions.

Elsewhere, KPBS-FM wraps up its three-part series of stories about how the Port District has lost tens of millions of dollars over the past 15 years but hasn’t “clearly documented those losses for the public.”

“It wasn’t really adding value to have general administrative and depreciation expenses in the budget,” explains the port’s chief financial officer.

Oh, reality. If you can’t provide added value, what good are you?

Finally, the New York Times looks at the epidemic of fake stories about celebrity deaths and talks to our own favorite hoax expert — La Mesa author Alex Boese.

We asked him questions about famous hoaxes and strange science earlier this year — the “horny turkeys” experiment is our favorite — and interviewed him for a story about the 18-year-old San Diegan who convinced more than a few people that he’s the next Mr. Rogers.

Want more flim-flam? Check our recent story about famous hoaxes in San Diego’s history, including the tale of the local newspaper columnist who convinced the world she’d stumbled upon a president’s love letters.

She had a creative excuse once she got caught. Sadly, it had nothing to do with added value or, for that matter, “some kind of glitch.”


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