May 11, 2004

The Drug Delivery Man

Back in school I had a classmate who worked at Alza, the folks who developed the patch method of drug delivery--now commonly seen in Nicoderm. Sylvia, can you still dunk?

I was reading a lot of cyberpunk back then, and Bill Gibson was writing about patches used for all sorts of drugs--legit and illicit. I found Sylvia a cartoon for the "Weed Patch." Too funny.

I've always been facinated by this stuff. It's like a whole different side of engineering; the interface between man and machine and technology. Science fiction always picks up on these things and postulates how they could be used for good or evil.

Like in Kim Stanley Robinson's The Gold Coast, where the drug dealer character dispenses his designer drugs via eyedroppers. For someone who grew up watching kids get high smoking joints, this was out-there stuff.

So it was with more than idle interest that I saw Forbes' profile of the drug delivery man, Alejandro Zaffaroni. I knew about the guy from Alza, but Forbes described how he's now working on a "cigarette-inspired" inhaler for fast-acting drugs.

A quick Google search led me to Zaffaroni's "hysterical letter" warning Ronald Reagan of the dangers of smokeless cigarettes. Now this pro-tobacco site might consider Zaffaroni hysterical, but I say, the dude is probably right. His new drug delivery device kind of does the same thing, except with Maxalt or whatever migraine drug. But what if it could deliver ice or crack?

Posted by jameshom at May 11, 2004 11:21 AM | TrackBack
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