Pharmaceutical Companies # Practice Reading

Lately pharma (pharmaceutical companies collectively as a sector of industry)execs have been taking yet another volley (a number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time)of criticism (the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes)over drug-pricing practices from Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio—and plenty of others—without offering much in the way of a defense (the action of defending from or resisting attack). Now two CEOs say the industry—whose stocks tumbled (fall suddenly, clumsily, or headlong)on a Clinton tweet about ‘price gouging ( a large amount, as of money, exacted or extorted)’ and whose share prices have been ailing (in poor health)since July—is quietly formulating (express (an idea) in a concise or systematic way)its response plan.

When Biogen BIIB 0.84% CEO George Scangos was asked on a third quarter earnings (gain deservedly in return for one’s behaviour or achievements)call Tuesday about the industry’s relative silence on the subject of late, he predicted (say or estimate that (a specified thing) will happen in the future or will be a consequence of something)drug companies would soon weigh in. “Obviously, there has been a lot of rhetoric (the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques)recently,” Scangos said. “The industry is preparing a thoughtful presentation of a different perspective (a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view)on drug prices and the value that we bring to patients and the medical community.”

Eli Lilly LLY -0.19% CEO John Lechleiter offered a similar response when asked about the subject by an analyst (a person who conducts analysis)this morning, on an earnings call: “You can expect to see more coming from the industry,” he said, noting that the response needs to be well-calibrated (to determine, check, or rectify the graduation of (any instrument giving quantitative measurements)). “We have to be careful and thoughtful here. I don’t think there is a way you can spend enough money to all of a sudden change people’s mind.”

That said, Lechleiter believes it can be done. “We have a great story to tell,” he said. “If you look at the hepatitis space, the cancer space, diabetes—there are huge advances in recent years…I’ve never been as optimistic (disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome)about our chance to make a difference.” He added that the media focuses on examples of individual drug price hikes, it has overlooked the fact that expense of drugs as a proportion of healthcare spending has remained “remarkably constant” over the years. Moreover, drug companies, Lechleiter says, are mandated (a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative)by the government to provide “deep discounts”, and are increasingly under pressure to do so to get their medicines on formularies (a collection or systems of formulas)and to be able to compete for business. “We have more work to do, and you can expect to see more.”

Source – http://fortune.com/2015/10/22/big-pharma-wont-stay-silent-in-drug-pricing-debate-for-long/

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Origin Of Punctuation # Practice Reading

As readers and writers, we’re intimately familiar with the dots, strokes and dashes that punctuate the written word. The comma, colon, semicolon and their siblings are integral parts of writing, pointing out grammatical structures and helping us transform letters into spoken words or mental images. We would be lost without them (or, at the very least, extremely confused), and yet the earliest readers and writers managed without it for thousands of years. What changed their minds?

In the 3rd Century BCE, in the Hellenic Egyptian city of Alexandria, a librarian (a person in charge of a library, especially the chief administrative officer of a library)named Aristophanes had had enough. He was chief of staff at the city’s famous library, home to hundreds of thousands of scrolls, which were all frustratingly time-consuming to read. For as long as anyone could remember, the Greeks had written their texts so that their letters ran together with no spaces or punctuation and without any distinction between lowercase and capitals. It was up to the reader to pick their way through this unforgiving mass of letters to discover where each word or sentence ended and the next began.

Yet the lack of punctuation and word spaces was not seen as a problem. In early democracies such as Greece and Rome, where elected officials debated to promote their points of view, eloquent (having or exercising the power of fluent, forceful, and appropriate speech)and persuasive (able, fitted, or intended to persuade)speech was considered more important than written language and readers fully expected that they would have to pore over a scroll before reciting it in public. To be able to understand a text on a first reading was unheard of: when asked to read aloud from an unfamiliar document, a 2nd Century writer named Aulus Gellius protested that he would mangle (to spoil; ruin; mar badly)its meaning and emphasise (to lay stress upon)its words incorrectly. (When a bystander (a person present but not involved; chance spectator; onlooker)stepped in to read the document instead, he did just that.)

Joining the dots

Aristophanes’ breakthrough was to suggest that readers could annotate (to supply with critical or explanatory notes)their documents, relieving the unbroken stream of text with dots of ink aligned with the middle (·), bottom (.) or top (·) of each line. His ‘subordinate’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘full’ points corresponded to the pauses of increasing length that a practised reader would habitually insert between formal units of speech called the comma, colon and periodos. This was not quite punctuation as we know it – Aristophanes saw his marks as representing simple pauses rather than grammatical boundaries – but the seed had been planted.

Unfortunately, not everyone was convinced (to move by argument or evidence to belief, agreement, consent, or course of action)of the value of this new invention. When the Romans overtook the Greeks as the preeminent (eminent above or before others; superior; surpassing)empire-builders of the ancient world, they abandoned (forsaken or deserted)Aristophanes’ system of dots without a second thought. Cicero, for example, one of Rome’s most famous public speakers, told his rapt (deeply engrossed or absorbed) audiences (the group of spectators at a public event)that the end of a sentence “ought to be determined not by the speaker’s pausing for breath, or by a stroke (the act or an instance of striking, as with the fist, a weapon, or hammerinterposed (to place between)by a copyist, but by the constraint of the rhythm”.

And though the Romans had experimented for a while with separating·words·with·dots, by the second century CE they had abandoned that too. The cult (a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing,person, ideal, etc)of public speaking was a strong one, to the extent that all reading was done aloud: most scholars (a learned or erudite person, especially one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject)agree that the Greeks and Romans got round their lack of punctuation by murmuring (a low, continuous sound, as of a brook, the wind, or trees, or of low,indistinct voices)aloud as they read through texts of all kinds.

Source :BBC

Cybertheft Agreement With China # Practice Reading

Somber (gloomily dark; shadowy; dimly lighted) against a backdrop (to provide a setting or background for) of grand pageantry (spectacular display; pomp), President Barack Obama laid out a fresh threat (an indication or warning of probable trouble) of sanctions (authoritative permission or approval, as for an action) against China for alleged (declared or stated to be as described; asserted) cybercrimes (criminal activity or a crime that involves the Internet, a computersystem, or computer technology) on Friday, even as he and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement (the act of agreeing or of coming to a mutual arrangement) not to conduct (personal behavior; way of acting; bearing or deportment) or support such hacking (replacement of a single course of stonework by two or more lower courses). “It has to stop,” Obama declared (publicly avowed or professed; self-confessed).

The president, in a Rose Garden news conference (a meeting for consultation or discussion) with Xi, was clear that he’ll be wary (arising from or characterized by caution)until the Chinese follow through on promised (an express assurance on which expectation is to be based) efforts to stop cyberespionage, saying, “The question now is: Are words followed by action?”

As for the possibility (the state or fact of being possible) of sanctions, against either individuals (a single human being, as distinguished from a group), businesses or state-run companies, he said: “We will apply those, and whatever other tools we have in our tool kit, to go after cybercriminals (A cybercriminal is an individual who commits cybercrimes, where he/she makes use of the computer either as a tool or as a target or as both) either retrospectively (directed to the past; contemplative of past situations, events, etc)or prospectively (of or in the future).”

Obama said the agreement was progress (forward or onward movement towards a destination) — but he added that “I have to insist (to lay emphasis in assertion) our work is not yet done.”

Xi, for his part, agreed that the two countries would not “knowingly support” cybertheft and promised to abide by “norms of behavior” in cyberspace.

Confrontation (an open conflict of opposing ideas, forces, etc) and friction (dissension or conflict between persons, nations, etc., because of differing ideas, wishes, etc)are not the right choice for both sides,” Xi said, speaking through a translator (a person who translates).

Both countries claim they don’t engage (to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons))in cybertheft (Stealing of financial and/or personal information through the use of computers for making its fraudulent or other illegal use) of commercial (prepared, done, or acting with sole or chief emphasis on salability,profit, or success) secrets, one of the deep differences that have threatened (to utter a threat against; menace) ties between the world’s two largest economies (the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method).

Source :TIME

Read this again and again until you understand the passage entirely and grasp the vocabulary. Once you are sure, check out the quiz related to this passage.

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