Tag: "drugs"

Hits and Misses

iStock_000004347437XSmallSome children now eligible for adult organ transplants.

Number of induced labors for early-term deliveries dropped 12 percent, 2006-2012.

Medical privacy: Let patients opt out of HIPAA and manage their own data.

36 percent increase in global use of antibiotics “alarming“.

Medicare expanding telehealth coverage to include wellness, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis.

States Spent $7.7 Billion on Prisoners’ Heath Care in 2011

GOV065A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts reports that 41 states experienced growth in their correctional health care spending from fiscal 2007-2011, with a median increase of 13%. Further:

…state spending on prisoner health care increased from fiscal 2007 to 2011, but began trending downward from its peak in 2009. Nationwide, prison health care spending totaled $7.7 billion in fiscal 2011, down from a peak of $8.2 billion in fiscal 2009. In a majority of states, correctional health care spending and per-inmate health care spending peaked before fiscal 2011. But a steadily aging prison population is a primary challenge that threatens to drive costs back up. The share of older inmates rose in all but two of the 42 states that submitted prisoner age data. States where older inmates represented a relatively large share of the total prisoner population tended to incur higher per-inmate health care spending.

OxyContin Abuse: Stopping the Dealers Helps; Suing the Drugmaker Does Not

One of the biggest challenges with the regulation of prescription drugs is how to prevent the abuse of addictive ones. OxyContin, a powerful painkiller is probably the best known example. There are two ways to reduce the abuse of OxyContin: Punish the inventor and manufacturer of this valuable medicine; or go after those to take advantage of addicts who need help.

HSAAlthough OxyContin is widely prescribed by physicians and valued by patients who need powerful pain relief, trial lawyers decided that the medicine, not the addiction, was the problem. Years ago, the decided they could make some money by suing the manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. Back in 2008, Heartland Institute’s Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly reported on the cost of this effort:

If anyone doubts tort claims are a burden on American drugmakers, consider the fees for Purdue Pharma L.P.’s defense of 1,400 lawsuits in 32 states, alleging that OxyContin, its prescription painkiller, is addictive.

Hits and Misses

woman-with-childA commonly used drug can protect fertility in women undergoing chemotherapy.

Shocker! Bernie Sanders, the only socialist in the U.S. Senate, wants to fix the VA by privatizing the provider network.

Are health insurers lobbying to extend the risk-corridor “bailout” beyond three years?

Thousands of Georgia doctors lack medical-malpractice liability insurance.

Californians complaining to state regulators about ObamaCare plans: Can’t get ID cards, few providers in networks.

Colorado Patients Win the “Right to Try” New Medicines Before the FDA Approves Them

Earlier this month, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper signed the nation’s first “right to try” law. The law allows a patient suffering from a disease, for which no medicine has been approved by the FDA, to try an experimental new medicine before the FDA approves it. The law allows, but does not force, drug-makers to provide their experimental drugs to patients. Other states, such as Louisiana and Missouri, are set to follow.

These patients are in dire straits. They suffer from diseases for which there is no other cure, and have short life expectancies. Most of us cannot imagine being in their position: They are willing to take far greater risks than most would accept, in their search for a cure.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has an exemption for “compassionate use”, that exemption requires jumping through too many bureaucratic hoops to be useful. So, scholars at the Goldwater Institute developed the idea of state “right to try” laws that would enable residents to use experimental new drugs without FDA approval.

Hits and Misses

Physician and Nurse Pushing GurneyEmergency room visits increase in wake of ObamaCare.

Nanotech chip detects signs of cancer in blood protein markers.

318,000 federal workers owe $3.3 billion in back taxes.

1 in 4 Americans now consults Google before going to doctor.

California counties sue drug-makers for marketing painkillers in accordance with FDA regulation.

Hits and Misses

wine-glassA mouthwash you can swallow: Red wine fights cavities!

Social traits of thrift, docility and nonviolence have been bred within agrarian societies.

Most emergency room “frequent fliers” have a substance abuse addiction.

Alcohol triggers junk food cravings.

New pill designed to treat symptoms of hunger (I thought that was called celery).

Two large meals (breakfast and lunch) are better than 6 small ones with same calories for controlling weight and blood sugar in diabetics.

Some New Medicines are Approved More Quickly than Others

Joe DiMasi of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, and colleagues, have reviewed the time it takes for the FDA to review different types of new drugs.

seniors-and-prescriptionsFDA’s Neurology division, which approves drugs for Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke, takes three times as long to approve drugs as the Oncology division. These differences cannot be explained by differences workload, the type and complexity of the drugs reviewed, or the safety of the drugs approved.

If the FDA could cut the performance gap between the divisions in half, the authors estimate that the cost of developing a new drug would decrease by $46 million — a savings that adds up to approximately $874 million per year.

Full report available from the Manhattan Institute.

Hits and Misses

prescription-bottleMany ObamaCare exchange beneficiaries to pay twice as much for prescription meds as those with job-based plans.

Humana: ObamaCare “Bailout” will account for almost half insurance giant’s profit.

Junk health insurance in California: ObamaCare subscribers sue Blue Shield for lying about limited provider networks.

30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are in private Medicare Advantage plans that ObamaCare cuts: Low-income, minorities overrepresented.

Some insurers who offered plans in 2013 did not enter ObamaCare exchanges. Result? Policies 11 percent more expensive.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

Stethoscope9 out of 10 doctors are unwilling to recommend health care as a profession.

Drug cost-sharing in the ObamaCare exchanges is 34 percent higher than in policies prior to the law.

One physical therapist billed Medicare $12 million in 2012: He treated 21 patients per hour, every working hour.

Pension and health care costs at DOD: “If we allow the current trend to continue, we’re going to turn the Department of Defense into a benefits company that occasionally kills a terrorist.”