“With this disappointing decision, the FDA has chosen to place itself between patients and their doctors by rationing access to a life-extending drug. . . We can’t allow this government takeover of health care to continue any longer.”
That quote, courtesy of this morning’s [Dec 17th] Washington Post, incensed me to such a degree that I am writing this blog despite the two deadlines I have today. The speaker is Sen. David Vitter (R-La). The “disappointing decision” he refers to: The FDA’s decision to remove the breast cancer indication for Avastin (bevacizumab).
I wrote about this earlier, and you can read the post here, but that was before yesterday’s [Dec 16th] decision. I’m not going to comment here on the benefits or risks of Avastin. . . except to say that I’m sure there are individual women who are alive today because of it, and, quite possibly, individual women who are dead today despite it. But that’s not how we do medical science, based on individual patients. We do medical science based on large clinical studies (which are often designed with and approved by FDA officials). It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the system we have. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine, Health Care, and the Writing Life*
The top moneymakers for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry might surprise you. These aren’t necessarily the most prescribed medications (although some of them are), but they’re the top products in terms of sales in 2009. The revenues were in billions:
1. Lipitor – used for high cholesterol: $7.5 billion
2. Nexium – a proton pump inhibitor for GERD: $6.3 billion
3. Plavix – a blood thinner: $5.6 billion
4. Advair Diskus – used for asthma and COPD: $4.7 billion Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
Much has been recently made about the bureaucratic obstacles that primary care doctors face. With good reason. The impetus was a recent New England Journal of Medicine paper from Richard J. Baron that I mentioned recently.
The New York Times’ Pauline Chen interviewed Dr. Baron, who shared some interesting insights on what needs to be done. He contrasts the inertia in primary care to drug manufacturing.
If you took the resources that went into drug development, for instance, “and put them into a program like this that achieves meaningful levels of behavior change, a lot more patients could be better off.” In other words, research into new primary care models isn’t taking off because the money isn’t there.
But Dr. Baron also notes that money isn’t everything, since “primary care practitioners have been saying that we either already do or would do certain things if you paid us more. It’s true that you can’t do things consistently, reliably and across scales without additional payment. But payment is not enough. People have to change what they are thinking about when they go to work.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*