Last Sunday’s New York Times featured an op-ed by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, on the oncology drug shortage. It’s a serious problem that’s had too-little attention in the press:
Of the 34 generic cancer drugs on the market, as of this month, 14 were in short supply. They include drugs that are the mainstay of treatment regimens used to cure leukemia, lymphoma and testicular cancer.
Emanuel considers that these cancer drug shortages have led to what amounts to an accidental rationing of cancer meds. Some desperate and/or influential patients (or doctors or hospitals) get their planned chemo and the rest, well, don’t.
Unfortunately, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*
This is the third part of a three part post addressing the legal concerns of social networking in the health care arena.
In part one, legal expert David Harlow, Esq., Health Care Attorney and Consultant at The Harlow Group, LLC in Boston, answered questions regarding “The Legal Implications for Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals Engaging in Social Media?”
In part two, Mr. Harlow answered questions related to the Pharma industry; “Legal Concerns: What Steps can Pharma Take to Engage in Social Media?”
The third part addresses a question from a follower on Facebook about the use of disclaimers.
Q: Barbara: A Healthin30 reader on Facebook writes: “I’m looking for a good disclaimer to put on a couple of medical practices’ Facebook pages. The AMA social media guidelines aren’t helpful. Do you have a good boilerplate you recommend? Thanks in advance for your help!” David, can you offer a couple suggestions?
A: David: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*
Give me your medication list and I’ll tell you your health problems. It happens every day in emergency rooms across the country as confused elderly patients present for an acute problem unable to describe their past medical history, but equipped with a list of medications in their wallet:
Metformin = Type-2 diabetes
Synthroid = Hypothyroidism
Lipitor + Altace + Lasix + Slo-K = Ischemic cardiomyopathy
Lexapro = A little anxious or depressed
Viagra = Well, you know…
I bet I’d be right better than 90 percent of the time. Now, imagine you’re a pharmaceutical company wanting to target people with those chronic diseases. Where might you find them?
No problem. Just pay the insurers to provide you patients’ drug lists. No names need be exchanged in keeping with HIPAA requirements. But the drugs list attached to folks’ cable TV box? Perfect. You’re in — with no legal strings attached. Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, just fire away with that targeted direct-to-consumer advertising on TV, courtesy of your local healthcare insurance provider.
No wonder our healthcare industry movers and shakers love the electronic medical record. Healthcare privacy? What healthcare privacy?
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
Maybe you read the other day in The New York Times that the pharmaceutical industry has a problem. Big blockbuster drugs like Lipitor are going off patent and the industry leaders don’t have new blockbusters showing promise to replace them. So the big companies search for little companies with new discoveries and they consider buying them. Industry observers think the days of $5 billion-a-year drugs to lower cholesterol or control diabetes may be past for awhile, and the companies will have smaller hits with new compounds for autoimmune conditions and cancer.
When I saw my oncologist for a checkup yesterday — the news was good — we chatted about the article and the trend toward “niche science.” We welcomed it. We didn’t think — from our perspective — the world needed yet another drug to lower cholesterol. We need unique products to fight illnesses that remain daunting, some where there are no effective drugs at all. For example, my daughter has suffered for years from what seems to be an autoimmune condition called eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGID). Her stomach gets inflamed with her own eosinophil cells. They would normally be marshaled to fight a parasite in her GI tract but in this case, there’s nothing to attack. So the cells make trouble on the lining of the stomach and cause pain and scarring. Right now, there’s no “magic bullet” to turn off these cells. My hope is some pharma scientists will come up with something to fill this unmet need.
In the waiting room before I saw my doctor at the cancer center in Seattle I overheard a woman on the phone speaking about her husband’s new diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I was sitting at a patient education computer station nearby. When she was finished I introduced myself and showed her some webpages to give her education and hope: pancan.org and our Patient Power programs about the disease. She was grateful. I did tell her — and she already knew — that there was no miracle drug for pancreatic cancer and that it was a usually-fatal condition. But that there were exceptions and, hopefully, her husband would be one. Of course, wouldn’t an effective medicine be best? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*
There’s an article in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled the “Unintended Consequences of Four-Dollar Generic Drugs.“ Ever one to hone in on unintended consequences of all stripes, I quickly clicked through. Oh, dear! What bad could possibly come of making drugs significantly more affordable?
Were more people demanding prescriptions for drugs they didn’t really need now that they were so cheap? (Dream on. I’m still twisting arms to get my high-risk cardiac patients to take their generic statins.) Were pharmacies going out of business, no longer to make ends meet without massive markups on brand name drugs, contributing to skyrocketing unemployment and otherwise adding to the country’s general economic malaise? Were cardiologists’ incomes plummeting because of sagging rates of coronary disease now that everyone could easily afford their beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and statins?
Or maybe it was something good. I guess, technically, “unintended” doesn’t automatically equal “bad.” What could it be? So I read. And what did I discover? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*