Pharmacogenomics testing: What the FDA says: Pharmacogenomics is using genetic data to guide medication choices and dosing. This article is a bit technical but it highlights the fact that many of these genetic tests are laboratory-specific and, thus, not subject to FDA review. (They are covered by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act- CLIA.) The results and how they should be used are controversial.
Pediatric Patients Wait an Average of 6.5 Years Longer Than Adults to Access New Oncology Drugs: This research quantifies the delay in providing pediatric oncology drugs. What it does not get is the reason for it. Pharma companies get more product protection if they delay a pediatric indication for any drug. Time to change this law?
About health insurance
At packed hearing, NY lawmakers weigh single-payer health care: This article is a good example of the issues being debated when a state is considering adopting a single payer system. One issue is affordability for all. Another issue is coverage for all. If the latter were the only concern, would it make sense to re-do the entire system for 5% of the population without insurance?
Public option hits rocks, key components stripped from bill: In nearby Connecticut, a public option plan has encountered some problems when certain measures were stripped from the proposed bill. The argument is over whether or not Cigna threatened to pull out of the state if the bill is passed.
Leveraging Data-Driven Insights to Support Development of Targeted Supplemental Benefits Under Newly Expanded Flexibilities in Medicare Advantage to Improve Outcomes in High-Cost, High-Need Beneficiaries: This report was based on a presentation by Avalere consulting at a conference last week. It reviews the characteristics and social support service needs of dual eligibles in Medicare Advantage plans. The conclusions are self explanatory in the article. One problem is that conclusions are based on 2015 data. Research based on such old findings is common in healthcare. Chances are in this case the conclusions would not be different with more recent data. But that is not always the case.
Medicaid Expansion Fills Gaps in Maternal Health Coverage Leading to Healthier Mothers and Babies: This study provides further evidence “that states that expand Medicaid improve the health of women of childbearing age: increasing access to preventive care, reducing adverse health outcomes before, during and after pregnancies, and reducing maternal mortality rates.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield consortium picks Cricket Health as preferred kidney care provider: A consortium of Blue plans decided to contract with a startup renal company (Cricket Health) instead of giants Fresenius or DaVita.
About the public’s health
Impact of High Volume Energy Drink Consumption on Electrocardiographic and Blood Pressure Parameters: A Randomized Trial: The bottom line in this technical article is that drinking energy drinks (which have a lot of caffeine in them) can cause EKG changes and raise blood pressure. The authors also conclude: “Further investigation is warranted on whether an individual ingredient or a unique combination leads to the observed electrophysiological and hemodynamic changes. The impact of long‐term energy drinks consumption remains unknown.” Obviously you should be very careful if you are consuming these products.
Your Bottled Water Probably Has Plastic In It. Should You Worry? To answer the headline’s title directly, we don’t know. One thing is certain, water bottled in plastic is not always better than tap water. Also, plastic is, unfortunately, ubiquitous.
Association of Nonfasting vs Fasting Lipid Levels With Risk of Major Coronary Events in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial–Lipid Lowering Arm: The conclusion of this study is that non fasting lipids levels (like cholesterol) can be used to screen for abnormalities and also to follow treatment responses. This finding will help patients more conveniently get their followup tests and also aid “health fairs” in detecting problems in those who attend them not-fasting.
First diagnostic test for Zika virus gets FDA's OK to market: The title speaks for itself.
About healthcare quality
Maternity Care Report 2019: The Leapfrog Group just issued its annual maternity care report and the results are not good. Surveying for early elective deliveries, C-sections and episiotomies, they found only 20% of hospitals met criteria in all three areas. There is a lot of detail about each measure in the report and also a map of compliance by state. Now the question is what we can do to improve the performance.
Healthcare CEOs again lead the way in pay: “.For the third time in four years, chief executives in the healthcare field led the S&P 500 in terms of total compensation. The typical CEO in the industry made $16.1 million last year…”
Read the story (Modern Healthcare but appears to be open access)