Global Oncology Trends 2019 -Therapeutics, Clinical Development and Health System Implications: The summary findings of this annual !QVIA report is that a “record 15 new oncology therapeutic drugs were launched in 2018 for 17 indications. Over half of the new therapies are delivered as an oral formulation, have an orphan indication or include a predictive biomarker on their label.” Other details include costs and a breakdown of therapeutic areas.
Assessment of the Clinical Benefit of Cancer Drugs Receiving Accelerated Approval: Speaking of oncology drugs, this research reviewed 93 drugs that received accelerated approval and found only about 20% had confirmed increased survival rates or other benefits. The authors recommend: “Reassessment of the requirements for confirmatory trials may be necessary to obtain more clinically meaningful information.”
Estimates of all cause mortality and cause specific mortality associated with proton pump inhibitors [PPIs] among US veterans: cohort study: This research revealed that taking “PPIs is associated with a small excess of cause specific mortality including death due to cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancer. The burden was also observed in patients without an indication for PPI use. Heightened vigilance in the use of PPI may be warranted.” The association is related to the duration of exposure.
About the public’s health
How the Microbiome Might Predict Diabetes, Premature Birth and Gut Diseases: The term microbiome describes the bacteria throughout her body, but usually focuses on the gastrointestinal tract. Research over a number of years has found an association between a disturbed microbiome and certain diseases, like diabetes. Such disturbances can be due to such events as infection with disease-causing organisms or antibiotic use. This article is a nice summary of the current status of this important and emerging topic.
Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1999–2015, Featuring Cancer in Men and Women ages 20–49: This report is published annually by The American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). While mortality trends were favorable overall, as expected, statistics varied by sex and type of malignancy.
New U.S. Measles Cases Break 25-Year-Old Record, Health Officials Say: While measles has not been at the top of the news, the problem is still not over. As the headline says, we broke a 25-year-old record.
About health insurance
Healthcare Costs Top Financial Problem for U.S. Families: A Gallup poll issued yesterday found that “Americans are more likely to name healthcare costs than any other issue when asked to say what is the most important financial problem facing their family. Seventeen percent name healthcare, followed by lack of money or low wages, named by 11%. A year ago, those two issues and personal debt essentially tied for first; healthcare was also the clear leader in 2017…Gallup has asked the ‘most important family financial problem’ question on 48 separate occasions since 2005. During that time, only three issues -- healthcare costs, energy costs/oil and gas prices and lack of money/low wages -- have topped the list in any single poll.”
Medicare Index Report:Annual Enrollment Period for 2019 Coverage: This report from eHealth found that the “average premium for Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans selected by eHealth customers [emphasis added] decreased 42 percent between the enrollment periods for 2018 and 2019 coverage… Average deductibles decreased 13 percent… Average out-of-pocket limits decreased
3 percent … The average monthly premium for Medigap plans selected by eHealth customers increased 8 percent.” Maybe Medicare advantage is a good deal after all.
Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the 2018 National Health Interview Survey: This study has a wealth of information ranging from where people get their medical care to how they spend their leisure time. The one item from this survey (released yesterday) that made the news was: ”For 2018, the percentage of the population that failed to obtain needed medical care due to cost at some time during the past 12 months was 4.8% … which was not significantly different from the 2017 estimate of 4.5%.” Curiously, that figure is much smaller than the percent of uninsured at the time of the study in 2018, 13.3% among adults aged 18–64.
More Than Half Of Surgical Stapler Malfunctions Went To Hidden FDA Database: As previously reported, up until recently the FDA had an alternative reporting mechanism for products that experienced adverse results. Those reports were not available to the public. This article highlights the problem looking specifically at surgical stapler malfunctions.
About healthcare IT
How four promising trends could aid patient matching: Since patients do not have unique identifiers, healthcare providers need a way to match patients across different IT systems. The article provides a good look at some trends to solve this problem.
Health IT stakeholders calling for ONC, CMS to 'go back to the drawing board' on interoperability rules: The 21st Century Cures Act has IT provisions that include prohibition on “data blocking,” that is, blocking transmission of data to enhance interoperability. The Health Innovation Alliance (which includes such members as Aetna, IBM, Athenahealth and Teladoc) is now asking the ONC to rewrite its interoperability rules. Among the reasons for this stance is that the rules are so vague that they may impede innovation. As one person commented: ” the language around…information blocking is too ambiguous and allows too much room for discretion, and that makes it problematic for affected stakeholders who potentially face penalties of as much as $1 million per infraction.” ONC and CMS have yet to reply.