Today's News and Commentary

About pharma

European Commission Approves Opioid Dependence Implant: The headline says it all. When will it become available in the US?

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Israeli researchers discover immune mechanism that fights obesity: Fascinating research about lipid-associated macrophages and their immune mechanism role in obesity. The gene for activation of the immune mechanism is also explained. It will be a while before a medication is available that takes advantage of this pathway.

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Future is in doubt for cheaper versions of biologic drugs: “Last year, the U.S. spent $126 billion on biologic drugs, only 2% of it on biosimilars…” Why haven’t the biosimilars made more of an impact as they have in Europe and elsewhere?

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About the public’s health

Five things found in the FDA’s hidden device database: As previously reported, the FDA recently dismantled its hidden reporting system for malfunctioning medical devices. This article explains five significant public safety issues that this system covered up.

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Health panel: Millions of US kids should get hepatitis shot: On the heels of yesterday’s HPV recommendation, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended hepatitis A shots should be given to older children who weren’t vaccinated earlier, including 14- to 18-year-olds who turned 1 before the recommendation was made” 13 years ago.

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Evaluation of USPSTF Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Among African American Adult Smokers: It took healthcare organizations many years to get lung cancer screening recommendations “right.” Early attempts did not alter mortality rates and, when more sensitive technology became available, the number of false positives was excessive. Now that the recommendations seem more reasonable, research found that they are too conservative when applied to African American smokers.

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About health insurance

Out-of-pocket costs increased across all healthcare in 2018: The article reports on a TransUnion Healthcare study reported at this year’s HFMA annual meeting. “Patients experienced out-of-pocket increases as high as 12% for their healthcare costs last year… Specifically, inpatient care costs between 2017 and 2018 went up an average of $573 per person, and outpatient costs went up an average of $119. ED costs went up an average of $40 per person.”

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Health Care Gets Heated On Night 2 Of The Democratic Presidential Debate: On the second night of Democratic candidate debates Senators Sanders and Harris said they would abolish private insurance and all participants said they would make health insurance available to all immigrants. The arguments were over how to role out universal insurance availability.

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About healthcare IT

The Most Googled Medical Symptoms by State: This study by found that nationally, 89% of patients Google their health symptoms before going to their doctor. But the subject of the search is very state specific. This article provides a map of the US and the most frequent inquiries. Yes, all healthcare is local.

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Medtronic recalls some insulin pumps as FDA warns they can be hacked: This article is a reminder about the vulnerability of “peripherals” to hacking.

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Providence St. Joseph Health acquires Epic IT solutions consultant Bluetree: Yet another case of cross-sector linkups in healthcare. “With the addition of Bluetree, the Renton, Washington-based health system now has two of the top EHR solutions companies in the country. It also owns Engage, which has grown to become one of the largest Meditech solution companies in the United States, according to the health system.”

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