Today's News and Commentary

About pharma

Pharma shells out $3B to doctors and hospitals—with Roche, Sanofi leading: CMS: This story is a followup to yesterday’s post about patients not paying attention to how much their physicians are paid by pharma companies. Despite the available information, these amounts are increasing. This article provides more detail about totals and who is spending the most.

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New drug approvals in 2019 - what’s left to come…: This article is just FYI. What new drugs are likely to come to market this year.

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Study finds sizable delay in use of new antibiotics: Why did hospitals wait about a year to use five new antibiotics? A few reasons are cost (they are very expensive), stewardship (waiting to choose appropriate patients to avoid emergence of resistance), and similarity to existing drugs. Marketers should take note of these reasons.

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More states move to protect patients seeking prescribed meds: One of the most frequently used tools for controlling drug costs is “step therapy.” Patients are required to start with the cheapest and/or most proven first line treatment for their illness. If that treatment fails, a series of excepted “next steps” can be used. This article explains how some states are passing laws against insurers using such policies. It should be noted that step therapies for such conditions as asthma, hypertension and diabetes are accepted and preferred medical treatments. We need to balance government concern for patient care with its practicing medicine.

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Drug prices in 2019 are surging, with hikes at 5 times inflation: This story was all over the media today. The overall message is that for all the talk by Congress about controlling drug costs, more than “3,400 drugs have boosted their prices in the first six months of 2019, an increase of 17% in the number of drug hikes from a year earlier.”

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Another version from the Wall Street Journal

About the public’s health

10 Medical Myths We Should Stop Believing. Doctors, Too.: This is a “fun” article that is also informative.

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More states are targeting teen vaping, but health advocates say it’s not enough to curb use: Yesterday many state laws went into effect that banned teen vaping and raised the age for tobacco purchase to 21. But, as the article asks, are those measures enough to curb use of these products?

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Children who say hand dryers ‘hurt my ears’ are correct: A real-world study examining the loudness of automated hand dryers in public places: Maybe paper towels are healthier. “This study suggests that many hand dryers operate at levels far louder than their manufacturers claim and at levels that are clearly dangerous to children’s hearing.”

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Implications of Changing Public Charge Immigration Rules for Children Who Need Medical Care: “In October 2018, the Trump administration published a proposed rule change that would increase the chance of an immigrant being deemed a “public charge” and thereby denied legal permanent residency or entry to the United States….A total of 8.3 million children who are currently enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP or receiving SNAP benefits are potentially at risk of disenrollment.”

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