Monday, August 28, 2017

8 ways to fix the Affordable Care Act

Gienna Shaw, in an August 23, 2017 post:

In this special report,  FierceHealthcare's editors-experts on the business of healthcare who cover hospitals, health systems, physician practices, insurance companies, health information technology and healthcare finance every day-outline some of the ideas, programs and reforms that hold the most potential to heal the nation's healthcare system. 

This a must-read for anyone interested in U.S. health policy.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Remarkable Increases in Alcohol Use

Bridget F. Grant, PhD, S. Patricia Chou, PhD, Tulshi D. Saha, PhD, et al report on American alcohol use in an August 9, 2017 JAMA Psychiatry post. The authors studied 12-month prevalence of alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. According to the authors:

In this study of data from face-to-face interviews conducted in 2 nationally representative surveys of U.S. adults, including the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III, 12-month alcohol use (up 11.2%), high-risk drinking (up 29.9%), and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder (up 49.4%) increased for the total U.S. population and, with few exceptions, across socio-demographic subgroups.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> http://conta.cc/2hZCPbv

Monday, July 31, 2017

FDA Targets Nicotine in Cigarettes

Matt Egan, reporting for CNN on 7.28.17:

The FDA said it will consider a plan to cut the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to "non-addictive" levels. The agency said it may also regulate "kid-appealing flavors" in e-cigarettes and cigars and wants to encourage "new products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes."

Cigarettes are the "only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> http://conta.cc/2hgPVRi

Thursday, July 13, 2017

CDC: Despite recent declines, opioid prescribing is still high and inconsistent across the US

The CDC, in a July 6, 2017 Vital Signs post, reports:
  • Providers in the highest prescribing counties prescribed 6 times more opioids per person than the lowest prescribing counties in 2015.
  • Half of US counties had a decrease in the amount of opioids (morphine milligram equivalents aka MME) prescribed per person from 2010 to 2015.
  • The MME prescribed per person in 2015 was about 3 times as high as in 1999.
Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> http://conta.cc/2v4RtQv

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trump Signs VA Reform Bill

Barnini Chakraborty, in a June 23, 2017 Fox News post, reports:
President Trump on Friday signed Veterans Affairs reform legislation meant to protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire problematic employees at the department... The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.
The bill enjoyed broad bi-partisan support and fulfilled a Trump campaign promise. The ongoing VA debacle is a cautionary tale for proponents of a single payer system.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> http://conta.cc/2tbdS0u

Monday, June 12, 2017

FDA Approves First Generic Truvada in U.S.

Robert Lowes delivers news from the FDA on June 09, 2017:
    
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first generic version of emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil (Truvada, Gilead Sciences) to both treat and prevent HIV infections in this country, the agency announced today.
     
The list price for Gilead Science's Truvada is roughly $1500 for a month's regimen of one pill per day, or about $18,000 a year, although health insurance and patient-assistance programs knock down the price considerably. Generic versions of Truvada in other countries cost as little as $70 a year, according to Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, an international organization that promotes HIV prevention.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> http://conta.cc/2tdyFgW

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Proton pump inhibitors implicated in chronic kidney disease

Sydney Lupkin & Pauline Bartolone | KHN

Recent research has linked the proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, to serious side effects, including chronic kidney disease, and recently filed lawsuits allege, among other things, that the manufacturers should have known of their potential harms. The risk of chronic kidney disease is as much as 50 percent higher in people who've taken the drug compared with those who've not - although no causative link has been proven and manufacturers insist they are safe.

Read More