|Selected news articles which highlight important policy issues.||
News: Weekly Archives
News for the week of 02-14-2006
Genetic Tests Pose Tailored Care
The field of personalized medicine is growing slowly, as industry and regulators try to sort through the avalanche of information provided by the deciphering of the human genome and new sciences like proteomics.
But an encouraging sign of the developing market is that one of the leading players in the health management sector, Medco, is putting its own money on the table to validate a potential genetic test for a commonly used medicine:
One of the nation's leading management companies of pharmacy benefits aims to confirm whether genetic testing can help eliminate the lifethreatening and costly complications that many patients develop after starting a prescription of the anticlotting drug warfarin.
For more information on the potential savings, in human lives and health care costs, from a genetic test for Warfarin, see this paper from the AEI-Brookings Joint Center on Regulation.
The AARP has released yet another report that singles out prices for a handpicked group of branded pharmaceuticals and alleges, in essence, that the industry is price™gouging American patients.
As part of AARP's "Rx Watchdog" effort, a report released by the organization today found that for the sixth year in a row, manufacturers of brandname prescription drugs most widely used by older Americans raised the price they charge wholesalers and other direct purchasers higher than the general inflation rate. The average price change for a sample of 193 brandname drugs was 6 percent in 2005 while inflation over those 12 months was 3.4 percent.
Ben Zycher, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress, had this to say about the AARP report:
AARP's latest exaggeration of increases in drug prices has little to do with patient welfare or enhanced access to needed medicines. Instead, AARP's statistical biases on drug prices serve a single goal: increased political pressure on the federal government to "negotiate" drug prices for the new Medicare drug benefit. Such mandated price discounts—price controls in all but name—would serve to reduce government spending now at the expense of longer term pharmaceutical research and development yielding the new and improved medicines that would benefit patients in the future; thus are AARP's price distortions little more than an attempt to transfer wealth from future patients to AARP's current constituencies. So much for the children.
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