Medical Progress Today
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Volume 2, Number 42
November 17, 2005


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In the Spotlight

Aspirin: Not Approvable
Why many familiar medicines might flunk FDA approval today

Derek Lowe, Medical Progress Today, 11-17-05

With all the headlines in recent years about dangerous prescription drug side effects, many people must be wondering what happened to the days of safe, reliable medicines. Where are the new drugs that can get the job done safely? Where are the new aspirin, penicillin, acetaminophen?
Continue reading . . .

News

Problems Cited in Medicare Drug Benefit Sign-Up: On 1st Day, Seniors Report Confusion Over Choices, Frustration With Online Comparison Tool
Washington Post, 11-17-05

Editor’s Notes:

There is an overarching theme running through the media commentary on the new Medicare drug benefit: seniors are confused by too many choices.
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FDA takes the pain out of Rx info: New rule requires online data for health care providers and consumers
Federal Computer Weekly, 11-14-05

Editor’s Notes:

Many adverse drug events are the result of human error - of not using drugs correctly, or not having the most up-to-date information on potential drug side-effects.
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Know your patient for fine-tuned therapeutics
Financial Times, 11-11-05

Editor’s Notes:

The Holy Grail of personalized medicine is a system of cheap but effective diagnostics, which can match patients to the best medicines. While getting the science right will be challenging, getting the economics right may be just as hard.
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A Booster Shot for Medical Data-Sharing
Business Week, 11-10-05

Editor’s Notes:

The FDA’s move to enable electronic prescribing is only a small part of the government’s ongoing health IT program. Last week, HHS awarded four contracts to build prototype networks that would allow seamless information-sharing between health care providers.
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Commentary

AARP’s America is a Mirage
Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 11-16-05

Samuelson delivers a scathing indictment of the AARP’s entitlement mindset. Although we might quibble with a few of his points, we agree that the AARP’s assumptions that work and retirement are due for an overhaul.
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The Senate Reconciliation Bill: Wrapping Doctors in More Medicare Red Tape
Richard Dolinar, M.D., Heritage Foundation, 11-10-05

Government programs like Medicare can sometimes micromanage health care providers in a shortsighted attempt to improve quality. This not only adds reams of bureaucratic paperwork, but also can hamper innovation and hurt patients. Dolinar argues that new legislation in the Senate will make the current situation even worse.
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Public Health Care on Path to Bankruptcy
Brett J. Skinner, The Fraser Institute, 11-8-05

America’s market-based approach to health care is often criticized as the most expensive in the world - which it is. But the government-financed models touted as the solutions to our woes don’t fare any better in terms of their long-term sustainability. This report, from the Canadian Fraser Institute, shows that the Canada’s tax-funded Medicare program is consuming taxes at an unsustainable pace.
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Research

Making Markets Work: Five Steps To A Better Health Care System
Daniel P. Kessler, R. Glenn Hubbard, John F. Cogan, Health Affairs, 11-15-05

Cogan, Hubbard, and Kessler are the authors of Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise, a new book from AEI Press. They show how a handful of relatively simple change to American health care can help to cut costs and improve health care access.
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Evaluating the Efficiency of California Providers in Caring for Patients with Chronic Illnesses
Laurence Baker, Kristen K. Bronner, Elliott S. Fisher, Sandra M. Sharp, John E. Wennberg, California Healthcare Foundation, 11-1-05

This study adds to the wealth of information showing that tax dollars spent on health care are not being spent wisely. Like earlier studies, it shows that there is enormous regional variation in Medicare spending - in this case at the hospital level. Although some hospitals in California are spending much more on patients, there are no clear benefits to show for the additional Medicare outlays.
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Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

Aspirin: Not Approvable

NEWS

Problems Cited in Medicare Drug Benefit Sign-Up: On 1st Day, Seniors Report Confusion Over Choices, Frustration With Online Comparison Tool
FDA takes the pain out of Rx info: New rule requires online data for health care providers and consumers
Know your patient for fine-tuned therapeutics
A Booster Shot for Medical Data-Sharing

COMMENTARY

AARP’s America is a Mirage
The Senate Reconciliation Bill: Wrapping Doctors in More Medicare Red Tape
Public Health Care on Path to Bankruptcy

RESEARCH

Making Markets Work: Five Steps To A Better Health Care System
Evaluating the Efficiency of California Providers in Caring for Patients with Chronic Illnesses
Center for Medical Progress 
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