Medical Progress Today
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Volume 2, Number 43
December 2, 2005


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In the Spotlight

The West is coming up with the wrong answers about AIDS.
Financial aid alone won't stem the AIDS epidemic - political and economic reforms are desperately needed.

Philip Stevens, Medical Progress Today, 12-1-05

Each year, while the number of victims rises, the AIDS-advocacy industry uses World AIDS day on 1st December to rehearse familiar themes. This year their tagline is "Stop AIDS. Keep the promise", an exhortation for more money to combat the disease.
Continue reading . . .

News

When the doctor is in, but you wish he wasn’t
The New York Times, 11-30-05

Editor’s Notes:

In most industries, the customer is king (or queen). Dry cleaner lose your shirt? They’ve lost all your other business too. Car mechanic bungle the repairs? Find another one down the block. Bad service at your neighborhood restaurant? Write a nasty letter to Zagat’s. Most professions live in fear of their customers, and with good reason. Customers control their own spending and have a wide array of competitors to turn to if they don’t get the kind of service they want.
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Drug shows promise in lupus patients
Newsday, 11-30-05

Editor’s Notes:

Lupus is a mysterious, chronic autoimmune disorder for which there are few good treatments. One of those treatments, however, is actually an off-label drug called CellCept, originally used to prevent rejection in organ transplant patients. The results of off-label use have apparently been so promising that they’ve led to a small, but important clinical trial on the drugs’ effectiveness in treating one of the most dangerous lupus complications, lupus nephritis, a condition where the patient’s immune own system attacks the kidneys.
Continue reading . . .

Poisonings from a popular pain reliever are on the rise
The New York Times, 11-29-05

Editor’s Notes:

This article on accidental Tylenol (acetaminophen) overdoses is particularly interesting given last week’s Spotlight article from Derek Lowe, which pointed out that many familiar drugs that we think of as safe actually have serious side effect profiles.
Continue reading . . .

AIDS Goal Missed, But Effort by U.N. Branch is Praised
The New York Times, 11-29-05

Editor’s Notes:

As Philip Stevens points out in this week’s Spotlight article, the World Health Organization will miss it’s goal of treating 3 million HIV+ patients with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) by the end of 2005. Worse yet, the actual number of HIV infected patients has increased dramatically. Still, the WHO has done its best to broaden the scope of ARV treatment in Africa and elsewhere. Activists applaud their stated goal of reaching universal ARV treatment by 2010.
Continue reading . . .

Medicaid Cutbacks Divide Democrats
Washington Post, 11-28-05

Editor’s Notes:

Just in case anyone was under the impression that only “heartless Republicans” favored “slashing” the growth of Medicaid (by 1.7% over ten years), the Washington Post notes that this cut in Medicaid growth was recommended by a bipartisan panel of governors who were actually trying to save Medicaid by making it even the tiniest bit more fiscally sane.
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Valued Lives: Britain Stirs Outcry by Weighing Benefits of Drugs Versus Price: Government Arm Finds Pills for Alzheimer’s Too Costly, Angering Patients, Pfizer
Wall Street Journal, 11-22-05

Editor’s Notes:

“Free” health care in Canada or Great Britain comes with one very big catch: the government gets to decide what services and treatments are free and how they are provided. Take last week’s article from the Wall Street Journal on the use of one controversial Alzheimer’s drug in Great Britain. While the drug appears to help at least some patients with this devastating ailment, a national-health advisory committee for the government has issued a preliminary ruling that the drug shouldn’t be offered to patients because it isn’t “cost effective.”
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Commentary

Gouging The Drug Companies
Peter Huber, Forbes, 12-12-05

Peter Huber, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, argues that differential pricing for pharmaceuticals benefits the rich and poor alike. Because wealthy nations like the U.S. pay top dollar for new drugs, underwriting medical research and innovation, pharmaceutical companies are able to subsidize cheaper prices for their medicines in poorer countries.
Continue reading . . .

Lawsuits Won’t Stop Pandemics
Paul A. Offit, Wall Street Journal, 12-1-05

Offit, echoing the findings of the Manhattan Institute’s recent publication Trial Lawyer’s Inc.: Health Care, argues that lawsuits have not made a single vaccine safer. On the contrary, they have practically exterminated the U.S. vaccine industry, and driven up the cost of the remaining products.
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AIDS: The Strategy Is Wrong
Richard Holbrooke, Washington Post, 11-29-05

Holbrooke, formerly U.S. ambassador to the U.N., argues that the last several years of global AIDS policy have been, while well-meaning, wrong-headed.
Continue reading . . .

Confusing Choices in Medicare?
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 11-28-05

Turner argues that the media’s incessant carping over the complexity of the Medicare drug benefit has made one of the program’s great virtues out to be its damning flaw.
Continue reading . . .

The "Choo-Choo Man" Party on the Outs
David Gratzer, National Review Online, 11-28-05

Gratzer, in our second article this week by a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, describes how the fall of the Liberal government in Canada was occasioned by widespread corruption and incompetence—particularly in Canada’s much vaunted (in the U.S.) health care system.
Continue reading . . .


In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

The West is coming up with the wrong answers about AIDS.

NEWS

When the doctor is in, but you wish he wasn’t
Drug shows promise in lupus patients
Poisonings from a popular pain reliever are on the rise
AIDS Goal Missed, But Effort by U.N. Branch is Praised
Medicaid Cutbacks Divide Democrats
Valued Lives: Britain Stirs Outcry by Weighing Benefits of Drugs Versus Price: Government Arm Finds Pills for Alzheimer’s Too Costly, Angering Patients, Pfizer

COMMENTARY

Gouging The Drug Companies
Lawsuits Won’t Stop Pandemics
AIDS: The Strategy Is Wrong
Confusing Choices in Medicare?
The "Choo-Choo Man" Party on the Outs

Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

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