Medical Progress Today
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Volume 2, Number 45
December 16, 2005


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In the Spotlight

Ghostwriters go bump in the medical journals.
M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t make this story scary.

Peter J. Pitts, Medical Progress Today, 12-16-05

On December 13th the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article titled “Ghost Story.” It was certainly meant to scare readers. It disclosed that some articles in medical journals are drafted by professional medical writers and then edited (often heavily) by the bylined authors before they are published. Not surprisingly, sometimes these medical writers are paid by pharmaceutical companies.
Continue reading . . .

News

Ghost Story: At Medical Journals, Writers Paid by Industry Play Big Role – Articles Appear Under the Name of Academic Researchers, But They Often Get Help
Wall Street Journal, 12-13-05

Editor’s Notes:

The practice of having medical writers help craft or edit articles for medical journals is, as this reporter notes, “an open secret in medicine.” Still, this article is worth reading in its entirety just to show how an “open secret” can become page 1 news in the overheated debate over pharmaceuticals.
Continue reading . . .

Saving Celebrex
Forbes, 12-13-05

Editor’s Notes:

More than a year after Vioxx was withdrawn from the market, researchers are still struggling to quantify the cardiovascular risks that are associated with both old and new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Vioxx, Celebrex, or ibuprofen. Observational studies have presented some tantalizing clues, and researchers like Garrett Fitzgerald suggest that mechanistic studies in small groups of patients may help us better understand the risks.
Continue reading . . .

Florida Legislature Passes Governor’s Managed-Care Medicaid Bill
Los Angeles Times, 12-9-05

Editor’s Notes:

Medicaid reform is building momentum. Florida’s legislature recently approved the Governor’s plan (federal waivers have already been granted) to enact a pilot program for state Medicaid reform.
Continue reading . . .

U.S. Life Expectancy hits another all-time high, but health officials see trouble spots
Associated Press Newswires, 12-8-05

Editor’s Notes:

There is good news about American health care, and somehow it eventually finds its way into the media. This article, naturally, manages to convey the good news about improving health outcomes while warning us that - da da dum – things are not all rosy.
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Commentary

Prescription for trouble
Consumer Reports, 1-1-06

Consumer Reports has issued a series of articles on drug safety. The editors argue that:
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Free Trade for Better Health
Philip Stevens, Campaign for Fighting Diseases, 12-14-05

Stevens points out that economic growth leads to health - not the other way around. As long as bad economic policies rule the day in Africa and elsewhere, citizens and companies will lack the incentives to invest in the technologies and infrastructure that can overcome the diseases associated with poverty.
Continue reading . . .

Brazil’s Aids Program: A Costly Success
Roger Bate, Richard Tren, AEI Online, 12-12-05

Bate and Tren argue that Brazil’s AIDS program is not a good model for other countries to follow, since it puts downward pressure on intellectual property rights and incentives to research new AIDS drugs.
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Expression of Concern: Bombardier et al., “Comparison of Upper Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Rofecoxib and Naproxen in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis”
Gregory Curfman, New England Journal of Medicine, 12-8-05

The New England Journal of Medicine has released a much publicized “note of concern” that important data may have been withheld from a study published on Vioxx four years ago.
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Don’t Monkey With Seniors Medicare Savings
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 12-7-05

The new Medicare Part D drug benefit has yet to take effect. But critics are already calling for the government to negotiate with (read: impose price controls on) pharmaceutical companies.
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Research

FDA Safety Changes: Mobic
Medscape, 12-12-05

Since Celebrex and Vioxx are back in the news, we thought it would be helpful to recall some of the recent research on these drugs in relation to other NSAIDS that are taken by millions of Americans.
Continue reading . . .


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

For more information about Medical Progress Today, please contact the managing editor, Paul Howard, at phoward@manhattan-institute.org, or via telephone at 212.599.7000.

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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

Ghostwriters go bump in the medical journals.

NEWS

Ghost Story: At Medical Journals, Writers Paid by Industry Play Big Role – Articles Appear Under the Name of Academic Researchers, But They Often Get Help
Saving Celebrex
Florida Legislature Passes Governor’s Managed-Care Medicaid Bill
U.S. Life Expectancy hits another all-time high, but health officials see trouble spots

COMMENTARY

Prescription for trouble
Free Trade for Better Health
Brazil’s Aids Program: A Costly Success
Expression of Concern: Bombardier et al., “Comparison of Upper Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Rofecoxib and Naproxen in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis”
Don’t Monkey With Seniors Medicare Savings

RESEARCH

FDA Safety Changes: Mobic
Center for Medical Progress 
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