Medical Progress Today
mpt home | sign up

Volume 3, Number 1
January 6, 2006


PRINTER FRIENDLY

In the Spotlight

Ariel Sharon and Stroke Treatment

Marc Siegel, MD, Medical Progress Today, 1-6-06

The fate of nations can swing on the health of its leaders—as the world is learning this week, as Ariel Sharon struggles for survival. In 1919, while campaigning for the U.S. to join the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson suffered a devastating stroke that left him crippled and basically ended any hopes of the Senate approving the Versailles Treaty. In 1945, FDR suffered from debilitating hypertension, part of a downward health spiral which may have undermined his effectiveness at the Yalta negotiations with Churchill and Stalin. Later, that year, FDR died of a stroke. In 2006, Sharon has been felled as he pushed for radical change in Israeli politics through his new Kadima party.
Continue reading . . .

News

US Pharmaceutical industry limbers up for Medicare’s brave new world: Overhaul of healthcare systems will put drug manufacturers on a collision course with government
Financial Times, 1-4-06

Editor’s Notes:

Although the new Medicare drug benefit is only a week old, there is one thing we know for certain: it is going to change the future of healthcare, although perhaps not in the way many expect. While critics on the left have portrayed the benefit as a slush fund for drug companies, the reality is just the opposite: any temporary increase in revenue will probably be offset by new pricing pressures and demands for additional data on the effectiveness of marketed drugs.
Continue reading . . .

AARP edges away from drug imports
The Hill, 1-4-06

Editor’s Notes:

The AARP has been practically schizophrenic about the Medicare Drug Benefit. It has touted an AARP drug plan while criticizing the Medicare program as too complex for seniors, and derided its costs while calling for direct government negotiations over drug prices and legalizing importation from Canada and other countries. The AARP, however, may be changing its tune now that one of its own studies has found that the Medicare Part D benefit can be cheaper for its members, in at least some cases, than buying drugs from Canada. The AARP found that “many who choose the least expensive Medicare drug plan in their area that covers all their drugs could pay less this year than getting those same drugs from Canada.”
Continue reading . . .

Action sought on drug imports: The governor asks Congress to allow purchases from foreign suppliers
Sacramento Bee, 1-3-06

Editor’s Notes:

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a bruising last few months, including the defeat of four initiatives he backed in California’s November special elections. In response, the governor has decided to “move to the middle,” including sending a letter to Democrat and Republican leadership in Congress supporting drug importation.
Continue reading . . .

Reaction to new Medicare drug plan mixed
Associated Press Newswires, 1-3-06

Editor’s Notes:

The new Medicare drug benefit went into effect on January 1, and the initial results seem promising—especially considering the enormous amount of bad press the benefit garnered in the weeks and months running up to it.
Continue reading . . .

Senate passes pandemic bill to help developing countries
Government Health IT, 12-29-05

Editor’s Notes:

While the U.S. and other developed countries are generally well equipped to monitor disease outbreaks within national borders, the same isn’t true for much of the globe, where public health facilities are much less sophisticated and well funded. This could turn out to be a critical weakness in an age of globalization, when jet travel means that diseases can cross continents and oceans in the space of few hours. Thankfully, Congress is moving forward with funding designed to improve global disease surveillance networks.
Continue reading . . .

Cholesterol Drugs Have No Effect in Fighting Cancer, It Now Seems
Wall Street Journal, 1-4-05

Editor’s Notes:

Despite much promising early evidence to the contrary, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that statins do not have anti-cancer properties. But even this finding underscores the value of pharmaceuticals compared to other kinds of medical treatments: they are studied so consistently that we know more about their relative utility than we do about many other interventions.
Continue reading . . .

Commentary

A healthy strategy
Los Angeles Times, 1-4-06

The L.A. Times argues that if Governor Schwarzenegger is serious about helping California's uninsured, he should expand the state's public insurance program for uninsured children, Healthy Families. This solution, however, will probably exacerbate the state’s current budget and healthcare woes.
Continue reading . . .

Ominous Prospects for an Aging Population
Tech Central Station, 1-3-06

As a response to many of the concerns over clinical trial disclosures that have been vented in the press recently, Miller offers his opinion that the angst has been largely unwarranted:
Continue reading . . .

Vexing Vioxx
Washington Post, 1-2-06

The New England Journal of Medicine recently issued a clarification of an article on Vioxx that was published in 2000, setting off yet another firestorm of controversy on the data that companies supply to medical journals in support of drug studies. While noting that doctors and medical journals should view those studies with some healthy skepticism, the Washington Post reaffirms its commitment to drug regulation through federal agencies—not the courts.
Continue reading . . .

Research

The Promise of New Rotavirus Vaccines
Umesh D. Parashar, M.B., B.S., Roger I. Glass, M.D., Ph.D., New England Journal of Medicine, 1-5-06

Two new rotavirus vaccines, one from Merck and one from GlaxoSmithKline, have shown enormous promise in reducing deaths from this disease in developing nations, where it kills half a million children every year.
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.

Press inquiries regarding Medical Progress Today can be directed to the Communications Department, at communications@manhattan-institute.org, or via telephone at 212.599.7000.

If you would like to unsubscribe, please reply to us and type "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

Ariel Sharon and Stroke Treatment

NEWS

US Pharmaceutical industry limbers up for Medicare’s brave new world: Overhaul of healthcare systems will put drug manufacturers on a collision course with government
AARP edges away from drug imports
Action sought on drug imports: The governor asks Congress to allow purchases from foreign suppliers
Reaction to new Medicare drug plan mixed
Senate passes pandemic bill to help developing countries
Cholesterol Drugs Have No Effect in Fighting Cancer, It Now Seems

COMMENTARY

A healthy strategy
Ominous Prospects for an Aging Population
Vexing Vioxx

RESEARCH

The Promise of New Rotavirus Vaccines
Center for Medical Progress 
Copyright Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
52 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 599-7000
mpt@manhattan-institute.org