Medical Progress Today
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Volume 3, Number 14
April 21, 2006


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In the Spotlight

Patients Adrift in a Sea of Clinical Trials
Company funded trials are valuable, but more needs to be done.

Sally Satel, MD, Medical Progress Today, 4-19-06

On the front page of the Washington Post last week was a headline geared to spark the ire of those who have a congenital animus toward pharmaceutical companies—"Comparison of Schizophrenia Drugs Often Favors Firm Funding Study".
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News

Putting a Band-Aid on small firms' health costs
USA Today, 4-19-06

Editor's Notes:

Small businesses—which are hit hardest by rising health insurance costs—are finding very creative ways to offer basic (and affordable) health coverage to their employees, including HSAs.
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Patients asked to sign vow: No frivolous suits
Chicago Sun-Times, 4-12-06

Editor's Notes:

Doctors are mad as hell about medical malpractice suits and aren't going to take it anymore. Or at least some of them aren't—and they're turning to contract law to try and stem the tide of tort in ways the courts have not.
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Commentary

Three simple solutions to cure Medicare prescription-plan ills
Richard G. Stefanacci, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 4-16-06

Stefanacci probably overstates his case, but his article is a short, cogent analysis of concerns that have dogged the Medicare drug plan since its inception. Unfortunately, his "simple solutions" would most likely prove to be counterproductive.
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Health Policy in Maryland and Massachusetts: A Study in Contrasts
Regina E. Herzlinger, Heritage Foundation, 4-13-06

Herzlinger, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress and a professor at the Harvard Business School, contrasts recent legislative efforts to broaden access to health insurance in Maryland and Massachusetts—and issues a powerful, well–qualified endorsement of the Massachussetts model.
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Rein in the Monster
John Calfee, New York Sun, 4-12-06

Calfee offers a powerful analysis of the central flaw afflicting pharmaceutical litigation in U.S. Courts. He argues, in short, that medical issues in these cases are often so complex that juries just end up guessing—or voting based mainly on emotional considerations.
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Power to the Patients
Peter J. Pitts, Wall Street Journal Europe, 4-12-06

Pitts argues that European policymakers should lift restrictions on direct–to–consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals in the name of improving public health.
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Research

"Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology"
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 4-11-06

This study, from the AHRQ, finds that while the adoption of health information technology (HIT) improves the quality of patient care, HIT gains have been concentrated in large health care organizations that have the expertise and funding to create, staff, and monitor HIT systems from the ground up. The challenge now is to find ways to encourage HIT in smaller health care settings, like physicians offices and hospitals.
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An Exploratory Analysis of Pharmaceutical Price Disparities and Their Implications Among Six Developed Nations
Joseph Calfee, Ph.D., Elizabeth DuPre, Mario Villareal, American Enterprise Institute, 4-1-06

Calfee and his co–authors compare American drug prices to those in five other industrialized nations and find that while prices for so called "follow-on" drugs in the same class (i.e. new competitor drugs for treating high cholesterol or depression after the first breakthrough therapy in that category comes on the market) may be significantly lower, prices for first in class drugs are about the same. The problem is that "follow–on" drug research is often very valuable, and the burden for such research (because of European pricing restrictions) falls disproportionately on U.S. consumers.
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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

Patients Adrift in a Sea of Clinical Trials

NEWS

Putting a Band-Aid on small firms' health costs
Patients asked to sign vow: No frivolous suits

COMMENTARY

Three simple solutions to cure Medicare prescription-plan ills
Health Policy in Maryland and Massachusetts: A Study in Contrasts
Rein in the Monster
Power to the Patients

RESEARCH

"Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology"
An Exploratory Analysis of Pharmaceutical Price Disparities and Their Implications Among Six Developed Nations

Reader Survey
Center for Medical Progress 
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