Medical Progress Today
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Volume 3, Number 29
August 18, 2006


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In the Spotlight

UN fails AIDS test

Philip Stevens, Medical Progress Today, 8-18-06

This week at the biannual AIDS conference in Toronto Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS, announced that prevention is the key to defeating the AIDS pandemic. This is a huge volte–face from UNAIDS which has spent the last three years throwing money at treatment programmes for those already infected, while ignoring the less immediately rewarding—but vital—task of AIDS prevention.
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News

Medicare Sees No Increase in Premium for Drugs
The New York Times, 8-16-06

Editor's Notes:

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, next year's Medicare premiums for the Part D drug benefit will remain stable at current prices—about $24. This premium is well bellow the $41 that CMS had predicted for 2007.
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Scientists Begin to Grasp the Stealthy Spread of Cancer
The New York Times, 8-15-06

Editor's Notes:

Scientists on the cutting edge of cancer research have begun to focus on a critical time during the early stages of the disease to develop better cancer diagnostics and treatments. Researchers are focusing particularly on genes that can help them understand how cancers metastasize, since cancer becomes significantly harder to combat once it spreads from its original site in the body.
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AIDS Effort in Zambia Hailed as a Success
The New York Times, 8-14-06

Editor's Notes:

The fight against AIDS in Africa in recent years has been largely been focused on increasing the availability of cheap antiretroviral drugs in the poorest nations. The latest news from Zambia seems to show that, at least in certain countries, these efforts are finally bearing fruit:
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Research to Unleash Gene Therapy on Arthritis
The Boston Globe, 8-14-06

Editor's Notes:

Researchers will soon begin clinical trials for arthritis patients using gene therapy. After the death of Jesse Gelsinger, a young patient enrolled in a gene therapy trial at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, research in the field has slowed markedly due to safety concerns.
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Options Are Available for Seniors In Medi-Gap
The Star-Ledger, 8-14-06

Editor's Notes:

The recent furor over the Medicare drug benefit coverage gap (known notoriously as the "donut hole") has inspired many pundits to demand that Congress authorize the government to negotiate directly with manufacturers to lower drug prices in order to eliminate the coverage gap.
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Health Care Taps “Mystery Shoppers”
Wall Street Journal, 8-8-06

Editor's Notes:

In a promising development for consumer driven health care, health professionals are turning to a longstanding retail tactic to learn how to improve patient care: mystery shoppers. Initiatives like this one can help providers improve health care quality and give doctors better insight into their patients.
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Commentary

More Questions than Answers as Global AIDS Conference Wraps Up
Philip Stevens, Kristen Veblen, Campaign for Fighting Diseases, 8-17-06

Stevens and Veblen offer a brief recap and analysis of the events that unfolded during the global AIDS conference in Toronto this week.
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Arnold's Raw Deal
Sally C. Pipes, Opinion Journal, 8-16-06

Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute makes the case that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's new drug plan is bad for Californian patients. By imposing "voluntary" price controls on the industry, Pipes contends that Schwarzenegger's plan will stunt research and development of new medical advances that help to save thousands of lives every year.
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Filing the Doughnut Hole
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 8-14-06

Turner, president of the Galen Institute, argues that the commotion over the Medicare coverage gap is unwarranted. She maintains that there are many options in the program for seniors who fear they may fall into the gap, most of whom are middle class. Turner contends that the program is not flawed and that these kinks will eventually be worked out over time.
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The Measles Vaccine Follies
The New York Times, 8-9-06

The New York Times chronicles a recent measles outbreak in Indiana, and argues that parents need to take the threat of childhood diseases more seriously. Children who aren't vaccinated are being put in danger primarily due to parents' fears–whipped up by irresponsible media reports and unscrupulous plaintiff's attorneys—that childhood vaccinations are unsafe. In reality, vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and any rare risks from vaccination are far outweighed by the greater risks of a child contracting or spreading a dangerous disease.
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Curing European Health Care
Helen Disney, Wall Street Journal, 8-9-06

Helen Disney, director of the Stockholm Network, examines recent health care reform movements in Europe that have introduced a consumer driven elements into normally rigid government–controlled programs.
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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

UN fails AIDS test

NEWS

Medicare Sees No Increase in Premium for Drugs
Scientists Begin to Grasp the Stealthy Spread of Cancer
AIDS Effort in Zambia Hailed as a Success
Research to Unleash Gene Therapy on Arthritis
Options Are Available for Seniors In Medi-Gap
Health Care Taps “Mystery Shoppers”

COMMENTARY

More Questions than Answers as Global AIDS Conference Wraps Up
Arnold's Raw Deal
Filing the Doughnut Hole
The Measles Vaccine Follies
Curing European Health Care
Center for Medical Progress 
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