Medical Progress Today
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Volume 3, Number 30
September 1, 2006


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In the Spotlight

A bad plan for prescription drugs

Benjamin Zycher, Ph.D., The San Diego Union-Tribune, 8-28-06

Well, that didn't take long. I refer to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's endorsement last week of “negotiated” prices—that is, price controls—on pharmaceuticals used by moderate–income Californians. Only last January, Schwarzenegger sent a letter to the congressional leadership of both parties, arguing against "efforts to impose price controls on prescription drugs because they will have a chilling effect on the research and development of life–saving medicines and harm California's critical biotech industry."
Continue reading . . .

News

Cancer breakthrough reported
Washington Times, 8-31-06

File this under "proof of concept." An article in the journal Science this week reported that gene therapy helped two men with metastatic melanoma fight off the cancer. The men remain disease free two years after undergoing therapy.

Government scientists saved two men dying of melanoma by genetically altering their own white blood cells to attack their tumors—deemed the first major success in battling cancer with gene therapy.
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Cancer breakthrough reported
Washington Times, 8-31-06

Editors Notes:

File this under "proof of concept." An article in the journal Science this week reported that gene therapy helped two men with metastatic melanoma fight off the cancer. The men remain disease free two years after undergoing therapy.
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Study Finds Health Care Good Value Despite Costs
Washington Post, 8-31-06

Editor's Notes:

Researchers have released a new study arguing that America's health care spending, the highest in the world, may actually be money well spent.
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FDA Warns Consumers Not to Buy or Use Prescription Drugs
FDA News, 8-30-06

Editor's Notes:

The Food and Drug Administration issued a press release this week warning consumers to avoid websites that offered drugs from Mediplan Prescription Plus Pharmacy or Mediplan Global Health, both Canadian firms.
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Some patients back on Celebrex
USA Today, 8-30-06

Editor's Notes:

Cox&150;2 inhibitors like Vioxx and Celebrex were designed to offer patients who suffered serious stomach bleeding from the use of conventional painkillers a safer alternative. However, the discovery of cardiovascular risks associated with Vioxx and its withdrawal from the market in 2004 seemed to cast a pall over the entire class of Cox&150;2 drugs. That pall may be lifting with the resurgence of Celebrex, the only Cox&150;2 drug available to American patients.
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Assembly approves universal health care
Sacramento Bee, 8-29-06

Editor's Notes:

California, as usual, is trying to become Europe even as Europe is trying to become more like America.
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Group raps FDA panels as 'rubber stamps'
Bloomberg News, 8-28-06

Editor's Notes:

A new report from the National Research Center for Women and Families alleges that FDA advisory committees act as "rubber stamps" for companies seeking to market their products. But the question the study can't answer is: what is the right number of FDA approvals?
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Biotech's bright hope: Scientists are newly optimistic that gene therapy will help fight the most serious diseases
Los Angeles Times, 8-28-06

Editor's Notes:

This article provides a fascinating and detailed look into researchers' efforts to revitalize gene therapy after a series of failed efforts (and string of bad press) in recent years.
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Discount Drug Deal Reached: Schwarzenegger, Democrats agree on plan to compel manufacturers to cut costs of medicines for lower–income residents
Los Angeles Times, 8-23-06

Editor's Notes:

In another California related story, Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature have reached an agreement on how to extend new health care entitlements to millions of moderate income Californians: Inflicting price controls on the pharmaceutical industry.
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Commentary

Bad Medicine
Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., National Review Online, 8-28-06

Goldberg, the vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, argues that California's plan to lower drug prices for middle income families by trading on the state's Medicaid formulary will only hurt its poorest citizens.
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California's Real Drug Problem
Investor's Business Daily, 8-24-06

Investor's Business Daily weighs in with a scathing editorial on California’s embrace of price controls for prescription drugs.
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Research

The Value of Medical Spending in the U.S.: 1960-2000
David M. Cutler, New England Journal of Medicine, 8-31-06

Cutler and his co–authors present evidence showing that the cost per life year gained from increased medical spending from 1960–2000 was approximately $20,000, well beneath standard economic estimates for the value of a life–year. However, the authors also found that spending per–life year increased dramatically after age 65.
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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

A bad plan for prescription drugs

NEWS

Cancer breakthrough reported
Cancer breakthrough reported
Study Finds Health Care Good Value Despite Costs
FDA Warns Consumers Not to Buy or Use Prescription Drugs
Some patients back on Celebrex
Assembly approves universal health care
Group raps FDA panels as 'rubber stamps'
Biotech's bright hope: Scientists are newly optimistic that gene therapy will help fight the most serious diseases
Discount Drug Deal Reached: Schwarzenegger, Democrats agree on plan to compel manufacturers to cut costs of medicines for lower–income residents

COMMENTARY

Bad Medicine
California's Real Drug Problem

RESEARCH

The Value of Medical Spending in the U.S.: 1960-2000
Center for Medical Progress 
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