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Volume 3, Number 36
November 6, 2006


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News

Employers, Insurers Push Generics Harder
Wall Street Journal, 10-31-06

Editor's Notes:

Competition between branded and generic drugs in the U.S. offers consumers a good balance between value (cheap generics once drugs go off-patent) and innovation (new patented medicines).
Continue reading . . .

What Pilots Can Teach Hospitals About Patient Safety
The New York Times, 10-31-06

Editor's Notes:

The New York Times reports on a growing interest among health care providers to improve patient safety by looking at how other industries—in this case, the airline industry—have grappled with the problem of human error, the cause of "the majority of adverse events in health care."
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Ethics Rules Send NIH Scientists Packing
USA Today, 10-28-06

Editor's Notes:

Who isn't in favor of more ethical scientists? Or better ethics rules? No one—at least no one who cares about good medical research. But more regulations don't always lead to less corruption or better science. Revelations that a handful of government scientists at the NIH had undisclosed dealings with private industry seem to have led to extensive new regulations that may be hurting the agency's ability to retain the best talent. For instance, USA Today reports that
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Health Savings Accounts Slow to Catch on Among Insured
The Dallas Morning News, 10-24-06

Editor's Notes:

This article, from the Dallas Morning News, chronicles the challenges facing employers who adopt Health Savings Accounts, which combine high-deductible health insurance with a savings account where consumers can deposit tax-free contributions to cover the costs of routine care. While the number of consumers with HSAs at first rose sharply after they were first created in 2003, the percentage of consumers now remains low. According to this article, one problem is that consumers need to be educated on the use of HSAs.
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Commentary

The New Drug Wars
Tom Van Riper, Forbes, 11-2-06

Van Riper discusses how Wal–Mart's $4 generic drug program is sending shockwaves throughout the pharmacy industry, and driving competitors to lower prices.
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An Election on Drugs
Washington Post, 11-2-06

In this editorial, The Washington Post offers a nuanced and thoughtful defense of the Medicare Drug Benefit that deserves to be read in full. Kudos to the editors for doing justice to a complex issue in the midst of an intensely partisan election.
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The Dangers of Undermining Patient Choice: Lessons from Europe and Canada
Institute for Policy Innovation, Galen Institute, International Policy Network, 10-18-06

Debate over whether the U.S. should adopt a single–payer health care system will intensify if the Democrats take back Congress tomorrow and the issue will play an even greater role leading up to the 2008 presidential election contest. But before anyone jumps to conclude that countries with single–payer systems have discovered a magic bullet for offering affordable health care, they should read this collection of essays compiled by three free–market think tanks.
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Research

Health Care Savings from Personalizing Medicine Using Genetic Testing: The Case of Warfarin
Andrew McWilliam, et al., AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, 11-1-06

McWilliam and his colleagues examine how genetic information can be used to avoid adverse reactions from prescription drugs and model the resultant savings from lower injury rates.
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In this week's issue:

NEWS

Employers, Insurers Push Generics Harder
What Pilots Can Teach Hospitals About Patient Safety
Ethics Rules Send NIH Scientists Packing
Health Savings Accounts Slow to Catch on Among Insured

COMMENTARY

The New Drug Wars
An Election on Drugs
The Dangers of Undermining Patient Choice: Lessons from Europe and Canada

RESEARCH

Health Care Savings from Personalizing Medicine Using Genetic Testing: The Case of Warfarin
Center for Medical Progress 
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