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Volume 4, Number 12
April 6, 2007


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News

Cancer Thriver
Wall Street Journal, 4-5-07

Editor's Notes:

Presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth announced on March 23 that her breast cancer had returned—and that it was incurable. They also announced that he would continue his campaign while she sought treatment. "You can see—I mean, I don't look sickly, I don't feel sickly," she said in the Washington Post. "Right now, we feel incredibly optimistic."
Continue reading . . .

Your drug gets pulled? What now?
Wall Street Journal, 4-5-07

Editor's Notes:

What happens after a company pulls a drug that the FDA thinks is unsafe? Patients who used the drug Zelnorm, for instance, are now casting for other alternatives—including drugs that are prescribed "off-label", meaning they have not been approved by the FDA for that specific condition.
Continue reading . . .

Did Daniel's acne medication kill him?
Chicago Sun-Times, 4-4-07

Editor's Notes:

One of the most common misperceptions of the FDA's mission is that must ensure that drugs are "safe". This is impossible. Every medicine comes with side effects, some serious and some less so, that have to be weighed against its potential benefits, often on a patient by patient basis. Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) for instance, is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S.
Continue reading . . .

Drug-proof TB strain poses ethical bind
Associated Press, 4-2-07

Editor's Notes:

The pipeline for new antibiotics is at a low ebb; subsequently, some deadly diseases that were once thought conquered, like tuberculosis, are becoming resistant to most (if not all) available medicines. The Associated Press reports how one patient, with drug resistant tuberculosis, has been quarantined out of fears that he might spread the deadly strain.
Continue reading . . .

Diplomacy paying off in the war on cancer
Houston Chronicle, 4-2-07

Editor's Notes:

The Houston Chronicle reports on a fascinating and rapidly developing field in cancer treatment, epigenetics, where researchers are trying re-program cancer cells so that they behave as normal cells.
Continue reading . . .

More people taking advantage of health savings accounts
The Star-Ledger, 4-2-07

Editor's Notes:

Health savings accounts continue to gain in popularity, according to this report from the Newark Star Ledger.
Continue reading . . .

Big step forward for cancer vaccine
The San Francisco Chronicle, 3-30-07

Editor's Notes:

Last week an FDA advisory panel voted to recommend that the agency approve the first ever cancer vaccine, called Provenge. Although the agency is not required to heed the advice of the panel, it is a hopeful sign for the vaccine and for the field of cancer therapeutics in general.
Continue reading . . .

European agency backs new drug testing ideas
Reuters News, 3-29-07

Editor's Notes:

American and European regulators recognize that it is vital to improve the science of drug development—to find new ways of bringing safer and more effective medicines to market faster and more cheaply than is possible using current technologies.
Continue reading . . .

Commentary

Perverse incentives in health care
John Goodman, Wall Street Journal, 4-5-07

John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), has written a thoughtful and penetrating op-ed on the central shortcoming of American health care: an absence of entrepreneurship. Read the whole thing.
Continue reading . . .

Shotgun Medicine, Flimsy Evidence
Dr. Eric Topol, Baltimore Sun, 4-3-07

Topol argues that most of the medicine we use today is poorly targeted at the people who stand to benefit the most. We can only overcome this problem, he thinks, by improving our understanding of the interaction between drugs and individual biology.
Continue reading . . .

Restricted Treatment
Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., Washington Times, 3-29-07

Goldberg takes issue with Senate sponsored FDA legislation that, he believes, would restrict access to many new medicines out of a clumsy attempt to improve drug safety.
Continue reading . . .

Breast Cancer Breakthroughs
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Wall Street Journal, 3-26-07

Gottlieb describes the enormous strides that have been made in the treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer in recent years, with the result that "nearly 98% of women with early-stage breast cancer survive at least five years" and "many will live long, full lives."
Continue reading . . .

Research

Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?
Allison B. Rosen, Edward L. Glaeser, David M. Cutler, NBER, 4-1-07

Cutler and his colleagues consider how past trends in health behaviors (like the long term decline in U.S. smoking rates) have affected longevity, and what current trends (like rising obesity rates) portend for future health.
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.

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In this week's issue:

NEWS

Cancer Thriver
Your drug gets pulled? What now?
Did Daniel's acne medication kill him?
Drug-proof TB strain poses ethical bind
Diplomacy paying off in the war on cancer
More people taking advantage of health savings accounts
Big step forward for cancer vaccine
European agency backs new drug testing ideas

COMMENTARY

Perverse incentives in health care
Shotgun Medicine, Flimsy Evidence
Restricted Treatment
Breast Cancer Breakthroughs

RESEARCH

Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?

COMING SOON!!

New book by Regina Herzlinger: Who Killed Health Care: America's $1.5 Trillion Problem - and the Consumer-Driven Cure (McGraw-Hill, June 2007)

Advanced copies available now at Amazon

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