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Volume 4, Number 13
April 13, 2007


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In the Spotlight

FDA Must Test Some Biologics' Generic Forms

Paul Howard, Ph.D., Investor's Business Daily, 4-12-07

Congress is debating legislation that would create an approval process for "generic" (unpatented) biological drugs, like insulin, similar to the existing generic process for chemical drugs, like fluoxetine (Prozac).
Continue reading . . .

News

Mass. Health plan finds cost is too high for 20% of people
USA Today, 4-13-07

Editor's Notes:

A year after former Republican Governor Mitt Romney and the Massachusetts' legislature passed a plan mandating individual insurance coverage in the Bay State, the final details of the plan are emerging.
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Caterpillars may help boost flu vaccine
Los Angeles Times, 4-11-07

Editor's Notes:

Currently, the entire U.S. vaccine supply is manufactured using an outdated process that relies on incubating flu viruses in millions of chicken eggs. The process is notoriously slow, inefficient, and prone to contamination. Prodded by fears of avian flu and routine production mishaps, regulators and companies have been hoping to move to a new process wherein vaccines are grown in mammalian or insect cell lines.
Continue reading . . .

Abbott to cut AIDS drug cost in poor nations
Chicago Tribune, 4-11-07

Editor's Notes:

In the wake of its patent fight with Thailand, Abbott has signaled that it will slash the price of its AIDS drug Kaletra in low–income countries, a move that is being hailed by activist groups.
Continue reading . . .

Lessons of Heart Disease, Learned and Ignored
The New York Times, 4-8-07

In this, the first in a series of articles on the nation's leading diseases, the New York Times explores why, despite enormous strides in the treatment of heart disease, many people still die unnecessarily from heart attacks.

Medical research has revealed enough about the causes and prevention of heart attacks that they could be nearly eliminated. Yet nearly 16 million Americans are living with coronary heart disease, and nearly half a million die from it each year.
Continue reading . . .

Congress Seeks Compromise on Generic Biotechnology Drugs
The New York Times, 4-8-07

Editor's Notes:

While Congress is intent on passing a bill that would create an FDA approval process for cheaper follow-on biologics, otherwise known as "biogenerics", there is evidence that a compromise bill will be worked out between the House and Senate that will help balance access to less expensive follow–on biologics with protecting patient health and incentives for companies to continue to produce innovative new biotech medicines.
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Firms gang up on diabetes
Chicago Tribune, 4-8-07

Editor's Notes:

The Tribune reports on a growing trend among employers to lower or even eliminate co–pays and deductibles for medicines that treat chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma.
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Commentary

A year later, healthcare experiment has vital signs
John McDonough, The Boston Globe, 4-11-07

On the anniversary of Massachusetts plan to enact universal health insurance, McDonough lauds its early achievements and offers his thoughts on some remaining challenges.
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Boomer Boomerang
Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 4-11-07

Samuelson thinks that the rising costs of entitlement programs for the elderly, Medicare and Medicaid, will prompt a revolt on the part of younger workers who will be forced to pay sharply higher taxes to support them.
Continue reading . . .

Mismanaged Care
Sally Satel, MD, The New York Times Book Review, 4-8-07

Satel, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, reviews a new book on health care by Jonathan Cohn, an editor at the The New Republic.
Continue reading . . .


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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

FDA Must Test Some Biologics' Generic Forms

NEWS

Mass. Health plan finds cost is too high for 20% of people
Caterpillars may help boost flu vaccine
Abbott to cut AIDS drug cost in poor nations
Lessons of Heart Disease, Learned and Ignored
Congress Seeks Compromise on Generic Biotechnology Drugs
Firms gang up on diabetes

COMMENTARY

A year later, healthcare experiment has vital signs
Boomer Boomerang
Mismanaged Care

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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