Medical Progress Today
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Volume 4, Number 20
June 15, 2007


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News

Clearing the haze of Chemo; A drug to boost cancer patients’ memory is one of several research advances
Los Angeles Times, 6-11-07

Editor's Notes:

All drugs come with side effects, but few drugs have harsher side effects than those associated with cancer chemotherapy. While there have been important advances in recent years in creating more targeted oncology drugs with fewer side effects, problems still remain. One issue, discussed in this article, is "chemo brain", caused by the drugs' toxic effects on the brain. Thankfully, researchers may have found a promising treatment to offset these effects.
Continue reading . . .

Mandatory Coverage Is Easier Said Than Done
The New York Times, 6-11-07

Editor's Notes:

Massachusetts's novel experiment in universal health insurance has been the focus of pundits and journalists across the country since it was announced in 2006. Now comes the hard part: getting it to work. The Times writes that the state's individual insurance "mandate" (read: buy insurance or pay a small fine) is proving more challenging to implement than it was to pass.
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Who Pays for Efficiency?
The New York Times, 6-11-07

Editor's Notes:

The short answer to "who pays for efficiency" in health care is the providers. While we'd like have doctors to embrace many health reforms like electronic health records or aggressive disease prevention programs, physicians and other providers operate in a "market" where prices are largely dictated by third party payors, i.e., public and private insurers.
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Milkshake drug to 'feed' brain cells among promising Alzheimer's experiments
Associated Press Newswires, 6-11-07

Editor's Notes:

Today, Alzheimer's Disease affects 5 million Americans, and the number of cases is expected to increase sharply as the population ages. Sadly, there are few good treatments for the disease, with current therapies offering only a temporary slowing of mental decline. Still, research is moving forward rapidly, and more effective treatments may be available in the next few years as they are tested in late stage (Phase III) clinical trials.
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Drug companies' patents are under attack. Will this really help the poor?
The Economist, 6-7-07

Editor's Notes:

The short answer here: probably not. This article points out that the international assault on drug patents is being led by middle-income countries like Brazil and Thailand that could easily afford to pay higher prices for medicines than the poorest nations in, say, Sub-Saharan Africa. Reading between the lines, Brazil and Thailand—abetted by NGOs who dislike patents on principle—are cynically trying to promote domestic drug manufacturing capacity at the expense of multinational firms.
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Commentary

Lynch 'Em
Forbes, 6-18-07

Herper argues that the furor over Avandia is only a foretaste of "open–source" drug safety, where clinical trial data is posted on the web for any would–be crusader to analyze and criticize, in short, an invitation for a lynching."
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Science is not a democracy
Gilbert L. Ross, M.D., Washington Times, 6-15-07

Ross argues that the court system is the last place we should look to test claims that childhood autism is caused by vaccines containing thimerosal—a purported link that has generated a tidal wave of litigation but which has been debunked by numerous scientific studies in recent years.
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Moore's Prescription Insures Socialized Medicine Misery; 'Sicko' ignores U.S. strengths and national care's faults
Michael Tanner, Detroit News, 6-14-07

Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Insitute, writes that Michael Moore's soon to be released indictment of American health care, Sicko, ignores the strengths of free–market medicine while understating the problems of single–payor health care.
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Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

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In this week's issue:

NEWS

Clearing the haze of Chemo; A drug to boost cancer patients’ memory is one of several research advances
Mandatory Coverage Is Easier Said Than Done
Who Pays for Efficiency?
Milkshake drug to 'feed' brain cells among promising Alzheimer's experiments
Drug companies' patents are under attack. Will this really help the poor?

COMMENTARY

Lynch 'Em
Science is not a democracy
Moore's Prescription Insures Socialized Medicine Misery; 'Sicko' ignores U.S. strengths and national care's faults

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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