Friday, November 30, 2007

$49 million hospital bill

I'm guessing maybe that includes the $5 million dollar aspirin tablets? From the HealthLeadersMediaFinance article "That'll be $49 Million, Please":
Everyone knows that hospital treatment can be expensive, but this is ridiculous. A software glitch at a southern Arizona hospital in July, coupled with a failure to manually review bills for errors, meant a $49 million bill was sent to one of the 587 patients who received gargantuan hospital bills in error that month.

Nashville-based Healthcare Management Systems, which processes statements for Northern Cochise Community Hospital in Wilcox, AZ, took the heat for the errors, saying they usually check the statements manually, but didn't this time because they had a high volume of bills that day.

Click here to access the article.

And he thought he had enough insurance...

From the Wall Street Journal article "Maxed Out: As Medical Costs Soar, The Insured Face Huge Tab":
One day in late July, Jim Dawson happily returned home. He had spent the previous five months in the hospital battling an infection that nearly killed him. The phone rang shortly after Mr. Dawson and his wife, Loretta, entered their house.

It was the hospital. California Pacific Medical Center was calling to remind the Dawsons that they owed it $1.2 million.

Click here to access (sub. req.).

Global Health Facts

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that tomorrow, December 1, 2007, is World AIDS Day. Click here for stats on not only HIV Infection around the world but for TB and malaria as well. Move your cursor over the map on the left hand side of the website home page and stats will pop up by the country you've indicated.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A passing...

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Redemption? You decide...

Check out the "Dr. Drug Rep" article in the New York Times Magazine authored by Daniel Carlat (assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and the publisher of The Carlat Psychiatry Report):
On a blustery fall New England day in 2001, a friendly representative from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals came into my office in Newburyport, Mass., and made me an offer I found hard to refuse.
Click here to access.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Contrary finding?

From the Journal of the American College of Surgeons article "Rural Versus Urban Colorectal and Lung Cancer Patients: Differences in Stage at Presentation":

Rural surgeons are often uneasy when their outcomes are compared with those of urban surgeons because they perceive that rural patients typically present with worse disease. Rural patients with cancer are commonly thought to present at a later stage of disease, although this is based largely on anecdotal evidence.



Urban rather than rural residence appears to be associated with later stages of lung and colorectal cancer at presentation. This finding is contrary to the common assumption that rural patients present at later stages of disease.

Click here to access the journal abstract; click here to read the MedPageToday take on these results.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Commercial bias?

From the online article:
Can the pharmaceutical industry be trusted to fund doctors' compulsory education without introducing bias? The issue is dividing Congress, academics and drugs companies. Now, preliminary data have emerged suggesting that industry-sponsored courses skew training material in favour of commercial interests.
Click here to access.

U.S. Copyright information online

From the November 22, 2007 issue of the NewsNet (published by the U.S. Copyright office):
The Copyright Office has made available on its website an updated version of “Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code.” This edition contains the text of title 17 U.S.C., including all amendments enacted through the end of the second session of the 109th Congress in 2006. It includes the Copyright Act of 1976 and all subsequent amendments to copyright law; the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984, as amended; and the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, as amended. In addition, the appendix includes transitional and supplementary copyright provisions that do not amend title 17. (Go to pdf or html format).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Duke in the news!

From the Health Blog over at the Wall Street Journal:
Duke University Medical Center and the FDA are set to launch a partnership to try to improve the nation’s clunky clinical-trials process.

A recent report from the inspector general of the FDA’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, estimated that the agency inspects only around one percent of clinical trial sites. The FDA also struggles to track trials, and its “guidance and regulations don’t reflect current clinical trials practices” the report says.
Click here to access (sub. req.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Butterfly "kisses"?

First of all, who in their right mind would pay $140 for "lash enhancement"!? Check out this Wall Street Journal article, "Drug That Lengthens Eyelashes Sets Off Flutter" and you'll hold your Great Lash mascara a little closer:
FDA spokesman Brad Swezey declined to say if the agency is generally investigating cosmetic eyelash products or claims. However, in its press release Friday about the seizing of the original Jan Marini product, the agency said that Age Intervention Eyelash, if used together with a prescription glaucoma drug, could increase the risk of optic-nerve damage. Used on its own, the product "may cause other adverse effects," including swelling of the retina and inflammation in the eye "which may lead to decreased vision." Neither the agency nor the company has received any report of adverse effects, according to Mr. Swezey and Ms. Marini.
Click here to read the article (sub. req.).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, D.C., became the focal point of reverence for America’s veterans.
Click here to learn more about the origins of Veterans Day.

Friday, November 09, 2007

MedEdforum 2007

This conference is taking place in Philadelphia, PA November 28-30, 2007. The conference theme is "Raising the Bar with Quality, Needs-Based Learning for Commercial Supporters of CME". Click here for additional information.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Patient safety reporting guidelines

From the Washington Post article:

Like the clinical practice assessments, the new guidelines address three key concerns: Are the measures important?; Are they valid?; and Are they useful for the intended goal of improving safety? These three key areas are addressed in an assessment tool with about 30 questions.

The proposed guidelines are published in the Nov. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Click here to access the WP article. Click here to access the JAMA article (sub. req.).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Heart drug withdrawn from market

From the New York Times article:
Pressured by regulators, the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG announced Monday that it had agreed to withdraw the controversial heart surgery drug Trasylol after a Canadian study suggested that it increased death rates.
Click here to access the article.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A closer look at physician-industry relationships

Check out the free full-text NEJM article "Doctors and Drug Companies — Scrutinizing Influential Relationships".

Consumers International report on pharma marketing in developing countries

From the VOA News article:
A report from the watchdog group Consumers International says multi-national pharmaceutical companies are targeting doctors in developing countries with dinners and lavish gifts as incentives to prescribe their drugs. Tendai Maphosa reports for VOA from London Consumers International is also critical of drug advertisements in developing countries that sometimes promote a drug without mentioning the side effects or the restrictions on its use.
Click here to access the article.