Monday, December 31, 2007

"As I've matured..."

From the 12/30/07 post on the "Musings of a Dinosaur" of my Linky-Loves:
  • I've learned that whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
  • I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to others - they are more screwed up than you think.
  • I've learned age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
If you liked these, then click here. What better way to ring in the New Year than with a few chuckles!

Should physicians disclose to their patients that they receive gifts from pharma?

From the AMNews article:
Drug and medical device manufacturers cultivate physician relationships with the help of complimentary gifts and services. Some say that disclosing to patients the value of these gifts resolves the physicians' possible conflicts of interest. Others say no gifts at all is the only ethical course.
Click here to access.

CME requirements by state -- 2008

Click here to access.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just when Big Pharma didn't think it could get any worse...

From the Belfast Telegraph article:
A third British pharmaceutical company has confirmed it's under investigation on suspicion of fraud.
Click here to read the brief article.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fish oil in the news!

From the Washington Post article:
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil might play an important role in preventing Alzheimer's disease, according to a research team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Publishing in the Dec. 26 issue of theJournal of Neuroscience, the scientists demonstrated that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increases the production of LR11, a protein that is found at reduced levels in Alzheimer's patients. LR11 is known to destroy the protein that forms the plaques associated with the disease, the researchers explained.

Click here to access the article.

Monday, December 24, 2007

New restrictive UMass policy on industry ties

From the Boston Globe article:

Under the UMass Memorial policy, companies may still fund continuing medical educational courses, but the money must be funneled through the UMass Memorial Foundation and cannot be earmarked for a specific topic or doctor - a compromise reached with doctors after executives said they wanted to ban company educational funding entirely. Doctors say this is a crucial source for keeping up their skills.

Companies can direct funding to a specific department, such as surgery. A special committee will review all donations over $10,000 for potential conflicts of interest.

The goal is to ensure that companies do not influence the content of courses so as to place their drug or device in a favorable light.

Click here to access the article.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Severe Combined Immune Deficiency in Native Americans

From the Farmington Daily Times article:
In the Navajo population, one in every 2,500 children inherits SCID, a condition that endows them virtually no immune system. In the general population, SCID is much more rare, affecting one in 100,000 children.
Click here to access the article.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Drug Rep Whistle-Blower

From the New York Times article:
A former drug sales representative who became a whistle-blower has been awarded $1.6 million for bringing a drug marketing fraud to light, despite efforts by the Justice Department to prevent his receiving the money.
Click here to access.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Medical board rehab programs -- should they be confidential?

From the article:
Nearly all states have confidential rehab programs that let doctors continue practicing as long as they stick with the treatment regimen. Nationwide, as many as 8,000 doctors may be in such programs, by one estimate.

These arrangements largely escaped public scrutiny until last summer, when California's medical board outraged physicians across the country by abolishing its 27-year-old program. A review concluded that the system failed to protect patients or help addicted doctors get better.

Click here to access.

National survey of physicians on professionalism

Check out the results of a recent survey conducted by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession; there are some very interesting findings. Click here to access.

Monday, December 17, 2007


From the ACCME email announcement:

Drs. R. Russell Thomas and Barbara Barnes were named Chair and Vice Chair of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) at the conclusion of the ACCME’s November 2007 Board meeting. They will serve as Chair and Vice Chair for 2008.

For further information, please click here to read the news release, or visit and read the item “R. Russell Thomas Jr., DO, MPH and Barbara Barnes, MD Named Chair and Vice Chair of the ACCME.”

Winter 2008 Issue of AMA's CPPDReport

Lead article is "Maintenance of licensure and continuing medical education"; click here to access.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dr. Lawyer's lawyer?

Okay, I thought I wasn't going to post anything over the next two weeks but I just couldn't help myself when I saw this headline "Doctors: Drug rep may be behind smear -- Anonymous letter attacks physicians and their wives"; an excerpt from the article:
Springfield doctors and their wives have asked local representatives of pharmaceutical companies if they know who mailed anonymous letters that accuse the couples of being heavy drinkers and engaging in professional and personal misconduct.

The letters might have been designed to silence the doctors’ questions about a new medicine, the couples’ lawyer said Monday.
Click here to access.

Happy Holidays

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ummmm...I work in a hospital CME office...

If you do, then check out this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article "Keeping Patients from Landing Back in the Hospital":

There are about five million readmissions a year in U.S. hospitals, with approximately a third occurring within 90 days of discharge, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Boston-based nonprofit. But with so-called transitional-care programs, which follow patients for varying periods of time at home, as many as 46% of readmissions could be prevented, says Pat Rutherford, an IHI vice president.

The institute is working with hospitals to reduce readmissions. Its programs include: identifying patients at risk for return, scheduling follow-up doctor's appointments before patients are discharged, sending nurses to patients' homes within a few days of discharge, monitoring patients at home, and educating patients and families on how to adhere to medication schedules and self-care regimens.

Then march down the hall to Medical Staff Services and introduce yourself! Click here to access the article (sub. req.).

Health care delivery experiment

From the USA Today article:
When Loy Assell or members of her family want to see their doctor, they can get in within hours. If they need to cancel an appointment at the last minute, they can easily reschedule.

The physician, Dr. Cynthia Kizer of Olio Road Family Care, and her colleagues keep about half their daily appointments open for last-minute patients, a system known as advanced open access.
I am so glad that this model of delivery is being trialed! This system also includes email access to the PCP. Click here to access the article.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recall of vaccines

From the article:
Merck announced that it is voluntarily recalling 1 million doses of two common childhood vaccines, routinely given to children under 5. Here's everything you need to know about the recall.
Click here to access.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hi, I'm a LICENSED pharmaceutical sales rep?

From the San Francisco Examiner article:
The District of Columbia would be the first jurisdiction in the country to require licenses for pharmaceutical sales representatives under legislation that has received the city council's initial approval.

The SafeRx Act of 2007 is in effort by the city to reel in the multibillion-dollar prescription drug trade.

To qualify for a license, sales representatives would have to be college graduates and would have to refrain from using titles that would give the impression that they are licensed to practice pharmacy, nursing or medicine. Salespeople also would have to sign a code of ethics and would be regulated by a pharmacy board.

The D.C. Council backed the bill this past Tuesday in a close vote; a final vote will take place on January 8. Click here to read the article.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is the soul of medicine in jeopardy?

An excerpt from the JAMA article "Medical Professionalism in a Commercialized Health Care Market":
Endangered are the ethical foundations of medicine, including the commitment of physicians to put the needs of patients ahead of personal gain, to deal with patients honestly, competently, and compassionately, and to avoid conflicts of interest that could undermine public trust in the altruism of medicine. It is this commitment, what Freidson called the "soul" of the profession,1 that is eroding, even while its scientific and technical authority grows stronger. Ironically, medical science and technology are flourishing, even as the moral foundations of the medical profession lose their influence on the behavior of physicians.
Click here to access.

Executive Summary from the ACCME Board of Directors’ Meeting held November 29-30, 2007

Click here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Professor Chimp?

I find it humorous that we humans think we're so superior to all other species...well, think again -- from Discovery News:
Three five-year-old chimpanzees have soundly defeated nine university students while playing a computer game that tests numerical memory skills, according to a paper published today in Current Biology.

The scores weren't even close. One young chimp named Ayumu who, in his off time, buys his own vending machine snacks, scored 76 percent correct in one game. The adult human average for the same game was 36 percent correct.

The study is one of the first to demonstrate that, at least under certain circumstances, chimp memory may be superior to that of humans.

Click here to read the article.

Re-estimating the HIV estimate

From Time article:
Federal health officials are revising their estimate of how many people are infected by HIV each year, and advocacy groups say the number could rise by 35 percent or more.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the numbers are not final and won't be released until early next year.
Click here to access the article.