Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Prescription Project releases COI mitigation toolkits

I haven't reviewed them, so am not commenting on them. Click here to access.

A CME success story

From the Washington Post article:
An intensive educational program for physicians and midwives that stresses giving women the drug oxytocin just after a vaginal delivery resulted in significantly fewer cases of excessive bleeding, according to a study done in two South American countries.
Click here to access.

Monday, April 28, 2008

AAMC report on industry funding of medical education

An excerpt from the Executive Summary:
The Report acknowledges the new policy directions being implemented in many medical schools and teaching hospitals to address industry support of medical education, and it urges all academic medical centers to accelerate their adoption of policies that better manage, and when necessary, prohibit, academic- industry interactions that can inherently create conflicts of interest and undermine standards of professionalism. Although the charge to the Task Force was focused on funding from the pharmaceutical and device industries, institutional policies on conflicts of interest should be comprehensive and encompass providers of equipment and services as well. Concomitantly, industry should voluntarily discontinue those practices that compromise professionalism as well as public trust.
Click here to access the report.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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BPA in your plastics

From the New York Times article:

A draft report from the National Toxicology Program, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, notes that there is no direct evidence that human exposure to BPA harms reproduction or infant development. “I don’t think there’s anything in this brief that should lead to alarm,” said Dr. Michael D. Shelby, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, who oversaw the report. “It means we’ve got a limited amount of evidence from some studies that were done in laboratory animals.”

The main concern is the possible risk to infants and pregnant women, although Canada has begun a study to monitor BPA exposure among about 5,000 people to assess any danger to adults.

Click here to access the NYT article.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Seroquel "sequelae"?

From the Enquirer article:

The University of Cincinnati will increase scrutiny on a psychiatry professor for not reporting all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate research money she received from a pharmaceutical giant during the last decade.

Melissa DelBello now has to review all of of her interactions with companies with her department chairman, UC vice president of research Sandra Degen said Friday.

Click here to access the article.

Trends in U.S. mortality

Check out the PLoS Medicine article "The Reversal of Fortunes: Trends in County Mortality and Cross-County Mortality Disparities in the United States"; the authors' conclusions:

There was a steady increase in mortality inequality across the US counties between 1983 and 1999, resulting from stagnation or increase in mortality among the worst-off segment of the population. Female mortality increased in a large number of counties, primarily because of chronic diseases related to smoking, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure.

Click here to access the online article.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I had to find this myself on because my nephew, Erik, would, of course, not let me know this was online. Click here to go to Erik's website.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Zimmer compliance

Looks like at least one medical device manufacturer is responding just like Big Pharma! An excerpt from Zimmer's recent announcement:
The refined compliance model is designed to aggressively reduce potential or perceived conflicts of interest inherent in consulting relationships between the industry and healthcare professionals—while preserving the best of the collaboration that drives innovation in medical devices and services. The model includes fundamental changes in the areas of product development, marketing, surgeon training, educational and charitable funding, and transparency.
Click here to access.

Friday, April 18, 2008

FDA clarification?

From the Wall Street Journal article:
Drug-industry representatives are descending on the capital to protect their freedom to advertise their wares directly to consumers and to push for looser government restrictions on their ability to promote off-label uses of their medicines.
Click here to access the WSJ article (sub. req.).

Primum non nocere

Check out the editorial in JAMA written by Doctors DeAngelis and Fontanarosa regarding the adverse effects of industry influence. Click here to access (free text article).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Vioxx "haunting"

Senator Grassley sent a letter to Merck asking for lots of information on the latest revelations regarding Vioxx! Click here to access the Senator's letter.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The start of a trend?

Check out the New York Times article "Citing Ethics, Some Doctors Are Rejecting Industry Pay"; an excerpt:
No longer will they be paid for speaking at meetings or for sitting on advisory boards. They may still work with companies. It is important, they say, for knowledgeable scientists to help companies draw up and interpret studies. But the work will be pro bono.
Click here to access.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Senator Grassley press release

From the Senator's 4-11-08 press release:
Copies of letters that Senator Grassley received from drug makers in response to his request for them to follow Eli Lilly’s lead and disclose financial contributions to continuing medical education are posted with this statement at Right now,Senator Grassley does not plan to pursue disclosure legislation separate from the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. He will carefully monitor implementation of the disclosure plans described in these letters and consider additional initiatives, including legislation, if transparency is not achieved.
Click here to read this press release and the response letters from these companies.

Pennsylvania's 2nd annual hospital-acquired infection report

From the U.S. News & World Report article:
Leafing through the report and fizzing indignantly about the performance of some of the hospitals, I was overheard by Bernadine Healty, my next-office physician colleague (a former medical school dean and director of the National Institutes of Health). She reminded me that there could well be reasons for a number that seems outrageous. A hospital might treat a disproportionate number of patients vulnerable to infection because of HIV or old age, for instance. The data are important and impressive, she said, but the primary purpose is to alert a hospital with high numbers that something may be badly amiss. "Before jumping to conclusions, you need to drill down into the data," she said. "Investigate. Find out what's going on."
Click here to access the USNWR article. Click here to access the "Hospital-Acquired Infections in Pennsylvania" Report (98 pages).

Joint Commission issues pediatric medication safety strategies

From the Washington Post article:

"The vast majority of countries utilize the metric system, and the recommendations for pediatric medication use are based on the metric system," said Dr. Peter Angood, vice president and chief patient safety officer for The Joint Commission, which announced the "Sentinel Event Alert" at a teleconference.

"Sadly, there seems to be a lack of widespread appreciation even among health-care providers that children have unique safety and medication needs," said Dr. Matthew Scanlon, assistant professor of pediatrics-critical care at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a member of the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Advisory Group.
Click here to access the WP article. Click here to access these Joint Commission recommendations.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Check out Dr. Reece's blog entry "Parkinson's Law..." about which is scheduled to launch in June 2008. If you don't laugh out loud when you're reading it, then we should never meet. Click here to access the entry.

This mouse is stirring...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just say...Yes!

From the news article:
One in five respondents to a new survey in the journal Nature say they've used drugs to boost their brain power.

"We were putting our finger in the air to see what our reader response would be. And it was tremendous," said Brendan Maher, an editor with the widely read scientific publication. "What it's suggesting is there are a high percentage of adults using these drugs."

The informal, nonscientific survey, conducted online, polled 1,400 people in 60 countries. Most of the responders, the majority of whom said they worked in biology, physics, medicine or education, reported taking the drugs to improve their concentration.

Click here to access the article.

CDC FoodNet Report

From the WebMD article:
The CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, called FoodNet, began tracking cases of food-borne illnesses in 1996 in 10 U.S. states. The idea is to track infection trends for the 10 most important causes of food poisoning.
"There is not a particularly important change from the last few years," said Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, deputy director of the CDC's division of food-borne diseases. "A lot of things have been going on to improve food safety, and we think they are likely to bear fruit ... but we cannot say we have made tremendous progress in the last year."
Click here to access the article. Click here to access the April 11 issue of the MMWR (page 6).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

AHRQ National Resource for Health Information Technology

Click here to access.

Patient safety survey stats

From the Washington Post article:
From 2004 through 2006, patient safety errors resulted in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths of U.S. Medicare patients and cost the Medicare program $8.8 billion, according to the fifth annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study.
Click here to access.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The unbranded doctor?

Yep! The National Physicians Alliance has a new campaign entitled "The Unbranded Doctor." Click here to check it out.

The health care economics of prevention

Check out the Washington Post article entitled "In the Balance"; an excerpt:
An ounce of prevention may have been worth a pound of cure in households down through the ages, but in the world of health economics the adage, alas, is not true.

An ounce of prevention is sometimes worth more than an ounce of cure (although rarely worth 16 times as much, or the equivalent of a pound). Usually, an ounce of prevention is worth considerably less. Often it is worth (to mix measures) only a gram of cure. Or even just a milligram.

This is a seemingly illogical truth.
Click here to access the WP article. Click here to access the PLoS Medicine article "Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure." Ummmmm

Friday, April 04, 2008

Response to CMAJ editorial

Courtesy of notification by Anne Taylor-Vaisey, check out the electronic letters that have been sent in to the CMAJ in response to the editorial "The need for an Institute of Continuing Health Education." Click here to access the letters. Click here to check out Annie's blog.

Psychiatric News article on CME and pharma influence

An excerpt:
Intensifying criticism from academia, the media, and regulators has been directed at perceived bias in the large proportion of CME content that often favors a newly marketed product or off-label use of a product manufactured by the sponsor. The Senate report is primarily concerned about such influence on drug expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid.
Click here to read the article.

Carlat's blog posting on Medical Meetings magazine

Check it out by clicking here!
Happy Friday!

Best practices work when it comes to medication safety!

From the Business Wire article:

A demonstration program at UCSF today reported a 56.8% reduction in medication administration errors increasing the administration accuracy rate at participating hospitals to 93%. These gains were achieved through adherence to a set of six best practice procedures for medication administration identified by CalNOC (the California Nursing Outcomes Coalition). The study also reported a reduction in procedural errors of 78.5% increasing adherence to these best practice procedures to 95.6% after 18 months. This study is the first to directly validate a specific set best practices for medication administration.

Click here to access the article.