Thursday, February 26, 2009

Forest accused of fraud

From the FierceBiotech article:
A Complaint was unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts against a New York pharmaceutical company for alleged False Claims Act violations arising from the company's marketing the drugs Celexa and Lexapro for unapproved pediatric use and for paying kickbacks to induce physicians to prescribe the drugs.
The United States alleges that federal health care programs have paid thousands of false and fraudulent claims for Celexa and Lexapro prescriptions that were not covered for off-label pediatric use and/or were ineligible for payment as a result of illegal kickbacks paid by Forest.
Click here to access the article.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Responses to AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs and the Council on Medical Education on Conflict of Interest and Bias

For SACME's response, click here.
For NAAMECC's response, click here.
For CMSS's response, click here.
Thanks to SACME for posting all of these responses! It will be interesting to see the outcomes of the 2/25/09 CME Stakeholders Meeting in Chicago.

Vitamin D lessens the chance of catching a cold?

From the article:
One reason vitamin D is so interesting is that unlike other vitamins, vitamin D acts as a hormone in the body and is known to help regulate at least a thousand genes, said Melamed. It's a cell-signaling molecule that may play a role in controlling the immune system, fighting cancer, improving cardiovascular health, and possibly regulating blood sugar. (There are vitamin D receptors in blood vessels and in the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.)

For now, the jury is still out on vitamin D's link to respiratory infections. But it's a tantalizing link.
Click here to access the article.

IOM releases report on uninsured in U.S.

From the National Academies press release:
The evidence shows more clearly than ever that having health insurance is essential for people's health and well-being, and safety-net services are not enough to prevent avoidable illness, worse health outcomes, and premature death, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Moreover, new research suggests that when local rates of uninsurance are relatively high, even people with insurance are more likely to have difficulty obtaining needed care and to be less satisfied with the care they receive.
The report responds to key questions being raised in the national debate about health care reform, including whether having insurance is essential for gaining access to necessary services given the availability of charity and free emergency care, and whether lack of coverage has wider ripple effects on whole communities. Written by a committee of experts in medical care, emergency medicine, health policy, business, economics, and health research, the report provides an independent assessment of published studies and surveys as well as newly commissioned research on the impacts of lack of coverage.
Click here to access the press release.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pneumonia vaccine may cut risk of MIs

From the article:
A vaccine that helps protect against pneumonia can also cut the risk of heart attacks, opening the door to a safe and inexpensive way to prevent thousands of cardiac deaths each year, new research shows.

The vaccine, typically used to protect the elderly against the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, can lower the rate of heart attacks by as much as 50 per cent, says the study, published in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Click here to access the lay article. Click here to access the CMAJ abstract (sub. req.).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Army Medical goes to voice recognition technology

From the Healthcare IT News article:
The U.S. Army Medical Department has expanded its use of speech technology to 10,000 of its physicians to more than 90,000 worldwide.
"The use of voice-recognition software with the AHLTA e-health record system is freeing doctors from several hours of typing into AHLTA their various patient notes each week," said Robert Bell Walker, European Regional Medical Command AHLTA consultant and a family practice physician for the military.
Click here to access.

"Comparative effectiveness research"

From the New York Times article:
The $787 billion economic stimulus bill approved by Congress will, for the first time, provide substantial amounts of money for the federal government to compare the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness.
Click here to access.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Medical Meetings Magazine's Annual Physicians' CME Preferences Survey

Click here to access the MM article on the survey results.

Pfizer Transparency

From Pfizer's press release:
Pfizer Inc today announced its plans to make publicly available its compensation of U.S. healthcare professionals for consulting, speaking engagements and clinical trials. The disclosure will include payments made to practicing U.S. physicians and other healthcare providers, as well as principal investigators, major academic institutions and research sites for clinical research. This makes Pfizer the first biopharmaceutical company to commit to reporting payments for conducting Phase I-IV clinical trials in addition to disclosing payments for speaking and consulting. This disclosure demonstrates Pfizer’s commitment to increased transparency and public candor.
Click here to access.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Additional ACCME info on that breakout session at the Alliance

Click here to access.

Patient education?

From the Healthcare Finance News article:
Thirty days after their hospital discharge, the 370 patients who participated in the RED program had 30 percent fewer subsequent emergency visits and readmissions than the 368 patients who did not. Nearly all (94 percent) of the patients who participated in the RED program left the hospital with a follow-up appointment with their primary care physician, compared to 35 percent for patients who did not participate.

And 91 percent of participants had their discharge information sent to their primary care physician within 24 hours of leaving the hospital.
Click here to access the HFN article. Click here to access the Annals of Internal Medicine article (sub. req.).

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Closing the Quality Gaps Using the ACCME Updated Accreditation Criteria"

This session was presented at the recent Alliance conference by Steve Singer, PhD, Director, and Marcia K. Martin, Manager, respectively, of the ACCME's Education , Monitoring,and Improvement Division. Click here to access their materials posted online at the ACCME web site.

More docs in Congress

From the Chicago Tribune article:
"The number of physicians in Congress continues to grow, with 16 physicians in the 111th Congress, demonstrating intense physician interest in making a difference in people's health and their lives," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, president of the AMA.
Click here to access the article.

New AMA web site

From the Medical News Today article:
Offering a fresh look and redesigned content, the American Medical Association (AMA) today launches a new Web site to help physicians, residents, and medical students easily obtain resources and tools relevant to their individual professional needs.
Physicians can find useful billing and reimbursement resources, along with numerous tools ranging from patient education to clinical practice standards.
Click here to access the article; click here to access the new AMA web site.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Harvard medical school to toughen COI policy

From the Boston Globe article:
Harvard Medical School plans to strengthen its conflict-of-interest rules for doctors and researchers, amid a US Senate investigation into several faculty members and a new state law that will make public some of the payments doctors receive from pharmaceutical and medical-device companies.

Many top medical schools, including Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at Los Angeles and at San Francisco, and the University of Massachusetts have adopted stricter policies in the past two years. Last year, the American Medical Student Association graded Harvard with an F on its conflict-of-interest policy because it does not address issues like whether companies can provide gifts and meals for faculty.
Click here to access the article.

Monday, February 02, 2009

FDA to research DTC advertising

From the AMNews article:
The Food and Drug Administration has outlined a novel study designed to measure participants' recall and comprehension of risk and benefit information in television ads.

The agency will produce ads for a fictitious blood pressure medication and recruit 2,400 participants to view them and report on the messages they take away. The study design was announced in the Dec. 30, 2008, Federal Register, and the agency is gathering comments until Jan. 29. The FDA's intention to conduct the study was first announced in 2007.
Click here to access the article.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fantastic Voyage?

From the New York Times article:
THE doctor’s advice to “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” may one day be updated to “take this pill, and it will call me in the morning.”

Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has developed a prototype for a pill that can be programmed to navigate toward a specific trouble spot in the body and deposit its medicine there, radioing dispatches to the doctor as it travels.
Click here to access the NYT article.