Health Updates 7 November 2011

  • Price gouging expected as drug shortages continue: “It didn’t quote prices, but pharmacy buyers say they  know to expect markups averaging as much as 650 percent over the costs they’re accustomed to paying.  That’s the price of doing business with the pharmaceutical industry’s so-called gray market. ‘It’s not illegal to price-gouge medications.  Not yet anyway’, said Brian Coleman, a pharmacy buyer at Florida Hospital Tampa.”  (St Petersburg Times)
  • Romney proposes Medicare system of vouchers: “Romney’s plan is similar to the controversial proposal released by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan earlier in the year.  He hasn’t finalized many details, but the federal government would no longer pay for all Medicare patients’  health-care costs under a Romney system.  Instead, it would offer future recipients a set amount of money to be used for a private insurance plan or a version of the traditional program.” (Associated Press)
  • Kids still getting too many antibiotics: “Half of antibiotics given to children are broad-spectrum drugs, often with inappropriate indications, a national ambulatory care study found.  Asthma, viral pneumonia and other respiratory conditions for which antibiotics are not typically indicated accounted for 30% of broad-spectrum antibiotic use….These findings raise ‘serious concerns about the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics, particularly for patients for whom antibiotic therapy is not indicated at all’ ….[this] prescribing problem not only promotes resistance and adverse events but also carries a high economic cost,” study physicians reported. (Crystal Phend, MedPage Today)
  • Finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes through stem cell treatment is still elusive: “Healthy people have about a million functioning islets in the pancreas, each comprised of about 1,000 beta cells.  In Type 1 diabetes, those islets are destroyed.  Restoring the islet cells would cure the disease – and researchers already know that they can do that.  Scientists made the first successful islet cell transplant in 1989, placing beta cells from a cadaver into a diabetic patient.” (LA Times)

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