Tag Archives: money

Obscure advisory committees on U.S. drug pricing

The obscure advisory committees at the heart of the U.S. drug pricing debate – Reuters – by Caroline Humer – April 2019

Expectations were high last year for three new migraine drugs hitting the market from Amgen Inc, Eli Lilly and Co and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Priced around $7,000 each, the drugmakers called them “breakthrough” treatments designed to prevent migraines when taken year-round, and estimated that millions of patients could benefit

But a small group of external medical experts who quietly advise U.S. health insurers on new drugs was not impressed, according to a private meeting held at UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx offices in Chicago that was attended by Reuters.   Continue reading

Obscenely High Pay for Health-Care CEOs

Health-Care CEOs Made an Infuriating Amount of Money Last Year – by Luke Darby – Apr 2019

While I know that CEOs are ridiculously overpaid these days, I’m disgusted by the amount of money, much of it from taxpayers, that’s sloshing around in the healthcare industry.

Last year, 62 CEOs of health-care companies made a combined total of $1.1 billion in compensation.

That’s according to a new report out from Axios, which coincidentally notes that CEO compensation eclipses what the Centers for Disease Control spent on chronic disease prevention by $157 million.    Continue reading

PLOS ONE pulls highly cited mindfulness paper

PLOS ONE pulls highly cited mindfulness paper over undeclared ties, other concerns – by Adam Marcus – Apr 2019

Mindfulness “peaked” a few years ago and has received much less attention lately, perhaps because it has always been a more hyped than proven do-it-yourself “treatment”.

It appeared to help pain patients, but after the first excitement, enthusiasm, and hope for betterment through this DIY treatment fades, the pain is still there for most of us. I find mindfulness to be appropriate in my daily life, to center myself after having been angered or frightened by what I read, but I’ve never experienced any pain relief from it.

PLoS ONE has retracted a meta-analysis on mindfulness after determining that the authors used dubious methodology and failed to adequately report their financial interest in the psychological treatment the article found effective. Continue reading

Clinical Drug Diversion Costly

Clinical Drug Diversion Costly to Health Care Organizations – Clinical Pain Advisor – Mar 2019

U.S. health care organizations lost nearly $454 million due to clinical drug diversion in 2018, according to the 2019 Drug Diversion Digest, released by Protenus Inc.

This article is written from the viewpoint of “Practice Management”, which nowadays isn’t about “practicing medicine” but about how to make money from it. These folks measure opioids by money gained/lost.

THE DEA always brags about how many pills/doses of opioids they confiscate in their raids, but here opioids aren’t counted by the pill of the MME, but by the mighty dollar.  Continue reading

Rein In ‘Sociopaths’ in the Boardroom

Ex-Corporate Lawyer’s Idea: Rein In ‘Sociopaths’ in the Boardroom – NY Times – By  –  July 2019

Jamie Gamble spent most of his career as a partner at the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which counts virtually every major company in the United States — including Facebook, General Motors, Google and JPMorgan Chase — among its clients.

Mr. Gamble has had an epiphany since retiring nearly a decade ago that is so damning of his former life that it is likely to give his ex-partners a case of agita. He has concluded that corporate executives — the people who hired him and that his firm sought to protect — “are legally obligated to act like sociopaths.”

He’s not the only one to notice this: 400% price hike for drugs is ‘moral requirement’ Continue reading

First Generic Versions of Lyrica Approved by FDA

First Generic Versions of Lyrica Approved by FDA – Pain Medicine News – based on a press release from the FDA – July 2019

The FDA approved the first generic versions of the pain medication pregabalin, the agency announced. It accepted multiple applications, granting approvals to nine manufacturers, including Teva Pharmaceuticals.

I have to wonder why *nine* manufacturers are lined up to sell this medication. Competition “should” lower the price, but that’s not how things work in pharmaceutical pricing.  Continue reading

Aim your BS Detector at the Turduckens in Healthcare

Aim your baloney detector at the BS in health care – STAT – by Lawton R. Burns and Mark V. Pauly – May 2019

BS, what Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt once called a “lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are,” has probably been around since the beginning of language.

We’ve noticed an influx of BS in health care. You don’t have to look far to spot it. Just think of Theranos and IBM Watson.

We are wondering if several new corporate “turduckens

I thought this was a made-up word, but no, it’s real and it’s not for the squeamish:  Continue reading

Scant Evidence Gabapentin Works for Pain

Millions Take Gabapentin for Pain. But There’s Scant Evidence It Works. – The New York TimesBy Jane E. Brody – May 20, 2019

There is very little data to justify how these drugs are being used and why they should be in the top 10 in sales,” a researcher said.

One of the most widely prescribed prescription drugs, gabapentin, is being taken by millions of patients despite little or no evidence that it can relieve their pain.

In 2006, I wrote about gabapentin after discovering accidentally that it could counter hot flashes. [that article is posted below]    Continue reading

Understanding the money trail in medicine

It’s important to understand the money trail in medicine – Smart Money, MD | Finance | April 9

There was a recent news brief stating that the average internist generates about $2.4 million annually for the hospitals that they work for.

See also: Physicians Keep Increasing Revenue for Hospitals and The demise of medicine when profit reigns supreme

While it’s no surprise that doctors help others make money, seeing a figure to your worth hammers home how much we sustain the health care system, often at our own expense.   Continue reading

The demise of medicine when profit reigns supreme

The demise of medicine: A neurologist advocates for patients and is silenced – by Virginia Thornley, MD – Aug 2018

Our doctors have it almost as bad as we do, as more and more small practices are being bought up by huge corporations (with the moral imperative to make a profit).

Now they are only employees valued for their RVUs (Relative value units (RVUs) are a measure of value used in the United States Medicare reimbursement formula for physician services).

Physicians are overwhelmed by

  • patient loads, 
  • 10-minute visits,
  • the wealth of documentation dictated by health insurance requirements and
  • the overwhelming overtaking of medicine by non-physician personnel.

As medicine changed from patient to profit-centered, it marked the beginning of the end. Continue reading