Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Update / Miscellany

Happy Mother's Day!
  • On May 8, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Oversight Committee held a hearing on direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs, in particular television advertising. According to an AP report, "Stupak, the oversight subcommittee chair, said he is considering new restrictions to 'protect American consumers from manipulative commercials.'"
  • Tragically, as the AMA News reports that disciplinary actions against doctors are down for the third straight year, the Las Vegas Sun reported that

    The Regional Health District of Southern Nevada announced today [May 8] that 77 cases of potential hepatitis C cases have been identified from those who have been tested since an outbreak was announced in January.

    The 77 cases are not acute hepatitis C, said Jennifer Sizemore, a spokeswoman for the health district. Of the 49,000 people notified by health officials, these 77 people were then interviewed and identified, she said.

    To date there have been eight cases of acute hepatitis C cases identified with links to a clinic that reused syringes and provided anesthesia to two or more patients from single dose vials. Seven of them have been linked to the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada operated by Dr. Dipak Desai, who is not allowed to practice medicine and is under investigation by state and local authorities.

    Seven of the acute hepatitis C cases have been linked to the clinic at 700 Shadow Lane and the eighth to another clinic owned by Desai.

  • A Congressman, who is an MD, has refused FEHB coverage according to Scientific American.
  • Government HIT magazine reports on a recent Brookings Institution conference on e-prescribing. I did not realize that Dr. Mark McClellan, the former CMS administrator, had landed at Brookings. Interesting stats from the article:
    Although e-prescribing is increasing, it is still practiced by fewer than 85,000 of the country’s more than 560,000 doctors. The holdouts tend to physicians in smaller practices who lack technical expertise.

    In some cases, their local pharmacies do not accept e-prescriptions, although most large chain drug stores are equipped to handle them. Small, rural drug stores are less likely to be able to fill e-prescriptions.

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