Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mid-week Miscellany

Reports, reports, reports!
  • The Segal Co. issued its 2009 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey. The report predicts single digit trend increases in prescription drug spending (excluding specialty drugs) for the first time in the reports 12 year history.
  • USA Today has posted a website reporting on hospital death rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia using CMS data.
  • The Harris Poll and the Center for Studying Health System Change have published reports on public use of the internet to investigate health care issues.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on a study of the cost-effectiveness of Merck's new Gardasil vaccine.
    "The study published by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests Gardasil's cost is justified in pre-adolescent girls, partly because they are less likely to have already been exposed to HPV. But among older females, the cost-effectiveness of Gardasil becomes less and less favorable, researchers concluded. 'Under most scenarios, extending the catchup to 26 wasn't cost effective,' Jane Kim, an assistant Harvard professor, said in an interview."
  • Meanwhile, the AP reports that "Measles cases in the U.S. are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents rejected vaccination, [according to] health officials" at the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Finally, the New York Times headlined a confidential HHS Inspector General report questioning the effectiveness of Medicare's anti-fraud efforts. How much of a surprise is this considering the recent story about Medicare paying claims based on prescriptions "written" by dead doctors?

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