Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Tuesday Tidbits

  • Interesting USA Today editorial board interview with AHIP's CEO Matt Eyles. 
  • Troubling New York Times article about a Food and Drug Administration report alleging that Novartis "concealed manipulated data from the Food and Drug Administration while applying for approval of an extremely expensive gene therapy treatment and then delayed reporting the issue."  This data concerned the $2.1 million per treatment gene therapy drug that the FDA approved last May.  "The F.D.A. said patients were not at risk, and that the treatment could still be sold. But the news that a drugmaker had manipulated or mishandled data is an unsettling moment for the pharmaceutical industry. Many companies are racing to develop breakthrough gene therapy treatments for rare and intractable diseases."
  • Equally troubling is this Washington Post article about a 27 year old man with Type 1 diabetes who ran out of his parent's coverage and switched from a prescription insulin to an over the counter insulin. The young man died as a direct result. The article explains the public health crisis created by the following factors --
The more affordable form of the medication — sold by Walmart since 2000 under its ReliOn brand — is known as “human insulin.” It predates the genetically altered “analogue” insulin doctors routinely prescribe. While human insulin can require as many as four hours to take effect, with varying levels of success, analogue insulin is more precise and takes as little as 20 minutes to regulate blood sugar levels, patient advocates say. [Analogue insulin prices nearly tripled since 2002,  Human insulin is useful for Diabetes 2 but not Diabetes 1}.

  • Finally, the Journal of the American Medical Association / Internal Medicine  offers an  editorial on whether there is hope of a pancreatic cancer screen test. The need for such a test is illustrated by the fact that "It is estimated that in 2019, about 57, 000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States and that it may soon overtake colon cancer to become the second-most common cause of cancer-related death.1 Based on recent progress in the treatment of colon cancer, the best hope for reducing the cancer-specific mortality of pancreatic cancer may be early diagnosis and treatment." Good luck.

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