Health News Review
  • Mar 5 2012

    Comparing health care costs in US and 8 other countries

    The National Journal reports on a new analysis from the International Federation of Health Plans (pdf file). Excerpts: The group’s survey of expenses for medical procedures, tests, scans and treatments in nine countries shows that Americans pay more for physician time, for scans, surgery and drugs than people in Spain, France, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Canada, [...]

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  • Feb 17 2012

    The Costly Myths about Pharmaceutical R&D

    The following is an unsolicited guest post submitted by Donald W. Light, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, and Rebecca Warburton, University of Victoria, Canada.  It is followed by some comments in response from Matthew Herper, the writer of the Forbes article in question. We are pleased to provide this forum for this [...]

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  • Feb 16 2012

    Key quotes from Reuters story on overtreatment

    Nothing new, just good perspective in a Reuters piece, “Stemming the tide of overtreatment in U.S. healthcare.” And some great quotes.  Examples: “I don’t trust professional societies to (set clinical guidelines) because that’s how they make money – by doing tests and procedures,” said MIT healthcare economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber; “When hospitals buy robots they [...]

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  • Feb 16 2012 – another solid resource for journalists

    I’ve recently become aware of – and hope to collaborate and share ideas with – a Canadian website called The founders describe this as “a non-partisan web-based project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Manitoba Health Research Council to make the latest evidence on controversial health policy issues available to the media.  [...]

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  • Feb 6 2012

    How hospitals recoup the cost of buying robotic surgery systems

    The blogger known only as the Skeptical Scalpel (self-described as a surgeon for 40 years and a surgical department chairman and residency program director for over 23 of those years) continues his thread of posts raising questions about the proliferation of robotic surgery. The latest is entitled “Study: Robotic surgery financials explained.” It’s his take [...]

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  • Jan 4 2012

    Editorials cite “crazy medicine, unsustainable public policy” with new radiation treatments

    We should not overlook the Journal of Clinical Oncology editorial (opens as pdf file) that accompanied the robotic prostatectomy side effects paper about which we’ve already blogged. That editorial – by 3 authors from the University of California San Francisco cancer center – reminds readers that the costs of robotic prostatectomy (on average, they say, [...]

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  • Nov 8 2011

    “$430 Million Proton Beam Center War” – latest chapter playing out in San Diego

    I have written many times on this blog about one shining example of the medical arms race – the slow (some would say not so slow), steady, proliferation of huge and hugely expensive proton beam radiation facilities in medical centers in the US. I have written about how the proliferation never seems to occur in [...]

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  • Oct 25 2011

    Consumer quandary on health care costs

    Two items in the news reflect the dilemma that health care consumers face on health care cost issues. The Washington Post published advice from Dr. John Santa of Consumer Reports for people with health insurance but who “are facing large deductibles and also paying an increasingly large portion of the rest of the bill.” But [...]

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  • Sep 6 2011

    Criticisms of CNN’s “The Last Heart Attack”

    The following is a guest blog post by Marilyn Mann, a securities lawyer who became interested in medical research while researching treatment options for her teenage daughter, who has heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disease that causes very high LDL-cholesterol. She blogs at ———————————————————————— “Oh no he didn’t.” That was my first reaction when, [...]

  • Aug 26 2011

    Blog gems: health illiteracy, numeracy and cost info issues

    Dr. Bradley Flansbaum blogs about his irritation with ads and news stories that advise patients – just “consult your health professional” and all will be well. He addresses health illiteracy and numeracy issues when he writes: “Politicians, society, the WSJ op-ed page, they all assume the verdict of treatment certitude is between the doctor and [...]