Health News Review
  • Jul 22 2010

    Buyer beware on direct-to-consumer genetic test kits

    See Natasha Singer’s New York Times piece and/or just listen to the following audio clips of phone calls from a federal investigation, with testing company representatives telling “consumers” some egregious and unsubstantiated things about what the company tests can show and what the results mean. This is some pretty troubling stuff. Read Singer’s piece for [...]

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  • Jul 1 2010

    Concerns over pharma influence on continuing med education go back decades

    To a medical historian, especially one who tracks the pharmaceutical industry as Jeremy Greene of Harvard does, last week’s Georgetown conference, “Prescription for Conflict: Should Industry Fund Continuing Medical Education (CME)” must have seemed like a flashback. In his conference talk, Greene gave some of the history of concerns over such industry influence. He’s also [...]

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  • Jun 30 2010

    Nurses not immune from drug industry influence

    Consider these statistics: There are more nurse practitioners (147,000) than there are family physicians (100,000) in the US. These advance practice nurse professionals can write prescriptions, and it’s estimated that the average nurse practitioner writes more than 6,000 a year. And about 70-80% of those nurses who regularly attended lunch or dinner “continuing education” events [...]

  • Jun 24 2010

    Should industry fund continuing medical education?

    Georgetown’s project, along with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Georgetown University Law Center are hosting an academic conference, “Prescription for Conflict: Should Industry Fund CME?” tomorrow (Friday June 25, 2010). Speakers include Joshua Sharfstein, MD, Principal Deputy Commissioner, FDA, Thomas Insel, MD, Director, National Institute of Mental Health, Daniel Carlat, MD, Carl [...]

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  • Jun 23 2010

    Roundup of hot stuff in health care news: misread echos, we’re being watched, soccer & intermediate endpoints, Dr. Rob’s musings, ghostwriting

    John Fauber reports in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “St. Luke’s review finds almost 30% echocardiograms are misread; Better training needed to avoid false diagnoses, researchers say.” Peggy Peck of touched off quite a discussion with her disclosure that her company was now requiring reporters to requiring reporters to inform readers whenever a press officer has [...]

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  • Jun 4 2010

    Investigation into drug industry influence on WHO flu pandemic decisions

    An investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism concludes that key scientists advising the World Health Organization on how to prepare for a flu pandemic had done paid work for drug companies that could benefit from these recommendations. The report is summarized in the BMJ but a subscription is required. In an [...]

  • Mar 25 2010

    Sharply different reactions to JAMA psychiatry & pharma commentary

    The Journal of the American Medical Association this week published a commentary, “Psychiatrists’ Relationships With Pharmaceutical Companies: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?” by the chief of the National Institute of Mental Health. On his blog, psychiatrist Daniel Carlat praises the “power (and courage) of the country’s chief psychiatrist calling his own [...]

  • Mar 24 2010

    Stopping clinical trials may distort evidence about risks and benefits

    A study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, “Stopping Randomized Trials Early for Benefit and Estimation of Treatment Effects,” gives another troubling look at how inflated may be some of the claims about research findings. One of the authors, Victor Montori, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, is quoted on a Mayo blog: [...]

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  • Mar 19 2010

    Avandia example: Underscoring the need for conflict of interest disclosure

    As Reuters reports, “virtually all of the experts who wrote favorably about GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s troubled diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) had financial ties to drug makers, a finding that shows the need for reform of such relationships, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.” The study appears in the BMJ. Mayo’s Dr. Victor Montori told Reuters: “It was [...]

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  • Mar 17 2010

    The medicalization of life

    That’s the title of an op-ed piece by Dr. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy & Clinical Practice. Excerpts: “Here’s a question that’s not being asked in the healthcare debate: How much medical care do we want in our lives? It’s something we should be discussing. Start with the two life events [...]

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