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  • In wake of Supreme Court decision, groups call for state medical board changes

    We called on state attorneys general to implement the Supreme Court’s ruling to make state medical boards change from an industry-regulating-industry board comprised mainly of doctors to a model where boards are made up of mostly public members.

  • Medical-Device Merger Could Eliminate Field’s Only Warranty

    Most of the press attention to the upcoming merger between Zimmer and Biomet, two leading medical-device manufacturers, has been focused on the $13 billion price tag and the fact that the two companies are crosstown rivals, both headquartered in the same small Indiana town.  If it’s approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the merger Continue Reading

  • Should TV drug ads shorten list of side effects?

    We’ve all been there. You’re sitting on your couch watching a good TV show and it’s interrupted by a drug company commercial claiming to have an answer to a fill-in-the-blank condition. A funny-sounding drug name is revealed followed by a recital of drug side effects, some which can sound pretty scary. Do you get confused Continue Reading

  • On the road with the Safe Patient Project

    Our mission: ask a large gathering of orthopedic surgeons how long hip and knee implants should be warrantied.

  • Consumer Reports: Warranties for Artificial Hips and Knees Needed

    This week, Consumer Reports released a TV story that discussed the lack of warranties for artificial hips and knees, and Consumer Reports’ nationwide hospital ratings for hip and knee replacement surgery (available to subscribers of ConsumerReports.org).

  • On our radar: Maine dialysis centers may be bought by dialysis corporate giant—what’s at stake for patients?

    Three dialysis clinics run by the nonprofit hospital Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) may soon be purchased by one of the country’s largest for-profit dialysis companies, Total Renal Care, Inc., a subsidiary of Colorado-based DaVita, Inc. The deal is expected to close early this summer after a state review process.

  • Real People, Real Medical Device Stories

       A simple hernia repair results in a lifetime of despair  “The mesh that was put inside of me has caused so much damage that none of the nerves can ever be repaired.  Now I face a lifetime of pain and struggle because of it.” – Jim Shull, Browns Mills, NJ When Jim Shull had Continue Reading

  • GAO report: FDA Has Begun Efforts to Enhance Postmarket Safety, but Additional Actions Are Needed

    This report examines the steps that FDA is taking to (1) enhance its processes for making decisions about the safety of marketed drugs, (2) improve access to data that help the agency identify drug safety issues, and (3) build its capacity to fulfill its postmarket drug safety workload. GAO reviewed FDA policies and planning documents, and interviewed FDA officials.

  • Sick in the USA

    Our bodies get sick sometimes. But if we look at the American health care system as a living body itself, we’re waiting in the ER. (A review of PBS’s Frontline film “Sick Around the World”)

  • Recap of Medicare Part D in 2007

    Open enrollment for your prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D ends today. Over 1,800 private insurance plans to choose from, but they all cost too much, and the costs keep climbing.

  • Discount drug cards underscore need for a national solution

    Some cities and counties are trying to fight high prescription drug costs, but we really need Congress to act.

  • Merck sets aside $810 million for Vioxx lawsuits

    What if they had spent this money on safety research instead?

  • Senate Finance backs expansion of children’s health

    Today, the Senate Finance committee voted 17-4 to expand and more than double funding for Children’s Health program.

  • “Best Buy Drugs” Makes Headlines

    A program of Consumer Reports, Best Buy Drugs, was in the news this week after releasing a study stating that…

  • How do we fix this?

    I finally saw “Sicko” with a friend the other night. About half way through the movie, after we hear the heart breaking tales of a few Americans’ health care disaster stories, Michael Moore asks the question, “Who are we?”..a question that stays in your mind long after the closing credits. But a more appropriate question might be: How do we fix this?

  • Pfizer white coats, why not?

    At a U.S. Senate Aging hearing today concerns were raised on doctors’ financial ties to drug companies ($19 billion in ties). One witness even said, “we have reached the point where it would be more convenient for speakers to simply wear NASCAR-style jackets emblazoned with their sponsor’s logos.”

  • PhRMA vs. Michael Moore

    So we finally know the date, the long anticipated Michael Moore documentary on the health care industry is due in theaters on June 29…i doubt PhRMA will get an invitation for a special screening.

  • The ties that bind?

    Data released from Minnesota has given the public a glimpse of the nature of some doctors’ financial relationships with drug companies.

  • No more free lunches

    There is a movement to stop industry financing of medical education by a group out of Georgetown University. Last year, the drug industry spent around $1 billion on Continuing Medical Education courses or CME’s for physicians.

  • Is the party over for drug ads?

    In 2006, drug companies spent over $4 billion on drug ads. However, this year, Congress may look to limit direct-to-consumer ads.

  • Friday’s vote on Medicare negotiation

    Check out how your House member voted on this important bill…

  • Medicare negotiation passes House!

    The US House of Representatives yesterday voted 255-170 in favor of requiring the HHS secretary to negotiate drug prices with drug manufacturers for Medicare Part D plans…

  • Important vote this Friday for lower drug prices!

    As part of its first 100 hours agenda, the House will vote Friday on removing the prohibition preventing Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices.

  • another drug company charged with hiding side effect info

    The NY Times has just gotten its hands on internal, confidential documents from Eli Lilly which showed the drug company played down the side effects of its top-selling, anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa.

  • Drug trial stopped on probable future blockbuster

    This weekend, drug maker Pfizer learned that it would have to stop its clinical study of heart disease drug, Torcetrapib as the drug was shown to cause an increase in death and heart injury.

  • Election Results Scare Big PhRMA

    The New York Times and Washington Post reported on the pharmaceutical industry’s fears of a Democratic-controlled Congress. Those fears were best captured in a secret internal memo from drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.

  • How thankful is Pharma?

    A November 19th article titled, “Big Pharma on a mission to woo Democrats” from London’s Financial Times reported that the industry may now have to work overtime to get in the Dems’ good graces.

  • Health care is a big priority for Americans

    Results are in from recent polls on the top issues that Americans care most about. As you can see, health care is a huge concern for many Americans and affected their vote on Election Day.

  • Senate Told to Strengthen Drug Safety Bill

    The U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing yesterday on an important bill to reform the FDA. For the most part, everybody asked the panel to make the bill stronger, according to a story in the Washington Post. Everybody that is, except the drug industry.

  • “Doctors must not be lapdogs to drug firms” (!)

    A great article in the British Medical Journal, “Doctors Must Not Be Lapdogs to Drug Firms,” gives great examples of how drug companies get doctors to prescribe their company’s drugs. Andrea Fugh-Berman’s article recounts how drug companies boycotted a medical conference after she gave a presentation to doctors about drug company marketing tactics.

  • California law scares drug companies–because it might work to lower prices!

    According to the Boston Globe, drug companies are scared that a new California will actually work the way it’s supposed to–by lowering the cost of prescription drugs for uninsured people.

  • Confused about Tuesday’s impact on your state?

    A friend of mine in Pennsylvania just asked me how to find out how some ballot initiatives did in her state and I told her about State Line.

  • Big Pharma makes out big time from Part D

    Drug companies have made huge profits off the Medicare prescription drug program, or Part D. You can expect Pfizer and others to have huge holiday parties this year…they’ll be breaking out the champagne while some seniors can expect a “donut hole” in their stockings.

  • Med schools coaching students on how to handle drug reps effectively

    Some med schools now are starting up projects for their students to help them challenge drug company sales reps when they attempt to wine and dine docs.

  • Study says Medicare Part D premiums to jump 87%

    The Washington Post reported today on a new study suggesting premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans will rise by a whopping 87% next year. The report by Families USA, a national health consumer group, also says fewer states will have plans offering full coverage for most drugs needed by seniors.

  • Congress has failed consumers

    With the election a few days away, check out how your lawmakers voted on important issues in the last few years. Just type in your zip code and we’ll give you a list of bills that Congress voted on and how YOUR Representatives voted on them..

  • Former FDA chief pleads guilty to conflict of interest charges

    Former FDA chief, Lester Crawford, who resigned after 2 months on the job, has plead guilty of charges of conflict of interest and lying about stock he and his wife owned in companies the FDA regulates.

  • CU report: 80% of the time the lowest retail price beats Medicare Part D “donut hole” prices

    We called 261 pharmacies in Florida to get their prices for 6 top drugs, then compared them to the new Medicare prescription drug benefit’s private insurance plans. It turns out that out of the 44 Florida plans, the private plan “donut hole” prices were usually higher than the lowest retail price.

  • Another prestigious institution bans Pharma swag

    In what the NY Times calls “a growing movement among academic institutions,” Stanford University Medical Center will ban gifts — even small ones like pens — from pharma sales reps to physicians who work there.