What’s normal for the abnormal? A close look at NBA players’ hearts

first_img Related: HealthWhat’s normal for the abnormal? A close look at NBA players’ hearts It’s well-known that the heart changes with long-term athletic activity. It becomes bigger, heavier, and thicker. “But we don’t know where the boundaries are,” said Dr. David Engel of Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who led the research team. “There’s a gray zone between the athletic changes that you [typically] see versus underlying cardiac conditions that put people at risk.” His team’s goal was to draw a sharper line in that gray zone.Take the case of power forward Channing Frye.advertisement Channing Frye’s recent trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers from the Orlando Magic took a couple extra days to clear because of additional testing related to his enlarged heart. Christian Petersen/Getty Images Tags athletescardiologyheart disease A change of heart on athletes with life-threatening conditions Professional basketball players are, by definition, taller and stronger and more physically active than the rest of us. Their hearts are different, too.Now, a new analysis of cardiac tests on more than 500 active NBA players offers the first solid look at what’s normal for these abnormal individuals.The findings, published Wednesday in JAMA Cardiology, could prove helpful to teams trying to make sense of their players’ stress echocardiograms, which the NBA began requiring in 2006.advertisementcenter_img At last week’s NBA trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Frye from the Orlando Magic to bolster their bench and make a title run.But Frye was diagnosed in 2012 with an enlarged heart, which forced him to miss a full regular season. Players must pass a physical before trades are finalized, and Frye’s trade to Cleveland took a couple extra days to clear because of additional testing related to his heart issue.The new data will make it easier in the future for doctors to figure out whether an athlete’s heart size is within the realm of normal for NBA players — or if there is a real medical issue, as Frye had.“That’s a spot-on perfect example,” said Dr. Aaron Baggish of the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, who wrote a commentary to accompany the new analysis.Without the right data set — and the right doctor, he noted — “you end up with a lot of uncertainty that can get in the way of healthy people getting on the basketball court.”Another recent example: forward Jeff Green, who was just traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Clippers. In 2012, Green was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm and had season-ending surgery.Green’s aorta condition was “right on the borderline,” Baggish said, and many doctors who specialize in treating athletes “scratched their head around that case.” The new data will help in the future by laying out “the upper level of normal” for NBA players’ aortas, Baggish said. Can you exercise too much? Engel, too, singled out the aorta finding as particularly notable. Scientists already knew that the aorta, which pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body, widens in diameter with more athletic activity. They had relied on a formula to predict how wide it should be in bigger athletes.But Engel and his colleagues found that the widening actually plateaued at the top end of the body scale for NBA players. That means the formula might not be reliable for very tall players — and doctors should take a close look at extra-wide aortas, and not assume they’re normal just because the athlete is tall.The new analysis could also help in diagnosing players with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects connective tissue and is more often seen in very tall people. The blood vessels of people with Marfan can become “very stretchy,” as Engel put it, and that can be particularly dangerous if it leads to tears in the aorta.It is a real concern: At the 2014 NBA Combine, where incoming rookie players are evaluated, Baylor University center Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. Out of concern for his health, he did not pursue a player career in the league.The analysis also found variation in heart muscle thickness and geometry between African-American and white players. “This is new information, because people of this size haven’t been studied,” Engel said. Most research on athletes and heart health has been based on European athletes from sports such as soccer.The bottom line: “There’s no one type of athlete’s heart,” Baggish said. But the picture of what’s normal for the atypically athletically gifted just got a little clearer. Related: By Dylan Scott Feb. 24, 2016 Reprintslast_img read more

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Pharmalot, Pharmalittle: Senate committee holds hearing on drug prices

first_imgPharmalotPharmalot, Pharmalittle: Senate committee holds hearing on drug prices Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Hello, everyone, and how are you today? We are doing just fine, thank you, although moving a bit slower than usual and apologize for the delay. Sometimes, life intrudes. Nonetheless, we are gathering steam this morning as we attempt to tackle our to-do list, which seems to grow by the minute. We trust you can relate. So to cope, why not join us for a cup of stimulation? Meanwhile, here are some tidbits. Hope you have a successful day …The US Senate Special Committee on Aging Thursday holds its second hearing on prescription drug prices and plans to focus on two drug makers that were run by Martin Shkreli — Turing Pharmaceuticals and Retrophin. At both companies, Shrkeli oversaw a strategy to buy older medicines and then significantly raise prices. Among those scheduled to testify are former and current Turing executives, although not Shrkeli.GlaxoSmithKline says Andrew Witty will retire as chief executive in March 2017. Investors have pressured the drug maker to replace him due to a lagging stock price, sluggish US sales, and lingering concerns over a bribery scandal in China that led to a $500 million fine. Witty has attempted a turnaround by reorganizing, a move that involved swapping its cancer drugs unit to Novartis for a vaccine business, as well as forming a consumer health joint venture.advertisement [email protected] @Pharmalot Amgen won a significant victory after a jury Wednesday ruled two patents on its new injectable cholesterol drug are valid. The decision is a setback for Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Amgen filed a patent-infringement suit against the companies to prevent them from selling a rival PCSK9 inhibitor treatment. Sanofi and Regeneron say they will appeal, although Wall Street analysts expect a settlement will be reached and Amgen will receive a sales royalty.One-third of Americans believe doctors are mainly responsible for widespread abuse of prescription painkillers, which nearly matches the number who blame users, according to a new poll by STAT and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And only 10 percent blame drug makers, which have been accused of downplaying risks in numerous lawsuits.advertisement By Ed Silverman March 17, 2016 Reprintscenter_img Valeant Pharmaceuticals lenders are starting to demand new terms that could further pressure the drug maker, Reuters reports. Two days ago, the company revealed it would not meet a March 15 deadline for filing its annual financial statements with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which means it could default on more than $30 billion in debt.McKesson, the big wholesaler, is laying off 1,600 employees, or about 4 percent of its US workforce, to cut costs after losing some key customers, Bloomberg News reports.Johnson & Johnson chief executive Alex Gorsky received a nearly 5 percent drop in his compensation last year, to $23.8 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.Novartis is having trouble getting doctors to prescribe its new Entresto treatment for heart failure and has missed sales targets, MarketWatch tells us.An Illinois psychiatrist was sentenced to nine months in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $600,000 for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from drug makers, MedScape reports.The Food and Drug Administration approved a Bayer therapy called Kovaltry for hemophilia A, the most common form of the illness, about three weeks after European regulators approved the drug, Reuters writes.The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence rejected an Amgen drug for melanoma that has spread and can’t be surgically removed due to uncertainty over its effect on survival, Pharma Times says. Ed Silverman About the Author Reprints Alex Hogan/STAT Tags drug pricesGlaxoSmithKlineMartin Shkrelilast_img read more

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‘Massive inequities’ exist among countries for essential medicines

first_img Privacy Policy Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Please enter a valid email address. Newsletters Sign up for Pharmalot Your daily update on the drug industry. Related: “As a whole, the world spends eight times more on medicines” than the cost of the basket of essential medicines for all of the people in low- and middle-income countries, illustrating the inequity among nations, said Andy Gray, a senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, who was one of 21 international health policy experts assembled by The Lancet to study the problem. Two months ago, the United Nations released a lengthy report urging governments to take various steps to ensure greater access to needed medicines. However, the list contained several proposals that have previously caused struggles with the pharmaceutical industry, underscoring the challenges in reaching a consensus for implementing recommendations.The 84-page Lancet report contains a slew of fixes — systems for routine monitoring of affordability, price, and access; implementing existing policies under World Trade Organization rules for compulsory licensing; greater use of product assessments to gauge benefits and value; delinking R&D costs from pricing; and increased transparency from the pharmaceutical industry. The report arrives at a time of increasing concern over the inequities on pharmaceutical spending, but also rising anxiety across the globe over the cost of medicines. As the commission noted, the US is also experiencing the same problem thanks to price tags for new medicines for combating such hard-to-treat diseases as hepatitis C and various forms of cancer, but also older, generic drugs.advertisement India makes it easier to buy its generic drug makers, but will anyone bite? Antibiotics are among the drugs considered essential in a new study Joe Raedle/Getty Images About the Author Reprints Tags drug pricesessential medicinesThe Lancet Ed Silverman For the first time, spending by countries on essential medicines has been quantified and the results show that a wide gulf exists between the poorest and richest nations. And the findings underscore an “urgent need” for added financing to meet basic health needs, according to a new report, which also recommends several steps to close the global spending gap on treatments.The analysis by The Lancet Commission on Essential Medicines found that the cost of providing a basket of 201 essential medicines to all people in low- and middle-income countries could be as little as $1 to $2 per person per month, or $13 to $25 per person annually. Yet one in five countries worldwide spend less on each person each year, underlying “massive inequities.”In 2010, for instance, the mean spending in 32 low-income countries on medicines per person was $8.80; nearly $37 was spent in 48 lower middle-income countries; about $106 was spent in 53 upper-middle-income countries and almost $459 was spent in 49 high-income countries. Significantly, individuals and families paid the most in low, low-middle-income and upper-middle-income countries.advertisement Leave this field empty if you’re human: What else? The commission recommended pooled procurement; improving the quality of medicines, which are often lower quality in poorer countries with regulatory systems; and avoiding the overuse or abuse of certain medicines, such an antibiotics and opioids. The commission also believes the international community should create an essential medicines patent pool to license patents to other companies in order to create a competitive generics market in low-income countries.Many of these are familiar and have appeared in recommendations from the World Health Organization, but the commission also proposes two dozen indicators for measuring progress. Some examples include household expenditure on pharmaceuticals as a percentage of total household expenditures; median availability of a basket of essential medicines in the public and private sectors and the number of licensing agreements for essential drugs concluded through patent pooling.“Many of the countries don’t have updated reports, for instance, on the out-of-pocket cost for pharmaceuticals as a percentage of total pharmaceutical spending, and that’s a key indicator of affordability when you look at universal health coverage,” said Veronika Wirtz, an associate professor of global health at the Boston University School of Public Health and also a commission member.Ultimately, improved access and affordability will require effort from a variety of players, including patient advocates, regulators, national health institutions and industry. But Hans Hogerzeil, a professor global health at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, maintained that international agencies and governments should take the lead in setting priorities for R&D and using patent laws.“It’s a failure to rely on public markets to fund development of needed medicines,” he said. “…it’s simply not fair that everybody has money for medicines, except for about 20 percent of the countries in the world.” Pharmalot‘Massive inequities’ exist among countries for essential medicines By Ed Silverman Nov. 7, 2016 Reprints @Pharmalot [email protected] last_img read more

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Victims seek payments as ‘Dr. Death’ declares innocence

first_img Related: By Melissa Bailey — Kaiser Health News Nov. 18, 2016 Reprints Tags cancerchemotherapy Victims of “Dr. Death” had until this week to submit receipts for unnecessary chemotherapy, medical bills for liver damage, and funeral expenses for their loved ones. By an initial count on Tuesday, 517 former patients and their families had filed claims against Farid Fata, the Detroit-area cancer doctor convicted of raking in over $17 million by poisoning patients with chemotherapy and other drugs they did not need.Fata was branded by prosecutors as “the most egregious fraudster” in US history for scamming Medicare and private insurers by giving at least 553 patients, some of whom did not have cancer, thousands of doses of unnecessary and expensive drugs. Now he insists he did nothing wrong. Breaking his silence in a jailhouse interview, Fata said victims claiming he killed loved ones or ruined their lives are misguided and that those who died were “going to die anyhow because of the nature of the diseases.”Fata, nicknamed “Dr. Death” by his victims, is serving a 45-year sentence in a federal prison in South Carolina after pleading guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering. He ran one of Michigan’s largest private cancer practices, with a network of clinics outside of Detroit, from 2005 to 2013.advertisement Please enter a valid email address. Melissa Bailey — Kaiser Health News @mmbaily The 51-year-old prisoner told Kaiser Health News he plans to speak in court at a Jan. 17 restitution hearing and declare his innocence. Fata said his guilty plea in 2014 came under duress, and he is preparing to seek freedom through a habeas corpus petition, by which a judge would determine if his detention is lawful.“I am now fighting for my innocence,” he said.advertisement Related: Leave this field empty if you’re human: Fata, the son of Christian missionaries, said he is working with a group of born-again Christians who plan to publish a book entitled, “Convicted out of thin air: The true story of Dr. Farid Fata.”Geraldine Smith Parkin, whose husband, Tim, was one of Fata’s patients, said she is shocked by Fata’s innocence claim.“Just to hear that he still will not say, ‘I’m guilty’” extends the suffering for everyone involved, she said. “It seems like we’re being victimized over and over and over.”Former patients like Howard, meanwhile, said Fata has destroyed their faith in the medical system.“I will never trust another doctor again as long as I live,” Howard said. “I trusted this doctor with my life and he failed me.”This story was originally published by Kaiser Health News, a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. KHN’s coverage of end-of-life and serious illness issues is supported by The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. HealthVictims seek payments as ‘Dr. Death’ declares innocence Still fighting: Vietnam vets seek help for rare cancer Ellen Piligian is seeking restitution on behalf of her father, John, who had stage 4 cancer and died in 2012. She said Fata acted as a fearmonger, insisting her father continue to take powerful and toxic chemotherapy drugs.“My dad could have had much better life quality those last couple of years,” she said.Piligian said she has been through “voicemail hell” trying to track down proof of payment from health insurers — a factor that has made it difficult for other victims to file claims. She filed a claim for $6,000 for medications and funeral expenses.Another 43 victims have had success filing civil suits against Fata and are sharing an $8 million settlement. But they are fighting off liens from insurance companies seeking repayment for treatments the patients didn’t need.Patty Hester, a former Fata patient, said the liens may prevent her from seeing a penny of her settlement payment, which is less than $100,000.Hester, 62, said she suffers from rotting teeth, high blood pressure, and organ damage. She said Fata diagnosed her with myelodysplastic syndrome, also known as preleukemia, and told her she was dying. She endured two and a half years of iron and intravenous immunoglobulin treatments, and gave away her possessions — even her wedding ring. Then she got a letter from federal prosecutors saying her treatments had been unnecessary.Hester has requested repayment for over $800 in dental bills, but she said the restitution isn’t enough. The government is paying for remedial treatment only until Sept. 6, 2016, but her medical problems continue.Fata, meanwhile, said these patients’ medical problems are not his fault. He said he treated his patients appropriately, but when the federal government alleged he was mistreating them, it “created doubts in their mind.”Fata, who earned a medical degree in his native Lebanon, believes federal prosecutors targeted him for political reasons. He said he pleaded guilty to protect his family, and he couldn’t afford to mount a robust defense because the government had seized his assets. Privacy Policy Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. About the Author Reprints Meanwhile, an electronic records company hired by the Department of Justice is sorting through former patients’ claims for a share of a $11.9 million fund created from assets seized from Fata’s bank accounts, his home, and medical practice. The process marks the final chapter in a gut-wrenching federal prosecution that brought scores of victims to tell harrowing tales on the stand, in written testimony and on national TV. The federal charges, prompted by a whistleblower, not only ended his career but also made him a global poster child for medical horrors.To be eligible for restitution, patients treated by Fata from 2005 through 2013 had to submit claims postmarked by Tuesday. The number may grow as more stream in by mail, said Gina Balaya, spokeswoman for the Eastern Michigan US attorney’s office. The restitution fund won’t pay for victims’ pain and emotional trauma, but it covers out-of-pocket medical costs, including treatment repairing damage Fata inflicted, as well as funeral expenses for patients who died. The US attorney’s office has no firm count of how many patients died from Fata’s mistreatment; court documents allege only that he put patients at risk of death, not that he killed anyone.Among those seeking repayment is Teddy Howard, 56, a former financial analyst who said Fata destroyed his life. Fata diagnosed him with a rare blood disorder and gave him 44 chemotherapy treatments. After Fata’s arrest in 2013, Howard was appalled to learn that he never had cancer in the first place.The arrest came too late, Howard said: 18 months of chemotherapy had already wrecked his liver and teeth. Howard had a liver transplant and plans to undergo surgery to replace all of this teeth. He said he filed a restitution claim for about $100,000 in medical bills.Howard said that sum doesn’t come close to repairing Fata’s damages. After Howard began chemotherapy, he lost his job and his house outside Detroit. Now unemployed, he lives on disability income and takes daily medication so that his body doesn’t reject his new liver.“I went from being healthy and put on chemo to the condition I’m in now — post-liver transplant and fighting for my life,” Howard said.Other claims came from grieving family members such as Sydney Zaremba, whose 87-year-old mother, Helene, died under Fata’s care in 2011. Zaremba said her mother had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and declined swiftly under Fata’s treatments; prosecutors concluded Fata overtreated her at the end of her life.“He killed my mom,” Zaremba said. “She had a very treatable disease. By the time he got done with her, she was taking 16 meds.”Zaremba is seeking reimbursement for a portion of $15,000 in funeral expenses, but “there’s no amount of money that can replace what we lost.” Financial toxicity: 1 in 3 cancer patients have to turn to friends or family to pay for care The former office of Farid Fata, the Detroit-area cancer doctor convicted of raking in over $17 million by poisoning patients with chemotherapy and other drugs they did not need. Carlos Osorio/APlast_img read more

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Pharmalot, Pharmalittle: Generic drug makers sued for price fixing over skin cream

first_img Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED [email protected] GET STARTED Ed Silverman Alex Hogan/STAT @Pharmalot Pharmalot, Pharmalittle: Generic drug makers sued for price fixing over skin cream By Ed Silverman Dec. 22, 2016 Reprints Pharmalot About the Author Reprintscenter_img STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. What is it? What’s included? Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? We are just fine, thank you, especially as it appears to be rather quiet out there. Of course, looks can be deceiving. After all, the world is still spinning, yes? So despite the looming holidays, we are as busy as ever foraging for interesting items. Toward that end, we have assembled a few tidbits for you. Hope you have a grand day and, of course, keep us in mind if you hear something juicy …A benefit plan for an electrical workers’ union filed a lawsuit accusing three drug makers — Perrigo, Taro Pharmaceutical, and Teligent — of fixing the price of a generic skin cream used for treating inflammatory skin infections and raising the cost by 539 percent. In less than six months in 2014, the companies increased their list prices per unit from between 49 cents and 59 cents to $4.59 to $4.72. Log In | Learn More Tags drug pricingfinancepharmaceuticalsSTAT+last_img read more

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Doctors need help managing their ‘perpetual state of transition’

first_img By Jason J. Han and Neha Vapiwala Oct. 3, 2017 Reprints Neha Vapiwala APStock First OpinionDoctors need help managing their ‘perpetual state of transition’ Yet medical training — from the first day of med school and throughout a physician’s career — is a continuous series of transitions. Each rotation, perhaps even each day, builds upon the one before, not only with regard to competence but also in terms of the level of responsibility and extent of accountability toward patients, colleagues, and the profession. To train in medicine is to be in a perpetual state of transition, where each step brings a new set of expectations for the physician. Related: [email protected] To fight physician burnout, I’m making a binder of medical successes Some argue that these transitions help trainees quickly learn to adapt and gain the independence and self-motivation required to succeed in a field as arduous as clinical medicine. Many individuals thrive in this system.Even so, students, residents, and even experienced physicians struggle with the weight and the anxiety of facing these transitions on their own. Imagine having to constantly adapt to a completely foreign environment each month and having to learn a new workflow from scratch, all the while facing expectations to provide excellent care. This may partly explain the high rates of depression, burnout, and even suicide among medical trainees.Until the concept of transition is broadened to include the changes and transformations trainees undergo periodically, the support structure will continue to fall short of their needs.Many medical education programs have implemented wellness curricula for new trainees to help them learn self-care strategies like mindfulness practices, cognitive-behavioral strategies, emotion processing techniques, finding meaning reflections, dealing with death and dying and more. At our institution, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the internal medicine intern wellness program provides four sessions during the intern year. These focus on increasing awareness and ownership of physical and psychological well-being, recognizing signs of burnout and disability, and honing effective communications skills for navigating emotionally complex scenarios.Making self-care part of a physician’s daily life is a necessary first step. Yet, these initiatives have the potential to serve as more than Band-Aids that alleviate and patch the stresses that accompany medical students’ transitions to internship and beyond.Implementing a peer-to-peer support structure with oversight for the various transitions that span post-med school training, whether it be rotation-to-rotation or from semester-to-semester, can better address the root of the problem. Peers who have already experienced various rotations can be the most valuable resources in orienting future residents, but currently these conversations and collegial “orientations” are unofficial. How do young doctors find balance after a 28-hour workday? center_img Transition points in patient care, like the handoff of a patient from a doctor ending his shift to one beginning hers, are widely recognized as periods of increased risk of error. Yet what many in medicine overlook are the hazards of transition points in physicians’ training.Each July, new medical school graduates and other physicians-in-training enter the next stages of their careers. Ranging from interns to residents and fellows, these rising physicians participate in orientation programs as a part of periodic, ongoing transitions into new, progressively expanding clinical roles.At every level of training beyond medical school, there is a strong assumption that these periods of transition are limited to big new beginnings, and that the trainees will rapidly settle in. Orientations tend to focus on the logistics of starting a new job, pivoting from a deluge of information about electronic medical records and human resources packets to ice breakers and password setups. After a few weeks, programs designed to aid in transitions taper off, aside from a few individual review meetings with the program director. Trainees are expected to take flight relatively independently.advertisement Tags educationhospitalsphysicians Related: Jason J. Han These sessions should specifically address the most practical concerns, particularly related to workflow, that accompany each transition: What are the day-to-day tasks an intern, resident, or fellow on a particular service is expected to perform? How does the individual fit into the team’s overall workflow structure? What are the skills and tasks that are essential to maintaining the day-to-day operations?Such matters are generally absent from the current orientation content. Including them could not only help optimize transitions and reduce stress for the staff, but could also contribute to patient care and safety.Existing orientation programs undeniably help physicians-in-training grow more attuned to their emotions and take ownership of their own well-being. Yet they address only the beginning of the cultural transition that medicine needs to undergo.The road to competence in medicine is long, continuous, and stepwise. Only by recognizing the challenges and potential dangers in our own transitions can we one day find ourselves transformed into the health care providers we aspire to be.Jason J. Han, M.D., is a resident in cardiothoracic surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Neha Vapiwala, M.D., is an associate professor and vice chair of education in the Department of Radiation Oncology and assistant dean of student affairs in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. [email protected] Trainees tend to switch rotations monthly, often having to figure out how to survive and thrive on the job while constantly adapting to new environments with new bosses and sets of expectations. As soon as they master the workflow in one rotation, they transition to the next, repeating the cycle of starting from a blank slate. The experience of trainees is more akin to punctuated equilibrium than it is to gradual evolution. What is demanded of trainees is not transition but constant transformation.advertisement About the Authors Reprintslast_img read more

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Biogen’s rain-making rare-disease drug hits a sales slump

first_imgBiotech About the Author Reprints Biogen’s rain-making rare-disease drug hits a sales slump Damian Garde National Biotech Reporter Damian covers biotech, is a co-writer of The Readout newsletter, and a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. By Damian Garde April 24, 2018 Reprints Log In | Learn More [email protected] What’s included? STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.center_img AP/Biogen @damiangarde Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the biotech sector — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED GET STARTED Tags biotechnologyrare disease Biogen’s unexpectedly successful new rare-disease drug, Spinraza, delivered another surprise in the first quarter: flat sales.The drug, which treats spinal muscular atrophy, ran off to an impressive start last year, topping analyst estimates and beating even Biogen’s projections. But everything leveled off between the fourth quarter, when revenue hit $363 million, and the first three months of 2018, when Biogen booked $364 million in Spinraza sales. Analysts had expected first-quarter sales of about $383 million. Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. What is it?last_img read more

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Pharmalittle: Existing drugs driving higher prices; Baselga lands at AstraZeneca

first_img Pharmalittle: Existing drugs driving higher prices; Baselga lands at AstraZeneca By Elizabeth Cooney Jan. 8, 2019 Reprints GET STARTED [email protected] Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Tags drug developmentdrug pricingpharmalittleSTAT+ Log In | Learn More What is it? Good morning. Elizabeth Cooney here in Boston, filling in for Ed Silverman while he’s reporting from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. You can see STAT’s team coverage of the gathering in the Readout @ JPM. Here’s what we’re watching in biopharma today:The costs of oral and injectable brand-name, outpatient drugs increased annually between 2008 and 2016 by 9 percent and 15 percent, respectively, and the price hikes were largely driven by existing drugs, such as insulin, according to a new study described by STAT. When excluding new drugs — those that became available within three previous calendar years — annual costs rose by 8 percent and 16 percent for oral and injectable medicines. This was five to eight times the general rate of inflation in the same time period. General Assignment Reporter Liz focuses on cancer, biomedical engineering, and how patients feel the effects of Covid-19.center_img Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Alex Hogan/STAT STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. @cooney_liz About the Author Reprints Pharmalot What’s included? Elizabeth Cooneylast_img read more

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Pharma and biotech should embrace ‘Medicare for all,’ not defeat it

first_img Medicare for all is about trade-offs, not rights and privileges It doesn’t make sense for them to buy a costly, high-tech intervention that pays off years or even decades after its recipients stop paying premiums.This growing disconnect explains why genetic research will soon make Medicare for all, or something similar, all but inevitable. The time horizons for medicine on the one hand and employer-based health insurance on the other have simply moved too far apart.advertisement Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), discusses “Medicare for all” legislation in Washington in September 2017. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images As a growing pantheon of Democratic politicians pledge their support for “Medicare for all” and its variants, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are gearing up for an epic and expensive battle to kill these proposals.As someone who has worked at the highest levels of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, I think this opposition is a huge mistake.Without a greater government role in health insurance, many of the discoveries emerging from the labs of these industries will never reach patients. Why? Gene-based treatments that save someone from dying 20 years in the future have no chance of being embraced by private insurers whose business model depends on annual renewals.advertisement Jim Tananbaum Privacy Policy Presidential hopefuls for the 2020 election need to establish their health care reform plans now Related: Newsletters Sign up for First Opinion A weekly digest of our opinion column, with insight from industry experts. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Medicare for all may not be the only solution for the worsening short-termism of employer-based health care. If health insurers are faced with a rational long-term government alternative, they may respond competitively with their own long-term insurance products. Perhaps they could sell separate policies for genetic treatments. As the popularity of Medicare Advantage plans demonstrates, lifelong insurance guarantees need not be wholly government administered.Whatever the solution, science will soon offer the chance to glimpse and change our distant health futures. We will need a payment system that encourages such foresight.Rather than oppose every Medicare for all proposal, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries must help guide Washington toward a future made inevitable by their own astonishing discoveries.Jim Tananbaum is the founder and CEO of Foresite Capital, a San Francisco-based biotechnology investment firm. But the key idea here is “long term,” a time period that neither employers nor insurers are interested in anymore. Nowadays, only governments have the financial and political wherewithal to invest in keeping people as productive and taxpaying members of society over their lifetimes.To be sure, insurers have long paid for preventive interventions like measles vaccines, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and annual checkups. But many of these are modest measures intended to prevent catastrophic events in the near future.Genetic screening will vastly expand not only the range of diseases targeted but the time period for preventing them.Insurers, devoted to short-termism, are bound to respond to ever-higher treatment prices with ever-higher copays, severely limiting access to expensive new drugs. How many people can afford a $1 million copay? Why would anyone in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries welcome such a future?Nations with cradle-to-grave insurance systems will be able to take advantage of the discoveries not only to rescue and improve lives but to capture savings, widening the health gap between the United States and other industrialized countries. Related: By Jim Tananbaum Feb. 27, 2019 Reprints Please enter a valid email address. First OpinionPharma and biotech should embrace ‘Medicare for all,’ not defeat it About the Author Reprints When employers began offering health insurance in the middle of the 20th century, jobs were expected to last a lifetime and nearly all treatments worked within weeks. Paying a modest sum to treat sick employees with penicillin or tetracycline, the technological wonders of the day, so they could return to the factory floor for another 20 years made obvious financial sense.Today, jobs in the gig economy last months or a few years, while medical interventions may take decades to bear fruit. How many employers view sparing a woman from breast cancer 20 years hence as a sound investment in their labor force?A new wave of genetic tests and treatments promises to make this disconnect an almost unbridgeable chasm. Fifteen years after the sequencing of the human genome, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are poised to offer cures for a host of deadly genetic abnormalities, including spinal muscular atrophy and sickle cell disease.Beyond these highly targeted treatments, scientists are uncovering genetic patterns that place millions of Americans at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other serious diseases. Patients and their doctors will soon be faced with myriad decisions about the tests and treatments needed to stave off potentially life-threatening events that may not manifest themselves for decades.But prices for some new treatments already hit $500,000 and will likely soon exceed $1 million. The justification for such eye-popping sums is that the interventions offer patients decades of new or disability-free life. And in a newly interconnected health care system, the treatments could substitute for less-targeted but equally expensive care options, saving money over the long term. These are the great promises of precision medicine and value-based health care. [email protected] Tags biotechnologyinsuranceMedicarepharmaceuticalsprecision medicinelast_img read more

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‘I don’t know how you people sleep at night’: Visibly irate lawmakers blast pharma, PBMs over insulin prices

first_img GET STARTED Log In | Learn More [email protected] By Nicholas Florko April 10, 2019 Reprints ‘I don’t know how you people sleep at night’: Visibly irate lawmakers blast pharma, PBMs over insulin prices Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), right, walks with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) J. Scott Applewhite/AP @NicholasFlorko Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED WASHINGTON — Drug makers and their middlemen counterparts spent the first three months of the 116th Congress successfully dodging hard blows from members of Congress over the high cost of prescription drugs. That all changed Wednesday.Insulin makers and drug industry middlemen faced hours of hard questions Wednesday from an irate panel of lawmakers, many of whom appeared far more interested in threatening to blow up the entire drug pricing system than in hearing from the pharma company or pharmacy benefit manager executives who testified.center_img Washington Correspondent Nicholas Florko reports on the the intersection of politics and health policy. He is the author the newsletter “D.C. Diagnosis.” What is it? About the Author Reprints What’s included? Nicholas Florko STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Politics Tags Congressdrug pricingpolicylast_img read more

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