May 30, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 20
Bruce Maxwell, Editor - firstname.lastname@example.org
Silver Hammer Publishing - http://silverhammerpub.com
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INCOMPETENT PHYSICIANS ARE RARELY REPORTED
AS LAW REQUIRES
Under federal law, hospitals and HMOs must report to the
government any disciplinary actions they take against doctors
because of incompetence or misconduct. But a report by the
inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services
found that the law is largely ignored.
Source: New York Times - May 29, 2001
$840M PENALTY IS EXPECTED FOR DRUG COMPANY
TAP Pharmaceutical Products, manufacturer of the best-selling
prostate cancer drug Lupron Depot, is expected to settle
allegations by the federal government that it inflated the drug's
price and bribed doctors to prescribe it. The previous top fine
in a federal health fraud case was $840 million, paid last year
by the hospital company HCA, but TAP is likely to pay more. TAP
also faces a separate class action lawsuit over the drug and
investigations by several states.
Source: Boston Globe - May 28, 2001
STRESSED OUT? BAD KNEE? TRY A SIP
OF THESE JUICES
Manufacturers are dumping all kinds of dietary supplements and
herbal medicines into juices and sports drinks, seeking a
marketing edge. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has done
nothing to halt or even regulate the practice, although at least
some of the additives have the potential to be dangerous.
Source: New York Times - May 28, 2001
STUDY CASTS DOUBT ON THE PLACEBO EFFECT
For decades, medical researchers have generally accepted that in
clinical trials of new drugs, about 35 percent of patients who
get sugar pills but are told they're the real thing will improve.
But a new study contends that this phenomenon, known as the
placebo effect, doesn't really exist.
Source: New York Times - May 24, 2001
THIS LITTLE KIDNEY WENT TO MARKET
Need a new kidney? You can easily get one for about $125,000 on
the worldwide black market, which this article examines in
Source: New York Times Magazine - May 27, 2001
SHORTAGE OF ICU BEDS IN UK COSTS LIVES: STUDY
If it's true that misery loves company, Americans can rejoice in
this story from London. The United Kingdom, like the United
States, has a shortage of intensive care beds in its hospitals.
This naturally causes pressure to discharge patients as quickly
as possible. Now a British Medical Journal study reports that the
speedy discharges are causing abnormally high death rates among
patients recently released from intensive care.
Source: Reuters Health - May 25, 2001
British Medical Journal study:
British Medical Journal editorial:
HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY BRACES FOR CHANGE IN SENATE
Patient protection legislation suddenly has new life in Congress
now that Democrats have taken control of the Senate following the
defection of Sen. James Jeffords from the Republican Party. The
change also is expected to result in enhanced scrutiny of drug
pricing and marketing practices.
Source: New York Times - May 25, 2001
PHYSICIANS: LEAVE ASSISTED SUICIDE
TO DOCTORS, PATIENTS
A survey of American physicians has found that 44.5 percent
believe that doctor-assisted suicide should be legal. But doctors
also want the government to butt out of the issue, leaving
decisions to physicians and their patients.
Source: American Medical News - June 4, 2001
FIRST NONSURGICAL CORONARY ARTERY BYPASS
The first successful use of a coronary artery bypass procedure
that doesn't require surgery is reported in the current issue of
Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The
technique uses a catheter system guided by ultrasound to push a
needle through the blocked artery wall. The needle then pierces
an adjoining vein, creating a new path for the blood flow.
Experts caution that the procedure will only be appropriate in a
limited number of cases, and will not replace conventional
angioplasty or bypass surgery.
Source: Reuters Health - May 29, 2001
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