Health professional associations and industry funding

The Lancet, 389 (10069), p597-598, 11 February 2017
Authors: Anthony Costello, Francesco Branca, Nigel Rollins, Nigel Rollins, Marcus Stahlhofer, Laurence Grummer-Strawn
“The UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) announced in October, 2016, its decision to continue to accept funding from manufacturers of breast milk substitutes (BMS). This decision raises serious concerns about the college’s impartiality and sets a harmful precedent for other health professional organisations. In order to protect the credibility and the authority of professional organisations that contribute to the formulation of public policy, they need to adopt codes of conduct and practices that protect their independence from vested interests.”
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Sen. Grassley Launches Inquiry Into Orphan Drug Law’s Effect On Prices

NPR, 10 February 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble
“Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.”
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Increased Service Use Among Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Associated With Mental Health Parity Law

Health Aff 2017 vol. 36 no. 2 337-345
Authors: Elizabeth A. Stuart, Emma E. McGinty, Luther Kalb, Haiden A. Huskamp et al
“Health care services for children with autism spectrum disorder are often expensive and frequently not covered under private health insurance. The 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was viewed as a possible means of improving access by eliminating differences between behavioral health and medical/surgical benefits. We examined whether the legislation was associated with increased use of and spending on mental health care and functional services for children with autism spectrum disorder compared to the period prior to implementation of the law.”
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Remote monitoring of medical devices in Australia

Med J Aust 2017; 206 (2): 62-63
Authors: Bradley Wilsmore, James Leitch
“The collection, storage and distribution of remote monitoring information by industry are not clearly regulated. Regulation is complex, given all current industry providers have offshore servers and local distribution of data. While some companies have adopted a worldwide information security management system standard (ISO 27001), regulation has been company dependent and the current system is largely self-regulated by industry at the local level. This raises further issues and may exacerbate the potential for a conflict of interest regarding industry involvement.”
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Thousands of pacemakers and defibrillators ‘at risk of hacking’

SMH, 6 February 2017
Author: Julia Medew
“Thousands of Australians with pacemakers and defibrillators in their hearts are at risk of cyber security breaches that could allow somebody to kill them, doctors say. Some cardiologists are also concerned that the multi-billion dollar medical device industry has too much control over devices being implanted in Australians, and that this could lead to over-servicing to boost profits.”
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Industry partnerships continue to muddy waters

Doctor Portal, 30 January 2017
Author: Sarah Colyer
“A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that financial ties of principal study investigators increased the likelihood of positive outcomes in a random sample of 190 randomised controlled trials of drug efficacy. The prevalence of financial ties of principal investigators was 76% among positive studies and 49% among negative studies. This association remained significant after adjusting for study funding source.”
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Drug Makers Accused of Fixing Prices on Insulin

NYT, 30 January 2017
Author: Katie Thomas
“A lawsuit filed Monday accused three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills. The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.”
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Legal Dispute Continues Over Medicare Coverage Of Physical Therapy

NPR, 30 January 2017
Author: Susan Jaffe
“Four years after Medicare officials agreed in a landmark court settlement that seniors can’t be denied coverage for physical therapy and other skilled care simply because their condition isn’t improving, patients are still being turned away. As a result, federal officials and Medicare advocates have renewed their federal court battle, acknowledging that they cannot agree on a way to fix the problem. Earlier this month, each submitted ideas to the judge, who will decide — possibly within the next few months — what measures should be taken.”
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Mr. Trump’s ‘Gag Rule’ Will Harm Global Health

NYT, 26 January 2017
Author: The Editorial Board
“With a single memorandum, President Trump may well have made it harder for health workers around the world to fight cancer, H.I.V., Zika and Ebola. The memorandum, signed on Monday, reinstates and expands a policy barring health organizations abroad, many of which provide an array of services, from receiving federal funds if they even talk to women about abortion as a method of family planning.”
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