A Clinic Mix-Up Leaves Pregnant Woman In Dark About Zika Risk

KHN, 21 June 2017
Author: Jonel Aleccia
“Hospital officials in Washington state have apologized after failing for months to inform a pregnant woman she was likely infected with the Zika virus that can cause devastating birth defects. Andrea Pardo was tested for the virus in October, after becoming pregnant while living in Mexico. The results were ready by December, but she wasn’t notified until April just before she delivered her daughter. The delay, blamed on a mistake at the University of Washington clinic where Pardo received care, deprived her of the chance to make an informed choice about her pregnancy.”
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Ethics involved in life support decisions remain matter of debate

The Globe and Mail, 15 June 2017
Author: Wency Leung
“When doctors aren’t able to have end-of-life discussions with patients themselves, they often have to approach the delicate subject with the patient’s caregiver or family members. From a doctor’s perspective, these discussions typically involve presenting the evidence of what is known about the situation, what the likely outcomes may be, given that evidence, and most importantly, understanding the patient – what their values are, their expectations and ideology. To make a choice about whether to proceed with aggressive treatment, families should be informed about what those treatments are, the possible risks and benefits and what the ultimate outcomes are.”
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FDA Puts Brakes on Rule Requiring New ‘Nutrition Facts’ Label

MedicineNet, 13 June 2017
Author: E.J. Mundell
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced that the launch of an updated “nutrition facts” panel on foods, developed during the Obama administration, will now be delayed. The deadline for which the food industry must comply with the new labeling will be pushed back for an undisclosed time. the revamped label would make information on calorie counts more prominent, make serving sizes easier to understand, and point to the amount of added sugars a food or drink contains.”
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Physicians recognize new psychoactive substances as health threat

AMA, 12 June 2017
Author: Sara Berg
“New psychoactive substances (NPS) are quickly emerging, transient and difficult to track. While some coordinated public health responses have been used to combat NPS outbreaks, most strategies and solutions remain disconnected, lacking necessary information and data sharing capability. With the eruption of both illicit and synthetic drugs, as well as a lack of regulation, physicians are also searching for further education to aid in treating patients. Delegates at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting voted to support multifaceted, multiagency approaches to combat NPS.”
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Medical device theft at SSM Health puts data on 836 patients at risk

Information Management, 30 May 2017
Author: Joseph Goedert
“A medical device that records physiological data was stolen on April 12 from SSM Health Orthopedics, which operates out of SSM Health-owned DePaul Hospital in St. Louis, potentially affecting the data of 836 patients. The organization said the medical device, which looks similar to a laptop computer, contained in its memory some physiological data as well as protected health information from patients who participated in a study between 2002 and 2017. The organization notified the patients that some of their protected health information has been compromised.”
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ACCC takes health insurer to court

Herald Sun, 30 May 2017
Author: Stuart Condie
“The consumer watchdog has launched legal action against Nib over allegations the health insurer failed to tell customers they were suddenly liable for some out-of-pocket costs. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Tuesday said it believed Nib contravened Australian Consumer Law in 2015. At the time, the health insurer failed to give its members advance notice of a decision to remove certain eye procedures from a program where the ­insurer paid gap amounts to doctors. Elderly patients were among those most affected, the watchdog said.”
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Disease-awareness ads lead to overdiagnosis, boost Rx sales

ModernHealthcare, 22 May 2017
Author: Alex Kacik
“Ads that try to bring awareness of diseases boost prescription drug sales and over diagnosis in the U.S., according to a new study. There is a fine line between direct-to-consumer drug ads, which the Food and Drug Administration regulates, and ads meant to create disease awareness that often skirt the purview of the FDA, per the article published in JAMA. Disease awareness advertisements, particularly for conditions that only have one approved drug treatment, can bolster drug sales and lead to “inappropriate” prescriptions as patients turn to their doctors and request the drugs they see advertised.”
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The controversy over statins has revealed something: the nocebo effect is real

The Guardian, 4 May 2017
Author: Ann Robinson
“A new study shows that media-fuelled controversy among health experts has dented public confidence in the cholesterol-lowering drugs that prevent 80,000 heart attacks and strokes every year in the UK. The benefits far outweigh the harm from rare side-effects, according to a review of the evidence in the Lancet medical journal. But 200,000 people stopped taking their statins in 2013 following six months of “disputed research and tendentious opinion” on their potential side-effects.”
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New evidence in France of harm from epilepsy drug valproate

BBC, 21 April 2017
Source: BBC News
“A drug given to pregnant women for epilepsy and bipolar disorder caused “serious malformations” in up to 4,100 children, a French study suggests. Introduced in France in 1967, valproate is prescribed widely worldwide. Doctors in France are now advised not to give it to girls, women of childbearing age and pregnant women. Some families of children with birth defects born to women who took the drug while pregnant have sued Sanofi, saying that it did not adequately warn about the risks.”
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Do patients and doctors understand breast cancer genetic testing results?

Reuters, 19 April 2017
Author: Will Boggs
“If you have early-stage breast cancer and have undergone genetic testing, the odds are high that the results were not explained to you by a genetic counselor, and chances are, the results did not affect your surgeon’s recommendations for treatment, according to a recent U.S. study. Expert guidelines increasingly call for genetic testing to identify the presence of inherited mutations. But it’s not clear if patients or their doctors are using the results to make informed treatment choices.”
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