Dr. Berwick, former Director of CMS and former President and CEO of IHI, discusses the percentage of waste in the American Healthcare System. He also mentions the new proposals by nine specialties recommending that 45 procedures and tests be performed less often as they are almost always unnecessary.
In the general news, China stirred up trouble by claiming a larger airspace near Japan as their own. In the U.S., Thanksgiving passed by without trouble, despite a Midwest storm, and Obamacare was set back again, with another delay. Small business will be given until 2015 to fully comply.
In healthcare business news, Thanksgiving caused a near blackout of news. Bayer did bid $2.4 B for Norwegian cancer company Algeta.
On the data front, Orexigen (OREX) shares soared on Phase 3 data for weight loss drug Contrave.
From the FDA, the Google-backed genetic test company, 23andMe, run by the former wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, was shut down by the FDA for marketing the human genome tests before FDA approval. Restriction on GSK’s Avandia. Lastly, another drug won “Breakthrough” status, Portola Pharmaceuticals’ Factor Xa inhibitor “antidote”, PRT4445, to reverse drugs, such as Xarelto, Eliquis, and Lovenox.
December 1, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
With Obamacare such a disaster now, it is interesting to look back at the very first time the legislation was started into action by the new Obama administration. I was in the room.
February 9, 2013
Book Review by Steven E. Greer, MD
How did our ancient ancestors evolve from being pure meat eating carnivore hunters into grain fed farmers, and which diet is healthier? With nearly 7 Billion people on planet earth, how did obesity become a bigger problem than malnourishment? Did humans suddenly become undisciplined glutton sloths, or is modern processed food toxic and addictive? These are the questions answered by Robert Lustig, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, in his new book “Fat Chance: Beating the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity, and disease“.
The book is really three books in one. Book 1 is an excellent scientific summary of the physiology of hormones that control hunger and fat production, and also the foods and environmental factors that alter the energy regulation of the body leading to obesity. Book 2 is a refreshingly credible assessment of the various diets and fads that have been tried and studied over the decades, and a guide to buying healthy real food. Book 3 then discusses the politics and policy that have led to the rise of the processed food industry and subsequent global obesity pandemic. Most importantly, this book is not another “new diet” scheme concocted by a greedy quack doctor trying to sell books and paraphernalia.
In the first part of “Fat chance”, Dr. Lustig explains why the dogma of “All calories are equal” is false. Some foods are turned into fat by the liver, become toxic, and cause the brain to crave more food, while other foods nourish the body and give a sense of being full (satiety). He also makes the case against obesity being the fault of the patient. Obese people do not simply “eat too much” and are not “too lazy to exercise”. In fact, he points out that strict diets and ample exercise are doomed to fail if the food eaten is the modern processed sugary food so ubiquitous in the modern world.
Since 2001, the number of obese children in America has tripled, Read more »
November 13, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
The AHA released the long-awaited new guidelines that recommend which patients should be on a cholesterol-lowering statin, such as Lipitor or Crestor. The panel of experts incorporated evidence-based medicine into the guidelines, perhaps better than any other medical society guideline panel has done previously. However, the panel also used some very dubious statistical tools as well.
According to Read more »
October 23, 2013- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD
The Healthcare Channel interviewed the CEO of MannKind, Al Mann, and the CFO, Matt Pfeffer. Topics discussed include the latest clinical trial data on inhaled insulin Afrezza and the cash situation. We also discuss Mr. Mann’s other company, Second Sight, which has a Medicare and FDA-approved bionic eye to treat diseases that damage the nerves in the retina.
Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD
William O’Neill, MD of Henry Ford discusses the finances of transapical aortic valve implantation (TAVI) and why the $30,000 pricetag for the devices should be closer to $5,000. He also discusses the overall market size for TAVI.
Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD
March 19, 2013
The upcoming ASCO meeting will be dominated by numerous presentations relating to new cancer drugs targeting the cell surface molecule called PD-L1, and the immune cell receptors PD1. Early Phase 1 data in non-small cell lung cancer, renal cancer, and melanoma demonstrated such impressive sustained tumor responses that they papers were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Antoni Ribas, MD of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is involved in trials testing some of these new molecules. In the video interview, he explains the mechanisms of action, reviews data published so far, and previews new data to be seen at ASCO.
Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD
In Part 1, Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, liver disease and GI doctor from UCLA, discusses the standard of care for hepatitis C, which is 48-weeks of interferon with ribavirin. He then discusses the new protease inhibitor drugs, Incivek and Victrelis, and why their bad side effect profile limited usage despite higher cure rates.
In Part 2, Dr. Saab discusses the data on the new all-oral therapies that do not require the toxic interferon injections, are only 12-weeks of therapy, and have much higher cure rates approaching 100% SVR. He mentions Gilead’s sofosbuvir, the Abbvie cocktail of drugs, and others.
The main reason that Medicare has limited coverage for the Edwards Lifesciences (EW) Sapien percutaneous aortic valve is the high perioperative complication rate of ischemic strokes, in excess of 9%, as well as femoral artery complications. The newer second generation Sapien XT, with a smaller diameter “French” profile, was hoped to reduce the complications and make the TAVR procedure safer. The newest data on the second-gen Sapien do not seem to support the claims from Marty Leon, financial backer of the valve, that the new valve is safer.
The PARTNER II study was presented at the ACC meeting in San Francisco. Read more »
CurrentMedicine.TV interviewed Dr. Janet Woodcock, long-time Director of CDER, the FDA center responsible for approving drugs and monitoring for safety. In Part 1, she reviews her responsibilities as Director over a period of time spanning both Republican and Democratic administrations. The recent ACA healthcare reform law and the 2007 FDAAA have radically changed how the FDA is handling safety of drugs.
March 8, 2013 By Steven E. Greer, MD
We interviewed three of the oncologists and industry executives who spoke at the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts in March. They were:
- Richard B. Gaynor, MD, Chair, Accelerating Cancer Cures; Vice President, Cancer Research/Clinical Investigation, Eli Lilly
- Michael J. Vasconcelles, MD, Senior Vice President, Oncology Clinical Development Millennium; The Takeda Oncology Company
- Catherine Wu, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The first topic of discussion was Read more »
Gerald Brandacher, MD, Scientific Director of the Composite Tissue Allotransplantation (Reconstructive Transplant) Program at Johns Hopkins discusses the first double arm transplant.
September 29, 2013-By Steven E. Greer, MD
In June of 2012, The Healthcare Channel published an influential Op-Ed in the WSJ exposing an $11 Billion program of the ACA Law (ObamaCare) as pure pork. The Director of the Program, Richard Gilfillan, MD, made a rare rebuttal in public. We then published a follow-up letter in the WSJ.
We have learned that Dr. Gilfillan has now left his post and is no longer working for CMS (Medicare and Medicaid). Washington insiders attributed his departure as a direct result of the investigations.
Interviewed by Steven Greer, MD
The consensus among government budget forecasters such as the CBO is that the current growth rate of healthcare spending will continue and result in healthcare becoming 30% of the GDP. It is not well appreciated that the CBO is often very inaccurate because the models their staff use incorporate past or current growth estimates in perpetuity. In contrast, Wall Street financial analysts are paid to make the tough judgment calls that tweak future-year growth estimates based on fundamental analysis.
With the various healthcare reform proposals being “scored” by the CBO now, the issue of whether healthcare will indeed balloon out of control is of vital importance. The HCC interviewed Harvard economics professor David Cutler who takes a contrarian view that healthcare spending will slow and perhaps decrease due to a variety of factors.
More than 20 years ago, Roger Daltrey began forming special cancer units in the UK to treat patients in their teenage and young adult years. Now, with the other member of the legendary rock band The Who, Pete Townshend, they have formed the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend cancer center and are planning more in the united states. We had the honor to be granted a rare interview with Mr. Daltrey.