Thursday, August 28, 2008

Medicare Pays Too Much for New Generics

According to this article on The Wall Street Journal Blog when the price of generic drugs plunges, Medicare is slow to reflect that price change.

A report published by the Health and Human Services’ inspector general looks at irinotecan, which is a cancer that went generic in February of this year. The average price of the drug factoring in sales of the branded version was $52. During the current quarter, Medicare was paying about $75 for irinotecan, which is still far above the average price.

Read the full report here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Marry For Health Reasons? Maybe Not Necessary

One common conception that scientists in the past have validated is that for your health, it is better to be married. A new study as reported in BusinessWeek, however, is suggesting otherwise.

Hui Liu, study’s lead author from Michigan State University stated

"One of the most-often documented facts is that married people are healthier than non-married people, but the difference between married and unmarried people has changed over the past few decades."

As the article further reports:

- the self-reported health status of never-married adults increased significantly over time

- self-reported health status of married women also increased

- the gap between married and never-married women's health stayed about the same

- never-married men narrowed the health gap between themselves and married men

Some of the speculated reasons for the results of the study include that with the mores in society changing, it is no longer imperative to have a spouse for social status and acceptance. In addition, currently there are more support systems in place for those who are unmarried that may help them to not experience the negative side effects that in the past have been associated with being single.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Living Near Highways Can Increase Risk of Low-Birth Weight

The NY Times reports that a recent Canadian study shows that mothers who live near highways are more likely to give birth to low-weight and preterm babies. The study, which was published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at medical records of nearly 100,000 births in Montreal from 1997 to 2001. Researchers measured distances to the nearest highways and determined socioeconomic and education levels from census data.
Researchers found that compared to wealthy neighborhoods, mothers who lived within 220 yards of a highway were linked to a 58 percent chance of preterm birth, and a 81 percent chance of increased risk of low-birth weight.
Dr. Mélissa Généreux, a resident physician at the University of Montreal mentions:
“Low-income mothers are exposed to more risk factors — smoking, poor nutrition, poor access to prenatal care, domestic violence. More advantaged mothers are protected from these risk factors, so they might be more affected by the addition of a single new risk factor, pollution from highways.”