In a time of skyrocketing health care costs, both the private and public sectors struggle to balance economics with access to high quality health care. Evidence from comparative effectiveness research (CER) and “head-to-head” clinical trials is increasingly being used in health care treatment decision-making around the globe, but how will this affect access to quality care? More importantly, where will the public draw the line between cost and access?
The President announced plans late last year to create a National Bioeconomy Blueprint. This Blueprint would detail government-wide steps “to harness biological research innovations to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment.” The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently solicited comments to inform the Blueprint.
This week in the Wall-Street Journal Dr. Els Torreele, director of the Access to Essential Medicines Initiative of the Open Society Foundation's Public Health Program based in New York, and Dr. Josh Bloom, director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at the American Council on Science and Health also based in New York, were asked an interesting question; should patents on pharmaceuticals be extended to encourage innovation?
Older Americans make up 13% of our population but account for 34% of all prescription medication use and 30% of all over-the-counter (OTC) medication use. This is due in large part to the fact that 4 out of 5 older Americans has 1 or more chronic conditions—often requiring multiple medications at once.
A group of aging and Alzheimer’s advocates will be meeting this week with the senior leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to call for an increase in funding for the National Institute on Aging (NIA). In advance of this meeting, the group has orchestrated a sign-on letter to demonstrate widespread support for $1.4 billion, an increase of $300 million, in the FY 2013 NIH Budget to support the NIA. A similar letter was generated last year and garnered more than 400 signatures.
Many of you may still have this phrase ringing in your ears if you traveled with children for any length of time this past holiday season. Representatives from the ACT-AD Coalition, chaired by the Alliance for Aging Research, heard these same words almost two years ago, not uttered from the mouths of babes, but rather by prominent officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a conversation regarding evidence to support the use of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in clinical trials for “disease-modifying” therapies.
Conventional political wisdom holds that economics will dominate the Presidential contest this year. That may be true, but increasingly clashes over scientific issues roil the American political waters: think global climate change, sex education, evolution, and Plan-B the so-called morning after pill.
This January as the snow flurries begin to fall, the risk of heart attack among older Americans may be on the rise. The onset of colder weather results in peaks in general practitioner visits, hospital admissions, and cardiovascular deaths among those age 65 and older. A study published online in the British Medical Journal reported each 1.8 degree Fahrenheit reduction in average daily temperature was associated with a cumulative 2% increase in risk of heart attack over a 28-day period, with the highest risk reported within two weeks of exposure to cold weather. Cold temperatures have been shown to raise blood pressure and protein levels that increase the risk for blood clots. In addition, strenuous activities such as snow shoveling are commonly performed as the temperature drops, which may attribute the increased risk of heart attack.