Blog

Big Pharma Using Mail-Order Pharmacies to Maintain High Prices

The United States has the dubious honor of paying the highest prescription drug costs in the world. Many healthcare economists attribute this to relatively lax cost regulation compared to other wealthy countries; however, a decade of insurers paying only for generic drugs when available and limiting drug choice in specific formularies has had little modulating effect.

Mental Health Spending: A Story of Failed Supply and Demand

Several weeks ago I was in Palo Alto, California walking along Camino Real abutting the Stanford University campus. I noticed a newly-constructed high-link fence isolating the commuter train tracks from the pedestrian walkways. Another “shovel-ready” infrastructure project to nurture the economy?

Photos - MPS Auto Show Event - Lingenfelter Collection!

Our auto show event at the Lingenfelter Collection was a huge success! Approximately 100 attendees enjoyed an evening of learning, networking, and fun at the Lingenfelter Collection, one of the most notable car collections in the world! A special thanks to M1 Concourse and the Lingenfelter Collection for sponsoring this event.

Michigan Physicians Society Auto Show Event - Lingenfelter Collection!

We are excited to announce our next MPS event! MPS members will enjoy an exciting evening of learning, networking, and fun at the Lingenfelter Collection, one of the most notable car collections in the world! Learn about car collecting as an alternative investment strategy while enjoying a private tour of the Lingenfelter Collection.

Physicians Role in Drug Pricing

Two new drugs, Repatha and Praluent, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration several months ago amid much ballyhoo. Both are antibodies that specifically target PCSK9, a protein which reduces the number of receptors on the liver that remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. By blocking PCSK9’s ability to work, more receptors are available to clear LDL. This novel mechanism was proven safe and effective in clinical trials, lowering LDL cholesterol levels by 40% or more in patients already taking statin drugs. However, powerful treatment comes with a powerful cost-- over $14,000 per year for each patient.

Physician or Salesperson? - The Ethics Behind Patient Donors

Maybe it’s because we have entered the silly season with a full cast of presidential aspirants, but I have recently mulling over the perception of behavioral impropriety. To translate from spin doctor to medical doctor, I mean professional behavior that may not be overtly unethical, but exudes self-interest over patient well-being. In the academic world, full disclosure includes financial interest with potential conflict, disclaimer of previous publications, responsibility for informed consent and approval by the appropriate research committee. In our practices, particularly in the clinic or hospital setting, much focus is on constructing a firewall between the pharmaceutical and the medical-device sales force and medical providers.

Cutting Healthcare Spending - Big Data, Hospital Costs, and Outcomes

According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), inpatient hospital costs account for nearly 30% of healthcare spending in the United States and are increasing by about 2% per year over inflation. This cost issue is a focus of the Affordable Care Act, which is accelerating the move away from fee-for-service to a single, diagnosis-related comprehensive payment, similar to Medicare reimbursement. Such payment systems punish unnecessary testing, prolonged hospitalization, and readmissions.

Is Medical Science Dead? - Art, Science, and Quackery

On April 8, 1966, Time Magazine caused a national commotion when the issue’s cover was emblazoned with the question, “Is God Dead?” The Time article was a measured consideration of how society was adapting to the diminishing role of religion in an age of stunning scientific advances. The writer posited that people would no longer believe things out of received doctrine, but faith would steadily succumb to the scientific method as mankind unraveled the truths of the physical world at the expense of the myths of the metaphysical.

IMPACT OF ICD-10 - Increases Billing Accuracy, Headache for MDs and Patients

I strongly suggest that a pledge to read a synopsis of the philosophy of the 13th century Franciscan William of Ockham on a weekly basis be inserted in the oath of office taken by every government employee. Clearly highlighted should be his nominalist doctrine, Ockham’s razor, which avows that the best solution to a problem is usually the simplest. Pare to a minimum the number of confounding variables.

How do we treat pain? - Unrealistic Goals Leading to Opioid Addiction

In the weekend review from ACEP, two articles caught my attention. The first one was on new guidelines from the American Society of Addictive Medicine on the use of prescription medication to treat opioid addiction. These guidelines were created soon after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) declared opioid use and resultant death as an epidemic. The second article refers to a study showing that pain is underdiagnosed and undertreated in the ED. This is the challenging dichotomy we live and work in.

Drowning in the Fountain of Youth - Genetic Predisposition

Recently I read in a New York Times magazine article that the 130th richest man in the United States wants to match his age with his Forbes magazine wealth ranking. His riches have not bought him a unique, scientifically-formulated elixir for immortality; nor is he a wacky proponent of perpetual hyperbaric oxygen chambers or cryogenics.

Yelp May Not Help

Concomitant with the metamorphosis of the practice of medicine into the business of healthcare delivery, patients have been transformed into customers. Healthcare providers compete not only on the basis of outcomes, best practices, centers of excellence, advanced technology and cost, but also on customer service

Find and Replace: Genetic Engineering in Science and Medicine

Shakespeare’s Hamlet proclaimed, “What a piece of work is a man,” but now, almost half a millennium later, this could be amended to what a set of sequences is man. The nobility, reason, infinite faculty and admirable form can be attributed to the 20,000 or so genes that contain the chemical code for specific protein formation

HIPAA Protects Millions with Unintended Consequences

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was endorsed by Congress in 1996 and was the last significant legislative legacy of Senator Ted Kennedy. It is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights and mandates nationally recognized regulations for use and/or disclosure of an individual's health information by a “covered entity”. Such an entity is a health plan, healthcare clearinghouse or healthcare provider.
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