Mid-week Miscellany

  • Business Week features a lengthy article questioning the health value of statins, the blockbuster class anti-cholesterol drugs. From the headline, “Research suggests that, except among high-risk heart patients, the benefits of statins such as Lipitor are overstated.”
  • Modern Healthcare.com reports on Senator Ted Kennedy’s efforts to get the Health and Human Services Department to implement a federal patient safety law enacted in 2005.
  • Govexec.com reports on a dispute between the White House and a Senate committee over an Inspector General reform bill. (OPM’s Office of Inspector General audits FEHB plans.)
  • The daily Kaiser Health Care Report informs us that efforts are underway on Capitol Hill to extend the Medicare payment fix for doctors enacted last months for a brief six month time period. The Senate Finance Committee again is taking the lead. The President may offer his own proposal in the FY 2009 budget that will be released next month.
  • Finally, the AP reports on a genetic research breakthrough:

    Scientists have found that a combination of five gene variants sharply raises the risk of getting prostate cancer. Added to family history, the genes accounted for nearly half of all cases in a study of Swedish men. The discovery is remarkable not just for the big portion of cases it might explain, but also because looking at combinations rather than single genes might help solve the mystery of many complex diseases such as cancer and diabetes that are thought to involve multiple genes or interactions between them.