A Senate panel today will hear recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's committee on drug pricing. The science advisory group's eight recommendations for tackling drug prices include permitting the government to negotiate pricing, accelerating approvals for generic and biosimilar drugs, price transparency and eliminating a tax break for pharmaceutical companies on direct-to-consumer advertising.
Enrollment in consumer-directed, high-deductible health plans has increased nearly sevenfold over the past 10 years, but these plans have not delivered anticipated reductions in spending on unnecessary medical care, according to a study in The American Journal of Managed Care. The research found that most consumers enrolled in these plans do not shop around for the best health care deals, although doing so could save some of them hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.
A LifeWorks survey found the most popular well-being benefits were health insurance, flexible scheduling and free food, while benefits used the least included employee assistance programs, wellness programs and mindfulness training. Top reasons employees did not use the benefits included being unaware of them, not understanding the benefits and not having time to use them.
Chicago startup company Karrot Health aims to revamp how employee wellness bonuses work by allowing employers to set up a recurring bonus for people who reach their goals and fitness milestones. Employees can track their progress on their wearable devices or phones and the program's app automatically pulls in the data.
Even short bursts of exercise can alter the molecular composition of fat tissue in a way that benefits metabolic health, a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found. Researchers compared fat samples before and after exercise and found slight, but significant, increases in genetic activity responsible for improved blood flow and reduced inflammation.
Obese women may be at higher risk of developing rosacea, researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The study also found higher waist circumference and hip circumference were associated with a higher risk of rosacea, independent of body mass index.
A Danish study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research found that children whose mothers had rheumatoid arthritis had a nearly threefold higher likelihood of developing RA, compared with those whose mothers didn't have RA. The findings also showed a 2.2 times increased odds of thyroid disease and 1.6 times greater epilepsy risk among those whose mothers had RA.
Youths who had higher blood concentrations of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids starting at age 8 had a reduced risk of developing asthma and allergies by age 16, according to a Swedish study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Researchers also found that children with high levels of the omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid had a lower risk of developing rhinitis and asthma by age 16.
Drugs for neglected tropical diseases such as neurocysticercosis, leishmaniasis and hookworm, which is re-emerging in the US, are significantly more expensive here than abroad. Two 200-milligram tablets of the anti-hookworm pill albendazole can be purchased for 4 cents in Tanzania and $2 in the UK, but the same dose costs up to $400 in the US, while four 25-milligram tablets of daraprim, a drug for a parasitic infection that affects 1.1 million Americans yearly, can cost $3,000 to $3,400 in the US.
Doctors practicing telemedicine should be certified in it because a virtual visit "involves a true medical interaction that needs to be defined and categorized," said Dr. Michael Nochomovitz, co-author of a paper published as a JAMA Viewpoint. Nochomovitz does not think there will be a problem with telemedicine adoption if the certification takes shape because "[d]octors will want to do it right."
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