Health Wonk Review

Welcome to the Health Wonk Review on the Health Business Blog.

Pharma’s foibles

Big pharma is in bigger trouble. Here are a few glimpses of what they’re trying to do about it.

Health Care Renewal provides a textbook example of what ails pharma-sponsored Continuing Medical Education: Wyeth portraying Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) in a favorable light at a time when randomized trials are showing negative results.

Drug Channels highlights Pfizer’s attempts to combat parallel imports and counterfeit drugs in the UK.

Pizaazz reminds us that these two companies intend to merge, but that it won’t be enough to make up for the loss of Lipitor.

Luckily for pharma the wellness folks are still keen to help out with drug adherence, according to Corporate Wellness Insights. Unfortunately for pharma the main technique is cost control.

Less is more

Covert Rationing Blog tells us we have more than enough primary care docs and nurses –at least if we fall for the Snow job from Medco’s head. (Joe snob from Hedco’s med?)

Healthcare Economist questions whether there’s really a shortage of nurses and docs –though he’s a little gentler than I would be in arguing his point.

The profit motive

We’ve got various flavors of private medical facilities in the US. In Canada the deal is a bit different.
If it looks like a for-profit, smells like a for-profit, and acts like a for-profit, why does a hospital deserve a tax exemption, asks Health Access Weblog.

Nuts for healthcare (any relation to cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?) defends doctor-owned hospitals and administers a smack to community hospitals.

Canadian Medicine describes a physician’s attempt to get the government of British Columbia to allow patients to seek medical care in the private sector.

The wonky section…

…in which bloggers let loose on the evolution of federal policy (but don’t spend much effort on who’s going to be on the hook to pay for all these goodies once we get back to budget balancin’).

Health Populi points out that only 9 percent of unemployed workers have COBRA coverage. It’s just too darn expensive for people who’ve lost their jobs. Medicaid Front Page lets us know that unemployment benefits in Florida are lower than the average COBRA premium. Meanwhile, the feds are thinking of paying 65 percent of COBRA premiums as part of the stimulus.

Colorado Health Insurance Insider finds that employed people have no clue what insurance actually costs, and tend to whine when asked to contribute.

The Treatment has noticed that the stimulus package includes many health care reform initiatives. For example, Medicaid is being expanded –at least temporarily– to medically indigent adults.

Sentinel Effect is jazzed about a public/private health plan concept.

Woman Tribune celebrates the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Workers Comp Insider makes the case for coverage of occupational disease, such as solvent-induced Parkinson’s.

Navel gazin’

Trusted MD wonders whether health bloggers will scuttle the fire sale of (sleazy) Wellsphere to (wholesome) HealthCentral. Somehow I doubt it.

The odd couple

The Healthcare IT Guy lays out a few differences between Microsoft’s HealthVault and Google Health. Google is like Facebook and HealthVault is like PayPal, we learn.

Einstein in love

Disease Management Care Blog proposes a unified field theory incorporating disease management, pay-for-performance, the medical home, etc. Don’t stand too close.

InsureBlog has a chat with United Healthcare about a diabetes plan. Apparently they’re still trying to add value after all these years.

Curmudgeon care

Spare the rod and spoil the blogger’s grandson…

The Sunny Senior pines for the old days of strict discipline when “a slap on the bare buttocks usually solved the situation,” and we were spared all that nonsense talk about ADHD. He is happy, though to see today’s parents rebelling against vaccines.

Thanks for listening!

February 5, 2009

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