Trying to C a solution

Hepatitis C is expensive to treat, which is why a lot of patients don’t get treated for it, and that possibly contributes to why it’s the deadliest infectious disease in the US. It’s gotten to the point where states are considering legal challenges to those precious patent laws that pharma typically spends a lot of money on to make sure no one touches. So, in the fight to increase Hep C treatment, in one corner we have legal challenges, and in the other we have good ol’ market forces. Abbvie’s new Mavyret costs well less than half the amount of some existing treatments, and it can treat all six strains of the infection. Your move competition, may the markets be ever in your favor.

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‘Clinically meaningless’

There’s some debate as to whether cancer patients should have drugs that are proven to work, or whether instead they should have access to as many drugs as possible that might work. At least that’s what we’ve gathered from a recent study identifying that more than half of cancer drugs approved by the EMA between 2009 and 2013 showed no benefits for either survival or quality of life. While that’s not extremely terrible considering, 1) the EMA focuses on timely patient access to new drugs and, 2) trials focusing on survival outcomes are expensive and (more importantly) time-consuming, one has to wonder if we can’t do better than half. Otherwise we’re just provoking cancer patients to the point of rampage.

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Stupid serialisation

If you live in the US, it’s seriali“z”ation. Regardless of how you spell it, track-and-trace is coming. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act train, while delayed a bit, is still thundering down the track (pun intended). You know who hates serialisation? Smaller CMOs. Implementing serialization is expensive and without a massive number of customers over which to spread the cost, some smaller CMOs could be in a world of hurt. According to Tracelink, as many as 400 CMOs will not be ready for upcoming US and EU track-and-trace regulations. And if you can’t afford to be compliant, then perhaps the next step is to consolidate. Looks like this trend is far from over. So, buckle-up sippy cup, get your CMO strategy in line, and enjoy the roller coaster ride.

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National health system bracketology

If you’re one of the estimated 60 million Americans who fill out a NCAA basketball bracket each year, then this story will resonate with you. But, you’re about to feel much worse about your health system. The New York Times decided to play bracketology with the health systems from Canada, Britain, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia and the U.S. by having five experts pick which system was better in head-to-head match-ups, with the winner advancing. In the end, Switzerland won, with Germany as a close second. France defeated the US in round two by a 3-2 vote. This writer is quick to acknowledge there are many different lenses through which a system can be evaluated. InsightCity readers, what do you say? Bring on the comments.

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Dead at the age of 55

On May 20, 1506 Christopher Columbus died of what is now believed to be congestive heart failure—though at the time his diagnosis was gout, like my father-in-law who eats a steak about every 45 minutes. This is relevant, of course, because the US celebrates Columbus Day this week, in honor of the man who really would have been better off using Google Maps. Among the causes of CHF are high blood pressure, almost certainly a result of dealing with the nasty and stingy Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Of course, that’s just an InsightCity diagnosis from 511 years away. Here’s what’s on the horizon for patients suffering from heart failure.

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