Generally mad with generics

Seven organizations representing about 500 U.S. hospitals are joining up to make their own generics. Sick of high prices and drug shortages, the group is forming a non-profit, FDA-approved manufacturer by the name of Civica Rx. It’ll be headed up by former Amgen chief quality officer Martin Van Trieste, and its initial goal is to manufacture 14 generics for hospital patients. The exact generics Civica will focus on haven’t been named yet, but they’ll either produce them themselves, or outsource the work. You know what they say, if you want something done right, delegate it yourself.

So long sepsis?

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in American hospitals, claiming over 700 patients per day. So wouldn’t it be nice if there were something care providers could do about it? Two large-scale studies are trying to figure that out with a cure that’s so (relatively) simple and cheap, some are calling it snake oil. Dr. Paul Marik began treating his sepsis patients with a cocktail of Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, and corticosteroids, and observed remarkable sepsis reversals in many of the patients he treated with the mix. The implications of this proposed treatment are more dramatic than the most dramatic panda ever. So the two studies are trying to get funds and patients recruited ASAP to see if the science really stands up to scrutiny.

Amazon puts drugs back on the shelf

The healthcare industry can breathe a little easier, at least for now. Amazon has backed off on its plans to sell pharmaceutical products to hospitals. Logistical concerns are part of the pull-back, which is kind of surprising since that’s like Amazon’s whole thing, right? Turns out, cold chain is hard. It’s actually more than just that—while Amazon certainly has brand recognition to go around, not even it can disrupt loyal vendor relationships maintained between hospitals, drug distributors, and group purchasing organizations. Pharmacies and drug distributor stocks went up after the announcement, but they better keep their heads on a swivel—there’s still that health venture with Berkshire and JPMorgan to be worried about. Last we heard, they were on a CEO search.

“It’s the prices, stupid”

That’s really the name of a 2003 paper that explains health care spending is so high in the US because the prices for health care are so high, stupid. 14 years later the story still rings true—the per unit cost of health services hasn’t shifted much. Vox, in an effort to get a scope of these prices across the nation, is asking readers to send in their emergency facility fee (think: what the hospital charges to keep their lights on waiting for you to break your toe) to crowdsource the cost of that specific unit price. It’s an interesting idea since hospitals don’t advertise their ED admission fees. Telling patients they have to pay at least $500 beforehand typically isn’t the best look after all.