Consumer organisations criticise influence of drug companies
The BMJ with some tough words for the pharmaceutical industry. Some statements I agree with:

These can often be for quite trivial conditions, such as toenail infections, and they encourage patients to go and see their general practitioner, often in quite strong terms," said Mr Vidler. "At the same time the industry will be advertising drugs to these GPs, and our ...

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Embryonic Stem-Cell Research - The Case for Federal Funding
The New England Journal of Medicine makes its case.

The Confusion of The Press
"The press is often in over it's head when reporting on medicine." Completely true. This is where the power of medical blogs can shine - by correcting and interpreting the studies often misreported by the lay press.

Private Doctors in Frantic Quest for Flu Vaccine
I know how they feel.

Special flu shot clinic set up in Vancouver this weekend for Americans
Good neighbors.

Vioxx, We Hardly Knew Ye
A rheumatologist reminisces about Vioxx.

Dr. Feelscared: Drug warriors put the fear of prosecution in physicians who dare to treat pain (via Overlawyered)
"The AAPS, along with the Pain Relief Network, has been vocal in denouncing the federal and state doctor prosecutions. The groupÂ’s Web site warns: 'If youÂ’re thinking about getting into pain management using opioids as appropriate: DONÂ’T. Forget what you learned in medical school -- drug agents now set medical standards.''"

No Flu Vaccine Shortage at U.S. Capitol
"While many elderly Americans are standing in long lines for flu shots, the vaccine is readily available for free to members of Congress and staff at the U.S. Capitol."

Upcoming Grand Rounds
codeblog is hosting next week's Grand Rounds: "To submit an entry for Grand Rounds on October 26th here on codeblog, email me at geena -at- codeblog dot com. Please put 'grand rounds' in the subject line!"

Defensive medicine as the cost of an aggressive tort industry
Chris Rangel with thorough, thoughtful analysis on defensive medicine.

Poor, uninsured don't fill emergency rooms
"More than 80 percent of patients seen in emergency rooms have health insurance and a usual source of health care such as a primary care physician." As has been previously mentioned, improving primary care access is key to alleviating ER overcrowding.

Today's story in the NY Times on chronic pain writes about the practice of some to encourage chronic pain patients to go to multiple pharmacies:

The red flags that rightly alert regulators to potential misconduct by doctors are, paradoxically, the very features that can also mark responsible care for intractable pain. These include prescribing high volumes of narcotic painkillers for extended periods, prescribing potentially lethal doses or prescribing several ...

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The Drug War
An economist defends the drug companies.

Vaccine Policies Need a Booster
More on the need for vaccine reform by Dr. Henry Miller.

Tumour diary
Fascinating and heart-wrenching diary of a BBC writer diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

"The John Edwards Fan Club"
If you can can't beat 'em . . . (via PointofLaw).

Doctors Behind Bars: Treating Pain Is Now Risky Business
The obstacles to aggressive pain management.

Grand Rounds #4
Best of the week from the medical blogs. Come visit and spread the word.

With the influenza vaccine shortage, it is now being urged that seniors at least get the pneumonia vaccine - which is not in short supply:

The flu-shot shortage makes it more imperative for elderly Americans to get a second, often overlooked vaccine that protects against a type of pneumonia germ thatÂ’s a common complication of influenza.

Called pneumococcal vaccine, itÂ’s a one-time shot for anyone 65 or older. ...

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The USPSTF has revised their grading system for recommending periodic health examinations. In the past, only the quality of evidence was weighed. Now the magnitude of the benefit is incorporated. Here are the revised definitions for the rating grades:

The codes for the current USPSTF recommendations include A (strongly recommended, good evidence, and substantial benefit), B (recommended, fair evidence, and moderate to substantial benefit), C (no recommendation, fair to good ...

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