The biggest bioethics stories of 2004, and what's in store for 2005

Saw this DTC ad for Topamax in a recent issue of Newsweek:

I turned the page and found this:

Apparently, they left a lot out of the first page.

Two-thirds of physicians' receptionists had been subjected to verbal abuse in the previous year
"Six out of 10 reported telephone abuse and 55% had experienced face-to-face outbursts."

Medrants with his top posts of 2004

There are many who would rather take the increased risk of a heart attack and take COX-2s than deal with arthritis pain

"I think it's a bunch of people fighting each other who are so far removed from reality, because this won't impact them"
This is what a Maryland physician is saying about the current impediment to malpractice reform. He goes on: "The people who are making decisions will not lose their healthcare. They will not be affected. They will always have health care, but it will affect people like ...


Some Maryland docs are splitting time between medicine and political lobbying
The emergency bill that passed the state House and Senate are a good first step, but still is likely to be vetoed by the governor.

The trend toward mail order pharmacies
With mail order, you normally have to get three months of medications at a time, thus paying one co-pay every 3 months, rather than three.

Happy New Year!

FDA Approves Pfizer Drug for Diabetes?
Wow - I read the headline and thought, "That's interesting, since I hadn't heard of a new diabetes drug coming." Turns out, the story was for Pfizer's pain medication Lyrica, which is used for diabetic neuropathy, not diabetes.

What a terrible, misleading headline - doesn't anyone edit this stuff?

GruntDoc strikes a nerve

I'm one of ABC News' People of the Year
(via Instapundit)

The uninsured was one of the "hot stories of 2004", and its not likely to improve in 2005

Update on the dueling malpractice initiatives in Washington state
Last month, the lawyer-supported initiative was submitted. This week, the physicians submitted their opposing initiative. The battle will be decided in the fall.

A lawyer weighs in on the malpractice debate
"Medical malpractice is not a contest between doctors and lawyers. It is instead an example of our legal system seeking to render justice through the time-honored tradition of the jury trial, and opposition to this system by insurance companies."

The Washington Post on the malpractice showdown in Maryland
"The medical malpractice special session in Annapolis seemed destined from the outset to end in a veto-override showdown -- and so it has."

CBS predicts the medical advancements for 2005

Many of the donated organs in China come from executed prisoners
Also of note, the number of executions in China exceeds by at least two fold the total number of executions in the rest of the world combined.

Colonoscopy still the best when compared to virtual colonoscopy
It's not even close - virtual colonoscopy is still not ready for prime time:

When analysed on a per-patient basis, for lesions 10 mm or larger in size (n=63), the sensitivity of ACBE was 48% (95% CI 35-61), CTC 59% (46-71, p=0·1083 for CTC vs ACBE), and colonoscopy 98% (91-100, p<0·0001 for colonoscopy vs CTC). For lesions 6-9 mm in size ...


Pfizer is getting single-dose Azithromycin ready for battle
They recently submitted a trio of studies to the FDA, aiming for indications in acute bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. The obvious benefit of increased compliance is cited:

“"Single treatment is a major advance,"” commented Victor L. Yu, M.D., chief of infectious diseases at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pittsburgh. "“In the real world, compliance is an issue.”"

"“Given the efficacy ...


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