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How a drug went from $50 to $28,000 a vial

By |December 30, 2012|Health Care|

Source NY Times

The doctor was dumbfounded: a drug that used to cost $50 was now selling for $28,000 for a 5-milliliter vial.

The physician, Dr. Ladislas Lazaro IV, remembered occasionally prescribing this anti-inflammatory, named H.P. Acthar Gel, for gout back in the early 1990s. Then the drug seemed to fade from view. Dr. Lazaro had all but forgotten about it, until a sales representative from a company called Questcor Pharmaceuticals appeared at his office and suggested that he try it for various rheumatologic conditions.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dr. Lazaro, a rheumatologist in Lafayette, La., says of the price increase.

How the price of this drug rose so far, so fast is a story for these troubled times in American health care — a tale of aggressive marketing, questionable medicine and, not least, out-of-control costs. At the center of it is Questcor, which turned the once-obscure Acthar into a hugely profitable wonder drug and itself into one of Wall Street’s highest fliers. (more…)

Community cuts heart attacks by 24 percent with preventive health

By |April 3, 2011|Prevention|

Source Scientific American

The town of New Ulm, Minn., some 90 miles outside of Minneapolis, is small. With a population of about 15,000, the self-proclaimed polka capital of the U.S. might not seem like the most obvious locale to roll out an aggressive, unconventional attack on heart disease.

But for the past couple years, a local health system has been doing just that, using an array of preventive health tactics that include everything from state-of-the-art electronic health records to free water aerobics classes.

Early results suggest that the preventive health program has been working. In the some 10,000 adults in the target zip code (56073), the rate of acute heart attacks fell by 24 percent in 15 months, according to research presented this week at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans. Fewer than 50 people in the area suffered a heart attack in 2008—before the reduction efforts kicked in—so the stats are slight, but the approach could have implications for larger population bases.

The program “encourages a large population to embrace healthy lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and improved nutrition that could improve long-term health,” Jackie Boucher, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, said in a prepared statement. Area residents can join an organized walking group, take a cooking class or participate in workplace health screening.  (more…)

Document Released by The Center for Health Value Innovation Calls For inclusion of Chiropractic in Patient-Centered Models of Value-Based Design

By |November 6, 2010|News|

Source The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress is pleased to announce that the Center for Health Value Innovation (CHVI), experts in value-based design who link superior health outcomes to improved business performance, has released a landmark document: Outcomes-Based Contracting™: The Value-Based Approach for Optimal Health with Chiropractic Services. Cyndy Nayer, CEO of CHVI and the voice of value-based design, along with leaders from the Center, point to chiropractic intervention as one area in which new analysis may define the placement in the care continuum.

“The Foundation asked us to consider the insertion of chiropractic into the value-based benefit designs for low back and neck pain based upon a recently published study,” notes Nayer, citing the 2009 study Do Chiropractic Physician Services for Treatment of Low Back and Neck Pain Improve the Value of Health Benefit Plans? conducted by Niteesh Choudhry, M.D., PhD, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Arnold Milstein, M.D., MPH, which concluded that chiropractic care could be an effective and cost-efficient service for relief of pain and reduction in disability. “Because of the support from the Foundation, we were able to convene a panel of experts to consider the implications and a framework for contracting that was built on outcomes.