Equifax Breach

Equifax says a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — almost half the country.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/technology/business/equifax-data-breach/index.html

 

 

Advertisements

New Drug Development – 1.5 Billion Dollars

I was sad (though not surprised) to hear of JnJ’s pending layoffs. I have friends who work there. However, the thing that really caught my attention in this article is that the cost to develop a new drug has moved from US $800 Million to US $1.3-1.5 Billion in just a few years. I don’t have a lot of time to expound on this, but thought it worth flagging.

~TJK

J&J to slash 7,000 to 8,000 jobs

By Ransdell Pierson –

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson plans to cut up to 7 percent of its workforce in order to generate cost savings needed to finance increasingly costly drug research and to weather future challenges, the diversified healthcare company said on Tuesday.
J&J said the planned restructuring will eliminate 7,000 to 8,000 jobs and generate annualized cost savings of $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion by 2011…..[snip]

The typical cost of developing a new medicine has now climbed to between $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion, from a cost of $800 million only a few years ago, Weldon said. He noted that J&J and other drugmakers increasingly are partnering with rival companies in order to share such financial gambles…..[snip]

Ignorance on the Placebo Effect

I was reading some blog posts over at Wellsphere when I saw the following thoughts on the placebo effect from Seth Roberts

What Should Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials Be Replaced With?

For a sick person, which is worse?

1. Getting better for the wrong reason.

2. Wasting a lot of money.

It sounds like a joke — #1 isn’t even harmful, whereas the cost of health care is a very serious problem. Yet the FDA and legislators with FDA oversight have been given this choice — and chosen #1. They have chosen to protect us against #1 but not #2.

If you get better from a placebo effect, that’s the wrong reason. How dare you! The requirement that drugs be better than placebo controls prevents this from happening. The requirement might have been — but isn’t — that a new drug be better than pre-existing alternatives. Many aren’t but they are always more expensive — not to mention more risky.

Now Seth has a Ph.D. in psychology, blogs on science-related topics, and seems like a smart enough guy, but his post is a bit misguided.

1) The reason that drugs are required to perform better than a placebo is because the placebo effect tends to only occur in a small set of patients. That is that the mental makeup of a specific patient is the cause of a placebo response (irregardless of the treatment). It is also not clear whether a placebo respondee is “actually getting better”. It is just as likely that they were not actually sick in the first place (or as sick as they thought).

2) Those patients who are not predisposed toward exhibiting placebo responses need to be given an actual effective treatment to “get better” and therefore deserve medications that exhibit “better than placebo” characteristics. Giving such a sick patient a sham treatment (rather than one that can actually work) can be very harmful in that the person’s condition can actually worsen.

3) There is a requirement from FDA (and regulatory agencies worldwide) that new drugs be as good or better than existing medications; or that they provide some sort of unique benefit (or reduced risk).

4) The expense of new medications is largely due to the high cost of research to make those medications (and fund future research). The low-hanging fruit is largely gone.

Best,

TJK

eHR’s gone bad…

I saw this on the Healthcareguy’s blog and thought it was worthwhile enough to post here too. In my experience, doctors are often not very tech-savvy (since they’ve spent an inordinate amount of time focusing on medicine, it stands to reason that they didn’t have as much time to monkey with computers and such). I could see this lack of tech-savvy make them “targets” of unscrupulous vendors/consultants in the emerging EHR (electronic health records) market.

Hi,

My name is Jim Edison and I work part time for a private, non-profit foundation called www.doctorsinperil.org. The foundation was started after a personal loss of the founder and its mission statement is to assist doctors in obtaining refunds from electronic medical records manufacturers for products that do not work as advertised. The EHR industry is new and many companies are taking advantage of doctor’s natural trust and naitivite. We do not take any money for our services.

We will investigate a complaint filed with us and if there is merit to the complaint, we will use the threat of public exposure to help the doctor or clinic obtain a refund. We also have a legal war chest and a law firm on retainer that may be used for class action lawsuits against companies that ignore our requests or who have a history of widespread abuse.

I am looking for the best way to tell doctors about our service, so please refer me to other popular sites that might allow us to post this announcement. Please feel free to visit our site and register if you have a complaint.

We have recently updated our site with two new sections titled, “Unscrupulous Practices By EMR Companies” and “ADVICE ON PROTECTING YOUR IT INVESTMENT”. They can be found here & here.

Thank you,

James Edison

~TJK