Buying Into The Hype Around Exciting Genetic Technology? Here’s A Gut Check
Stat offers a three-part documentary series that looks back at the roots of three of today’s most promising genetic technologies.
'The Code': The Roots Of Today’s Most Promising Genetic Technologies
The $1.455 billion “All of Us” project that the National Institutes of Health is launching this spring stands on the shoulders of the $3 billion Human Genome Project, which was (mostly) completed in 2003. All of Us will collect DNA, health, lifestyle, and other data from 1 million Americans to, among other things, identify the genetic and environmental roots of disease and understand why different people respond differently to the same drug. The genome project, which determined the sequence of most of the 3 billion biochemical “letters” that spell out human DNA, had similar goals. Some have been realized, others not. (Begley, 4/2)
In other national health care news —
White House Is Urged To Sidestep Patents On Opioid Overdose Treatment
The White House is being urged to sidestep patents on a high-priced opioid overdose antidote as one way to stem the rising cost of combating the opioid crisis. In a letter sent last Thursday, an advocacy group argues the White House should use a little-known federal law that would permit the government to take title to patents on Evzio. This is a decades-old version of naloxone, which is widely used to reverse the effect of opioid and heroin overdoses. (Silverman, 4/2)
The Associated Press:
Studies Link Legal Marijuana With Fewer Opioid Prescriptions
Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may. Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws have proposed it as a lower-risk alternative to opioids. But some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid use, and so might make the epidemic worse. (4/2)
Medicare Puts Off Decision On Lowering Drug Prices Patients Pay
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services laid out a bevy of initiatives Monday that officials said would reduce drug prices for patients covered by the Medicare Part D prescription drug program — but they have made no decisions yet on an issue that has confounded lawmakers and patients alike. That issue is whether the discounts that pharmacy benefit managers negotiate for drugs — the “rebates” that lawmakers have been raising questions about in recent months — as well as other fees, should go toward lowering the price that a patient pays at the pharmacy. (Swetlitz, 4/2)
The New York Times:
‘I Can’t Stop’: Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion
The student had been caught vaping in school three times before he sat in the vice principal’s office at Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine this winter and shamefacedly admitted what by then was obvious. “I can’t stop,” he told the vice principal, Nate Carpenter. So Mr. Carpenter asked the school nurse about getting the teenager nicotine gum or a patch, to help him get through the school day without violating the rules prohibiting vaping. (Zernike, 4/2)
The Washington Post:
How Do You Make A Destination Autism-Friendly?
Myrtle Beach , South Carolina, has a busy boardwalk and all kinds of attractions, from mini-golf courses and water parks to a zip line and a Ferris wheel. So it might not be an obvious destination for families with kids on the autism spectrum who may be easily overwhelmed by noise and commotion. But an organization called Champion Autism Network is working with hotels, restaurants and other venues to make the area autism-friendly. (Harpaz, 4/2)
The Associated Press:
Vegas Hospital Advisory After Mass Shooting Draws Scrutiny
A review of medical responses after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas found confusion led to a fire department broadcast that the only top-tier regional trauma center was too full to accept any more victims of the attack, a newspaper reported Monday. The problem began when University Medical Center called an "internal disaster" alert following the Oct. 1 shooting at an open-air concert venue on the Las Vegas Strip, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.