WOMEN’S HEALTH: Industry Turns Ear To Female Concerns
Women's health is gaining a "higher profile" in the health care industry, the Indianapolis Star/News reports. "Women have raised the consciousness of society to their health care needs. As a result, more research dollars have flown into those areas. Both the National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies have acknowledged the needs of women and focused more of their research on women," said Jeff Trewhitt, spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Getting Their Due
The increased recognition has come as insurers and drug companies realize the "power" and "profit" that women hold in the health care market. Indianapolis-based Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield CEO L. Ben Lytle noted that women make 75% of "all family decisions on health care." They also visit doctors more than twice as often as men do, make nine out of every 10 physician-referral and health-information calls and "are twice as likely as men to change health care providers if they are dissatisfied with service." Eli Lilly and Co. recently opened "a new $17 million laboratory for clinical research at Indiana University Hospital in March, in part to accommodate the influx of female research subjects brought about by the creation last August of a women's health business unit." And health care companies are starting to broaden "their definition of women's health beyond reproductive matters," noted Freda Lewis-Hall, director of the Lilly Centre for Women's Health (Edelhart, 6/18).
Healy On Health
Last Thursday Anthem announced its Healthy Women program, one of the most comprehensive in the tri-state area, which includes disease management, prevention and educational programs aimed at women and their special health concerns. Dr. Bernadine Healy, former NIH director under President Bush and currently Dean of the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, is kicking off Anthem's program with a series of speaking engagements in the tri-state area (release, 6/19).
Healthy Old Grey Lady
Signaling the significance of women's health concerns, yesterday's New York Times published a special section devoted entirely to the topic. The section included articles on the hormonal-based biological differences between men and women and the implications for various treatments, sexual functioning in women, designer estrogens and infertility treatment (6/21).