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How Big Sugar Enlisted Harvard Scientists to Influence How We Eat-in 1965 Print E-mail
Written by Deena Shanker | Bloomberg   
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 15:34

The food industry has funded research in an effort to influence nutrition science and health policy for more than half a century, new research out Monday has found.

It's no secret that industry funds such efforts today: An investigation in June, for example, showed how the National Confectioners Association worked with a nutrition professor at Louisiana State University to conclude that kids who eat sugar are thinner than those who don't.

An article by University of California-San Francisco researchers, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, shows how far back such efforts go: In 1965, the Sugar Research Foundation, the precursor to today's Sugar Association, paid Harvard scientists to discredit a link now widely accepted among scientists-that consuming sugar can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, the industry and the Harvard scientists pinned the blame squarely, and only, on saturated fat. 

Read more in Bloomberg HERE.

View the JAMA article HERE.
Last Updated on Saturday, 01 October 2016 10:48
Thinking straight about orphan drugs, Part 3 Print E-mail
Written by Nicholas Bagley | The Incidental Economist   
Friday, 09 September 2016 00:00

In my last post, I argued that the benefits of the Orphan Drug Act are more elusive than commonly assumed. But what are its costs?

The Act's seven years of market exclusivity operate like a tax-a very large tax-shared between insurers who pay for the orphan drugs and, to a lesser extent, the patients who take them. Through the magic of shared risk pools, private insurers pass the costs along to all of us in the form of higher premiums. The federal government and the states do the same for Medicare and Medicaid, through lower spending or higher taxes.

The magnitude of the tax is hard to estimate, but let's give it a shot. For any given orphan drug, it's the difference between the net present value of the money that the drug will earn over its seven years of market exclusivity and the net present value of the money it would have earned without those seven years. (I'll ignore for now the Act's substantial tax breaks for research.)

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Should I Refer a Patient to a Research Study? Print E-mail
Written by Barry Cutler, MD   
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

When we just started to be involved in neurological clinical research 28 years ago, securing patients to be in a study was relatively easy.  There were fewer research sites in the community and fewer FDA approved medications with less options to treat CNS disorders.   

Most subjects, early on, came from our own practice or from advertising.  More recently, however, we are looking to the Primary Care Physicians for referrals of patients to our studies.  Opportunities are available for disorders such as; Parkinson’s Disease, MS, painful Diabetic Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Migraine. 

We realize how busy physicians are in the community and how little time is left in the day to think about clinical studies available to their patients.  However, if research is to help the pharmaceutical industry to develop new medications, patients are needed for the studies that sites like ours provide.

Below is a list we created of the Top Ten Concerns that physicians would likely consider before referring a patient.

1.         I don’t want to lose my patients to a research study.
The patient continues to see the PCP for all other health concerns.  The fact is, that all cost of care relating to the study, is absorbed by the sponsor of the study, including screening and enrolling.  There is no cost to the patient, insurance or the primary care physician. 

2.        I don’t have time to review protocols for research studies.
You don’t have to!  We provide a clear and concise, description of studies available and major inclusion and exclusion criteria.  You should know at-a-glance if your patient is a potential candidate.

3.         What’s in it for me? 
You may be asked to complete the initial assessment – and be compensated for it.  The research study provides the care for a particular ailment, which enables you to focus your time on their other medical needs.

4.        What’s in it for my patient?
Your patient will have “white glove” care for the duration of the study.  All tests and medications are at no cost. Patients are compensated for their time.  Patients have the opportunity to receive cutting edge medications which may improve their health status as well as provide the industry with important data.

5.        How much of my time will this take?
It is up to you.  Reviewing patient’s chart and making a referral takes less than an hour.

6.        What are my responsibilities, if I refer a patient?
Communication between the Research Study personnel and you is necessary if there is an adverse event.  Once you make the referral, the Research Study Investigator is responsible for the patient’s performance in the study.

7.        Do I have any liability, if my patient participates in the study?
No.  The Informed Consent process identifies the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved.  Participation in the study is voluntary.

8.        Am I limited to referring patients to a specific study?
No.  Our Research Team covers various areas in the medical field.  Lists of current studies are available on our website:  

How do I find out the results of the study?
Study results, once published, are available through the FDA and/or other web sites.
10.     How do I refer my patient for a study?
Please contact Infinity Clinical Research, LLC at (954) 366-0277 or (954) 475-8171.  
An Even Deadlier Opioid Hits the Streets Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 05 September 2016 00:00

In a September 2, 2016 NPR post by Jennifer Ludden:
A powerful drug that's normally used to tranquilize elephants is being blamed for a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says communities everywhere should be on alert for carfentanil.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>
Last Updated on Monday, 10 October 2016 18:27
U.S. Surgeon General Pens Open Letter on Opioid Crisis Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 29 August 2016 17:19

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA sent a letter to physicians around the U.S. asking for help in addressing the opioid crisis, the first time his office has done so for a public health crisis. The letter was sent to 2.3 million health care providers last week.

According to Dr. Murthy:

We often struggle to balance reducing our patients' pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to help end this epidemic. As cynical as times may seem, the public still looks to our profession for hope during difficult moments. This is one of those times.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>
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