May 18, 2012

Friday Tidbits 05-18-12

Well, finally the American Medical Association decided they did not want this hung on their neck. I am talking about the over-the-counter medications the FDA is considering. Until recently, the AMA has been silent and it appeared that they were in favor of this happening. Apparently, there has been an up swell from within the ranks causing the AMA president to take an official stand.

Recently, Peter W. Carmel, president of the AMA published an article in USA Today and then repeated it in The Health Care Blog on May 13, 2012. Better late than never is apparently the motto of the AMA. Yet even this may not be enough as more in the medical community are speaking out against the FDA actions, both officially and in the news media and written word on the internet.

The next item that may interest you is a blog also on The Health Care Blog about our poor healthcare science status. Marya Zilberberg, MD wrote the article and has her own medical blog here. Dr. Zilberberg is not afraid of telling it like it is. She pulls together several blogs sources of good information; follow her links for additional good reading.

Dr. Zilberberg is refreshing in her analysis of “fast science.” She describes some of the problems science, especially medical science faces today. According to her, fast science is the reason people will not publish a second study that backs up a study that confirms a previous study and in many cases the funding dries up once something is proven. She sees a problem with the current trend of reputations and profits being the driving force behind the studies of today. This race to the finish line is ruining science and leaving much out of medical science that affects the clinical value.

She has no immediate answers, but knows that the future of medical use for clinicians is being damaged. She wishes “fast science” would slow down and become more valuable and maybe profitable in another way so that clinicians would find more value in it.

In my blog here, I covered some of the problems about studies not being published and Tom Ross covered the topic of false or as he says it, “bullshit” studies that cannot be replicated. This is some of the “fast science” that is causing many of the problems of today.

The third topic is about unpublished studies. It takes a slightly different tact than the one in my blog link above. It does list the same website for clinicaltrials dot gov. Unpublished trials are becoming a real problem and it is small wonder that doctors are complaining about missing information that could be vital in the treatment of patients.

The last item is about HSAs (health savings accounts) and if you have one, be prepared to have it invalidated. Three separate provisions in the new healthcare law plus its regulations will reduce access the HSA plans. The current healthcare law contains restrictions on deductibles and cost sharing. The medical loss ratio will also impose new restrictions on HSA plans and some cash contributions made under the new law will mean that the plan no longer qualifies as government approved. Read about the new snags that may make your HSA plan invalid.

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