Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Health' Category

When even good news on the opioid crisis is really bad news

Using Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project data between 1997 and 2014, Tedesco et al. (2017) find that–like many other studies–that the opioid epidemic has exploded in the last two decades. [Inpatient] discharge rates for prescription opioid poisoning increased significantly by 8.0 percent annually from 1997 to 2010 in the inpatient setting and 5.0 percent annually from […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Quotation of the day: Health as capital

The thought that health is a form of capital goes way back to the 19th century.  Max von Pettenkofer compares health and economics and health states with capital in the following quotation: Just as the effort to obtain greater profits, an not merely fear of losses, is the driving force in economics, so too it […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Can financial incentives increase the effectiveness of weight loss programs?

As an economist, I would say “of course”!  Increasing the price (the reward for weight loss) generally leads to an increase in supply (of efforts to lose weight).  However, there is evidence that in some cases, adding a financial incentive can actually reduce effort.  For instance, Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini (2000) found that adding […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Effect of job loss on physical and mental health

Previous research has found that losing your job has an adverse effect on your physical and mental health.  Because losing your job is endogenous, often studies of this sort look at plant closures as an individual’s job loss is largely uncorrelated with individual performance. An interesting paper by Schiele and Schmitz (2016) take this a step […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Precision Medicine ready for prime time

According to two researchers, the answer is no.  As they write at Stat: As we wrote recently in Science, three key barriers are impeding the drive toward truly transformational precision medicine: researchers often don’t rigorously test the biological theories that supposedly explain why a targeted treatment should work; they haven’t fully determined the accuracy of the diagnostic […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Can physicians affect medication adherence?

According to a recent study by Koulayev, Simeonova, and Skipper (2016) using data from Denmark, the answer is ‘yes’. Non-compliance with medication therapy remains an unsolved and expensive problem for healthcare systems around the world, yet we know little about the factors that affect a patient’s decision to follow treatment recommendations. In particular, there is […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Sounds like a good idea?

Kaiser’s family of website has some interesting posts of late.  The Kaiser Family Foundation presents 10 Essential Facts about Medicare Prescription Drug Spending.  They show the increasing price of U.S. prescription drugs spending over time. They also show that many patients with Medicare Part D, still bear a large share of prescription drug costs for […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Children and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Alan Balch, PhD, discusses the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER’s) Value Assessment Framework tool that aims to provide stakeholders in healthcare with evidence to make more informed decisions regarding new cancer therapies. Dr Balch also considers limitations to the tool’s effectiveness. Plus, he even discusses why if we lived life using a strict […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Gates: US Drug pricing system is ‘Better Than Most’

There has been a lot of criticism of drug prices in the U.S. One person not included the chorus of critics is Bill Gates. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said: “The current system is better than most other systems one can imagine,” Gates said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “The drug companies are […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Brexit = upheaval for drug makers

Will the European Medicines Agency (EMA) need to re-located after Brexit? According to a Reuters story, the answer is yes. The EMA is a London-based organization that approves treatments for all EU countries. As the UK leaves the EU, however, EMA is expected to have to relocate. 600 individuals work for EMA. More important is […]

Read the rest of this entry »