Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Static and Dynamic Effects of Vaccine Policy on R&D

How does health policy and pricing affect investment in innovation? This is the research question investigated in Amy Finkelstein’s 2004 QJE paper on Static and Dynamic Effects of Health Policy. She examines three policy changes: 1991 CDC recommendation that all infants be vaccinated against Hepatitis B 1993 decision for Medicare to cover (without any copayments […]

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Prioritizing vaccine development

For which diseases should vaccines be developed?  Although ideally the answer is “all of them”, given that there are limited resources in the world, which diseases should be prioritized?  The Institute of Medicine’s Strategic Multi-Attribute Ranking Tool for Vaccines (SMART Vaccines) tool is one effort to make such prioritization explicit based on fixed attributes.   The attributes are […]

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Half is just as good

The USA Today reports that a half-dose of flu vaccine has proven to be nearly as effective as the full dose “especially in women and those younger than 50.” Why is this important? During vaccine shortages, half doses of vaccines can be used to conserve resources.

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Adults need vaccines too

Most people believe that vaccines are for kids. The CDC and public health departments have done a good job of keeping vaccination rates high for children. With the advent of new vaccines for adults, the key now is to increase vaccination rates for these older groups. The Wall Street Journal (“Get your shots“) details a […]

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Do we finally know how vaccines work?

Vaccines work well because of an adjuvant. The adjuvant boosts immunity but physicians did not know how it worked until now. The Economist reports (“A shot in the dark not more“) that Stephanie Eisenbarth, Richard Flavell an co-authors have discovered that the adjuvant “works by stimulating bits of the immune system called NOD-like receptors.” Why […]

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Falling Immunization Rates

ABC News reports that immunization rates are falling.  Who’s fault is this? “Traditionally, the government has measured immunization noncompliance by tallying up only missed doses of a vaccine. In this new research, the CDC recalculated immunization compliance to include vaccine lapses in addition to missed doses. Based on these new criteria, the CDC found that […]

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