The largest study to date of a condition known as “chemo-brain” has found that the disorder is a substantial problem in women with breast cancer for as long as six months after chemotherapy treatment, according to investigators at the University of Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Institute.

A new study conducted in the Netherlands has found that laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB), a common treatment for patients with morbid obesity, may cause lasting gastrointestinal (GI) problems and food intolerance. LRYGB reduces the stomach to a small pouch about the size of an egg.

Phase 3 results have confirmed the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of MYL-1401O (Mylan/Biocon), a proposed biosimilar trastuzumab, in comparison with that of branded trastuzumab (Herceptin, Genentech).

Readmission rates declined after the announcement of the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes hospitals for excess readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF), or pneumonia, according to a study from the Yale School of Medicine.

The FDA has issued a 30-page document addressing cyber vulnerabilities in medical devices, providing manufacturers with guidelines for fixing security bugs in equipment, including pacemakers, insulin pumps, and imaging systems, according to a Reuters report.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, has revived a lawsuit accusing Medtronic of defrauding shareholders by covering up adverse effects of its Infuse bone-growth product, according to a Reuters report.

The FDA has alerted physicians who care for pregnant women meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zika virus clinical criteria and/or CDC Zika virus epidemiologic criteria that the U.S. commercial testing facility Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) has reported some false positive results from the ZIKV Detect test.

The year 2016 has seen payers and providers take steps to ameliorate years of distrust through new partnerships designed to reduce health care costs, improve care, and boost data-sharing, according to FierceHealthcare.

The FDA has given the nod to nusinersen (Spinraza, Biogen/Ionis Pharmaceuticals), the first drug approved to treat children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare and often fatal genetic disease affecting muscle strength and movement. Nusinersen is an injection administered into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.

Seattle Genetics, a biotechnology company based in Washington, has received notice from the FDA that a clinical hold or partial clinical hold has been placed on several early- stage trials of vadastuximab talirine in subjects with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Leading Republicans have said that even if they repeal all or most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) early in 2017, a replacement will not hurt those currently receiving benefits under the act.

Just 20 medical conditions account for more than half of all spending on health care in the United States, according to a new financial analysis from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

In November 2015, Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) launched a bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Aging investigation into dramatic price increases for prescription drugs whose patents had expired.

The federal government has cut payments to 769 hospitals with high rates of patient injuries, for the first time counting the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in assessing penalties, according to a report from Kaiser Health News.

Several costly trial failures have made 2016 a depressing year for drug makers, according to Motley Fool analyst Cory Renauer. Bristol-Myers Squibb, Juno Therapeutics, Celldex Therapeutics, and Clovis Oncology all learned how hard it is to score a touchdown in the oncology game.


Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

A flood of tests have insurers ramping up prior authorization and utilization review. Information overload is a problem. As doctors struggle to keep up, health plans need to get ahead of the development of the technology in order to successfully manage genetic testing appropriately.

Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.