Monthly Archives: June 2016

Doctors received $6.5 billion from drug and device companies in 2015

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

(Rachel Orr/The Washington Post)

(Rachel Orr/The Washington Post)

This story has been updated.

Doctors received $6.5 billion worth of payments — including meals, research grants and charitable contributions from drug and medical device companies in the last year, according to new data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They also owned a little over $1 billion in stock in the industry.

The financial relationships between 618,000 doctors and 1,110 teaching hospitals and nearly 1,500 companies are required to be disclosed under a provision in the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as the “Physician Payments Sunshine Act,” because it aims to reveal the breadth and extent of the relationships between doctors and companies.

Drug companies have long argued that such relationships are necessary for education, but critics say these payments are powerful marketing tools that can distort the use of health care in ways that drive up spending or lead to medical decisions that follow a company’s commercial interests instead of the best medicine.


[How a simple sandwich could be driving up drug prices]

The top three companies gave more than $1.4 billion to doctors and hospitals. The biggest giver was Novartis, which reported $539 million in payments. Genentech provided $470 million in payments, followed closely by Pfizer, with $436 million.

A Novartis spokeswoman said in an email that the company thinks “interactions with physicians and teaching hospitals play a critical role in advancing patient care and helping ensure that medicines are being used appropriately.”

“Collaboration between physicians and biopharmaceutical professionals is critical to improving the health and quality of life of patients,” Holly Campbell, a spokeswoman for the trade organization Phrma wrote in an email. “Physicians also provide real-world insights and valuable feedback to companies about their medicines to improve patient care.”

The American …read more

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A top British official’s ominous warning has sent the pound back down again

By Max Ehrenfreund

Mark Carney says the Bank of England "has identified the clouds on the horizon." (AP Photo/PA, Owen Humphreys)

Mark Carney says the Bank of England “has identified the clouds on the horizon.” (AP Photo/PA, Owen Humphreys)

Investors sold off pound sterling once again Thursday following a pessimistic speech from Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, on the consequences of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.

“The economic outlook has deteriorated,” Carney said. “The bank has identified the clouds on the horizon and can see that the wind has now changed direction.”

Carney assured investors that the British financial system was stable, that the central bank was prepared for the divorce and had a plan to handle the uncertainty it would create.

Yet, he added, “Part of that plan is ruthless truth telling, and one uncomfortable truth is that there are limits to what the Bank of England can do.”

As Carney spoke, the price of the British pound abruptly declined another 1.4 percent in terms of dollars. Since the referendum last week, the pound has now declined 9.4 percent.

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Investors were likely responding to Carney’s statement that over the summer, the bank would probably have to ease monetary policy, making more pounds available to the financial system and to the market as a whole. Doing so could help prevent a recession in the United Kingdom, but more accommodation from the central bank would also keep the pound cheap.

Such compromises would be unavoidable for the Bank of England in the future, Carney warned. The referendum he said, could not only cause inflation by cheapening the pound, but could also reduce economic activity in the United Kingdom as global investors shift their capital to the continent if British firms lose access to that large market.

The central bank would be able to stimulate the economy by easing monetary policy or combat inflation by restricting the …read more

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Is Sotomayor the new Scalia?

On the losing end of a 5-3 decision regarding police searches without a warrant, Sonia Sotomayor last week unleashed a withering dissent. With direct references to Ferguson, Missouri, and a reading list of black authors including Ta-Nehisi Coates and W.E.B Du Bois, Sotomayor took the majority to task for ignoring the realities on the ground.

…read more

Source:: CNN US News