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The current economic crisis offers an opportunity to focus on priorities in healthcare in an effort to enact true healthcare reform, said Len Nichols, PhD, healthcare economist and Director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation, during the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

Oncologists have been experiencing “withdrawal symptoms” since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “black box” warning for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), which were associated with adverse outcomes in recent clinical trials. At the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, experts urged caution in prescribing ESAs. Clinicians should understand the mechanism of action of ESAs and prescribe them only for symptomatic patients, several speakers said.

Based on a poster titled “Linking Pharmacy Benefit Changes to Patient Willingness to Pay” by Peter Mazonson, MD, MBA; Denise Globe, PhD; Regina Murphy, MBA; Annie Cheng; Xingyue Huang, BPharm, PhD; Vaishali Patel, PharmD, MS; John Loeb, MD, presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Annual Meeting, April 18, 2008, in San Francisco, CA.

Based on a poster titled “Journal Use for Formulary Decision Making in Managed Care” by Feride H. Frech-Tamas, MPH, RPh; Joseph J. Doyle, RPh, MBA; Christopher Grecco; Shannan Gabe; and Christopher Zacker, RPh, PhD, presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Annual Meeting, April 18, 2008, in San Francisco, CA.

Based on a poster titled “Hypertension-related Employee Impairment in the Workplace” by Feride H. Frech-Tamas, MPH, RPh; Frank M. Brocato, MSHA, DMin; Joseph J. Doyle, RPh, MBA; Spencer Borden, MD, MBA; R. Joyce Barnes, RN, EED, PhD; and Charles Dion, MA, presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Annual Meeting, April 18, 2008, in San Francisco, CA.

Based on a Presentation titled, “Work Absenteeism and Bed Days in Chronic Medical Disorder Patients with and without Depression in the United States, 2004-2005,” presented by Jayashri Sankaranarayanan, PhD, at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual International Meeting, May 2008, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Results of a new study have shown that fewer than 50% of a sample of elderly hospitalized people think that generic drugs are as effective or as safe as brand-name medications.1 This is sure to add to the increasing clamour for more patient and physician education about generic equivalence and the cost benefits to the consumer, as well as to the health plan in utilizing these therapeutic options.

Taking a sweeping view of the economic trends in US healthcare, Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, James Madison Professor of Political Economy and Professor of Economics and Political Affairs at Princeton University, paints a cautiously optimistic view of healthcare spending reform. Delivering the Simon Dack Lecture at the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Dr Reinhardt predicts some progress in the near future but says getting healthcare spending down will be a prolonged struggle that will take more than 1 or 2 years.

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