Editorial

Regular readers of American Health & Drug Benefits know that I like to peruse the literature from consulting companies and industry-related think tanks. A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)—Operating Performance in the Medtech Industry: Trends and Imperatives1—really caught my eye.

I have been fascinated by new technology ever since our parents took my younger brother and me to the amazing 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, NY. We especially loved the “Theatre of Tomorrow” exhibit sponsored by General Electric. I can still see the futuristic family room rotating in front of my eyes. Perhaps that is why I am always drawn to the Technology Quarterly section in the British news magazine, The Economist. It provides a broad overview of technology trends across many different industries.

According to Michael Kleinrock, Director of Research Development at the IMS Institute, breakthrough therapies, innovation in disease treatments, and changes in the consumption of medicines transformed the US healthcare market in 2011.1 At the core of this interesting report are 5 takeaway messages1:

Virtually every American hospital has a Pharmacy & Therapeutics (P&T) committee that works hard to create and maintain the hospital formulary and track the quality and safety of medication therapy. At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH), the P&T committee is a critically important medical staff committee with multiple subcommittees.

Well, they certainly surprised me.

For the political junkies among us, the acronym SCOTUS (otherwise known as the Supreme Court of the United States) has practically become a household word. By now, oceans of ink have been devoted to media coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 3 days of unprecedented legal hearings and speculation about the potential outcome to be announced sometime in June. My colleagues in health policy circles have been making friendly wagers, not just about what the ultimate decision will be, but how the actual vote count will fall.

It is with a great deal of pride and humility that I have accepted this new role as the Editor-in-Chief of American Health & Drug Benefits (AHDB). Let me outline what I hope to accomplish in the coming months and years and solicit your input and support. First, some background about my professional journey. I have been at Thomas Jefferson University for the past 22 years. During that tenure, I have had essentially 3 jobs. I came on board in 1990 in a staff role to the hospital CEO, directing the Office of Health Policy.

In June 2008, my wife and I moved to downtown Asheville, NC, with our dog, Max. Max and I were out for a walk early every morning and late every evening. When I first started taking Max for walks, I would occasionally notice people who appeared homeless, and I became curious about the causes of homelessness and its solutions.

It is difficult to believe that 5 years have passed since the first issue of American Health & Drug Benefits (AHDB) arrived on my desk in 2008. In February 2008, the United States was on the verge of an economic downturn that had actually begun almost 3 months earlier. The price of oil topped $100 a barrel for the first time, and job losses were just being reported. Although most of us did not know it yet, the United States was entering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Daniel G. Garrett, RPh, MS, FASHPIt is only 75 miles from Asheville, NC, to Hickory, NC.

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