Some good news

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the US, there was some good news last week from this year’s AIDS conference. Due to COVID-19, the conference had to be held remotely. One policy goal is known as the 90:90:90, which means to identify 90% of HIV cases, treat 90% of those identified and supress viral…

Disparities in COVID-19 hospitalization rates

Azar et al. (2020) use electronic health record data to examine differences in COVID-19 hospitalization rates by patient characteristics. The authors find that: …compared with non-Hispanic white patients, nonHispanic African American patients had 2.7 times the odds of hospitalization, after adjustment for age, sex, comorbidities, and income. These findings echo similar COVID-19-related conclusions across California.…

Should employers ban soda?

A paper by Basu et al. (2020) argue that banning soda sales would be cost effective for employers. Employers largely bear the cost of adverse health impacts of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB, aka soda); they also may lose revenue if drinks that are sold on site (e.g., at their cafeteria) decrease. The researchers create a simulation…

Treatment effect heterogeneity, self-selection into RCTs, and racial disparities

In drug development, clinical trials typically aim for a population that is representative of the patients who would be eligible for the treatment. While randomized controlled trials (RCTs) typically focus on measuring the average health impact of a drug across this population, a paper Basu and Gurjal (2020) argue that treatment effect heterogeneity and self-selection…

$1 billion antibiotic venture fund launched

Antibiotic resistance is a problem. One study from Europe found that in 2015 there were 33,110 deaths attributable to antibiotic resistance; accounting for morbidity as well, antibiotic resistance lead to a a decrease of 874,541 disability-adjusted life years. CDC data show that antibiotic resistant bacteria and fungi caused 35,900 deaths in 2019, 12,800 deaths due…

Health care in Ukraine

Recently I read an interesting book called Moneyland by Oliver Bullough. The book describes how with porous borders facilitated by the internet, the rich can evade taxes, hide assets, and basically pick and choose the international legal system most favorable to their interests. One interesting part of the book discusses health care in the Ukraine…