‘Price Check, Neurology Wing’

“People generally don’t have a clue about what the health care they are consuming costs,” Michael O. Leavitt, the Secretary of Health and Human Services told reporters in a WebMD article (“Gov’t releases hospital prices“).  With a new initiative in hand, Mr. Leavitt hopes that consumer ignorance will soon dissipate. Yesterday, officials at the Centers…

Ode to Obesity

Reports of the increased obesity in the United States and its adverse effects on health outcomes are common. The AARP finds that 3 out of 10 American adults are obese (“Obesity in OECD countries“). MedPage Today reports that poor teenagers are more likely to be overweight than their non-poor peers (“…Teens from poorer families are…

Trials and transparency

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released a scathing report criticizing the medical procedures Parexel used in testing the TGN1412 drug. In-Pharma Technologist.com (“Parexcel back in hot water…“) reports that six individuals suffered severe side effects such as organ failure swelling of body parts due to poor administration of the trials…

IRS Subpoenas UnitedHealth on Stock Options

In February, this year, I wrote of the seemingly outlandish compensation William W. McGuire, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, received in 2005. Of his $124.8 million of compensation, $114.6 million was in the form of stock options. It now seems that this compensation might not have been entirely kosher. Yesterday, the New York Times (“US…

Physician Affirmative Action in India

In India, low-caste and minority individuals often have difficultly ascending the social ladder.  Discrimination against the low-caste individuals has been extensively documented.  In order aid these disadvantaged groups, the Indian government has increased the quota for low-caste and minority physicians at state-run hospitals.  The International Herald Tribune (“Doctor’s Strike…“) reports that “22.5 percent of jobs…

Attention Shoppers

Can consumer-driven health care (CDHC) really work?  According to the New York Times, many entrepreneurs believe it can. In “Attention Shoppers,” the newspaper details how Wal-Mart, CVS and other chain stores are opening walk-in health clinics. The clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners and operated independently of the chain store. The benefits of the walk-in…

Mummy State

The Independent of the UK reports (“Childbirth revolution“) that the British government is “planning a ‘strategic shift’ in childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and towards births in the home.” Instead of having doctors supervise the birth, midwives will deliver the child. On one hand, I commend the British government for this policy change. The…

Crony Capitalism

Recently, we have seen a shift towards the left in Latin America. Socialistic presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia (who just nationalized Bolivia’s national gas industry) and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela both enjoy much popular support. Brazilian president Lula Da Silva has a background as a union leader and Nestor Kirchner of Argentina also rose to…

Failure of Medical Malpractice Law: Part II

Recently, I wrote a post regarding the inefficiency of the Medical Malpractice system. Both Brennan, Sox and Burstin (1996) and Studdert, Mello and Brennan (2004) found that not only were there many frivolous suits brought to court, but even more prevalent was the phenomenon that individuals who suffered negligent care did not sue (only 3%…