FDA goes after bogus Alzheimer’s healthcare marketing – Consumer’s Health Digest

CHD is reporting on the FDA’s actions against a wide array of companies using unsubstantiated marketing to sell their products. As most know, the “natural” healthcare industry has been virtually unregulated, allowing almost any company to claim that they have some kind of cure or natural compound that will reverse the effects of diseases. It is gratifying to see the FDA actually continuing to crack down on these companies rather than just talk about doing something.

Read and support the Consumer Healthcare Digest at http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/chd.html

Warnings issued against illegally marketing products for Alzheimer’s disease

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has posted 12 warning letters and 5 online advisory letters issued to foreign and domestic companies that are illegally selling products with unsubstantiated claims that they prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease and, in some cases, other serious health problems. [FDA takes action against 17 companies for illegally selling products claiming to treat Alzheimer’s disease. FDA News Release. Feb 11, 2019] Three other warnings were send jointly by the FDA and FTC. [FTC and FDA send warning letters to companies selling dietary supplements claiming to treat Alzheimer’s disease and remediate or cure other serious illnesses such as Parkinson’s, heart disease, and cancer FTC Press Release. Feb 11, 2019] Although most of the products were marketed as dietary supplements, the disease-related claims subjected them to regulation as misbranded and/or unapproved new drugs.

Warning letters went to: Gold Crown Natural Products, Peak Nootropics LLC (aka Advanced Nootropics), DK Vitamins, Sovereign Laboratories LLC Blue Ridge Silver, Nutrition Coalition Inc, John Gray’s Mars Venus LLC, TEK Naturals, Earth Turns LLC, Emmbros Overseas Lifestyle PVT LTD, Pure Nootropics LLC, and Capris Associates Inc. / BR Naturals.

Advisory letters went to:Alzheimer’s Corporation (ALZcorp), Alzheimer’s Organization, Dr. Fitt Intelligent Designs LLC, Healthcare Products LLC d/b/a The Alzheimer’s Store d/b/a MindCare Store, and This Wonderful Life New Age Shop.

The joint warnings went to Gold Crown Natural ProductsTEK Naturals, and Pure Nootropics, LLC.

The FDA’s total for the past five years includes more than 40 companies that promoted more that 80 products with illegal Alzheimer’s disease claims on Web sites, on social media, and in stores.

Hospital Lobbying in 2018 By the Numbers

It’s always interesting to review where the big money is spent on lobbying. Today’s article in the Healthcare Dive (link at bottom of page) covered the an overview of hospital lobbying efforts highlight a few interesting issues (facts?):

  • The last lines point out that political rhetoric for “Medicare for All” seems to die after elections. Gavin Newsome in CA and the Illinois legislature has had a bill under study for two years without movement. The Medicare for All sounds like it’s not much more than a political ploy to help get politicians elected. We’ll have to see what becomes of the bills in the Washingon State legislature before putting the final nails in the coffin of this idea of Bernie Sanders. A question could be asked that if it’s that’s important to Sanders, is he involved in lobbying these states to implement it?
  • The 340B program, which has been a political hot potato, continues to be lobbied for by hospitals. There is much to criticize in this program, which supposedly provides direct subsidies to low income patients, but has been manipulated by both big Pharma (which wants to kill it) and hospitals (which has found ways to use it to make money for their bottom line). Yes, low income patients are getting drugs at a lower cost through this program but it leads one wondering if they could get even lower prices if the money was actually given to them directly, which was the original intent of the bill. We’re a long ways from that original intent, and even our hospital is profiting from the program, and finding further ways to incorporate it into future hospital planning.
  • It’s not all cynical lobbying though, as the hospital lobby fought hard against efforts to kill the ACA, helped support more funds for mental health care and much more.
  • Read the whole story at the following link.

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/hospital-lobbying-in-2018-by-the-numbers/548262/

Democrats prepare to introduce “Medicare 50” – Washington Examiner

Whether or not this bill will get anywhere other than through the House, remains to be seen, but it will certainly help them heading into the elections next year. I’m sure it will be very popular with the base, while it angers and brings out the big guns of the AMA. Most physicians are not happy with Medicare reimbursement rates. I have been told by a number of providers that they cannot run an independent business on Medicare reimbursals. That’s one of the reasons the hospital has taken over almost all of our local providers. Not clear yet whether this will help those who can’t afford Obamacare, but are above Medicaid eligibility. But look for a program like this to reduce independent providers and force you into larger and larger hospital run facilities, for better or worse.

Read more here: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/daily-on-healthcare-democrats-prepare-to-introduce-medicare-50

Democrats are set a noon today to unveil a bill that would allow people to buy into Medicare beginning at age 50, even as the majority of the caucus in the House is onboard with rolling everyone into a government-run system. The bill signals that Democratic leaders are prepared to move forward more gradually on extending the government’s role in healthcare. Under the proposal, people would have the option of buying into Medicare instead of having private health insurance. The Medicare Buy In and Health Care Stabilization Act is being introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. View livestream.


Hospital lobby ramps up ‘Medicare for all’ opposition – Healthcare Dive

We had an inkling that the Medicare for All would find heavy opposition quickly. Was debating a supporter on FB just yesterday saying essentially exactly what this article states. A day later, here we are. Want to state clearly here and now that I support getting the U.S. to a universal healthcare place, but I’m very dubious that Medicare for All is a way that will garner enough support. Why? Because the government has done a terrible job of reimbursing front line providers for their time. Many front line providers are not accepting Medicare patients, or new Medicare patients. Hospitals are subsidizing this cost by higher costs elsewhere. This has to be fixed before this idea will gain ground with providers. While it would be great to tear down the whole system and start fresh, that just is political rhetoric to get the base motivated to vote next year, a non starter in this current climate with Republicans controlling two branches of government. And we haven’t yet seen the money from the special interest groups show up in any large scale way.

The article points out that the AMA, PHrMa, American Health Insurance Plans, and the Federation of American Hospitals have come out against it, asking Congress to “fix what’s broken and improve what’s working, don’t start over”. My guess is that for a start, raising reimbursals for Primary Care would be a good place for Congress to begin, to slow the bleeding of funds from hospitals etc. In fact, the article points this out, from a document from the coalition of these providers, showing that “66% of hospitals received Medicare payments less than the cost of care, for an industry wide shortfall of $53.9 Billion dollars. Locally, I know that Jefferson Healthcare would be considered part of that amount. While the nurses union claims that hospital coffers have ‘swelled’ there is no truth in that here locally. Of course, we are a public hospital, but the ACA has helped our bottom line, allowing for JCH to better support primary care by hiring more providers, for example. While proponents are arguing that the reduction in administrative costs would help, there is no real understanding of whether these costs would be offset here locally.

Read the whole article for a better understanding. It brings the Koch Brothers into the picture for their efforts, along with the Nurses Union, etc.

Hospital lobbies are mounting a coordinated effort to dissuade legislators from supporting Medicare for all, a policy health systems argue would cut into profits and ultimately force facilities to shutter.

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/hospital-lobby-ramps-up-medicare-for-all-opposition/547678/

Washington state becomes the latest to embrace a Netflix model for buying hep C drugs -Stat Magazine

Good news on the Hep C front. Progress.

The so-called Netflix payment model for obtaining hepatitis C treatments appears to be catching on among state officials as a Washington state health agency is the latest one hoping to convince drug makers to participate in such a scheme.

https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2019/02/06/washington-netflix-hepatitis-drug-prices/