KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: A Global Response To Antibiotic-Resistance Bacteria; How Long Should Medical Interns Work?

A selection of opinions on health care from across the country.

Stat: WHO'S Priority List Of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Looks Beyond Tuberculosis
To respond to the growing challenge of antibiotic resistance, the WHO launched in 2015 a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, with specific global objectives and recommendations. ... To help governments, researchers, and industry focus their efforts on antibiotic resistance, the WHO recently published a priority list of 12 antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Through this list, the WHO aims to guide the development of new antibiotics to fight microbes that have never before been high priorities for this work at a global level, but which are emerging as serious risks to patients and communities around the world. (Marie-Paule Kieny, 3/13)

Stat: The WHO Made A Big Mistake On Tuberculosis. It Must Fix It
The World Health Organization — the world’s most influential health agency — published its first-ever global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is a catalog of the 12 families of bacteria that the WHO says “pose the greatest threat to human health — and for which new antibiotics are urgently needed.” ... While the list is welcome, it contains an enormous flaw that requires immediate correction. The experts compiling the list failed to include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), even though TB kills more people than any other infectious disease and has developed such extensive resistance to antibiotics that WHO itself labels it “a crisis.” (José Luis Castro, 3/13)

WBUR: Harvard Doctor: Return To 28-Hour Shifts For Medical Interns Is Good — Except When It's Not 
As anyone who follows medical education knows, the group that sets rules for trainee doctors has just ruled that interns can again work up to 28-hour shifts. This move came after years of limiting intern shifts to 16 hours in order to improve patient safety....This controversy is completely unsurprising. That's because these long shifts are both a good and a bad thing, and whenever there are mixed results from a decision, you're bound to find fervent supporters of both sides. (Paul E. Sax, 3/13)

The Wall Street Journal: On ‘Right To Try,’ The FDA Should Proceed With Caution
The Food and Drug Administration is the nation’s most ubiquitous regulatory agency, overseeing everything from syringes and CT scanners to drugs, vaccines and most foods. These products account for more than $1 trillion annually, or about a quarter of U.S. consumer spending. One reform Scott Gottlieb, President Trump’s nominee to lead the agency, will likely embrace is “right to try”—that is, giving terminally ill patients access to unapproved medicines. ... The right to try unapproved drugs has the potential to be compassionate and sound public policy—but there are dangers. (Henry I. Miller, 3/13)

The New York Times: 'Perfectly Normal’: Autism Though A Lens
Of course there’s no way for those without autism to actually understand the autistic experience. I grew up with a severely autistic older brother named Joshua, and after observing him closely for more than 40 years, find his emotional and cognitive process as fundamentally mysterious as ever. The impenetrability of autism, with its seemingly endless variants and its essential “otherness,” is its hallmark. All this renders Jordan’s testimony that much more useful and intriguing. He is a reporter at a hinge-point of consciousness, able to inhabit his condition while describing it for us — whether we are “neurotypicals” or lodged somewhere on the spectrum — with remarkable precision and insight. (Eli Gottlieb, 3/14)

The New York Times: Lousy Customer Service? A Better Way In Health Care
You’ve all experienced it: There’s a problem with your health care bill, or you have difficulty getting coverage for the care you need. Your doctor or hospital tells you to talk to your insurer. Your insurer tells you to talk to your doctor or hospital. You’re stuck in an endless runaround. (Austin Frakt, 3/13)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Cannabis Oil Legislation: This Makes Sense How?
The state Legislature recently approved a bill that would give parents the ability to try a drug derived from marijuana to help children with severe seizures. It’s a good and important measure that got the support it deserved. It was approved unanimously in the Assembly and with only one no vote in the Senate (Duey Stroebel). Legislators justifiably patted themselves on the back with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) proclaiming that “Today is a day that I could not be prouder.” But – and this is a pretty big but – although it’s fine to possess the drug, you can’t actually legally obtain it in Wisconsin. (Ernst-Ulrich Franzen, 3/13)

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