Longer Looks: Disappointments In Drug Design; The Black Death; History Of The Speculum
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The New York Times:
Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today?
The idea that the human genome would lead to a multitude of cures for diseases seemed inevitable and irresistible. ... Once a malfunctioning gene was isolated, scientists would find the protein coded by that gene. Then they’d use that protein as a target. Finally, they’d run tests of tens of thousands of unique chemical entities that drug companies have stockpiled over the years, to find one that fit the target like a key in a lock, to correct its function. But this golden road to pharmaceutical riches, known as target-based drug discovery, has often proved to be more of a garden path. (Dan Hurley, 11/12)
Meet Michael Cannon, The Man Who Could Bring Down Obamacare
Michael Cannon is an ardent Obamacare opponent who runs the health policy program at the libertarian Cato Institute. ... Cannon has spent the past three years testifying in countless statehouses, imploring legislators not to implement Obamacare. Now, he's gotten the Supreme Court listening. ... I spoke with Cannon in mid-November about the case against Obamacare subsidies, how it began, and what it would mean for the Affordable Care Act if this lawsuit succeeded. (Sarah Kliff, 11/19)
The New Republic:
That Silence You Hear Is the Sound of Healthcare.gov Working Just Fine
That ruckus you didn’t hear over the weekend was the sound of Obamacare online marketplaces not failing to work. ... By the time Saturday was over, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell reported, more than 1,000,000 people had shopped for coverage on healthcare.gov and more than 100,000 people had successfully completed applications to buy insurance. ... The overall trend is very clear. Analyses from Avalere, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers all found that, for the market as a whole, premiums have risen very modestly in the last year. (Jonathan Cohn, 11/17).
The Daily Show:
All anyone in Washington is talking about is a tape that emerged recently of an Obamacare consultant telling folks what he really thinks about the Americans buying the insurance. (Jon Stewart, 11/18)
You Think Ebola’s Bad? Try The Black Death
The appearance of the Ebola virus on the shores of America last month, after claiming some 4900 lives in West Africa, is certainly more than a little worrisome. ... But the disease is not nearly as deadly as that which, well, plagued the world in the 14th century. .... in 2007, historian Philip Daileader [provided] a figure that is now viewed as authoritative: “The trend of recent research is pointing to a figure more like 45-50 [percent] of the European population dying during a four year period.” (Mark Perry, 11/18)
Why No One Can Design A Better Speculum
The speculum’s history is, like many medical histories, full of dubious ethics. Versions of the speculum have been found in medical texts dating back to the Greek physician Galen in 130 A.D. and shown up in archaeological digs as far back as 79 A.D. amidst the dust of Pompeii. ... there has been no real contender to displace the duck-billed model. The speculum’s history is inextricably linked to extreme racism and misogyny. But for all that, it just may be the best design we’re ever likely to have. (Rose Eveleth, 11/17)