Viewpoints: Big Pharma’s Big Win; When Seniors Age At Home
A selection of opinions and editorials from around the country.
Pharma May Have Defeated Prop 61, But State Battles Will Continue
The controversial California ballot measure to lower drug prices may have been defeated, but you can be certain that angst over rising medicine costs will prompt still more state efforts. Known as Prop 61, the measure vilified drug makers as greedy and criminal, but lost by a notable margin — nearly 54 percent of Californians voted it down. This is not surprising, though, and it’s not just because the pharmaceutical industry amassed a $109 million war chest to run a slew of ads that warned about unforeseen consequences. Prop 61 was simply the wrong initiative, even it if appeared at the right time. (Ed Silverman, 11/9)
Biopharma's Trump Party Is A Little Too Raucous
There are reasons for the industry to cheer this result, which probably means less risk of drug-price regulation -- a focus of the Clinton campaign -- and the failure of California's drug-price reform proposition. But nothing has happened to shift the structural difficulties facing the industry. And so much uncertainty remains about what a Trump administration means for the economy that the celebrations should be toned down a bit. The prospect of corporate tax reform presented by a Republican-controlled government is a legitimate positive for the sector. Big pharma and biotech firms have some of the biggest cash piles in America, and a good chunk of it is kept overseas for tax reasons. If companies can bring that back more cheaply, then they may be more likely to invest it instead of watching it moulder on their balance sheet. (Max Nisen, 11/9)
The New York Times:
Soda Taxes Sweep To Victories, Despite Facing Big Spending
The beverage industry spent a lot of money to defeat soda taxes in four American cities Tuesday, but it lost in every one of them. The victories for soda-tax advocates — in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., and Boulder, Colo. — were decisive. Those communities now join Berkeley, Calif., and Philadelphia in embracing plans to tax sugary beverages. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 11/9)
Affordable Housing, Quality Healthcare Can Let Seniors Age In Place
It’s time to focus on the public policies that will move America forward. One area that holds great bipartisan promise is more tightly connecting healthcare with the home to support America’s rapidly aging population. In fact, bridging the health-housing divide is more urgent than ever. As highlighted in a recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force, the United States stands unprepared for the demographic transformation now under way. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and above will exceed 74 million by 2030. In less than 15 years, more than one in five Americans will be a senior. (Mel Martinez, 11/9)
The Things We Have Lost
When most people consider the grief endured by physicians in training, they look first to the devastating narratives of patient care—sudden illness, agonizing decline, putrid decay, untimely death, haunting errors, and crushing uncertainty. Even more than a decade from residency, I am pierced by these tragic moments and faces—each still heart-shatteringly vivid. Recognizing the direct emotional toll of patient care, medical educators in some training programs have earmarked time for death rounds, Schwartz rounds, or narrative medicine sessions. Many of these interventions are deployed in high-intensity settings within the clinical learning environment where residents wrestle daily with ethical dilemmas or end-of-life dynamics. (Jennifer A. Best, 11/8)
Reporting Sex, Gender, Or Both In Clinical Research?
Virtually every clinical research report includes basic demographic characteristics about the study participants, such as age, and how many participants were male/men or female/women. Some research articles refer to this latter variable as sex, others refer to it as gender. As one of the first pieces of data reported, the importance of including sex appears undisputed. But what does the sex-gender category really entail, and how should it be reported? (Janine Austin Clayton and Cara Tannenbaum, 11/8)