The Health News USA August 9 2017

Overview

  • Researchers reported that rates of ear infections have fallen sharply since two new vaccines hit the market. Parents can thank vaccines called pneumococcal vaccines — sold under the brand names Prevnar and Pneumovax.  In 1989, 80% of U.S. children got at least one ear infection. Now that’s down to 60%.
  • The University of Louisville and the Parkinson’s Support Center of Kentuckiana are seeking patients interested in their “Buddy Program.” This program matches matches first-year medical students with patients affected by Parkinson’s. The pairs meet monthly from September through April to share information about living with the disease.
  • It’s standard advice for consumers: If you are prescribed a medicine, always ask if there is a cheaper generic. Consumers have grown accustomed to being told by insurers — and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers — that they must give up their brand-name drugs in favor of cheaper generics. Democrats have identified lowering drug prices as a pillar of their economic agenda, and President Donald Trump has raised the issue repeatedly.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 9th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.today.com/health/ear-infections-dropped-after-vaccine-hit-market-t114787

Researchers reported on Monday that  rates of ear infections have fallen sharply since two new vaccines hit the market. In nineteen eighty nine, eighty percent of U.S. children got at least one ear infection. Now it’s sixty percent, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

These two new vaccines protect kids and older adults against bacteria that cause pneumonia, meningitis and ear infections.

While most kids still get an ear infection or two by age three, the study found many fewer had repeat infections — just twenty four percent had three or more infections, the researchers found. They found something else: if they drained the infected ear fluid, they could treat a child’s specific infection better, and the children were less likely to have repeat infections. But it’s not something pediatricians usually do, said Doctor Michael Pichichero of the Rochester General Hospital and Legacy Pediatrics, who led the study team.

Testing the fluid allowed doctors to determine which specific germ was causing the infection, and to treat is with an antibiotic that has been shown to work against the particular bacteria.

Middle ear infections lead to around thirty million visits to the doctor each year, and they’re the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics to children. According to the CDC it’s time to take your child to the doctor when temperature goes higher than one hundred two point two degrees fahrenheit, if fluid, blood or pus is coming out of the ears, if symptoms worsen or don’t get better after two or three days or if a baby under three months has a fever.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kentucky/articles/2017-08-07/med-students-pair-with-patients-to-learn-about-parkinsons

To give medical students a chance to learn about Parkinson’s disease outside the classroom, the University of Louisville and the Parkinson’s Support Center of Kentuckiana are seeking patients interested in their “Buddy Program.” The program is in its third year and matches first-year medical students with patients affected by Parkinson’s. The pairs meet monthly from September through April to share information about living with the disease.

The university says the average time spent each month is three to four hours.

The program is a collaboration between the U of L School of Medicine, U of L Physicians — Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, U of L College of Education and Human Development and the Parkinson’s Support Center of Kentuckiana.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/07/take-the-generic-drug-patients-are-told–unless-insurers-say-no.html

It is standard advice for consumers: If you are prescribed a medicine, always ask if there is a cheaper generic. Nathan Taylor, a three-D animator who lives outside Houston, has tried to do that with all his medications. But when he fills his monthly prescription for his medicine to treat his attention-deficit disorder, his insurance company refuses to cover the generic. Instead, he must make a co-payment of ninety dollars a month for the brand-name version. By comparison, he pays ten dollars or less each month for the five generic medications he also takes.

Consumers have grown accustomed to being told by insurers — and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers — that they must give up their brand-name drugs in favor of cheaper generics. But some are finding the opposite is true, as pharmaceutical companies squeeze the last profits from products that are facing cheaper generic competition.

Out of public view, corporations are cutting deals that give consumers little choice but to buy brand-name drugs — and sometimes pay more at the pharmacy counter than they would for generics. The practice is not easy to track, and has been going on sporadically for years. But several clues suggest it is becoming more common.

In recent months, some insurers and benefit managers have insisted that patients forgo generics and buy brand-name drugs. At the same time, consumers are sounding off on social media. Now it appears the practice is spreading to biosimilars, the competitors for expensive, complex biologic drugs that are beginning to arrive on the market.

Consumers have become increasingly angry over what they pay for drugs, and that outrage has caught the attention of lawmakers from both parties. Democrats have identified lowering drug prices as a pillar of their economic agenda, and President Donald Trump has raised the issue repeatedly.

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