In Boston, docs to use direct action to #protest the #price of #insulin

11/19 update: Audio from the event.

Activist docs argue that people are dying for lack of access to insulin. Tomorrow — Friday — the Right Care Alliance will take that complaint to the Sanofi offices in Cambridge.

More here from STAT, including a company statement noting that it provides free IMG_6677medications for some low-income, uninsured patients and will  “continue to explore innovative ways to find long-term solutions to help eliminate or significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for patients.”

Here’s what the Right Care Alliance will do Friday:

 The mothers of two young adults with diabetes who died while rationing insulin last year will deliver the ashes of their children to Cambridge pharma corporation Sanofi. The mothers will be joined by activists from at least five local groups that are demanding a reduction in insulin prices so that no more people die.

Here’s what Dr. Saini has to say about the campaign:

More news about the price of insulin:

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson today filed a lawsuit against the nation’s three major manufacturers of insulin used to treat diabetes after prices more than doubled in recent years.

Press release: Sanofi has expanded its access program for people living with diabetes to include all Sanofi insulins*, helping patients get the insulin they need at a significantly reduced price.




Covering health care — from DNA to ACA — is a challenge. Three reporters share insights and tips at Harvard Law #healthintheheadlines


Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation website. 




Live Monday morning, 2/2: The Importance of #ReproductiveHealth to Ending #HIV”

Monday morning: Watch it on You Tube. 

Local Speakers: 
Lynn Matthews, MGH / Seth Bloom, MGH / Rebecca Zash, BIDMC / Kunjal Patel, HSPH

aids slide
Mofenson slide

Invited Speakers:
Lynne Mofenson, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation

See “Risk of HIV Acquisition during Pregnancy and Postpartum: A Call for Action”

Pregnancy hormone-associated changes in the female genital tract, including changes in vaginal epithelial thickness, the vaginal and gut microbiome, and an increase in CCR5 co-receptor expression, may create a favorable milieu for HIV acquisition in the female genital tract during pregnancy

Craig Cohen, UCSF School of Medicine / Jeanne Marrazzo, UAB School of Medicine / Lena Serghides, University of Toronto / Jeffrey Stringer, UNC-CH School of Medicine

Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, Rotunda Room, HMS | 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston

Morning Session: 
HIV Prevention in Pregnancy and Periconception:  The Role Of the Microbiome

Afternoon Session: 
What Will It Take to Eliminate Mother to Child Transmission Of HIV?  Challenges to HIV Treatment in Pregnancy (followed by a poster session and reception)

Please click here to register or visit for more information.

Jonathan Fine, MD, of Cambridge, one of the founders of Physicians for Human Right, died last week: “We’re never going to be deprived of an opportunity to combat injustice.”

The Globe reports the death of Jonathan Fine, MD, one of the founders of Physicians for Human right, which the paper describes as a “worldwide advocacy organization.”

Over the past three decades, the organization has investigated and documented the medical effects of war crimes and mass atrocities in more than 60 nations around the world — in its early days often with Dr. Fine leading the way, bearing witness to abuses in places such as Iraq and South Korea.


In The New Yorker, Partners in Health co-founder Dahl on impoverished Haiti: “To have seen this and to not do anything, I knew wasn’t an option.”

The New Yorker offers a profile of Ophelia Dahl, the daughter of celebrity parents who want on to help found Boston-based Partners in Healthheader-logo-orange. That group describes its mission this way: “We go. We make house calls. We build health systems. We stay. ”

Development organizations will donate something finite, even if it’s redundant, rather than something essential but ongoing; thus, a community might receive a bathroom, a handwashing sign, or a thousand packets of oral-rehydration salts, instead of salaries for trained nurses, or, say, electricity. “There are endless examples of bigger interventions—like a hospital—in the middle of nowhere, and it falls apart because it hasn’t been built within a community of trained people, or with the normal pipeline for overhead and upkeep,” Dahl said. If a hospital is erected, but there is no running water or sewage system—to say nothing of diagnostic equipment or personnel who can operate it—it is as useless as a bucket of water without soap. Consequently, Partners in Health often helps supply things that fall outside a medical-aid organization’s typical purview, such as bridges and satellite dishes and gasoline. “These things need to be done in order for people to have a reasonable chance of being healthy,” Dahl said, “and not being . . . dead.”

Tuesday, Globe series targets racial disparities in health care. Conclusion: The color line exists in sickness as in health.

CaptureThe Boston Globe’s series on race focuses on health disparities on Tuesday.

Though the issue gets scant attention in this center of world-class medicine, segregation patterns are deeply imbedded in Boston health care. Simply put: If you are black in Boston, you are less likely to get care at several of the city’s elite hospitals than if you are white.

Also, check out the paper’s Q&A from 2014 between Kate Walsh , the chief executive of Boston Medical Center, and Dr. Paula Johnson , executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Walsh: What would you say are the biggest health issues facing the minority community in Boston?

Johnson: There are a number, and they really occur across th


e life span. For example, black infants are 1.5 to 4 times more likely to die prematurely in the first year of life. If we looked at those likely to die below the age of 74, blacks are twice as likely to die.

Then you look at the disparities in chronic disease. They are pretty significant. Heart disease, stroke, cancer. And there also are a lot of inequities in people being able to make the right choices. That is a very significant health issue for minorities. For example, being able to make healthy food choices, being able to let your children out on the playground and get adequate exercise.



#Social determinants of health is a mouthful, but the concept could be key to population #wellness

logoMore on former Denver Health DEO Patty Gabow Lown keynote from HLM. 

First, don’t expect Congress to save the system. Instead, Gabow proposed a to-do list for health systems that is heavy on improving the social determinants that affect health, but also places a high value on such ideas as a living wage for all employees.

Gabow said she made similar changes in Denver, delivered high quality care, and saved her system money. 

“You may wonder, after hearing that I spend 40 years at a healthcare institution, why I would pose a question like this: Can American healthcare deliver health? “she said.

“It is precisely because I spent 40 years at a safety-net institution that took fabulous care of patients. I saw every day that our patient had barriers to well- being and health.