Boston news from #BIO2015: Will old labs make good housing? Do expensive drugs reduce health costs?

Over here in Kendall Square, pharma has invested a lot of money in buildings that look like they were designed by Ikea. If this bubble is about to burst, as suggested below, the city could use some nice low-rise housing. This story also includes the argument that pricey drugs save the system money by, for … Continue reading Boston news from #BIO2015: Will old labs make good housing? Do expensive drugs reduce health costs?

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New Yorker: Former NEJM editor dismisses placebo claims

Arnold Relman writes in this week's New Yorker.  He argues that researchers claiming placebos can cure are driven by "substantial financial support for their anti-establishment views"  from NIH and private donors. From the letter's page: There is simply no evidence that physical diseases, such as cancer,  atherosclerosis, or organ disorders, can be cured or measurably improved by  placebos. Experienced … Continue reading New Yorker: Former NEJM editor dismisses placebo claims

NHS: Maybe they fund fruit fly research too

Not to knock  my UK colleagues, but --would it be fair to say that maybe the headlines of some British newspapers are not the best source of information about England's National Health Service?  More demonizing of CMS nominee Donald  Berwick – who has said he “loves” the UK plan -- in a column in today’s Globe, … Continue reading NHS: Maybe they fund fruit fly research too

Lots of New England in the NE Journal of Medicine

The latest NEJM includes lot of New Englanders: Researchers from Harvard asked – What motivates “whistleblowers” who report health care fraud? This study identified several commonalities in whistle-blowers' experiences. Generally, whistle-blowers' first move was to try to address problems internally; they became litigators either accidentally (while pursuing other claims) or as a last resort. The … Continue reading Lots of New England in the NE Journal of Medicine

Berwick: More Dr. Death mongering

The Globe’s Susan Milligan reports today on the attempt by Republicans to tag Harvard professor Donald Berwick as a death merchant.  Berwick runs a research program that looks at ways to cut waste and improve health care services.  He is up for the job as head of The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an … Continue reading Berwick: More Dr. Death mongering

Local Battles over Health Care Costs, Quality and Coverage

Health reform is about controlling costs, improving the quality of care and expanding coverage.  Here's  how all that is playing out in New England this week:  Barbra Rabson, executive director of the non-profit Massachusetts Health Quality Partners offers details on a new statewide quality of care report on WBUR's Commonhealth blog. While MHQP is only one of many organizations in … Continue reading Local Battles over Health Care Costs, Quality and Coverage

New Report Card on Massachusetts Hospitals

The Joint Commission, which inspects and accredits hospitals, released its annual report on quality of care. The non-profit group – which some say is a little too close to the industry it judges – looks at care for heart attacks, pneumonia and a list of other ailments. Check on individual hospitals here. An incomplete look … Continue reading New Report Card on Massachusetts Hospitals