MDNN: Brenda Fitzgerald Resigns, Amazon Gets Into Health Care, ADHD Prescriptions Spike, and Personalized DBS

FEBRUARY 02, 2018
MD Magazine Staff


Hi, I’m Matt Hoffman, and this is MD Magazine News Network - it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the resignation of CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald this week. The resignation came amid reports that she traded in tobacco stocks while leading government anti-smoking efforts with the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. This marks the second resignation of a major health official in the last 4 months.

In another move that could disrupt the health care system as we know it, retail giant Amazon, which has long been touted as the next big player in health care, has joined with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to announce the formation of an independent health care company. The new initiative aims to provide long-term, low-cost coverage for the more than 1 million US employees of the 3 companies. The move puts traditional health care systems “on notice,” according to Dr David Friend, the chief transformation officer and managing director of The BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence & Innovation.

The FDA was also busy this week, granting approvals to 2 therapies and 2 medical devices. The administration approved a vancomycin hydrochloride solution from CutisPharma for the treatment of conditions associated with Clostridium difficile, and Cipla’s generic formula of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, an HIV-1 therapy. The 2 devices it approved are both indicated to treat pain: the MR4 Laser technology from Multi Radiance Medical, which will be used to treat neck and shoulder pain, and Electrocore’s handheld gammaCore device, which will be used to treat migraine pain in adults.

According to new research from the CDC, since 2003, prescriptions of ADHD medication have spiked, increasing by more than 300% for women aged 15 to 44. The percentage among women aged 25 to 29 increased the most, up 700%. This could have important implications for women planning pregnancies, as information on the safety of these therapies during pregnancy is limited, according to the CDC. Concurrently, the rate of ADHD prescriptions filled increased more than 3% among reproductive-aged women, leading the researchers to recommend more data be collected on the safety of ADHD medication during pregnancy.

A recent review of clinical trials has revealed that different targets for deep brain stimulation can result in different outcomes for patients with Parkinson disease. The researchers found that utilizing a combination of targets based on the individual patient’s needs can provide better outcomes than single target DBS alone. This data could have great implications for the treatment of patients with PD in the future. Lead author Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora told MD Magazine that “it is becoming increasingly clear that understanding the details and subtleties regarding patient selection, target selection, and DBS programming is critical to achieving successful personalized outcomes.”

For these stories and more, visit us at mdmag.com. I’m Matt Hoffman. Thank you for watching.

 

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