Volume VI, Issue 17

April 29, 2019
Hypertension Hot Potato - Anatomy of the Angiotensin-Receptor Blocker (ARB) Recalls
The New England Journal of Medicine, in an April 25 post, examines the ramifications associated with the tainted  valsartan, irbesartan and losartan ( ARBs) that were subject to recall earlier this year. ARBs are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from hypertension as well as heart failure and kidney disease. One third of all FDA drug recalls issued since July 2018 have involved ARB-containing products, and together the recalls have affected one sixth of U.S. ARB manufacturers. As many as 2 million patients have probably been exposed to these carcinogen-contaminated ARBs manufactured in China, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
According to the NEJM article:

Although not all products containing valsartan, irbesartan, or losartan that are marketed in the United States have been recalled, the scope of the exposure, the scale of the 20 recalls, and their impact on patient care are substantial. FDA officials believe that U.S. patients have been ingesting ARBs containing carcinogenic impurities for approximately 4 years; they estimate that for every 8000 patients taking the highest dose of an affected product for the full 4 years, one new cancer above the background incidence would be expected.
New CMS Primary Care Model to Be Lauded?
Shannon Muchmore reports for Healthcare Dive on Apr. 24:

The new CMS primary care payment program unveiled this week won tentative buy-in from doctors, hospitals and healthcare players across the political spectrum. The so-called Primary Cares Initiative set lofty goals, including getting a quarter of providers and beneficiaries to sign up...backers include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee...<and> the American Hospital Association.

"There are several watershed moments in the history of the Medicare program like the coverage of prescription drugs and the shift to paying for better care," According to Andy Slavitt, a former CMS official. "The approach announced today by CMS is another one as it eases the connection of Medicare beneficiaries to a primary care physician and gives doctors the freedom, rewards, and tools to keep people healthy."  
In D.C. Grim News on Part A Surprises No One
The latest Medicare   Board of Trustees Report was released Monday, April 22 and, as expected, the news is not good. According to the report, Medicare's hospital insurance fund (the funding source for Part A) will be depleted in 2026. Meanwhile, in a Washington Post article posted April 24, we learn that Americans are more focused on health costs than Medicare-for-All, according to a recent Kaiser poll.
It is odd that so many Democrats are touting Medicare-for-All at a time when the current Medicare system is not financially viable and while the majority of our citizens don't view it as a top priority. 



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Florida Health Industry Week in Review is published every Monday by

Each Monday morning, we share the top healthcare headlines of the previous week and summarize
What Happened (WH) and
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