Volume VI, Issue 24

June 17, 2019
The ethics behind the world's most expensive medication
Robert Pearl, MD, in a KevinMD post dated June 14, 2019, states:
With the recent FDA approval, Zolgensma < Novartis AG > became the  world's most expensive medication. Priced at $2.125 million per patient, the one-dose gene therapy is a potential life-saver for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Now, the treatment is at the center of an intensifying debate over the  rising price of medications
" You cannot put a price on your child's life," said Tina Anderson, whose son will soon celebrate his fourth birthday thanks to Novartis. Anderson joins a chorus of other moms praising the FDA's ruling. These parents believe that $2.1 million is a fair price compared to the alternative: a lifetime of paying for at-home care, ventilators and repeat hospitalizations, "all of which can add up to far more than the cost of Zolgensma."  
Good health is good business: wellness industry approaches $4.2 trillion  
David K. Williams reports for Forbes on June 13:

As an industry sector, wellness has grown by 6.4 percent annually from 2015-2017, according to the Global Wellness Institute 3-red-apples.jpg . Wellness is now a $4.2 trillion market that is growing nearly twice as fast as the global economy (3.6 percent annually, based on IMF data). In all, the  wellness industry represents 5.3 percent of global economic output.

"Imagine the increase to productivity, well-being and happiness of our lives if we could move from a paradigm of treating sickness to protecting our wellness states Mr. Williams. "Not only would we be running more productive businesses and leading happier lives, we'd be more profitable, too. For entrepreneurs, the news is even better when you consider the wellness industry itself."
AMA affirms opposition to single payer in close vote
Shannon Muchmore reports for Healthcare Dive on June 12:

The American Medical Association voted to reaffirm its opposition to a single-payer healthcare system at its annual meeting in Chicago this week, but by a relatively narrow tally of 53% in favor of opposition and 47% voting to abandon the position AMA has held for decades. AMA cast its policy votes as reaffirmation of the ACA and its coverage expansion efforts, but expressed concerns that Medicare for All would significantly increase federal spending.
American College of Physicians SVP for Public Policy Bob Doherty said on Twitter this outcome "would have been unimaginable in years past," pointing to the large contingent backing single-payer or other public options.



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