Study: THA may improve quality-adjusted life-years
A study published online in the Journal of Arthroplasty found that total hip arthroplasty (THA) may improve pain, quality of life, and function of life. Researchers assessed 100 patients who received THA for severe osteoarthritis and exceeded the average life expectancy in Switzerland. They observed an overall complication rate of 12 percent. Thirty-day and one-year mortality rates were 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively. The average Harris hip score (HHS) increased from 50 points to 93 points following THA. Most patients (98 percent) had a minimally significant improvement in HHS, while 75 percent had moderate improvement. The average quality-adjusted life-years was 4 years.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tecovirimat for the treatment of smallpox. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980 but there is a concern that the disease could be used as a bioweapon. The drug’s efficacy was assessed among animals infected with viruses closely related to those that cause smallpox. Treatment with tecovirimat led to greater survival compared to animals treated with placebo. The drug was approved under the FDA’s Animal Rule that allows efficacy findings from well-controlled animal studies when it is not feasible or ethical to test in humans. Among 359 healthy human volunteers without smallpox infection who received tecovirimat, the most commonly reported adverse events were headache, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Medicaid insurers failing to properly report fraudulent activity
According to a federal report, some Medicaid insurers are falling short in reporting fraudulent and unethical medical providers. A third of the health plans seen by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general’s office referred less than 10 cases of fraud or abuse for further review in 2015. In addition, no fraudulent cases were reported by two of the insurers throughout all of 2015. The report also indicated that some health plans dropped fraudulent providers but did not report them to the state. Some insurers failed to reclaim millions in overpayments to doctors and other healthcare providers, which the report indicated would likely reward insurers in profit because the higher costs can lead to increased Medicaid rates.
The FDA announced the formation of the Drug Shortages Task Force to tackle disruptive drug shortages. The task force will assess holistic solutions to address the underlying causes for these shortages and will be led by Keagan Lenihan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for strategic initiatives. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said the FDA will ask Congress for the authority to intervene on this issue, and a hearing is planned for the fall to get input from patients, manufacturers, and others.
Missouri received 1.6 billion opioids in 6-year period
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) released a report indicating that Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp., and Amerisource Bergen shipped approximately 1.6 billion prescription opioids to Missouri pharmacies between 2012 and 2017. This quantity accounts for approximately 260 opioid pills for every person in the state during the six-year period. The report showed that the highest number of suspicious order reports occurred in rural Missouri counties, many of which border other states. Missouri is the only state that does not have a prescription drug monitoring program, which allows healthcare providers to flag overprescribing and suspicious prescriptions. The report also showed that the number of suspicious orders the companies reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration varied.
Senate addresses preparedness for public health threats
On May 25, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006. The reauthorization legislation, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI), was introduced by Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.) and cosponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), HELP Committee chairman; Bob Casey (D-Pa.); and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), HELP Committee ranking Democratic member. According to the legislators, PAHPAI will improve the nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to public health threats.