Friday Roundup – July 21, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.


Cleveland Clinic Struggles to Connect with Local Community


An $8 billion health system should have impact on its surrounding community, but what if it isn’t positive? An article in Politico revealed the contrast of the futuristic Cleveland Clinic campus to the low-income neighborhood surrounding it.


The article points out that because of the clinic’s not-for-profit status, they don’t pay taxes but instead have a loose commitment of “investing in their community.” Though some would argue there is no evidence of any such investment as over a third of the residents the Census tracks surrounding the clinic have diabetes. In addition, rates of heart disease, high cholesterol, and other chronic conditions are above the national average.


FierceHealthcare identified this conflict between the hospital and community residents as illustrating a greater problem of unequal care practices and pointed out that social determinants of health should not be ignored.


Canada Looks to Sue Purdue over Marketing of OxyCotin


And this isn’t the first Canadian lawsuit for the pharmaceutical company. They recently reached a $20 million settlement of a civil class action suit. Patients involved in the suit asserted that Purdue did not appropriately inform them of the addiction risks that accompany OxyCotin. Back in March, the company – and other big pharma players – were sued by the state of Ohio.


The concern around marketing of painkillers has grown significantly as the opioid crisis continues its devastating impact. The overdose epidemic has become a priority for healthcare policy-makers, but it has been a struggle to find a concrete solution.


Under its new Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, the FDA has gotten increasingly aggressive with its prescription recommendations in hopes of curbing the amount of individuals exposed to the drug. Startups have also recognized this challenge like RxREVU, a company that developed a prescription decision support platform and helps providers make more informed, consistent and measurable prescription decisions.


Crowdsourcing Reaches the Drug Discovery Industry


Pharmaceutical companies are now  in which ideas are shared with a larger community to improve upon or add to. The charge is being led by the nonprofit Structural Genomics Consortium which is partnering with nine pharma companies and six university labs.


As a part of the group, labs are committing to sharing everything with one another (results, samples, etc.) with the hope of speeding up the lengthy drug design process for challenging diseases.


Are drug expiration dates accurate?


Yes and no, but according to a pharmacist and a toxicologist “expiration date” isn’t really the right term. The date really only represents the time up until the FDA and pharma companies guarantee a drug’s effectiveness. This doesn’t mean they couldn’t work after that date, but that there is “no incentive for drugmakers to study whether they could still be usable.”


The cost of throwing out their expired medicines could be as high as $800 million per year. The researchers who studied the expired drugs were clear that they weren’t recommending people continue to take expired medications, but rather point out that revisiting how we date drugs could save a lot of money.


Amazon’s Alexa Could be the Next Diabetes Management System


Merck & Co. recently posed the question: What can Amazon Alexa can do for people with diabetes? The prompt was for their Alexa Diabetes Challenge, which is co-hosted by Luminary Labs and Amazon Web Services.


As the internet of things and digital health continues to develop, diabetes has become a core focus because of the large amount impacted and the rigorous daily or hourly management required for those with the disease.


Among the finalists’ projects are a machine learning nutrition assistant, a personal assistant with AI tech from NASA, and a mood-management assistant.


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