Healthcare updates, April 16



Roche boosts position in diabetes market with buy
The Swiss pharma giant Roche paid $160 million upfront for the acquisition Medingo, a unit of the Israeli medical technology company Elron. Medingo is developing a semi-disposable insulin patch pump. The acquisition is aimed to strengthen the position of Roche, the world’s second in terms of insulin delivery system, in diabetes care. “The Medingo patches can be stuck on to the skin, without the need for tubes, making it easier for patients to get insulin. They also offer patients an alternative to insulin injections from leading suppliers such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly.”

FDA MedWatch Mobile Text Messaging
The FDA recently launched MedWatch Safety Information text messaging program for mobile phones in an effort to reach consumers and patients better and faster.  The pilot project, which will initially be 3 to 5 texts messages for a period of 6 months, will consist of “alerts that provide timely new safety information on human drugs, medical devices, and related safety topics.” Participation in the program itself is for free. Text messaging rates will depend on your provider.

Traditional ‘Heel Stick’ Test Is Not an Effective Screening Tool for CMV in Newborns
Newborn babies are tested for metabolic and genetic disorders by collecting small amounts of blood samples from the heel, the so-called heel-stick testing method. The method is fast and sensitive. Unfortunately, some diseases including the cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, which is the most common infection that a mother can pass on to her child, is not easily detected using the heel-stick test. Researchers reported only a sensitivity of 30 to 40% which is much lower than the required sensitivity of at least 95%. The standard method for CMV screening is the CMV rapid culture is a highly effective procedure that using saliva or urine samples. However, the method is labor intensive, time-consuming and is difficult to adapt to a widespread screening program.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on New Health Care Quality, Disparity Reports
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently released the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report and the National Healthcare Quality Report. US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius issued the following statement on the report:

“Today’s reports demonstrate why passing health reform was so critical. In 2009, healthcare associated infections increased and minorities were less likely to have insurance and less likely to get the treatments they needed. In a reformed system, more Americans will get the care they need, regardless of their race or ethnicity and the quality of care will improve. The numbers we saw today are troubling, but ultimately, reform will help turn these numbers around.”

Tapeworm brain infection ‘serious health concern’
Neurocysticercosis, a brain infection caused by tapeworm seems to be on the rise in Mexico and neighboring American states, according to researchers at the Loyola University. Neurocysticercosis is caused by the tapeworm Taenia solium found in pigs. Infection occurs when people eat undercooked pork from an infected animal. The Loyola researchers believe that this infection is a serious health concern.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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