The New York Times (1/24, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that on Wednesday, by a vote of 55-43, the Senate confirmed Alex Azar as the new HHS Secretary. The article says Azar, who is a former executive at Eli Lilly, “faces two huge challenges.” He must find a way to reduce drug prices, and determine how to handle the ACA, “a task for which he will be personally and legally responsible.”
The Los Angeles Times (1/24, Levey) reports that Azar has vowed “to prioritize key issues important to both Republicans and Democrats, including the opioid epidemic, the burden of healthcare costs on Americans and the rising price of pharmaceuticals.” However, because Lilly dramatically increased the price of its insulin product during Azar’s tenure, “many consumer advocates [are] skeptical he will take on the powerful pharmaceutical industry.”
HB 1036 was introduced in January of this year by Rep. Senfronia Thompson. It will go into effect on September 1.
HealthImaging (6/12, Pearson) reports Angelina Jolie may not have motivated women to be screened for breast cancer, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Researchers compared the “weekly utilization at Penn State Health’s multisite breast center over the two years prior to Jolie’s going public with her decision in May of 2013 and over the two years following,” and “found no changes in screening utilization after Jolie publicized her decision to undergo prophylactic bilateral...mastectomy.”
Forbes (5/8): You may have heard that some breast cancers vanish without treatment. Last month, a group of radiologists published results of a survey in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. The findings from 42 experts who responded are striking.
Of 240 invasive breast cancers found by screening that went untreated, zero (0) went away. Of 239 noninvasive cases (DCIS), zero (0) regressed, as reported by the breast imaging specialists in a survey. In sum, 0 of 479 untreated breast tumors disappeared without treatment, according to the radiologists who participated.
DOT Med News (5/5, Mitchell) reported that “the American College of Radiology (ACR) has published evidence refuting the assertion that breast cancer regresses or disappears if left untreated.” The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Dr. Debra Monticciolo, chair of the ACR Breast Imaging Commission, said, “The USPSTF states that a large part of the reason that they do not recommend screening in women under age 50, and recommend biennial rather than annual screening, is to decrease overdiagnosis. Several authors, notably Gilbert Welch, have stated that much overdiagnosis is due to cancers disappearing on their own.” Dr. Monticciolo added, “Our research shows that this is untrue.” Forbes (5/8, Schattner) provides additional coverage.