Physician Keith Corl was working in a Las Vegas emergency room when a patient arrived with chest pain. The patient, wearing his street clothes, had a two-minute exam in the triage area with a doctor, who ordered an X-ray and several other tests. But later, in the treatment area, when Corl met the man and lifted his shirt, it was clear the patient had shingles. Corl didn’t need any tests to diagnose the viral infection that causes a rash and searing pain.Continue reading
The Recombinant Interferon Alpha 2B (IFNrec), an antiviral produced by the Cuban biotech industry, is being used by Chinese doctors to treat patients infected by the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, which has affected more than 28,000 people and has killed 564 patients worldwide.Continue reading
As MINREX warned in a statement released August 29, 2019, the United States government has, since last year, been waging an intense, offensive campaign against the medical collaboration Cuba provides, along with threats of sanctions against Cuban leaders and pressure on recipient states to end such cooperation. Directed in detail by the National Security Council at the White House, the campaign has the active participation of Senators and Representatives associated with the anti-Cuban mafia in Florida and rabid State Department officials.Continue reading
Too many Americans are suffering and dying prematurely because we have ceded control over a key part of our infrastructure for public health—the pharmaceutical industry—to unaccountable corporations, for whom the pursuit of profit trumps the needs of patients and communities. Instead of continuing to push the boulder of regulation up the hill in hopes that it one day finally proves effective, we can displace corporate power over our health and lives by moving towards a democratic, publicly-owned pharmaceutical sector, designed to respond to public health needs and deliver better health outcomes at lower costs.Continue reading
The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement today strongly rejecting a USAID program against Cuban medical cooperation projects. Cuban News Agency reproduces the full text of the statement: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly denounces and condemns the recent aggression against Cuba by the Government of the United States through a USAID program aimed at financing actions and to search for information to discredit and sabotage the international cooperation provided by Cuba in the area of health in dozens of countries and for the benefit of millions of people.Continue reading
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After overwhelming public demand to reduce medicine prices helped propel Democrats to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, today more than 70 U.S. organizations launched an effort to remove new monopoly protections for pharmaceutical firms added to the revised North American Free Trade Agreement. In a letter to Congress, the groups – representing tens of millions of Americans – demand that the pact’s giveaways to Big Pharma that would keep medicines unaffordable be removed before the pact is sent to Congress…Continue reading
The latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns us that we have only 12 years left to keep the maximum temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius and, thus, avoid calamitous environmental devastation. This report, over 1200 pages and written by 91 researchers across 44 countries, explains that global emissions will have to be slashed by 45 percent to reach this new target. Currently, it is estimated that the world’s temperature will rise by 3 degrees Celsius should no new measures be taken. While the difference between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees Celsius may not seem substantial, make no mistake about it – the difference is absolutely staggering.Continue reading
At one time, decades ago, penicillin, vitamin C, and many other prescription and over-the-counter products were manufactured in the United States. But now, antibiotics, antidepressants, birth control pills, blood pressure medicines, cancer drugs, among many others are made in China and sold in the United States. The result – millions of Americans are taking prescription drugs made in China and don’t know it. China makes essential ingredients for thousands of medicines found in American homes and used in hospital intensive care units and operating rooms. In China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine (Prometheus Books, 2018), Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh argue that there are at least two major problems with the United States relying on China for its medicines.Continue reading
During the 1960s, Cuban medicine experienced changes as tumultuous as the civil rights and anti-war protests in the US. While those in western Europe and the US confronted the institutions of capitalism, Cuba faced the challenge of building a new society. The tasks of Cuban medicine differed sharply between the first and the second five years of the revolution. The years 1959-1964 aimed at overcoming the crisis of care delivery as half of the island’s physicians fled. It was during the second half of the decade (1964-1969) that Cuba began redesigning medicine as an integrated system. A re-conceptualizations of health care which put the area polyclinic at the center of medical care created a model for poor countries that forever changed medicine.Continue reading
All of us at Public Citizen lift up in loving memory our dear friend and peaceful warrior Zahara Heckscher, who passed away on February 24 at the age of 53, after her years-long battle with breast cancer. Among her many talents as a writer, poet, teacher and facilitator, Zahara was a fierce, creative and committed activist. As she valiantly battled advanced breast cancer, she became determined to fight for all patients to have access to the cutting-edge cancer medicines that extended her life. When she learned that prescription drug companies were using the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to lock in extended monopolies that threatened access to affordable medicines, Zahara became a passionate trade justice advocate on behalf of cancer patients around the world.Continue reading
By Michael Pappas for Truth Dig – It’s time to start talking to our patients about climate change and the structural causes of disease. Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, leaving many dead, thousands with homes destroyed and billions in damage to infrastructure. Hurricane Irma pummeled the Caribbean and Florida at the same time that Hurricanes Katia and Jose were picking up strength in the Atlantic and threatening Mexico and the Eastern Caribbean. Forest fires are destroying regions of the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, over 100,000 people have been forced to leave their homes because of widespread flooding, and in Southeast Asia over 1,200 have died due to historic flooding, which has left over one-third of Bangladesh under water. These disasters did not come out of the blue, though. They are just a few examples of what results from an economic system that knows no limits. If the medical community wants to start addressing the systemic causes of illness, instead of just addressing the results that manifest themselves in various degrees of illness for suffering patients, we will have to make addressing the structural aspects of disease central to everyday medical practice. In medicine, we are often told not to “politicize” health care issues, not to be “too controversial” because “X” residency may not want to accept you, or “Y” employment opportunity may not want to hire you.Continue reading
By Denis Campbell for The Guardian – Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support. The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”. The author of A Brief History of Time did not name any minister or political party in his general complaint, but he blamed a raft of policies pursued since 2010 by the coalition and then the Conservatives for enfeebling the NHS and leaving it unable to cope with the demands being placed on it. “The crisis in the NHS has been caused by political decisions,” he said. “The political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on the junior doctors and removal of the student nurses’ bursary. “Failures in the system of privatised social care for disabled and elderly people has also placed additional burden on the NHS.”Continue reading
By Alexander Reed Kelly for Truth Dig – Half of U.S. physicians are “disengaged, burned out, and demoralized and plan to either retire, cut back on work hours, or seek non-clinical roles,” reports MedPage Today, citing a new nationwide survey commissioned by The Physicians Foundation. “Many physicians are dissatisfied with the current state of the medical practice environment and they are opting out of traditional patient care roles,” said Walker Ray, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation, in remarks that appeared with the survey.Continue reading
By Vanessa Van Doren in Common Dreams – For most of us in medicine, helping people live healthy, happy lives is at the heart of why we chose this career. We expound upon this in application essays, talk about it during interviews, and start medical school with this “calling” fresh in our minds.
Very early in our medical careers – on the wards and in the classroom – we learn that inequality, preventable illness, and death are an inherent part of our current private, for-profit-oriented health insurance system.
We see patients receive preventable amputations due to untreated diabetes. We see people permanently disabled by stroke because they were unable to afford their medications. College funds emptied out to pay for $100,000-a-year cancer treatments. Families bankrupted and lives destroyed.
We learn that, although the United States is one of the wealthiest countries on earth, we are also the only developed nation that does not provide health care to all of its citizens.Continue reading
By Wolf Ritcher in Wolf Street – For PE firms, the fracking boom was nirvana. An eternal-growth industry. A big part of the money they poured into the scrappy oil & gas companies is now going up in smoke. Other industries are mired in a no-growth or shrinking environment. Chaos keeps breaking out in the international markets, most recently over Greece and China.
So, healthcare, which accounts for nearly one-fifth of US GDP, “is really the growth opportunity,” Tom Banning, CEO of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, told The Texas Tribune:
“The forces are aligned to force consolidation, and frankly, how those independent doctors are able to compete against well-heeled, deep-pocketed systems or networks is going to be a problem,” Banning said. “Continue reading