posted 01-07-2005 04:38 AM
January 7, 2005 - Editor's Note: Two very contrasting pictures are painted by these sets of articles. With Medicare spending likely to be curtailed during this session of Congress, the dialysis community and the pharmaceutical industry will both have to defend their needs.
According to the Medicare Advisory Payment Commission, the use of separately billable drugs administered during dialysis has increased throughout the 1990s and payments for these services represented about 41 percent of Medicare’s total payments to dialysis facilities in 2003. This raises questions as to whether dialysis patients and their advocates should be lobbying for legislation that would redirect some of these current ESRD Medicare pharmaceutical dollars to research, better utilizing these tax dollars instead to seek cures for kidney diseases and to fund kidney-related stem cell research.
(Next week, we'll run the numbers that would be generated by a 10-20% reduction in federal payments for EPO, as well as the likely lobbying actions and campaign contributions that would be involved.)
Book: The $800 Million Pill: The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs
The $800 Million Pill suggests ways that the government's role in testing new medicines could be expanded to eliminate the private sector waste driving up the cost of existing drugs. Pharmaceutical firms should be compelled to refocus their human and financial resources on true medical innovation, author Merrill Goozner insists. This book is essential reading for everyone concerned about the politically charged topics of drug pricing, Medicare coverage, national health care, and the role of pharmaceutical companies in developing countries. (The University of California Press)
Related reviews, commentaries and articles:
Previous battles between dialysis providers and Amgen are detailed in these news summaries:
[This message has been edited by Gary Peterson (edited 01-12-2005).]