Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: April, 2012

POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012, 12:32 PM

A year ago, Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn, overweight and feeling it, would never have dreamed he would be competing in the Broad Street Run on May 6. Yet, here he is, and the race is looming. In this fourth blog entry, he talks about running and epiphanies. Check out all of our Broad Street Run coverage at www.philly.com/broadstreetrun.

It’s not like I was staring at the heavens looking for an epiphany.

They aren’t listed on e-Bay or Amazon.com. There are no apps or 800 numbers. You can’t buy one with a lottery ticket. You can’t find them on an Outlook calendar (January 6 doesn’t count). 
They come without warning and they are as powerful as a lightning strike.

POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012, 10:50 AM
Runners take off from the starting line during the 32nd running of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 1, 2011. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this third installment, she offers some guidelines for that final week before the race. Check out all of our Broad Street Run coverage at www.philly.com/broadstreetrun.

We are getting close. 

It’s very close to race day. It seems like it was just last week when Joe, Soup, JP and I incessantly pressed “submit” on the Broad Street Run Web site to secure our spots in the race and spark a little bit of competition. April came and went in the blink of an eye, and now I am just one long training run away from the well deserved “taper week.”

POSTED: Friday, April 27, 2012, 8:11 AM
Filed Under: Robert Field

Some opponents predict that companies will start dropping coverage when insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014 (assuming health reform is not overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed in the meantime). With individual policies available through these new markets along with subsidies for those with low incomes, large numbers of employers could leave workers to fend for themselves.

But Obamacare can’t launch the decline of employment-based based health insurance. It’s already been going on for over a decade.

The Employee Benefits Research Institute, a nonprofit consulting organization, analyzed trends in coverage between 1997 and 2010. It found that the percentage of workers who were offered health coverage dropped from 70.1 percent to 67.5 percent. The percentage of all Americans who actually had employment-based coverage shrank from 60.3 percent to 56.5 percent.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 12:41 PM
Filed Under: Daniel Hoffman

One aspect of the drug companies worth examining concerns the way they're governed.

The value of scrutinizing directors and top managers in pharma consists of learning to distinguish good from bad leadership in a research-driven industry that requires 10 years or more to develop its new products. If setting companies on the wrong course can take most of a decade to correct, it makes sense to find the best ways of starting them right and keeping them that way.

That issue was the topic of a Pennsylvania Bio breakfast meeting last week. Although the focus was on small, startup pharmas, the Big Pharmas also formed a point of reference since all the featured speakers had spent parts of their careers there.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 1:25 PM
Filed Under: Michael Cohen

Fingolimod (Gilenya) is a new kind of immunosuppressant drug that has found a home as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) after failing in clinical trials as a drug to prevent rejection of transplanted kidneys. It provides new benefits – it’s the first disease-modifying drug for MS that can be orally administered, unlike other drugs that must be injected. Unfortunately, fingolimod is also associated with substantial risks that raise the question of whether it is, in fact, safe enough for unrestricted use.

On April 5, 2012, my organization, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), released its most recent QuarterWatch report. This is an independent publication that seeks to improve patient safety through regular monitoring and analysis of serious adverse drug events reported to the Food and Drug Administration. In this latest edition, which looked at data from April-June 2011, we identified numerous problems of widespread toxicity with this drug.

Notable among 286 fingolimod reports overall were six patient deaths and eight indicating permanent disability. There were 60 cases of reported injuries to retina of the eye and other adverse effects on vision. As might be expected from a drug suppressing the immune response, serious and fatal infections were reported. The biggest group involved disseminated herpes infections of both types - simplex and zoster. The cases also included 68 reports of infections at various sites including the eye, skin, urinary and upper respiratory tracts.

POSTED: Friday, April 20, 2012, 8:29 AM

A year ago, Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn, overweight and feeling it, would never have dreamed he would be competing in the Broad Street Run on May 6. Yet, here he is, and the race is looming. In this third blog entry, he talks about scaling mountains.

I have convinced myself that I can run 10 miles on May 6.

In the beginning of this dream, I was still in that nether world that plagued me in the past.

POSTED: Friday, April 20, 2012, 8:12 AM
Filed Under: Robert Field

Who first came up with the idea of forcing Americans to have health insurance? That’s the key part of Obama’s health reform plan under challenge before the Supreme Court.

It certainly wasn’t Obama. In 2006, three years before he devised his plan, Romney supported the idea in Massachusetts. Before him, key Republicans in Congress endorsed it in 1993. In 1990, the Heritage Foundation promoted it. And in 1973, Richard Nixon considered it.

So, how far back does the notion go?

POSTED: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 2:20 PM
Runners take off from the starting line during the 32nd running of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 1, 2011. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, will be chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle it out for supremacy in the Broad Street Run. In this second installment, she talks about trying to run faster. 

I am decidedly out of racing shape. 

Recently, my regular five mile loop feels like 10. The Manayunk hills feel like mountains. And last week I got smoked by a group of 8th grade boys at the track.

For the last 3 years, I have poured all of my training energy into running marathons. Unfortunately, becoming proficient in running long and slow doesn’t help you come home with Broad Street bragging rights.

About this blog

Check Up covers major health events in our region and offers everything from personal health advice to an expert look at health reform. Read about some of our bloggers here.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section

Michael Cohen id the president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Horsham.

Daniel Hoffman is the president of Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates (PBRA) in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, a healthcare research and consulting company specializing in key account positioning and messaging.

Michael Cohen
Daniel Hoffman
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