CDC: Human swine flu cases increase to 145 in four states   08/09/2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today reported 145 human infections with the H3N2v swine flu virus since July 12, including two people who were hospitalized and discharged. That's up from a total case count of 16 reported last week, primarily due to the large number of agricultural fairs going on across the country, an official said. The agency has confirmed 113 cases in Indiana, 30 in Ohio, and one each in Illinois and Hawaii. States are confirming cases as they occur, and CDC will report updated counts each Friday. Most of the cases involve children and all have involved exposure to swine, mostly at agricultural fairs, CDC said. The seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against the H3N2v virus. To prevent infection, CDC advises people to take precautions such as washing their hands after exposure to pigs at fairs and avoiding ones that look ill. The agency advises health care providers who suspect influenza in people with recent exposure to swine to obtain a swab or aspirate from the patient and contact their state or local health department. More information for health professionals can be found at www.cdc.gov.
FTC: Proposal to prevent generic drug shortages unlikely to harm competition   08/09/2012
A program proposed by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association to help the Food and Drug Administration manage drug shortages "is unlikely to harm competition" if implemented as described, the Federal Trade Commission said in an advisory opinion yesterday. As part of the Accelerated Recovery Initiative, drug makers would pool production information about shortage drugs. "Although the supply and output data to be collected is competitively sensitive, and markets for the drugs in the ARI are likely to be susceptible to collusion, GPhA has designed the program to safeguard competitively sensitive information, with the aim of helping FDA to address extensive and unprecedented supply disruptions that threaten patient care," the advisory opinion states.
SAMHSA awards health IT grants to help coordinate substance abuse care   08/09/2012
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration this week awarded six substance abuse treatment providers up to $840,000 each for health information technologies to help them communicate with patients and manage their health. The providers will use technologies such as web-based services, smart phones and electronic applications to support recovery and promote wellness. "One of the most important recent advances in medicine is the application of information technology to health care," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde. "It is important that the behavioral health field be part of these technological advances to reach people who need treatment with safe, high-quality care."
Health spending growth falls below 4%   08/09/2012
National health spending grew by 3.9% between June 2011 and June 2012, down from the 4.2% growth rate observed in May, according to the latest economic indicators from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. On a 12-month moving average basis, price growth is lower now than at any time since January 1999. Health care prices in June were 1.9% higher than in June 2011, close to the 14-year low observed in April.