Doctor Housecalls Blog

Healthcare related news and updates



Those who are suffering from cancer and who are in search of better drugs are understandably looking for one of two things – a medicine that will either extend survival rates or will improve quality of life.  While there have been scores of new drugs approved for the treatment of cancer in recent years, it turns out that many of them may not do either.

A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (10/20, Fauber) report tells us that a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that two-thirds of the new cancer drugs approved in the past five years won approval based on so-called surrogate measures of effectiveness, such as scans showing tumor shrinkage.   Specifically, 36 of 54 drugs showed no evidence of extending life or improving quality of life of cancer patients, even after some of the drugs had been on the market for up to four years.

The same study looked at the price of many of these drugs and found that, on average, they cost $10,000 per month, with several costing more $20,000 per month and one priced at $40,000 per month.  While the FDA indicates that they are making sure that drugs are “safe and effective”, some of the drugs are not specific about the effectiveness for patients with regards to better survival rates or quality of life.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://www.drhousecallsofpv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sjlphoto1sm.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]
Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]



The FDA has released a statement saying that they will allow food companies three years to phase out artificial trans fat from their products.  In a statement released on Tuesday, they say that partially hydrogenated oils are not “generally recognized as safe.”  Partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, are the main source of trans fats found in foods.

According to a June 18 article in Time magazine by Alexandra Sifferlin, trans fats can be found in almost 40% of everyday foods found in grocery stores.  This includes frozen pizzas and microwave popcorn.

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” Dr. Stephen Ostroff, acting commissioner of the FDA, said in a statement.

According to an article in US News, trans fats have been found to be related to heart disease, and cause 50,000 fatal heart attacks each year, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Consumption of trans fats, which are used by food manufacturers to improve texture and increase the shelf life of some foods, have also been found to raise cholesterol that lead to clogged arteries.

According to a June 16 article on NRN.com, trans fats can also lower levels of so-called “good cholesterol,” and has been found to increase risk of heart disease and strokes.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]http://www.drhousecallsofpv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sjlphoto1sm.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]
Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]


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