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The Thursday catch up

Sorry, dear reader it’s been a very busy week.  here’s what I;ve been tracking.

At WCRI, Rick Victor’s now the CEO and his apparent replacement has been named.  While that’s good news, what’s better is longtime WCRI exec Ramona Tanabe has been promoted into a new position of EVP and Counsel. Ramona is universally respected for her ability and knowledge; she’s one of the most talented people at a very talented place.

Back to the new guy; John Ruser, Ph.D comes to WCRI with a wide range of experience at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and in other positions at the Departments of Labor and Commerce.  I expect there will be a blurb up on WCRI’s site here in the near future.

Here’s a brutally funny – albeit 17 minute long – John Oliver video on pharma marketing.  It’s well worth your attention, as only the John Olivers of the world can make something this disturbing this entertaining.

Sticking with drugs, and the aggressive marketing of same, I’ve been immersed in the world of hepatitis C drugs for a couple of weeks.  Well, if not immersed, perhaps toe-dipping.  Anyways, turns out these new miracle cures may well not be cures at all.  The research cited to assert claims of a cure is pretty very hugely limited; one mass media article looked at outcomes after a whole six weeks of treatment…and further erred/exaggerated/got this entirely wrong by assuming “no more virus” is the same as an actual “cure”. 

btw, Health News Review is a terrific site for those questioning the validity of mass media reports on anything medical.

As if this wasn’t enough, news just out that health care spending may have grown by 5.6 percent in 2014, driven largely by…you guessed it…prescription drug costs which zoomed up 13%, and possibly higher net health insurance costs.

The numbers are preliminary, to be sure.  Of course, the real metric is health care costs as a percentage of GDP; we’ll have to wait another month or so for almost-final GDP and health care cost figures.

That’s all for now…


Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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