Essential Updates: Comp Medical News for September 2017

Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Spouse hostility, a new Congressional opioid report, and the FDA’s new compounding pharmacy push are your headlines for September 2017.








Spouse Hostility May Worsen Low Back Pain


People with chronic low back pain may feel it even more sharply if their spouses are critical and unsupportive of their condition, according to a recent study published in the journal Pain. Women back-pain sufferers and those with depressive symptoms were the most vulnerable to spousal criticism, whether the harsh attitude was just perceived or overtly expressed. The effect appears to work in a loop. The study authors noted that spouse criticism can lead to increased pain, even up to three hours later and patient pain such as grimacing, groaning and straining can lead to increased spouse criticism up to three hours later.

Read more via Reuters here.


Standing at Work Also Contributes to Heart Disease


A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that workers who stand on the job most of the time are at greater risk of heart disease than workers who predominantly sit, contrary to the messaging surrounding standing desks. The study followed 7,300 workers aged 35-74 from Ontario, Canada (who initially were free of heart disease) for 12 years. The workers answered health survey questions and questions about their job duties. Among the group included in the study, 9 percent were estimated to predominantly stand at work, and 37 percent were estimated to predominantly sit. During the 12 year period, 3.4 percent of the study group developed heart disease. Without taking any other factors into account the risk of heart disease was higher among people whose jobs required mostly standing (6.6 percent) than among people whose jobs involved mostly sitting (2.8 percent). Even after adjusting for a wide range of factors, the risk of heart disease still was twice as high among people who primarily stood on the job compared to those who primarily sat.

Read more from EHS Today here.


FDA Permits Marketing of Mobile Medical Application for Non-Opioid Substance Use Disorder


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted marketing of the first mobile medical application to help treat substance use disorders (SUD). The Reset smartphone app is intended to be used with outpatient therapy to treat alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and stimulant SUDs. It is not intended to be used to treat opioid dependence. The Reset device is a mobile medical application system containing a patient application and clinician dashboard. The device delivers cognitive behavioral therapy to patients to teach the user skills that aid in the treatment of SUD and is available by prescription.

Read more here.


Physicians Say Up to 30 Percent of Medical Treatment is Unnecessary


New research from Johns Hopkins University published in the journal PLOS ONE indicates that overtreatment is still a major problem in the U.S. The findings, based on a survey of 2,106 physicians, revealed that most of those surveyed (64.7%) believe that at least 15% to 30% of medical care is unnecessary. Participants were from a subgroup of the American Medical Association’s Physician Masterfile. The top three categories cited were: Tests (24.9 percent), Prescription medications (22 percent) and Procedures (11.1 percent).

Read more via MedPage Today here.


Mental Disorders, Poor Diet and Tobacco are the World’s Killers


The latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study has found that heart disease and tobacco ranked with conflict and violence among the world’s biggest killers in 2016, while poor diets and mental disorders caused people the greatest ill health. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation-led (IHME) study, involving more than 2,500 researchers in around 130 countries, found that in 2016, poor diet was associated with nearly one in five deaths worldwide. Tobacco smoking killed 7.1 million people. The GBD is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global health charity and gives data estimates on some 330 diseases, causes of death and injuries in 195 countries and territories.

Read more via Reuters here.


Senate Report Makes Bombshell Allegations Against Big Pharma Amidst National Opioid Fight


Senator Claire McCaskill’s office has released the first in a series of investigative reports about major pharmaceutical companies’ marketing techniques regarding addictive opioid painkillers. This first report puts a spotlight on Insys Therapeutics, which manufactures a version of fentanyl called Subsys. According to the report, Insys misrepresented Subsys to convince insurers to pay for it, letting the company sell its product to people without a medical need for it. McCaskill’s report also found that the company created a unit called the Insys Reimbursement Center, (IRC) which offered employees bonuses and other incentives for boosting Subsys prescription approval rates. These employees apparently had no training or procedures in place to ensure that they were not misleading or outright lying to doctors about the drug.

Further coverage from Vox here.


FDA Planning New Compounding Pharmacy Policy


The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Reuters in an exclusive that the agency is working on a new policy that would encourage more compounding pharmacies to register under a law enacted in the wake of a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak linked to one such company.

Read more here.



Image Credit: FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb via Politico



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