Zombie Health Care News |


Even though I’m rapidly progressing towards near-full retirement, there are a few days / weeks when I can’t help but point out some of the troubling health care news I see. This is such a week.

First, the COVID zombie news

My local newspaper Star Tribune gave this front page news: The University of Minnesota, Mayo reports success in combating COVID with anti-aging therapy. The fight against COVID in mice, that is, which was revealed in the second paragraph:

Survival is increased in mice with COVID-like diseases when they received drugs that removed senescent cells – sometimes called “retired” or “zombie” cells that no longer divide or grow but persist in the body.

Mythology describes a zombie as something you think is dead but isn’t. The zombie health news is not dead. This story is based on interesting research on mice, but it is still research on mice, not front page news in my opinion, unless you have a huge circulation in the rodent population.

Second, the Alzheimer’s zombie news

Many observers are stunned that the FDA approved the drug aducanumab for Alzheimer’s after no member of an FDA advisory board voted to recommend approval. Conflicting studies have not resolved the evidence questions. The proposed cost of this low-evidence drug could bankrupt Medicare. Many news outlets have done a great job of highlighting the issues. Yet, I still see stories like these:

Aducanumab offers Alzheimer’s patients a new lease on life

A revolutionary drug, aducanumab

New game-changing dementia drug

The new Alzheimer’s drug gives some hope of an eventual cure

These stories lie deep within the daily drum of dirt in the health news. Run away from it; there is zombie life oozing from that filth. Will not die.

Third, the health care news about the zombie conflict of interest

The Washington Post presents another of its pharma-funded “Chasing Cancer” events. This is sponsored by AstraZeneca, in exchange for which the Post gives the sponsor time in the program:

A segment presented by AstraZeneca will see their executive vice president of the cancer business unit, Dave Fredrickson, in conversation with Leigh M. Boehmer, PharmD, BCOP, medical director at the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

I wrote about this post practice last year. Extract:

Interestingly, over the past four years, the Washington Post has hosted numerous online “Chasing Cancer” events, with the support of at least five other pharmaceutical companies active in the cancer drug market: Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Genentech, Takeda, and Tesoro. .

It is not the job of journalism to collaborate with sponsors. Ethical concerns arise when news organizations accept sponsorships from pharmaceutical companies they cover on a regular basis.

So even the zombie of conflicting health care news is still very much alive.

And so even my occasional publication isn’t dead yet, as long as forages like the ones above ignite my flames.


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