News & Information
Oncologist Uses Misbranded Drug, Gets 3 Years' Probation
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 06:15 PM

A US oncologist has been sentenced to 3 years' probation and has been ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to federal government agencies for bringing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.  Mohamed Basel Aswad, MD, a board-certified oncologist who has maintained a medical practice since 2007 in the small New Mexico town of Deming, pleaded guilty to a charge that he treated cancer patients with a "misbranded" drug that he imported from abroad and that is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Altuzan is a form of bevacizumab (Avastin, Roche) that is approved for use in Turkey but not the United States. Between July 2010 and April 2012, Dr Aswad ordered prescription cancer drugs, including Altuzan, from a Canadian company and then administered the "misbranded" drugs to his patients.

Dr Aswad paid significantly less for these drugs than he would have had he purchased the US-approved product bearing the same brand or generic name, but he is now accused of billing federal programs such as Medicare for the full price. He has admitted to making $1,298,543 in profits.  Dr Aswad has also acknowledged that he knew that Altuzan did not have adequate directions for use in the United States because the packaging inserts were in Turkish.

Why Drug Costs in the USA are so High
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 05:39 PM

The United States has the dubious honor of paying the highest costs for drugs in the world, even compared with other wealthy nations, such as Canada, Germany, and Japan. The difference in price can often be substantial, especially among the newer and very costly agents that have recently come on the market.

the continuously rising cost of new drugs rolling off the assembly line — not only for cancer, but for other serious conditions as well. It is sobering to note that of the 12 drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for different cancer indications in 2012, 11 cost more than $100,000 per year. As highlighted last year, the prices for oncology agents have nearly doubled in the past decade, from an average of $5000 per month to more than $10,000 per month.

Why are drug prices so high, and why do they continue their upward spiral with no end in sight? And why is the United States shouldering the lion's share of the cost?

FDA Advisers Tackle Epidural Steroid Shots
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 05:12 PM

An FDA advisory committee is discussing adverse neurologic effects following the use of epidural steroid injections for pain management.

Finding little relief for back and neck pain from analgesics or surgery, patients have turned to injectable steroids, but increasing reports of "catastrophic consequences," including neurologic injuries, has put the treatment under scrutiny.

Regulators, stakeholders, and pain management experts will discuss the safety of injectable corticosteroids, among other topics.  While the FDA's has not approved injectable corticosteroids for use through epidural injection, the products continue to be used off-label. The FDA does not regulate epidural injections, but it can regulate injectable medications.

In 11-Country Survey Of Older Adults, Americans Are Sickest But Have Quickest Access To Specialists
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 04:50 PM

A new survey of the health and care experiences of older adults in eleven different countries, found that Americans were sicker than their counterparts abroad, with 68 percent of respondents living with two or more chronic conditions and 53 percent taking four or more medications. Also, Americans were most likely to report cost-related expenses for care (19 percent of respondents) than residents in any of the other countries surveyed.

Former NFL Star: Nobody Told Me About the Side Effects of Prescription Pain Drugs
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 04:44 PM

No one warned former NFL star Marvin Washington about the dangers of painkillers during his 11-year career, the onetime defensive end told Fox News two days after federal agents executed unannounced checks on at least five teams' medical staffs.

Washington said if he had known the side effects, he would not have taken the medication.

"When we were taking Toradol, nobody told me about the side effects - that I could have a stroke or seizure or heart attack - because if I would've been educated on it, I wouldn't have taken it and I definitely wouldn't have been taking it every Sunday," Washington said.

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