Health IT

Morning Read: Human ‘infects’ himself with computer virus

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare: What happens when a human gets infected by computer virus? A British scientist claims to be the first human “infected” by a computer virus, an experiment he hopes will aid research into the risks associated with implanted electronic medical devices. The scientist deliberately […]

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare:

What happens when a human gets infected by computer virus? A British scientist claims to be the first human “infected” by a computer virus, an experiment he hopes will aid research into the risks associated with implanted electronic medical devices. The scientist deliberately infected with a virus a “swipe card” RFID chip that’s implanted in his wrist. “There are very serious implications for medical devices,” the scientist says. “Imagine if someone developed a virus that stopped a pacemaker working.”

Carried interest still undetermined: A federal bill that would determine the fate of the carried interest tax break that’s near and dear to the hearts of venture capitalists is still up in the air, according to a letter from the National Venture Capital Association to its members. Right now changes to the tax are part of a federal jobs bill that’s been opposed by conservative Democrats, so there’s a glimmer of hope for VCs, but this one looks to be a long way from over.

Rushing EMRs: KevinMD is concerned that the federal government’s push to get electronic medical records into the hands of physicians could lead to big problems down the line: “Unless those in charge of leading the electronic record revolution have a better grasp on how hospitals and physician practices are run, there’s a significant risk that a rushed, misguided digital push may entrench us in a system that may be worse than the status quo.”

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t: UnitedHealth Group is the latest insurer caught up in having to explain its high profits during the economic downturn. The mega-insurer is sharply hiking its dividend, planning to pay out $560 million to shareholders over the next year, up from its current level of $35 million. Says one analyst: “There is somewhat of a risk, especially in the current fragile reform environment, that says, ‘Why is UnitedHealth declaring a dividend instead of lowering health care costs for its members?'”

Harassed by the FTC? Pharmalot reports on a “sensational accusation.” The CEO of generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals filed papers in federal court accusing the Federal Trade Commission of abusing its power in attempting to stop pay-for-delay deals. Paul Bisaro “claims the FTC harassed his company and used confidential FDA info in an effort to force Watson to strike a deal with Apotex, another generic drugmaker, to sell a version of Cephalon’s Provigil, a sleep-disorder drug.”

Dealflow: Waltham, Massachusetts-based Logical Therapeutics closes a $17 million Series C round; Thermo Fisher Scientific buys for $260 million Canadian lab supplies provider Fermentas International; U.K. startup Reinnervate gets $2.3 million.

Photo from flickr user Guerry