Devices & Diagnostics

Morning Read: Device makers to face pricing pressure from hospitals, docs?

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare: Device makers to face pricing pressure from hospitals, docs? A note from Moody’s Investor Service warns that, as hospitals and doctors collaborate more closely, they’ll put pressure on medical device firms to cut prices, in part by limiting the number of vendors they […]

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

Device makers to face pricing pressure from hospitals, docs? A note from Moody’s Investor Service warns that, as hospitals and doctors collaborate more closely, they’ll put pressure on medical device firms to cut prices, in part by limiting the number of vendors they work with. Companies that sell “physician-preference items” like stents, defibrillators and orthopedic implants  will be  particularly vulnerable.

Docs still like pharma goodies … or do they? With many efforts afoot to limit the influence of Big Pharma and other industries  on doctors, a  study that showed 72 percent of physicians still feel positively about pharmaceutical marketing has been met with some raised eyebrows. But as John Mack points out, the study (it appeared in the Archives of Surgery) offered partipants a $100 gift card for filling out a survey, so it’s not exactly a surpise that doctors who are swayed by gift cards would feel good about pharma schwag.

Pfizer suspends pain drug trials: Pfizer has been forced to stop trials of experimental pain drug tanezumab after patients taking the therapy for osteoarthritis saw their condition worsen to the point they required joint replacement surgery. On the bright side for Pfizer, an analyst says we shouldn’t sound the  death knell for the drug just yet.

Doc fix–to be continued in November: The House finally passed the “doc fix” bill, in effect for six months and retroactive to June 1, which prevents a 21 percent cut to doctors’ fees paid by Medicare, with Nancy Pelosi calling the bill “totally inadequate.” As it’s been doing for years, Congress simply kicked the problem down the road a bit, ensuring that we’ll be right back to the same place this winter.

The next Kevorkian? Portland psychiatrist Stuart Weisberg says he plans to open an office he’s calling “The Dignity House” in which he’ll help patients (for a fee) end their lives under Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. It’s believed to be the first business in the nation of its kind–assuming the project comes to fruition.

Big Pharma on the iPad: It may be a slow start, but a couple iPad apps from Big Pharma firms have emerged. The free apps, a health record for chronic disease sufferers and another for making healthy food choices from Pfizer and Sanofi, are sure to be followed others as more companies tap into the enthusiasm for Apple’s touch screen tablet computer.

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Photo from flickr user timparkinson