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Do any doctors want to practice in rural America? (Morning Read)

A $1 billion effort by the Obama administration to relieve the physician shortage in rural America by subsidizing med school debt for young physicians is running up against a problem–not in attracting docs in the first place, but keeping them there once their initial three-to-five-year commitment is up.

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

Do any doctors want to practice in rural America? A $1 billion effort by the Obama administration to relieve the physician shortage in rural America by subsidizing med school debt for young physicians is running up against a problem–not in attracting docs in the first place, but keeping them there once their initial three-to-five-year commitment is up. “”I don’t think I’m a rural kind of person,” says one young family physician. “I like having stuff around. I like the ability to go out to dinner and do cultural things.”

July’s big biotech winner: Obesity drug developer Arena Pharmaceuticals saw its stock climb a whopping 159 percent last month. That’s thanks to a co-marketing agreement it reached with Eisai, plus an FDA thumbs down for a competitor’s product. That competitor, Vivus, was July’s biggest biotech loser with a 41 percent decline.

Today’s Genzyme update: As Genzyme and Sanofi-Aventis continue their “complex mating ritual,” they’ve been engaged in a series of strategic leaks to the news media–all the better to gauge shareholder reaction to possible deal values. However, Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer has 22 million reasons to do a deal–any deal–so it’s likely only a question of if, not when, thanks to this massive conflict of interest for Termeer.

The high cost of medical errors: Medical errors cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008, a new study says. At nearly $4 billion, bed sores are the costliest medical error.

Elan takes it slow: Irish drug developer Elan has put the sale of its drug delivery unit on hold, citing unfavorable market conditions.

Who needs sinks in bathrooms? Not Las Vegas’ MountainView Hospital, which asked the state for a variance to leave sinks out of bathrooms in 12 pediatric rooms, because installing the sinks in bathrooms would cause undue hardship, according to the hospital. The state denied the request, thankfully.

Photo from flickr user Grantsviews