Cardiac CT scans unnecessary for low-risk people (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including: unnecessary cardiac CT scans, New York City’s smoking ban and a hepatitis C drug approval.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry.

Too much screening: CT scans to check patient’s hearts for excess plaque are unnecessary for low-risk populations, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University researchers. Given the costs of CT testing, and the radiation exposure of the scan, the small benefit of scanning low-risk people may not be worth it. “Overdiagnosis is threatening to become an increasingly important public health problem because of the enthusiasm for and proliferation of unproven screening tests,” said an editorial accompanying the research.

NYC smoking ban: A ban on smoking in outdoor places went into effect in New York on Monday. But many smokers said they would flout the ban, despite the threat of a $50 fine.

Hepatitis C drug approved: Vertex Pharmaceuticals‘ Incivek, a pill also known as telaprevir, could double the chances of curing the liver-destroying disease hepatitis C. Sales could top $5 billion per year, and the approval sets up a showdown with Merck’s competing drug Victrelis.

Facebook change for pharma: Facebook will no longer allow pharmaceutical companies to disable comments on disease-awareness pages.

Baby boomer joint replacement: Knee replacement surgeries have doubled over the last decade and more than tripled in the 45-to-64 age group, as obesity — and exercise to fight obesity — takes its toll on middle-aged joints.

Photo from flickr user oedipusphinx