America’s deadly (prescription) drug problem (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including number of deaths from drug misuse now outnumbers deaths from traffic accidents, Apple makes and AppStore for doctors, and U.N. convenes for conference on chronic diseases.

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

More die from drugs than from car accidents. For the first time since the government started tracking the data in 1979, deaths from drugs now outnumber those from traffic accidents, according to data from the CDC. The death toll from misuse of drugs, particularly prescription pain and anxiety drugs, has doubled in the last decade and is one of the only causes of preventable death that isn’t declining.

AppStore for docs. Earlier this month, Apple decided help doctors with iPhones and iPads find apps by creating a special section of its AppStore just for healthcare.

Sterile scrubs. A Chicago cardiologist has designed and is now marketing scrubs coated with a silver-based substance that stifles bacterial reproduction on clothing to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

Conference for chronic diseases. Today, the United Nations commences a two-day conference to draft a global action plan for reducing instances of noncommunicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease and respiratory disease, which the WHO estimates could kill 52 million people every year by 2030.

A hospital becomes a health insurer. A hospital in Massachusetts is trying something new that will be interesting to follow: selling health insurance coverage. Targeted at small businesses, the plan offers premiums that are 20 to 30 percent cheaper than competitors but come with the stipulation that patients receive care only at the hospital’s facilities (with a few exceptions).