Robotic eye surgery ready for commercialization (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including a new robotic eye surgery device from the Netherlands, the value of electronic medical records, and a Hepatitis C drug faceoff.

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

Robotic eye surgery. A researcher has completed work on a da Vinci-like eye surgery robot that can operate more precisely on the retina and vitreous humour. The surgeon uses joysticks to operate the robot, which can perform quick instrument changes and filter out tremors from the opthamologist. A PhD candidate at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands  says he plans to commercialize the technology and thinks the first surgery using the robot will be performed on humans within five years.

Do we like EMRs? As part of its Tech Innovators Series, Mashable listed the top eight tech innovations that are changing business. Number one? Electronic medical records. Why, then, do the majority of adults in this country have no interest in accessing their records electronically?

Hep C drug faceoff. Incivek, the new hepatitis C drug from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, trumped new rival Victrelis, from Merck, big time in third quarter sales. Both drugs were approved in May; Incivek had $420 million in third-quarter sales, while Victrelis had $31 million.

Testing for chemo efficacy. A Harvard researcher has developed a test that he says will help oncologists predict which patients will benefit from chemotherapy. The test evaluates whether a person’s cells are approaching a type of suicide called apoptosis, a natural process that is often disrupted in cancer cells. In tests, patients whose cancer cells were approaching apoptosis responded better to various kinds of chemotherapy.

Obama gets serious about drug shortage. President Obama is expected to sign an executive order today instructing the FDA to take action against drug shortages in the U.S., and to announce his support for legislation requiring drug makers to notify the FDA six months ahead of a potential drug shortage.

Eye photo courtesy of Flickr user helgabj