Medical roundup

  • Study of Type I, Type II error finds FDA much too conservative in drug approval [Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo via Tabarrok]
  • Behind push to license/regulate personal trainers in Washington, DC and elsewhere: ACA opened spigot of publicly channeled wellness money [Aaron Davis/Washington Post via Tyler Cowen, Peter Suderman]
  • “Medical lending”: financiers “invest in operations to remove pelvic implants, [reap] payouts when cases settle” [Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye, Reuters]
  • War on Some Drugs again collides with cancer therapy: “Psilocybin, it appears, targets this existential and spiritual distress.” [Ann Althouse]
  • Citing First Amendment, federal court enjoins FDA from prohibiting truthful speech by drugmakers about off-label uses [WSJ, Alex Tabarrok (in recent years, federal government “has extracted billions of dollars in settlements from pharmaceutical firms for engaging in what appears to be constitutionally protected speech”), Beck and Sullivan, Drug & Device Law on Amarin v. FDA]
  • SEIU 1199: “The union that rules New York” [Daniel DiSalvo/Stephen Eide, Daily Beast and City Journal]
  • Controversial therapist who is also anti-vaccine expert witness loses court challenge to Maryland medical license revocation [Beck, Drug and Device Law]

One Comment

  • Part of the problem regarding medical lending is that people have been trained by experience to think of medical costs as: 1) very expensive, 2) difficult to pre-price , and 3) something other entities will cover. So while in principle medical lending isn’t problematic, the black-box nature of medical pricing lends itself to these scams.

    How much should a surgery cost? $2,000? $900? $17,000? It’s difficult for a regular person to know and we typically don’t ask. Medical lenders can potentially exploit the bad assumptions people make.

    Of course, if you are staying in a hotel and getting surgery, do you really think that’s just free? Of course not. So to some extent people should realize they’re getting stuff they will eventually pay for. But if the lenders and the patients are both avoiding clear costs and prices, then neither side is fully in the right.

    Maybe if medical care were more susceptible to up-front prices, like buying a car, boat or house, then issues like this would happen less happen. If the lender just said “we have the right to lien up to $30,000 for these costs, plus any overages you specifically authorize” then it’d be hard for the patients to cry foul. Because the lending itself is not immoral, it just lends itself to abuse.

    The article doesn’t really address the main question: what if the litigation industry is fraudulently beefing up claims to extort money from device-makers, thus inflating medical costs? I mean, the article more or less accuses medical lenders of fraudulent tactics to rip off low-income patients – why would the same industry not have people willing to lie to rip off medical corporations?