PHARMACY

Survey finds Americans do not think nation can afford proposed healthcare legislation

BY Antoinette Alexander

COLUMBUS, Ohio More than half of Americans think that the United States cannot afford the proposed trillion dollar-plus healthcare legislation, according to a recent American Pulse survey.

The July American Pulse survey, which is collected online by BIGresearch each month utilizing Survey Sampling International’s U.S. panel of more than 4,000 participates, found that 56% of American’s believe that the United States can’t afford the proposed healthcare legislation. Thirty-seven percent of Democrats, 83.2% of Republicans and 55.5% of Independents agree.

In addition, 49.1% of participants believe that Congress is rushing the legislation, while 27.7% said members are not and 23.2% said they aren’t sure. More than one-third said the U.S. should not be involved in healthcare at all.

When it comes to whether those who make more than $350,000 should pay higher taxes to cover the cost of U.S. healthcare reform, participants tend to think they should. More than half said higher taxes should be imposed the “wealthy.” On the other hand, 29.6% said they shouldn?t have to pay more.

Ultimately, 41.1% believe that if the reform becomes the law that U.S. healthcare will be worse than it is currently.

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WellPoint to collaborate with health insurance providers for online tool

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS Health insurer WellPoint will collaborate with two other health insurance providers to provide access to its online cost comparison tool for more than 48 million Americans.

The Indianapolis-based insurer said the collaboration would allow Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Health Care Service Corp. – which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in four other states – to provide the total estimated cost ranges associated with 35 specific medical procedures performed at more than 2,800 hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, free-standing radiology facilities and other facilities.

“We developed this transparency tool in 2006 for use by members in our health plans, with the goal of creating well-informed consumers of health care,” WellPoint president and CEO Angela Braly said in a statement. “We are pleased to be working with other Blue companies so that even more members can have access to clear, concise health cost information in major cities across the country.”

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Pfizer, Medivation commence late-stage clinical trial for Huntington disease treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Two drug makers have started a late-stage clinical trial of a drug developed by Soviet Union scientists in the 1980s to evaluate it as a treatment for Huntington disease.

Pfizer and Medivation announced Thursday the start of a phase 3 trial of dimebon (latrepirdine), saying that the Food and Drug Administration had granted the drug orphan drug designation. The FDA grants the designation to investigational drugs for conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States each year.

The drug was originally developed as an antihistamine, but has attracted the attention of researchers as a possible treatment for Huntington disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Based on the promising results of our phase 2 trial of dimebon in Huntington disease, we are pleased to advance dimebon into late-stage clinical development,” Medivation chief medical officer Lynn Seely said in a statement. “Huntington disease is a fatal genetic disease for which no medications are currently approved by the FDA to treat the cognitive impairment associated with the condition.”

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