Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) for the 101st #THCBGang on Thursday August 18 are medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson); delivery & platform expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); THCB regular writer and ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard);
BY MIKE MAGEE
Senator Lindsey Graham (R.,S.C.) is on summer recess. A consummate professional politician, and war hardened lawyer, Sen. Graham has made a career out of flipping on a dime. His moral calculus has been flexible enough to wiggle and weave, and switch sides if cornered.
In a dream, I caught a glimpse of him reading on one of his state’s beautiful beaches. He was juggling a weighty 1215 page classic – Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” in one hand, and a yellow highlight marker in the other.
He looked a bit on edge, maybe because this week a federal judge refused to block a subpoena seeking his testimony for a Fulton County, Georgia, Grand Jury probe into efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his potential state Republican “alternate electors” to overturn Georgia’s Biden victory in the 2020 election.Continue reading…
BY MIKE MAGEE
The New York Times recently shined a light on the FDA’s top science regulator of the tobacco industry, Matt Holman, who announced his retirement after 20 years to join Phillip Morris. As they noted, “To critics, Dr. Holman’s move is a particularly concerning example of the ‘revolving door’ between federal officials and the industries they regulate…”
As a Medical Historian, I’ve never been a fan of the casual “revolving door” metaphor because it doesn’t quite capture the highly structured and deliberate attempts of a variety of academic medical scientists over a number of decades in the 2nd half of the 20th century to establish and reward an “integrated career ladder” that connected academic medicine, industry and the government.Continue reading…
BY MIKE MAGEE
July 25, 1972 was fifty years ago this week and it is a day that all AP Science journalists know by heart. As Monday’s AP banner headline read: “On July 25, 1972, Jean Heller, a reporter on The Associated Press investigative team, then called the Special Assignment Team, broke news that rocked the nation. Based on documents leaked by Peter Buxtun, a whistleblower at the U.S. Public Health Service, the then 29-year-old journalist and the only woman on the team, reported that the federal government let hundreds of Black men in rural Alabama go untreated for syphilis for 40 years in order to study the impact of the disease on the human body. Most of the men were denied access to penicillin, even when it became widely available as a cure. A public outcry ensued, and nearly four months later, the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” came to an end.”Continue reading…
Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday July 21 were futurist Ian Morrison (@seccurve); medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); and fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey)
BY MIKE MAGEE
“There’s common ground there—not the warm belonging of full creedal agreement, perhaps, but a place, even a welcoming place, where we can stand together.” Ian Marcus Corbin, Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School
Most Americans would love to believe this statement. But political reality intervenes. A March, 2022 Pew Research Center analysis found our two major parties to be “farther apart ideologically today than at any time in the past 50 years.”
Take, for example, Presidential hopefuls, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). They see political pay dirt on the jagged peaks of America’s culture wars with the governor taking on Disney for defending LGBTQ employees by introducing the his “Stop W.O.K.E. Act“, while Rubio goes one step further with his “No Tax Breaks for Radical Corporate Activism Act”.
In academic circles, you increasingly find references to “what’s the matter with…debates.” The phrase derives from a 2004 book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” written by historian Thomas Frank, which spent 18 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.Continue reading…
Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday June 16 were medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson); Queen of all employer benefits Jennifer Benz (@jenbenz); and Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune), who these days also hosts the Is It Serious podcast. We got into mental health, patient safety, drug advertising and whether the Jan 6 committee will make a difference.
Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday May 26 were medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune); and fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey). Plenty of conversation about guns as a public health crisis, and also much about data use, data reidentification and controversy there.
BY MIKE MAGEE, M.D.
Arthur Sackler continues to demonstrate just how wealthy one can become by advantaging patients and their diseases.
He’s been dead since 1987, but his ghost continues to access your personal health data, pushes medical consumption and over-utilization, and expands profits exponentially for data abusers well beyond his wildest dreams. Back in 1954, he and his friend and secret business partner, Bill Frohlich, were the first to realize that individual health data could be a goldmine. That relationship would still be a secret had it not been exposed in a messy family inheritance feud unleashed by his third wife after Sackler’s death.
That company, IMS Health, was taken public and listed on the NYSE on April 4, 2014, transferring $1.3 billion in stock. I’ll come back to that in a moment. But in the early years, the pair realized that the data they were collecting would multiply in value if it could be correlated with a second data set. That dataset was the AMA’s Physician Masterfile which tracked the identity and location of all physicians in America from the time they entered medical school.Continue reading…
By MIKE MAGEE
Dr. Linda Rosenstock has an M.D. and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. She is currently Dean Emeritus and Professor of Health Policy and Management at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, but also spent years in government, and was on President Obama’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health.
In the wake of the release of Justice Alito’s memo trashing Roe v. Wade, she was asked to comment about the status of abortion in America. Here is what she said:
“The broader the access to proven family planning methods, the lower the unintended pregnancy rate and the lower the abortion rate. We can’t underestimate the role of educating and empowering women – and men – about these issues.”
These are not simply the opinions or insights of a single health expert. They are backed up by the following facts:
- Since 1981, abortion rates in U.S. women, age 15 to 44, have declined by nearly two thirds from 29.3 per 1000 to 11.4 per 1000.
2. Approximately half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. Of those unintended, approximately 40% of the women chose to terminate the pregnancy by abortion – either procedural or chemically induced.
3. The decline in the number of abortions has coincided with increased access to long-acting reversible contraception, including IUD’s and contraceptive implants. These options are now safe, increasingly covered by insurers, and more accessible to at-risk populations.
4. The increasing inclusion of sex education in middle school and high school curricula has been accompanied by a decline in high school sexual activity by 17% between 2009 and 2019.
5. There were 629,898 abortions recorded by the CDC in 2019. For every 1000 live births that year, there were 195 other women who chose to terminate their pregnancies. Almost half of the 1st trimester abortions are now chemically induced through Plan B-type pills.
What is clear from these figures is that knowledge and access to contraception is the best way to decrease the number of abortions in America.Continue reading…