The Catalyst

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Lisa Tharp of the Ohio State Grange has written an interesting piece printed in the Columbus (OH) Dispatch: Medicare Part D plan works just fine as it is. A key insight: "...competition has driven down costs dramatically. Work from the Medicare trustees shows that the national average monthly premium for a Part D plan this year is just $30, well under the $53 projected at the program's creation.


Ah, flu season will soon be upon us. I see my supermarket and local pharmacy signing people up for this year's flu shot. Here's a piece from one of my favorite nerd sites talking about this years' vaccine and why it is important to be vaccinated.

09.26.11 | By Jay Taylor, By Jay Taylor

Last week, my colleague Grady Forrer wrote about non-communicable diseases, which are posing new and growing threats to the developing world, including countries like India.

09.23.11 | By Kate Connors
Our digital team here has made some really moving videos of patients as part of our medicines in development reports, and I've always enjoyed sharing them on The Catalyst.
I'm always fascinated by the intersection of science and popular culture - in this case, serious research into finding new treatments to fight HIV/AIDS and gaming. I saw this interesting piece yesterday about how "gamers" helped University of Washington scientists "crack" an HIV/AIDS research puzzle. According to the piece:
09.22.11 | By Kate Connors

Recently, we had the chance to speak with Mary Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), about the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Grealy is also the co-chair of Medicare Today, a program intended to help seniors understand and enroll in Medicare Part D.

09.21.11 | By Kate Connors

This week, an op-ed by John C. Lechleiter - the president, chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, one of PhRMA's member companies - highlighted what he calls "two success stories," one being the jobs supported in Indiana by the innovative life sciences sector there and the other being the "efficiency and satisfaction" associated with Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit.

Non-communicable disease (NCDs) "are what the human body will encounter if it lives long enough." Though the interesting and alarming story in this morning's Washington Post about NCDs doesn't say so, that may be some good news.
09.14.11 | By Kate Connors

My PhRMA colleague, Kendra Martello, was up on the Hill today, helping the U.S. Senate HELP Committee better understand what can be done to strengthen the medicine supply chain and make it even more secure (read our testimony and statement). See what she had to say.

We've come a long way in the fight against any number of diseases over the last 50 years.
09.13.11 | By Erin Mullen
I got a chance to see Contagion over the weekend and I have to say I liked it. As an emergency response professional with a medical background, I watched it with a critical eye to see how they portrayed how a real pandemic might unfold.
Leave it to a Stephen Colbert piece to tickle my funny bone this morning.
09.07.11 | By Kate Connors

I remember one newspaper column from nearly a year ago that has stuck with me: a physician boasting about his refusal to engage with biopharmaceutical research companies. He was proud of his decision, but he went so far as to confess that he doesn't always know about new medicines reaching the market.

I wonder how the patients he treated would have felt to hear that.

09.01.11 | By Kate Connors

Today, the FDA published the PDUFA-V performance goals letter, detailing the agreement that resulted from many months of technical negotiations between the biopharmaceutical industry and FDA, with unprecedented input from a variety of stakeholders, including patients and medical provider groups.


Take a look at Thomas Capone's oped "Medicare D Change N.J. Can Ill Afford" at It does a good job at putting the potential consequences of proposed Medicare drug benefit changes into perspective.

08.31.11 | By Kate Connors

Last week, we directed your attention to a settlement Google made with the Department of Justice, in which Google forfeited the money they'd made accepting ads from online Canadian pharmacies.

By opening America's doors to potential counterfeit prescription medicines, this practice put patients in the U.S. in danger.

08.30.11 | By Kate Connors
As part of our ongoing blog series on Medicare Part D, The Catalyst caught up with former four-term Wisconsin Governor and former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. The Catalyst: Governor, you were HHS Secretary when Medicare Part D was enacted by Congress in 2003. If you would, tell about your early experience with the program.

I saw this story on Rx Response on Miami's It talks about how Rx Respoonse was one of the important "lessons learned" from Hurricane Katrina. It's worth a look.

08.29.11 | By Kate Connors

Just over 30 years ago was the first time that a medical journal mentioned the disease we now know as HIV/AIDS. Just three years later, researcher Marty St.