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2 posts from July 2014

07/27/2014

"Get Screened" or Surviving Prostate Cancer (the 2nd Most Deadly Cancer Among Men): A Conversation with Guido Adelfio & Howard Topel (July 24th)

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A few years ago the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality sponsored billboard ads that stating simply "this year thousands of men will die from stubbornness."  The message was intended to encourage moreover middle age men to seek preventive health screening since they are 25 percent less likely than women to visit a doctor in any one year and 30 percent more likely to be hospitalized for a preventable condition.   While prostate cancer is largely survivable, aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, it is the most common cancer among men (most prevalent among African Americans) particularly men over age 50, it usually presents without any symptoms and men "stubbornly" ignore being (routinely) tested.   Nearly 200,000 cases are diagnosed annually causing over 28,000 deaths.  While the value of PSA testing is debated, a digital rectal exam, while incomplete, evaluates the back of the prostate where 85% of prostate cancers arise.   

During this 21 minute discussion Guido shares his personal experience, i.e., how he came to be diagnosed, his treatment (still ongoing) and his efforts to public raise awareness.   Another prostate cancer survivor,  Howard Topel, comments on his treatment and survival - that he owes to hearing Guido's "get screened" presentation.        

For the past 30 years Guido Adelfio has managed his family's custom travel business (Bethesda 0[1]Travel Center, LLC) in Bethesda, Maryland.  After a happenstance conversation with a friend about preventive health screening, Guido scheduled a prostate screening exam.   The exam determined he had Stage IV metastatic prostate cancer.   His diagnosis was determined to be fatal.   Fortunately Guido was able to enroll in a NIH experimental treatment therapy program that saved his life.

 

Topel

Howard Topel is a 66 year old retired communications attorney.  He represented radio and television station owners for 38 years.  Through the early detection of a PSA test, he was diagnosed at the age of 55 with highly aggressive form of prostate cancer.  The early detection saved his life, and he now fully enjoys retirement with his wife Andria and watching his children Fred and Melanie and infant granddaughter Celia grow and thrive.

 

For more on prostate cancer and screeing see the related CDC information at: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/

07/08/2014

Policy Options to Mitigate Gilead's $1,000 Hepaitis C Pill: A Conversation with Chris Dawe (July 10th)

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Late last year Gilead Sciences received FDA approval for its Hepatitis C drug Solvaldi.   Hepatitis C (Hep C) affects three to four million Americans and can have serious health consequences.  Gilead priced the drug at $1,000 a pill or between $84,000 and $168,000 for the full, curative treatment (effective in approximately 90% of patients).   However as priced if every Hep C patient received Solvaldi the cost would equal the combined annual spending amount for all drugs sold in the US.

During this 21 minute podcast Chris discusses how and why this drug's pricing effects all of health care financing and delivery, the work the DC-based Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing is doing to try to mitigate Solvaldi's cost, when and if similar Hep C drugs entering the market will force Gilead to lower its price and why past efforts to moderate pharmaceutical drug pricing, e.g., authoring Medicare to negotiate drug prices it pays, have proved unsuccessful.   

Through this past April Chris Dawe was the Health Care Policy Adviser for the White House Dawe headshotNational Economic Council.  Previously, Chris served as Director of Delivery System Reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Before joining the administration in 2011 Chris served as a Professional Staff member for the US Senate Finance Committee under Chairman Max Baucus. From 2007 to 2008, Chris served as Health Policy Adviser to Senator John Kerry. Prior still Chris was a Legislative Analyst at Jennings Policy Strategies in DC, while there he served in 2006 as the Deputy Director for Global Health at the Clinton Global Initiative.   Before coming to Washington, DC, Chris was a Market Analyst at Partners Healthcare, Massachusetts' largest hospital system.  Chris is a Massachusetts native and a magna cum laude gratudate of Bowdoin College.