Business of Medicine

Miles Bryan / WBEZ

Over the past few months, medical professionals on Chicago’s South Side have been trying a new tactic to bring down the area’s infant mortality rate: find women of childbearing age and ask them about everything.

Really, everything.

You might not suspect that the success of the emerging field of precision medicine depends heavily on the couriers who push carts down hospital halls.

But samples taken during surgery may end up in poor shape by the time they get to the pathology lab — and that has serious implications for patients as well as for scientists who want to use that material to develop personalized tests and treatments that are safer and more effective.

Pharmacists Slow To Dispense Lifesaving Overdose Drug Naloxone

Dec 21, 2017
Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Gale Dunham, a pharmacist in Calistoga, Calif., knows the devastation the opioid epidemic has wrought, and she is glad the anti-overdose drug naloxone is becoming more accessible.

How To Get Hospitals To Check A Patient's Drug History? Make It Easy.

Dec 11, 2017
Samantha Horton / Side Effects Public Media

Doctors move fast in the ER. Every second counts. That’s why Dr. Gina Huhnke is excited about a new way to quickly check her patients’ history with narcotics. She’s the emergency department director of Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville.


Updated at 8 p.m. ET

CVS is preparing to buy the health insurance giant Aetna for $69 billion, the companies say.

Flurry of Federal and State Probes Target Insulin Drugmakers and Pharma Middlemen

Nov 4, 2017

With the price of a crucial diabetes drug skyrocketing, at least five states and a federal prosecutor are demanding information from insulin manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry’s financial middlemen, seeking answers about their business relationships and the soaring price of diabetes drugs.

Dan Margolies / KCUR

No one at the hospital in Fulton, Missouri (population 12,790) had ever heard of a management consultant named Jorge Perez until he showed up at its potluck in September.


Many Breast Cancer Patients Receive More Radiation Therapy Than Needed

Oct 23, 2017

When Annie Dennison was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she readily followed advice from her medical team, agreeing to harsh treatments in the hope of curing her disease.

"You're terrified out of your mind" after a diagnosis of cancer, said Dennison, 55, a retired psychologist from Orange County, Calif.

In addition to lumpectomy surgery, chemotherapy and other medications, Dennison underwent six weeks of daily radiation treatments. She agreed to the lengthy radiation regimen, she said, because she had no idea there was another option.

Pressure Mounts On Insurers To Examine Role In Opioid Crisis

Oct 20, 2017

A prominent Democratic lawmaker has asked major health insurers whether their policies and preferred prescription drug lists have made the nation’s opioid epidemic worse.

Matt Roth / for ProPublica

If you’ve ever put in an eyedrop, some of it has almost certainly spilled onto your eyelid or cheek.

The good news is the mess doesn’t necessarily mean you missed. The bad news is that medicine you wiped off your face is wasted by design — and it’s well-known to the drug companies that make the drops.

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