Physician Practice Roundup—AMA urges FTC to monitor insulin pricing

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Doctors are worried that rising insulin prices will make the drug unaffordable for some patients. (Pixabay)

AMA urges FTC to monitor insulin pricing

Concerned about the rapid rise in the price of insulin for patients, the American Medical Association has urged the Federal Trade Commission to monitor insulin pricing and market competition to keep the drug affordable. In a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, the physician group suggested the FTC recommend enforcement action against manufacturers that engage in anticompetitive actions to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The AMA said physicians have become increasingly concerned that the rise in the price of insulin is unrelated to the actual costs of research, development, commercialization or production. (AMA letter (PDF))

Gun injuries send over 8,000 kids to the emergency room every year

Over a nine-year period, gun injuries, including 49% from assaults, sent 75,000 children and teens to the emergency room—over 8,000 cases each year.

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Over a third of the children were hospitalized and 6% died, according to the study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The study looked at emergency department visits for individuals younger than 18 years for firearm-related injuries between 2006 and 2014.

The American College of Physicians released its updated policy position on how to reduce gun violence and renewed its support for a ban on civilian ownership of assault weapons. The position paper, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, called for legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, transfer and ownership of semiautomatic firearms for civilian use. (JAMA Pediatrics study, Annals of Internal Medicine position paper)

Federal judge bans doctor from practice after opioid charges

A federal judge has barred an Ohio doctor from prescribing opioids or practicing medicine after he was accused of illegally prescribing painkillers.

The judge approved an injunction permanently barring Akron, Ohio-based Michael P. Tricaso, D.O., from practicing medicine, the Department of Justice said. Federal officials filed a complaint against the osteopath and a second Ohio doctor in August alleging that they prescribed medically unnecessary opioids. (Department of Justice announcement)

Athenahealth floats kickback carve-out that would allow physicians to pay for clinical data exchange

Athenahealth is asking federal regulators to create a fraud exemption that would allow doctors to pay “fair market value” for patient data, creating a business case for interoperability.

Such an approach would establish “a true functioning market for the exchange of health information,” Greg Carey, director of government and regulatory affairs at Athenahealth, wrote in a letter (PDF) to Inspector General Daniel Levinson. Carey said the payments would be "nominal." (FierceHealthcare)