Medical Device Recalls, Synthetic Cannabinoids and Other Top Healthcare Headlines
In November Healthcare news:
Cannabinoid-based therapies are welcomed by pharmaceutical industry…
The majority of international clinicians polled in a recent New England Journal of Medicine survey are in favor of using medical marijuana to treat specific disease states, despite the legal obstacles that have limited research.
- 1,446 votes were cast from 72 countries and 56 states and provinces across North America, with votes primarily (1063) from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
- 76 percent of participants worldwide voted in favor of using marijuana for medicinal purposes even though the use of marijuana is still illegal in most of these countries.
- In North America, specifically, 78 percent voted in favor of medical marijuana use.
GBI Research reports indicate, despite legal restrictions, the synthetic cannabinoid market is heating up, especially for products used to treat “anorexia nervosa related to HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis spasticity, and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.”
“More recently, products have been approved that contain cannabinoids extracted directly from the plant, as opposed to synthetic recreations. Indeed, there are 90 pipeline cannabinoid products, including two in Phase III development,” explained Associate Analyst for GBI Research Thomas Jarratt.
Drug delivery by light-driven motors coming soon…
Scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Semenov Institute of ChemicalPhysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Chuiko Institute of Surface Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine have proposed a nanosized, light-driven motor that possesses enough power to carry loads making it possible to act as a drug delivery system, according to the study published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.
“These devices could actually be applied wherever rapid nanoparticle transport is required,” lead researcher Leonid Trakhtenberg of the MIPT explained. “In chemistry and physics, they could help develop new analytical and synthetic instruments, while in biology and medicine they could be used to deliver drugs to diseased tissues, improve gene therapy strategies, and so on.”
Office of Inspector General has set 2017 goals…
When it comes to bolstering U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institute of Health (NIH) data security and tackling electronic health record (EHR) challenges, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has made it clear that 2017’s agenda will raise the bar. Also important in the 2017 agenda: ensuring protection and privacy of Precision Medicine Initiative volunteer data.
- The 2016 fiscal year budget provided $200 million to NIH for the Precision Medicine Initiative.
- Over one million volunteers will provide personal health information under the program to be studied by researchers. Securing this data is a top priority.
- OIG also plans to audit HHS information security system security controls that track prescription drug disbursements to determine if these HHS applications—network, tools, and databases–meet federal information security standards.
- Reviews to address issues with electronic health records will help OIG to determine the extent of which providers in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) use EHRs for health information exchange (HIE) to meet care coordination goals, as well as challenges to HIE including interoperability, financial barriers, and information blocking.
- Medical device recalls rose 29 percent over the previous quarter: up to 339.
Recalled devices increased 187 percent to approximately 116 million, the highest since Q3 of 2012.
- At 59.1 percent, the majority of the recalls were recalled due to quality issues, according to the report.
- Software and mislabeling issues were behind 48.1 percent of the recalls, with leakage accounting for 4.6 percent of recalls.
- 47 percent of the medical device recalls were international, the lowest level in 4 years.
- 55 percent of recalls were nationwide, according to the report.
- 50 companies experienced more than 1 recall during the 3rd quarter of 2016, the highest numbers since 2014.
It’s important to note that about 75 percent of the largest recalls during the quarter were related to machine failure, and two of the largest recalls were for machine failure and collectively accounted for more than half of the total number of recalled units. Also, both numbers of recalled units and that of recalls hit three-year lows, coming in at 30 percent below their two-year quarterly averages.
To add to the list: Prominent cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola just called to halt to left atrial appendage closure procedures using Boston Scientific’s Watchman implants, claiming that while the device seeks to reduce strokes in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, procedures result in the opposite.