HPM Faculty News

Gellad's take on drugmakers defiance to Trump's call to drop prices

POLITICO - President Donald Trump said that drugmakers would soon announce “massive” price cuts, and his administration rolled out a plan to bring down medicine costs. But companies don’t appear to have gotten the message. “The bully pulpit can't make fundamental change. It can provide perhaps a short-term victory...but it can’t do what the administration said,” said HPM's Walid Gellad, Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing.   

HPM faculty researcher wins the 2018 AcademyHealth Article-of-the Year Award

A recent study, led by HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS has been named the 2018 Article-of-the-YearAcademyHealth, a leading national research center focused on advancing the fields of health services research and health policy. Entitled "The Value-Based Payment Modifier: Program Outcomes and Implications for Disparities," the work studied a precursor to the merit-based incentive payment system, Medicare’s new pay-for-performance program for physicians.  

Tribal Legal Preparedness Project now available on CDC Web site

The Tribal Legal Preparedness Project, created by HPM's TINA BATRA HERSHEY and the Center for Public Health Practice, is now available! Check it out and share with anyone who may be interested in emergency preparedness for Tribal Nations.   

Pittsburgh finds overdose risk quintuples with opioid and Benzodiazepine use

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In the first 90 days of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use, the risk of opioid-related overdose increases five-fold compared to opioid-only use among Medicare recipients. "Having multiple prescribers who are not in communication increases the risk for overdose,” says HPM's YUTING ZHANG. "Policy interventions should focus on preventing concurrent exposure,” says INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16).  

Pitt Public Health study helps inform new legislation sponsored by Sen Toomey (video)

In Sen Toomey's weekly e-newsletter, he announces that the Senate Finance Committee adopted his amendment, the Encouraging Appropriate Prescribing for Victims of Overdose in Medicare Act, to require Medicare to notify a doctor if their patient has suffered a non-fatal opioid overdose. Toomey references a study by experts including JULIE DONOHUE, HPM professor, in his discussion about the need to inform doctors of patient overdoses.   

The common drug that may make opioid overdose five times as likely

FORBES - A new study shows that the combination of opioids with benzodiazepines is especially risky in the first 90 days of concurrent use. "These findings demonstrate that fragmented care plays a role in the inappropriate use of opioids, and having multiple prescribers who are not in communication increases the risk for overdose," HPM's YUTING ZHANG told Forbes about a study also featuring INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) as first author.   

Donohue explains 5 points about the affordable care act (video)

In this talk, JULIE DONOHUE discusses five key factors about the Affordable Care Act. She touches on medicaid expansion, which increased insurance coverage in the U.S. for over 20 million people, and she talks about the uninsured rate. "[The ACA] has led to the biggest reduction in the uninsured in history and we have the lowest level of uninsured that we’ve ever recorded at about 10%."  

Kahn speaks on the challenge to report new CMS sepsis measure

THE HOSPITALIST - In October 2015, CMS implemented its first meaningful policy to attempt for addressing sepsis, however, not everyone has embraced it thus far. “Sepsis is indeed a critical public health problem, and it’s appropriate and valuable that Medicare and other policy makers are focusing on sepsis,” said HPM's JEREMY KAHN. "But at 85-pages long, it really is an enormous effort for hospitals to adhere to this measure."  

Pan on suicide stats from Allegheny Country getting worse

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Suicides in Allegheny County have increased 66 percent over just eight years from 2010 to 2017. The increase is far higher than the 25 percent national increase, or the 30 percent increase in Pennsylvania over 18 years between 1999 and 2016. “This is really upsetting to me because for so long our [suicide] rates were going down,” said HUGEN's LISA PAN.   

Roberts on one way people who inject drugs can avoid HIV and Hepatitis C infections

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - Tens of thousands of people (if not more) who inject heroin, fentanyl and other opioids are at risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C from a contaminated syringe. Research shows that programs in which people who inject drugs turn in their used needles in exchange for clean ones are effective in preventing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.  

Proposal could take SNAP away from 70,000 Pennsylvania households - Roberts responds

WESA-FM - Two major proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could cause 70,000 Pennsylvania households to lose eligibility. “I think there’s concern that with this new policy, we might be erring more on the side of being punitive and too restrictive,” says HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS. “And I think that might come at a cost of helping people who deserve it and benefit from these programs.” 

Maryland's plan to control health costs gets federal approval, Roberts among analysts

THE BALTIMORE SUN - The federal government has approved a plan Maryland has been testing for the past four years to control health costs by shifting more care out of hospitals and better coordinating care with doctors, nursing homes and community groups. HPM's ERIC T. ROBERTS, was among those to analyze the system.  

Opioid Makers' Perks to Docs Tied to More Prescriptions says Donohue

U.S. NEWS - Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests. HPM's JULIE DONOHUE, agreed that the study doesn't prove perks caused doctors to prescribe more opioids. But in the context of an opioid epidemic, "we have good reason to believe that industry promotion influences prescribing behavior," she said.  

Trump drug pricing 'blueprint' could take years to build says Gellad

NPR - President Trump announced a plan that lists dozens of "potential" steps his team may take to lower drug prices. "On the positive side, I will say that HHS does seem to be paying close attention to this issue," says HPM’s Walid F. Gellad, who also serves as head of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing. "On the negative side, it's a bunch of questions, not a specific plan for how to proceed."  

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