HPM Faculty News

Gellad on Pfizer's plans to raise drug prices in 2019

THE FISCAL TIMES - When drug giant Pfizer announced in July that it would roll back price hikes on its drugs, it made clear that the change was temporary. The company said Friday it is planning to raise the list prices on 41 of its drugs effective January 15. “The drug price pledges made earlier this year were just for show—it was obvious at the time, and it's obvious now,” said HPM's Walid Gellad, director of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Po... 

Roberts comments on 'skinny plan' health insurance offered on the ACA individual market

WESA FM - For the first time since 2013, taxpayers won’t be penalized for not having health insurance. Some people might decide ACA-compliant coverage isn't something they need and instead might select a lower-cost “skinny plan.” HPM's Eric Roberts said it’s important to read the fine print before choosing this type of insurance.  

Angus shares the latest on efforts to increase communication in the ICU (AUDIO)

JAMA NETWORK - What if the patient you are managing in the ICU is not asleep when you thought they were? In this podcast, Derek Angus (BCHS '92), chair of critical care medicine and HPM faculty, shares the latest research on the impact the ICU has on patients and best evidence-guided practices to help clinicians keep the patient at the center of care. "In the ICU there's a whole set of issues that get in the way of good communication."  

Gellad editorial on Trump's proposal for Medicare Part B

STAT - "President Trump’s timely speech about high drug prices addressed key problems that make drugs unaffordable for so many Americans, and for taxpayers in general. Although the effort put into addressing drug pricing by the Trump administration is impressive, the solutions proposed face insurmountable challenges. I worry that the plan will meet the same fate as prior proposals to change how we pay for drugs in Medicare Part B."  

Batra Hershey contributes to Biodefense Report

In a biodefense emergency - such as a terrorist attack using aerosolized plague - what are the needs of our country's 573 Tribal Nations? HPM"s TINA BATRA HERSHEY, assistant director for Law and Policy in the Center for Public Health Practice, recently contributed to a national report concluding that Tribal Nations need the opportunity to receive federal support in public health emergency preparedness planning.  

FRED takes 1st place of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup

Congratulations to the winners of the Kuzneski Innovation Cup, HPM and PHDL's MARK ROBERTS and JOHN GREFENSTETTE, JOHN CORDIER (HPM '18), and DEAN DONALD S. BURKE! 1st place went to FRED (a Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), a software platform that simulates the spread of disease, mitigation strategies, & policy implications.The Kuzneski Innovation Cup is for Pitt students who are developing innovations that can positively ... 

Pitt wins federal grant to use big data and AI to help solve opioid epidemic

PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - Pitt Public Health has won a $1.2 million grant from the CDC to bring to bear its computer and algorithmic firepower on the nation's opioid epidemic. The two-year grant builds upon Pitt's modeling system called A Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED). "Our hope is it's the tool we can train to help" with the drug epidemic, said DEAN DONALD S. BURKE.  

Gellad on the battle to control drug costs with new patent laws

KAISER HEALTH NEWS - As congressional action seems increasingly unlikely, two approaches offer another possible path forward. The first is known as “march-in rights.” The second is generally referred to as Section 1498 because of its location in the U.S. Code. They are “already part of a law that is intact.… An option the administration can take now,” said Walid Gellad, HPM faculty member and head of Pitt's Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and P... 

Hundreds of nursing homes throughout the country forced to close their doors

NEW YORK TIMES - Fewer patients are winding up in nursing homes, and hundreds of the facilities are closing each year. Nationally, “200 to 300 nursing homes close each year,” said HPM's NICHOLAS CASTLE. The number of residents keeps shrinking, too, from 1.48 million in 2000 to 1.36 million in 2015, according to federal data.  

Pittsburgh finds current liver allocation system disadvantages children awaiting liver transplants

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Children are at a considerable disadvantage when competing with adults for livers from deceased organ donors in the U.S. allocation system. “Using national, long-term data, our report is the first to demonstrate that the scoring system, on its own, dramatically underestimates the risk of death in the next 90 days and, thereby, disadvantages children," says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.  

Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016

SCIENCE - In an effort to understand the epidemic dynamics and perhaps predict its future course, Pitt Public Health researchers analyzed records of nearly 600,000 overdose deaths. Dean DONALD BURKE, HPM's HAWRE JALAL, and colleagues concluded that the U.S. drug overdose epidemic has been inexorably tracking along an exponential growth curve since at least 1979.   

Roberts and colleagues investigate how adjusting for additional clinical and social patient characteristics affects hospital readmission rates

HEALIO - According to a new study, when adjusting for additional clinical and social variables, hospital variation in readmission rates are reduced. “In several pay-for-performance programs, Medicare ties payments to readmission rates but accounts only for a limited set of patient characteristics — and no measures of social risk — when assessing performance of health care providers,” said HPM's ERIC ROBERTS, and colleagues.  

HSLS new program includes FRED

The Health Sciences Library System has created a new program called Spotlight Series: Software Developed @ Pitt. This program focuses on software developed by Pitt health sciences researchers. DAVID SINCLAIR, PHDL post-doctoral researcher/programmer, will present at the first session on “FRED: A versatile Framework for Modeling Infectious Diseases and Other Health Conditions.”   

Children lose out on liver transplants, Pitt Public Health study finds

NBC - Children who need lifesaving liver transplants are losing out to adults. A system used to determine who is most in need of a transplant significantly underestimates the risk of death for younger children with liver disease, a Pitt Public Health study found. Senior author and HPM chair, MARK ROBERTS, said, "pediatric transplant physicians have long recognized the scoring system isn’t adequate when comparing children to adults."  

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