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Daily Rounds: Cancer Drug Shortage; Graphic Cigarette Warnings; Sprained Ankle Calls; Hospital 'Haves' And 'Have-Nots'

Cancer drug shortages distress patients, worry doctors - The Boston Globe "Drug shortages have been on the rise in recent years, affecting everything from antibiotics to anesthesia drugs, for reasons that range from manufacturing problems to companies discontinuing a medication. But shortages are particularly harrowing with cancer drugs, when time is of the essence and substitutes aren’t always available. More than a dozen cancer drugs are now in short supply, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, creating a situation that doctors at local hospitals say is unprecedented, and worsening. A drug used to treat testicular cancer is scarce; earlier this year, a leukemia drug was affected. And some of the drugs used to treat pediatric cancers, many of which are curable, are in short supply."

Tobacco firms sue FDA over new graphic warnings - USATODAY.com COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — "Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights and will cost millions of dollars to print. The companies, led by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., said the warnings no longer simply convey facts to allow people to make a decision whether to smoke. They instead force them to put government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently on their packs than their own brands, the companies say. They want a judge to stop the labels." (USA Today)

Sprained Ankle? Calling ER First Saves Time, Money: Shots - NPR "Got a bum leg or ankle? If you do, maybe you should call ahead to the emergency room instead of immediately driving over. A study by doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston suggests that hospitals could save time and money if patients with ankle sprains and other lower extremity injuries talk to a health provider first, then schedule an appointment — rather than come to the emergency department during regular business hours."

Addiction a brain disorder, not just bad behavior - Associated Press News - Salon.com "Addiction isn't just about willpower. It's a chronic brain disease, says a new definition aimed at helping families and their doctors better understand the challenges of treating it. "Addiction is about a lot more than people behaving badly," says Dr. Michael M. Miller of the American Society for Addiction Medicine." (Salon)

Reform, pay cuts likely to widen gap between rich and poor hospitals — American Medical News "When it comes to hospitals and their financial health, they are either thriving or wheezing — with no in-between. "The gap between the haves and have-nots is getting bigger," said Samuel R. Maizel, who represents financially distressed hospitals as a partner at the Los Angeles-based law firm of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones." (ama-assn.org)

This program aired on August 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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