Daily Rounds: Drug Shortages; Medical Scooter Fraud; Crowdsourcing Surgical Inventions; Arrest In Castration

Record Drug Shortages Strain Hospitals' Ability To Cope : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "If you're hospitalized, here's hoping you won't need any succinylcholine, a muscle relaxant; epinephrine in a syringe for severe allergic reactions; or emergency-use syringes of lidocaine for irregular heartbeats. All three of those drugs are high on the list of drugs experiencing shortages. Last year was the worst ever for drug shortages at the nation's hospitals, according to a paper just published online by the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. There were 211 drugs that were in such short supply pharmacists had to scramble to find alternatives, a nationwide survey found." (

Feds, Medicare crack down on medical scooter fraud - "The federal government is cracking down on medical-equipment providers who either overcharge Medicare for motorized wheelchairs or obtain them for people who don't need them, Medicare and Justice Department records show. Medicare plans to almost triple the number of anti-fraud strike forces it operates nationwide, from seven to 20, U.S. Health and Human Services Department budget documents show. So far this year, Justice has won the convictions of 16 people throughout the country who have defrauded Medicare for $57 million, records show. Another six people are being prosecuted now for running what federal prosecutors say is a nationwide ring that has bilked the government of at least $30 million." (USA Today)

Cleveland Clinic teams with Massachusetts firm on biomed open innovation - Crain's Cleveland Business "The Cleveland Clinic has partnered with InnoCentive — an open innovation and crowd-sourcing company based in Waltham, Mass. — to look beyond the health system's walls for problem-solving ideas in an effort to speed up biomedical research. As part of the arrangement, the Clinic will post six challenges on the InnoCentive website, which will offer cash rewards. In its first challenge, the Clinic is looking for ideas for a small sensor device that can be inserted after ligament or tendon surgery to monitor the healing process between a soft tissue and bone. The challenge, which was posted yesterday, carries a $30,000 prize." (Crains Cleveland Business)

Wife arrested in penis-severing case - "Becker, 48, told police she had drugged her husband's dinner to make him sleepy, tied him to the bed and then cut off his penis, which she tossed into the garbage disposal. The 51-year-old victim, whose name was not released, was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. Becker was arrested on suspicion of aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony, poisoning and spousal abuse." (Los Angeles Times)

Harvard Medical School Professor Among Five Accused of Ghostwriting — The Harvard Crimson "A complaint filed with the federal Office of Research Integrity alleged that a group of psychiatrists, including an associate professor at the Harvard Medical School, signed their names to an academic paper written by a communications firm hired by a major pharmaceutical company. Gary S. Sachs, a researcher affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital, is one of five doctors identified in the formal accusation filed July 8 by University of Pennsylvania professor Jay D. Amsterdam. The psychiatrists allowed the medical communications company Scientific Therapeutics Information, hired by SmithKline Beecham, to draft a paper using their names, according to the complaint. The paper suggested that the antidepressant Paxil can help treat bipolar disorder." (

This program aired on July 13, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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