health policy

Unmasking the cost of cancer drug development

Cancer drug R&D spending may be a fraction of the estimate cited by the biopharmaceutical industry.     The average price of anticancer drugs has been rising by about 10 percent annually in recent years, with annual costs for a single drug now routinely running to $100,000 or more. The burden is falling hard on people with cancer. In one study, 34 percent of survivors went into debt (and 9 percent who went into debt … Read More

When evidence contradicts entrenched medical practices

‘Medical reversal’ harms patients and undermines faith in the medical system. Hematologist-oncologist Vinay Prasad is pushing to change how medicine adopts new technologies.   Medical reversal is the phenomenon when a medical practice falls out of favor not by being surpassed, but when researchers discover that it didn’t really work all along. “I think the lesson of reversal is we need robust, large-scale, pragmatic, randomized control trials,” said OHSU assistant professor Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H. “That should … Read More

When cancer drug marketing sneaks into a soap opera plot

Polycythemia vera is an uncommon blood cancer that can be controlled with long-established treatments. So it seemed more than a little suspicious to Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H., when the disease took center stage in an episode of “General Hospital” – the longest running daytime drama on American television. “I felt there had to be some backstory,” Prasad, an OHSU Knight Cancer Institute hematologist-oncologist told listeners of  the public radio program Think Out Loud. “What we found was … Read More

Lessons from Oregon about end-of-life care

At the end of life, people in Oregon are more likely to have their care wishes honored, less likely to be hospitalized and more likely to use home hospice services compared with people in Washington and the rest of the U.S.

With foundation help, an Oregon doctor roots out low-value medical practices

Physicians have started to face up to an uncomfortable truth: their profession has often embraced new treatments that don’t really help patients. “When you look at the balance of benefit and harm, some therapies provide no net benefit,” says OHSU assistant professor Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H., who has landed a $2 million grant to go after the problem.

Oncology knows no borders: Unintended impact of the new U.S. travel ban

The travel ban issued by President Donald Trump could bring an unintended consequence for U.S. citizens: the loss of medical care givers serving rural communities and poor neighborhoods. “Immigrants have always done what no one else wants to do – and this includes providing high-quality medical care for underserved patients,”  say OHSU Knight Cancer Institute physicians Nima Nabavizadeh, M.D., and Charles Thomas, Jr., M.D., in a commentary in JAMA Oncology.

Charting the financial conflicts of doctors on Twitter

#Igetpaidbythemaker A detailed look at the tweeting habits of more than 600 hematologist-oncologists in the U.S. and found that 72 percent were recipients of industry money for consulting, travel, lodging, or food and beverage. It’s raising questions about physicians’ duty to report conflict of interest when using social media.

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Cancer researchers have devised a way to rapidly screen combinations of drugs to identify pairs of agents most likely to work synergistically against some of the most difficult to treat forms of leukemia.