Welcome to the most recent version of Investigative Roundup, highlighting a number of the greatest investigative reporting on healthcare every week.
Journal Revamps Whistleblower Coverage After Alzheimer’s Debacle
Whistleblowers elevating considerations concerning the integrity of journal publications will probably be requested to reveal potential conflicts of curiosity when making claims, based on Nature.
Final yr, 4 whistleblowers complained to JCI and different journals about what they mentioned had been doctored photographs and knowledge in a variety of printed papers, a few of which had been associated to simufilam, an experimental Alzheimer’s drug from Cassava Sciences.
In an editorial, JCI editor-in-chief Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, wrote that what she did not know on the time was that the whistleblowers had been short-selling Cassava inventory. McNally alleged the authors profited when the inventory worth of Cassava dropped 55% after they complained to the journals, together with JCIand filed a petition with the FDA.
The whistleblowers “deny any wrongdoing and stand by their allegations, with three sayings that they made solely comparatively small quantities of cash from buying and selling Cassava inventory,” based on Nature.
Journals have retracted a minimum of 5 papers on these considerations, Nature reported, together with two of the three papers that bolstered simufilam. The US Securities and Change Fee is investigating the matter.
Maternity Providers Reduce The place They’re Most Wanted
Hospitals that had been already pressed for sources have continued to shut obstetric items, drawing concern within the wake of abortion restrictions and rising pregnancy-related deaths, based on Axios.
In Illinois, Connecticut, Florida, and elsewhere, hospitals not too long ago shuttered obstetrics companies, and suppliers and advocates have raised considerations about present “maternity deserts” turning into a much bigger downside in states the place abortion is now banned.
Closures are being pushed by low Medicaid reimbursement charges, staffing shortages, and decrease beginning charges, Axios reported. The worst of the cuts for rural hospitals truly predated the pandemic, from 2014 to 2018, however pandemic funding could be the final string connecting rural moms to native maternity care in some counties.
Axios spoke to Peiyin Hung, PhD, a professor on the College of South Carolina, who mentioned ladies in rural areas already must journey 24 miles to the closest obstetrics unit, and the closure of 1 can double the space somebody must journey for being pregnant care.
“There is not any one coverage that may actually resolve this,” Hung mentioned, as Medicaid is unlikely to lift reimbursement charges, and states that have not expanded this system aren’t anticipated to take action.
Cigarette Producers Evade California Taste Bans
The producer of Camel and Newport cigarettes, RJ Reynolds, is discovering new methods round California’s tobacco rules with a brand new advertising and marketing marketing campaign that hints at menthol taste with out truly promoting it, the New York Occasions reported.
A brand new regulation that went into impact in December bans any “distinguishable style or aroma” in tobacco merchandise apart from tobacco itself. The regulation explicitly mentions menthol and mint.
RJ Reynolds, nonetheless, mailed fliers to clients studying “California, We have Received You Coated.” The corporate will carry non-menthol variations of merchandise that they are saying have “a brand new recent twist” and “a style that satisfies the senses.” The merchandise use what the New York Occasions calls a “artificial cooling agent” known as WS-3, that has no odor or taste — and unknown well being results.
“If you happen to squint on the advertisements, you are going to see this as a flavorful product, whether or not it says it or not,” Pamela Ling, MD, director of the Heart for Tobacco Management Analysis and Training on the College of California San Francisco , instructed the New York Occasions. “The colours, the packaging, the associations that your mind makes with the feel and appear — that overrides the textual content that claims this isn’t menthol.”
Critics are calling the promoting marketing campaign outrageous, and warn that cigarette firms will as soon as once more evade penalties for flouting authorities rules meant to bolster public well being. Consultants say it is consistent with “racist, predatory advertising and marketing” of menthol merchandise which have traditionally focused Black folks.
Robert Jackler, MD, a professor at Stanford Drugs, instructed the New York Occasions, “The factor that surprises me is there is no camouflage” within the promoting. “They’re saying, ‘That is our menthol substitute. And by the way in which — wink, wink — it is not likely menthol.'”