Americans can agree on one thing, they hate big pharma

WW_BigPharmaIt’s safe to say that Big Pharma isn’t America’s favorite industry at the moment. More accurately, it is one of the most loathed fields on record, a recent Gallup survey shows. According to the poll, it’s rating is “net positive” negative 23, which is pretty bad. The worst-rated sector is the government, with a “net positive” negative rating of 27. This is the lowest the pharmaceutical field has ranked in the 16 years Gallup has produced the poll, and its new stance is likely due to all the negative attention around price hikes for prescription drugs, most recently the EpiPen.

Throwing money at the opioid epidemic

opioid_use_190x127.jpgThe Obama administration continues to pressure Congress to greenlight $1.1 billion in funding it says is needed to combat the scourge of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse, killing thousands of Americans each month. In the meantime — with the House currently on break — Health and Human Services just awarded some $53 million in grants to 44 states and four native American tribes, the Morning Consult reports. Those dollars will go toward expanding access to treatment for opioid addiction, by bolstering education for clinicians, the prevalence of OD-reversal drug Naloxone, and availability of medication-assisted treatment. Provider organizations like the University of Alabama Birmingham are taking their own steps to try and avoid further overdose deaths, too, recently increasing capacity for addiction treatment by 60 percent. They believe every bed will help in possibly avoiding the next overdose. “Even a few days can make a big difference whether someone is alive,” Teri Williams, administrative director of the addiction recovery unit at UAB, tells AL.com

Potentially good news for vampires, humans less thrilled

WW_SynthBloodUnlike the blood-swilling immortals portrayed in the HBO show True Blood, most Americans are not eager for artificial blood to become available, according to Pew Research Center survey results. With U.K. clinical trials expected to begin on a new form of manufactured blood as early as next year, Pew found that more Americans are worried (63 percent) than excited or enthusiastic (36 percent) about the potential for synthetic blood designed to replace real blood. And about 60 percent said they would not want special artificial blood engineered to boost health in such ways as fighting infections or carrying more oxygen. “One reason for the caution: The public is closely split on whether the idea of synthetic blood is meddling with nature, or whether it is no different than other ways that humans try to better themselves,” notes Pew blogger Monica Anderson. Only 22 percent of Americans think that artificial blood is morally acceptable, while 35 percent do and 41 percent are not sure.

What you wear matters

WW_SurgeryCapsThere’s an ongoing debate going on in surgery rooms across the country, but it’s not over practice or protocol. The debate over whether traditional surgical caps should be scrapped in favor of bouffants, which can cover the entire head, eliminating hair or ears from exposure, has become a hot topic for major medical groups, the Boston Globe reports. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses claims hair as a potential source of bacteria that can endanger patients, while the American College of Surgeons has fought back claiming there’s no evidence small amounts of hair can cause wound infection. “There are lots of different practices and very little data,” said Dr. Gerard Doherty, chief of surgery at Boston Medical Center in the report. “Making a lot of rules around meaningless stuff distracts from the real issue. Most bacteria that causes infection is from the patient themselves.” The debate rages on.