RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 03/02/2016

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Health Policy Ranks Low on Super Tues.
Shannon Muchmore, Modern HC
The percentage of Democrats ranking healthcare as the most important issue for them Tuesday ranged from 16% in Massachusetts to 26% in Tennessee. Those voters strongly went with Clinton in the states where she came out on top, according to exit polls. More than two-third's of Clinton's voters on Tuesday, according to exit polls, said in general they'd rather stick with President Barack Obama's policies than move in a more liberal direction.

Trump on Planned Parenthood: 'I Am a Truth Teller'
Nick Gass, Politico
Donald Trump dismissed the notion he is not a true conservative because he supports Planned Parenthood, insisting he is "just doing what's right." "Look, Planned Parenthood has done very good work for many, many -- for millions of women," Trump said in a news conference Tuesday night. "And I’ll say it, and I know a lot of the so-called conservatives, they say that’s really ... cause I’m a conservative, but I’m a common-sense conservative."

Endoscope Maker Olympus Admits Bribes
Tom Avril, Phila. Inquirer
The company, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Olympus Corp., admitted to making various kickbacks and other improper payments from 2006 to 2011, and agreed to pay $646 million to resolve related criminal and civil complaints. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark, N.J., which pursued the case, it all could have been avoided if the company had listened to one of its own employees.

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White House Takes Stand Against Drug Abuse Bill
Sarah Ferris, The Hill
The Obama administration is casting doubt on a Senate bill to tackle opioid abuse, warning it would “do little to address the epidemic” without more funding. The White House is wading into the Senate battle over the bill, hoping to bolster the stand of Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), who are demanding $600 million in extra funding for the bill.

Durbin: Most Democrats Will Support Opioid Bill
McIntire, Morn. Cons.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, said he would vote for S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, without an amendment that would provide funding for federal programs, and that most Democrats likely would as well. “But if it’s just an authorization, it’s an empty promise,” Durbin told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Califf Says FDA Will Work to Prevent Abuse
Matthew Perrone, AP
The Food and Drug Administration's new commissioner is pledging to fully back efforts to develop harder-to-abuse painkillers, part of a sweeping government effort to reduce deadly overdoses tied to prescription pain medications. Dr. Robert Califf told a panel of FDA advisers on Tuesday that his agency alone cannot solve the crisis of prescription drug abuse. But he pledged to do "everything possible under our authority to prevent abuse, save lives and treat dependence."

FDA to Study Effect of Drug Ads on Consumers
Anna Edney, Bloomberg
Drug companies have been drawn to using animated figures in their advertising, from the bee with the sexy Antonio Banderas accent that wants you to use Nasonex nasal spray, to the football-helmeted big toe with foot fungus hawking Jublia. Now U.S. regulators are taking a closer look.

Leading Alzheimer's Group Splinters over Priorities
Judith Graham, Stat
The Alzheimer’s Association, one of the country’s most powerful disease advocacy groups, is rupturing amid an escalating dispute over its priorities: raising money for a future cure versus supporting patients and families struggling with the disease right now.

Patients Must Be Part Of Defining Value
Anne Weiss, Health Affairs Blog
We’re all frustrated by the high cost of US health care and a system that’s challenging for patients to navigate and does not consider patients’ goals and wishes. Both the public and private sectors are working hard to discover ways to transform the system by increasing value and becoming more responsive to patients’ needs and preferences. Change is happening on a number of different fronts, ranging from how insurers design coverage, to how we pay health professionals, to how hospitals are organized. These efforts typically require health care data so that opportunities to empower patients, improve care, and control costs can be identified.

Study Highlights Medication Adherence Obstacles
Neil Versel, MedCity
Think medication adherence is tough among ordinary patients with Type 2 diabetes? Try doing it with a low-income population. Academicians at Indiana University discovered that in a study published last month in the open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research. They discussed their findings Tuesday at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas.

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