What We're Reading: Bad Drug Ads; DC's Public Hospital; Slowing Parkinson Disease Progression

December 13, 2017

The FDA wants to enlist consumers to help identify troubling drug ads; DC's only public hospital needs a $17 million bailout; intense exercise can slow the progression of early-stage Parkinson disease.

FDA Wants Consumers to Find Bad Drug Ads

The FDA wants to study how well doctors and consumers can identify a deceptive drug ad. According to STAT, the study by the FDA to see if consumers can reliably identify troubling advertisements comes as warning letters to drug makers reached a record low. So far, only 3 enforcement letters have been sent to companies in 2017, compared with 11 in 2016 and 52 in 2010. The United States is 1 of only 2 countries, the other being New Zealand, that allows drug companies to market directly to consumers.

DC’s Public Hospital Needs a Bailout

In order for the District of Columbia’s only public hospital to stay afloat, it will need a taxpayer bailout of at least $17 million. The city took over United Medical Center in 2010, and the financial situation comes after the District hired a consulting firm to stabilize the hospital, reported The Washington Post. The firm has since lost its contract to manage the hospital after the DC Council cited concerns about mismanagement. The money requested will largely be used for new expenses such as repayments to Medicare, settling a current contract dispute, and a new contract. However, the money would not be used to open the obstetrics ward, which was closed in August 2017.

Intense Exercise Can Slow Parkinson Disease Progression

Patients who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson disease may be able to slow the progression of the disease with intense exercise. The New York Times reported that while exercise becomes difficult later in the disease, it can slow the advance of Parkinson disease in its early stages. However, the study found that gentler exercise did not seem to have an impact on delaying the disease’s progression. Participants in the study were not yet taking medication to treat their disease, nor did they regularly exercise. Researchers found that those who exercised at a strenuous pace and incline on a treadmill showed almost no decline in disease scores, indicating their disease status had not significantly worsened, while those who walked gently on a treadmill for the same amount of time showed a decline in their disease scores.