What We're Reading: Disney's Scuffle With the Soda Industry

What we're reading, April 8, 2016: Disney demanded a soda study be withdrawn; WHO wants a reduction in the price of insulin; and hospitals need better tools to flag harmful prescription drugs.

Disney pushed an academic journal to withdraw the published results of a study that was funded by the company. According to STAT, the Walt Disney Company, worried about its image, wanted to disassociate from one of the study’s main authors, James O. Hill, PhD, ex-executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. Hill was embroiled in controversy last year after news of his having accepted $550,000 from Coca-Cola became public knowledge. Hill had authored a study that blamed lack of physical activity—rather than sugar sweetened drinks—for the rise in obesity in the United States.

On that note, the cost of treating diabetes has been rising steeply over the past few years. While technology to make longer-lasting insulin has resulted in better outcomes among those who can afford these expensive medications, the World Health Organization (WHO) would like to see “affordable” insulin that can help combat the disease as it grips the developing world. The report states that the price of insulin has risen more than 3-fold over the past decade in the United States. A month of insulin treatment in Brazil would now cost the lowest-paid government worker the equivalent of about 3 days of pay, according to a study cited in the WHO report, which would be 7 days in Nepal and almost 20 days in Malawi.

A new study by the Leapfrog Group, which rates hospitals on patient safety, has found that while medical errors are the third highest cause of death, one of the tool’s that was considered a fix has not yet worked. The survey by Leapfrog found that nearly 40% of potentially harmful drug orders were not flagged as being dangerous by computer-based medication systems. The group’s president and CEO, Leah Binder, MA, MGA, was the keynote speaker at The American Journal of Managed Care’s ACO and Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition Fall 2015 meeting in Florida. You can view the Spring 2016 meeting agenda here.