What We're Reading: Increases in Drug Prices; Hospital Mergers Impede Patient Satisfaction; Secondhand Smoke Exposure Linked to T2D

January 3, 2020

Drug prices rose by 5.8% to start 2020, a slight decrease compared with last year's average increase; lower patient satisfaction shown after hospital mergers/acquisitions; study findings link exposure to secondhand smoke to risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Drug Prices Rise, Decrease Slightly on Average Compared With Last Year

More than 60 drugmakers raised their prices by an average of 5.8% in the US on Wednesday, a slight decrease compared with last year’s average increase of more than 6%, according to The Wall Street Journal. The largest price increases were instituted by Pfizer Incorporated, which raised prices on more than 40 products by over 9%. A Pfizer spokeswoman stated that nearly half of the drugs that increased in price were sterile injectables, with a majority of those increases amounting to less than $1 per product dose.

Lower Patient Satisfaction Seen After Hospital Acquisition

In a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine, Medicare quality-of-care data showed that when a hospital is acquired by another hospital or hospital system, patient satisfaction decreases modestly, according to Reuters. Readmission and mortality rates did not reveal significant changes, while effects on process measures of quality were inconclusive.

Secondhand Smoke Exposure Linked to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Compared with Korean adults previously exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke followed by reduced levels, those who were exposed to a stable, consistent level of secondhand smoke throughout their life course were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to a study published by BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. In a press release, study authors stressed that reversing the high level of secondhand smoke can still lead to T2D due to the cumulative effects over the life course, indicating a need for reliable and cost-effective methods to prevent exposure.