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Many writers of diabetes, cholesterol guidelines have conflicts of interest

Half of experts who write clinical practice guidelines for diabetes and high cholesterol have financial conflicts of interest with the drug industry, a study says. One in nine panelists who said they had no conflicts actually had a conflict, said the study, published online Oct. 11 in the journal BMJ. "Our main concern is that there is a potential risk of industry influence on developing guideline recommendations," said lead study author Jennifer Neuman, MD, an instructor of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "For practitioners and developers alike, it's important to be mindful of this issue." The study examined 14 guidelines published on diabetes and high cholesterol between 2000 and 2010 by national organizations in the United States and Canada. Those groups included the American Heart Assn. and the American Diabetes Assn. A financial conflict was defined as direct compensation to a guideline panelist by a manufacturer of a drug used to treat ...

Lawsuit can be amended after deadline to include wrongful death

A Massachusetts plaintiff can amend a medical liability lawsuit to include wrongful death even though the time allowed under the law to make the claim has expired, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled in October. However, the court set parameters on when a wrongful death claim may be substituted for a personal injury claim, ruling that: The trial must not have begun. The original complaint alleging malpractice must have been filed within the time frame that the law allows. The allegations of liability supporting the personal injury claim must be the same as those supporting the wrongful death claim. "I don't think [the ruling] will open the floodgates," said John P. Barylick, an attorney with Wistow & Barylick in Providence, R.I., who represented the patient's family. "It is really fairly limited circumstances." He noted that this is the first time the issue has come before the court in the more than 20 years since the Massachusetts Legislature enacted the l ...

Medicare looks to ease physician revocation rules

Washington -- Physicians who are kicked out of Medicare because of a clerical or administrative error would be reinstated quickly under a rule change proposed by the Obama administration. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services acknowledges that the consequences for missing Medicare enrollment deadlines are unnecessarily harsh and can jeopardize access to care for patients, according to an Oct. 18 proposed rule. The Medicare agency has proposed rolling back this policy along with a number of other regulations considered Draconian. "These rules reflect the [Obama] administration's ongoing commitment to reducing regulatory burdens as much as possible, while maintaining full protections for the doctors and patients in our system," Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a briefing on the rule changes. The American Medical Association and other physician associations support numerous changes to regulations and already have secured several re ...