KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Two New Studies Explore How Laws, Advertising Impact Cancer Costs

Reuters reports on two new studies regarding cancer treatment costs, including findings that laws don't curb the use of pricey prostate cancer treatments and that ads don't increase the use of aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer.

Reuters: Laws Don't Curb Pricey Prostate Cancer Treatments
Laws meant to prevent the overuse of expensive health care services don't stop doctors from using pricey prostate cancer treatments, according to two new studies. Researchers found doctors used robots and special radiation to treat prostate cancer regardless of whether their area had laws requiring government approval before money is spent on health care facilities and new equipment (Seaman, 11/23).

Reuters: Cancer Drug Ads Don't Boost Inappropriate Prescribing
A new study ties advertising for breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors to a slight increase in the total number of prescriptions for those medications. But the extra prescriptions were limited to women with a medical reason for taking those drugs. The ads didn't seem to increase the inappropriate use of aromatase inhibitors, which include letrozole (marketed as Femara) and anastrozole (Arimidex) (Pittman, 11/22).

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