KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Troubled Effort To Devise New Cholesterol Guidelines

The New York Times explores what went wrong as a group of doctors struggled to find common ground on how heart issues should be treated. Other stories also look at consumer frustration about a landmark settlement on hip implants and concerns being reviewed by the FDA about emergency contraceptive pills.

The New York Times: Bumps In The Road To New Cholesterol Guidelines
It was supposed to be a moment of triumph. An august committee had for the first time relied only on the most rigorous scientific evidence to formulate guidelines to prevent heart attacks and strokes, which kill one out of every three Americans. The group had worked for five years, unpaid, to develop them. Then, at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, it all went horribly awry. Many leading cardiologists now say the credibility of the guidelines, released Nov. 14, is shattered. And the troubled effort to devise them has raised broader questions about what kind of evidence should be used to direct medical practice, how changes should be introduced and even which guidelines to believe (Kolata, 11/25).

The New York Times: Frustration From A Deal On Flawed Hip Implants
Patients injured by a flawed hip implant sold by Johnson & Johnson have directed their anger at myriad places over the years. The regulatory system that allowed the product's sale. The company that repeatedly denied problems with the device. Even the doctors who implanted the hips. Now, some patients have found a new target for their ire: the legal system and the lawyers they hired to sue Johnson & Johnson (Meier, 11/25).

NPR: Emergency Contraceptive Pill Might Be Ineffective For Obese
The Food and Drug Administration says it is reviewing whether the maker of the most widely used emergency contraceptive pill needs to change its label in light of new evidence that it doesn't work to prevent pregnancy in overweight or obese women (Rovner, 11/25).

The Wall Street Journal: In Montana Town, A Shut Mine Leaves An Open Wound
Household after household here has packed up and moved in with relatives or to local motels while government workers in hazardous-materials suits and booties take over their homes. Wearing respirators and gloves, the workers wipe down antiques, Christmas decorations, doll collections and photographs. They vacuum out attics and crawl spaces and dig up lawns. They sometimes stay for weeks. After 14 years, and possibly many more to go, a total of 1,890 homes have been cleaned out, all in an effort to rid the town of a deadly substance: asbestos fibers (Searcey, 11/25). 

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