Editorials from the Executive Medical Director
I hope that you saw the Summer 2017 issue of the College Advantage and specifically the article entitled “A Glimpse into the Future.” The article contained predictions on the future of allergy – made by members on the College’s 50th anniversary in 1992. The predictions were sealed in a time capsule, and revealed and commented on for the 75th anniversary. I found some of the insights into our future fascinating, and was lucky enough to read all the submissions from 25 years ago. I’m going to share with you some more of these predictions – and by the way – not all were about advances in the field of allergy.
My column on single payer system got the following response that I want to share with you.
I also want to make clear that all my past and future columns are my opinion solely, and do not represent the views of the College or its leadership.
Let’s keep the dialogue going. Happy to share my column space with any College member, as we all learn from hearing the opinions of others. Thanks Warner.
I have spent the last week thinking about what you wrote with regards to a single payer system in the U.S.
As I was thinking about what I should write this month that would be of interest to you, I was going back and forth between health care reform and controversies in allergy practice. But, to be honest, I’m so tired of both subjects, and I’ve really had it with the circus in Washington, D.C. Then lo and behold, two of the College staff, Jennifer Pfeifer and Hollis Heavenrich-Jones, came to my rescue. They sent me a fascinating article from Scientific American, which I used to love to read when I was in high school and college. The article was entitled Does Empathy and Warmth Make a Physician Seem More Competent?
Commonly I get calls from allergists wanting to find an associate or looking to sell his or her practice. I hear the same complaint from all of them - I can’t find anybody; no one is interested. In many cases, it is because the young allergist does not want to deal with the business of taking over a practice or is just not interested in a track to partnership. Which begs the question – is allergy a career or a job?
Last week, the new FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, MD, took steps to increase competition in the prescription drug market and increase access to generics. First, the FDA published a list of off-patent, off-exclusivity branded medications without approved generics. The purpose of this action was to encourage submission of abbreviated new drug applications on medications off patent where there is no competition. This would likely ensure that no one pharmaceutical company could have a monopoly on one of these drugs, which could lead to high costs for the patient.
This spring, two more Rx products for allergic rhinitis went over-the-counter (OTC) – Xyzal and Flonase Sensimist (known as Veramyst as an Rx product). It seems like yesterday when the initial second-generation antihistamines – Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec – went OTC. In fact, the push to make these treatments available over the counter began in 1998 when Wellpoint filed a petition with the FDA asking they be sold without a prescription. The FDA approved the OTC switch of these antihistamines in November 2002. Next came intranasal corticosteroids, with Nasacort AQ receiving the okay from the FDA to go OTC in 2013. And the floodgates opened.
Everyone has heard, read about, or seen the video of the Louisville physician dragged off United flight 3411 in Chicago for failing to “voluntarily” get off the jet to make way for some United crew members. He refused to leave the plane as he told the law officers he had patients scheduled the next morning. I think we can all empathize with his situation. None of us want to have to cancel a clinic and upset our patients if we can avoid it. This was truly a fiasco and a public relations nightmare for United.
No this column is not a piece on the war between President Trump and the media about “fake news.” My guess is that if I gave you my thoughts on the issue, half of the allergy community would praise me and the other half would demand that our President, Stephen Tilles, MD, FACAAI, fire me immediately. I love my position as EMD of the College, so I’m not going there.