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Patent trolls have been a plague on innovators for too long. Patent trolls are entities that obtain patents (sometimes obscure patents) for the sole purpose of threatening or filing lawsuits in court and then using the prospect of costly litigation to extort unwarranted payouts from an innovative company. The risks and costs created by these entities are a clear and present danger to entrepreneurship and innovation. A goal of public policy should be to make it more costly for frivolous patent...

Throughout history, humans have continuously genetically modified, or improved, microorganisms, animals and crop plants through selection and breeding, to enhance their desirable characteristics. Sometimes, the modification of traits has been so drastic that the new varieties have been designated new species, as in those derived from the versatile Brassica oleracea, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi. To accomplish desired changes in phenotype (the traits of an organism resulting from the interaction of the genotype and the environment), scientists have...

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released new data on Dec. 16 on health expenditures. In 2019, overall spending rose 4.6% to reach a total of $3.8 trillion, or 17.7% of the economy. That's enough to make anyone do a double take. But a deeper look at the data actually shows we're getting a lot of value out of all that spending. Hospital care and physician and clinical services accounted for over 50% of spending. Spending in those two categories grew at a slightly faster...

By Henry Miller, M.S., M.D. and Andrew Fillat Profit motive and patent protection are the very keys to innovation. Without them, millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed in record time would most certainly not be en route to hospitals and providers in all 50 states as we write. Still, some just will not accept this reality. If we were writing this article for a medical journal, we would begin by saying that we were identifying a previously undescribed and destructive outbreak...

By Henry Miller, Shiv Sharma Much of the progress in medicine during the past half-century has involved expensive, high-tech diagnostic tests and therapies.  The trend in this direction worries health economists and politicians because it has the potential to send already-high healthcare costs into the stratosphere. However, in both medicine and dentistry, there is an important role as well for ingenious, low-tech, less expensive approaches to improved health and increased longevity. The FDA last year approved a high-tech gene therapy drug, Zolgensma, for a...

By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and John J. Cohrssen The United States is one of the most seriously COVID-19-impacted countries, faring the worst among the ten most-affected countries worldwide, as measured by new cases. The pandemic threatens both American lives and the economy. Even more worrisome, as shown below in this figure, the situation is deteriorating. Two things about those trends are especially problematic: first, deaths are a lagging indicator, following chronologically behind cases and hospitalizations, so the death curve will continue upwards; and...

President Trump’s COVID-19 recovery has thrust into the spotlight the possibilities of novel, experimental therapies for this potentially deadly disease.  During his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he was treated with at least three drugs that have since received substantial attention in the media: the anti-viral remdesivir, the glucocorticoid steroid dexamethasone, and the monoclonal antibody cocktail REGN-COV2. While evidence suggests these drugs may be effective (and remdesivir just received full marketing approval from the FDA), there are other potential game-changers...

Title: Big Pharma Backs Joe Biden, But People Don't Think He'll Fix Drug Pricing By Darragh Roche Former Vice President Joe Biden is winning the race for donations from Big Pharma but experts and industry stakeholders doubt his plans will successfully lower drug prices or address underlying issues in the industry. The pharmaceuticals and health products industry has donated more than $5.9 million to Biden's presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a site run by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political donations....

Politicians continue perpetuating the myth that drug price controls are the necessary cure for the country’s healthcare affordability problems. Whether it is Speaker Pelosi’s “The Lower Drug Costs Now Act”, or President Trump’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) and Drug Importation Executive Orders, these policies are destined to fail. Undoubtedly, there are problems with the drug pricing system that harms patients, and reforms that fix these problems are urgently needed. But, adopting the ill-fated price controls that are implemented in other industrialized countries will create new...

The newest tool to fight coronavirus could be coming soon to your neighborhood retailer. This month, Walgreens announced it will partner with Village MD to open primary care clinics in 500 to 700 stores over the next five years. The drug chain is joining the likes of Walmart, CVS and Amazon to bring retail health clinics to the masses. By increasing the supply of care available to consumers, these new clinics will help lead to lower prices throughout the rest of the...

Accompanying the pandemic of Covid-19 infections is also an “infodemic” of inaccurate, sometimes dangerous misinformation. Based on some of the claims by people who downplay or doubt the severity of the pandemic, it might be reasonable to conclude that the outbreak is no worse influenza in a bad year. Some even maintain that Covid-19 is less a concern than flu, and cite the pandemics of 1917-1918 and 1968 as evidence. Central to these opinions is a perceived overall low death rate, especially...

Miller talks with Lars Larson on the stategy to quarantine travelers from other states. New York recently moved to quarantine anyone visiting for at least two weeks. Miller points out that the logistics are difficult as the guidelines are different for those arriving by plane, train, or car, which could be as many as 120,000 people. Dr. Miller's segment begins at the 47-minute mark. Lars Larson National Podcast · Lars Larson National Podcast 07-14-20...

By: Kathleen Hefferon, Ph.D., and Henry Miller, M.S., M.D. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down in so many ways, and the food supply chain is no exception. Whether consumers prefer fast or slow food, meat-based or vegan, local or imported, organic or conventional, supermarkets or farmers’ markets, every aspect of our food supply chain, from farm to fork, has been affected by this scourge. The recent, rampant outbreaks of COVID-19 among meat-processing workers – over the past month or so, the...

By Andrew I. Fillat and Henry I. Miller With the world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the short-term focus is now on how to avoid surges of infections and get the economy functioning so people can go back to work. Hindsight is, of course, 20-20. Many lessons about pandemics will be learned in retrospect—the most notable being the need for epidemiological surveillance, preparedness with stockpiles of medical supplies, and how not to handle the most vulnerable population during...

By Henry I. Miller and Kathleen L. Hefferon Many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the timing and site of its origin, the nuances of how it spreads, and its clinical manifestations and pathogenesis, are unknown. These uncertainties have given rise to a rash of bizarre speculations and conspiracies about the pandemic, which range from the more or less plausible, but unproven, to the absurd. Take, for instance, one of the more outlandish theories: that the pandemic somehow is correlated with the...

Dr. Henry Miller joins the Lars Larson Show for his weekly update on the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19. Larson and Dr. Miller look at the impact and potential threats of the spread of COVID-19 due to the unrest in cities around the United States and why PPE equipment and social distancing measures have fallen by the wayside. Lars Larson National Podcast · Lars Larson National Podcast 06-02-20...

As the COVID-19 epidemic drags on with no end in sight, the U.S. economy in tatters, and “reopening” going haltingly, many observers have come to the realization that we might need to learn to “live with the virus”—meaning with ongoing new infections—until a vaccine is available. Thus, there is an understandable hunger for one, and some 95 vaccines to prevent COVID-19 are now in various stages of development. Some of the reports of progress on this front have been encouraging, and there is...

By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and Andrew I. Fillat Every day seems to bring some new, unexpected, unpleasant revelation about the SARS-CoV-2 and the illness it causes, COVID-19. The infection has a long, often asymptomatic incubation period, high transmissibility, the ability to infect many human tissues, and, frequently, rapid deterioration of the clinical course. Some curious aspects of the infection, such as long duration of symptoms, multi-organ involvement, blood clots, and patients’ ability to tolerate extremely low blood oxygen levels have...

America is in a state of collective angst, one that hasn't been seen since perhaps the Second World War. Every crisis since then, whether it was war, the 9/11 attacks, flu pandemics, or financial meltdown, had left most Americans unaffected. But now, few are economically, medically, or emotionally untouched. The SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, pose threats or extreme inconvenience of one sort or another to virtually everyone. In a crisis like this, driven by health (and the...