Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Umbilical Cord Blood Can Cure Diseases, But Not Frequently Used

My opinion: I think this is a great, easy way to contribute to healing others' illnesses, but I was not aware that this was possible until reading the article.  Cord blood from the umbilical cord contains stem blood cells that can replace blood cells in leukemia, sickle cell anemia, as well as other diseases.  It is simple to obtain, unlike extracting blood from bone marrow, and they also are less likely to be rejected by the body's immune system.  They can even be put in cryogenic storage indefinitely, which cannot occur with bone marrow.  Currently, only 5-6% of cord blood is saved in the United States.  After birth, the moms probably just want to focus on the health of their child, so I think hospitals might have to ask mothers beforehand if they are ok with donating the cord blood. They also need to be more connected to cord blood banks.  This way, it is possible that blood will be more accessible to those who need it, and blood drives may not be as necessary in the future.  I really believe that this is a fairly simple solution, which is not an easy find in medicine, and that administrative issues need to be overcome to deliver it.  Feel free to comment.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Need a prescription? Pay more in the USA

My opinion:  Though the article is short, its message is strong - people in the USA pay three times that of what the British pay for prescription drugs.  And in many other countries, the price is even less expensive.  The article argues that government control of prescription prices is what helps lower costs.  In the USA, pharmaceutical companies have more power to raise prices, and claim that it is necessary for research purposes.  I'm wondering if this is the same reason college tuition has increased so much in the last couple of decades.  Companies figure that Americans are willing to pay more and hence raise the price of the product.  I've also noticed that a some healthcare, for example, radiology, is being outsourced to other countries.  Is it possible for Americans to buy prescription drugs in other countries and have them shipped for an overall lower price?  I also wonder if less popular drugs, which were not included in the study, also are priced higher in the USA than in other countries.  Have any opinions?  Feel free to comment.