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And the Shkreli Awards go to …

The Lown Institute handed out its 2020 Shkreli Awards, which spotlight “the worst examples of profiteering and dysfunction in healthcare.”

Hospitals and pharma companies made an impressive showing “for committing acts of greed and indifference in the face of great suffering,” according to a Lown Institute news release.

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‘Shkreli Awards’ Shame Healthcare Profiteers

Greedy corporations, uncaring hospitals, individual miscreants, and a task force led by Jared Kushner were dinged Tuesday in the Lown Institute's annual Shkreli awards, a list of the top 10 worst offenders for 2020. In third place: four California hospital systems that refused to take COVID-19 patients or delayed transfers from hospitals that were out of beds. "In the midst of such a pandemic, to continue that sort of behavior is mind boggling," said Saini. "This is more than the proverbial wallet biopsy." Connecticut internist Steven Murphy, MD, ran COVID-19 testing sites for several towns, but conducted allegedly unnecessary add-ons such as screening for 20 other respiratory pathogens. "As far as I know, having an MD is not a license to steal, and this guy seemed to think that it was," said Brownlee. More

“Shkreli Award” goes to Moderna for “blatantly greedy” COVID vaccine prices

Award judges cited Moderna’s pricing of its COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed with $1 billion in federal funding. Still, despite the tax-payer backing, Moderna set the estimated prices for its vaccine significantly higher than other vaccine developers. The Lown Institute’s judges wrote that, “given the upfront investment by the US government, we are essentially paying for the vaccine twice.” More

Covid-19: “Shkreli Awards” go to pandemic’s top profiteers

The Shkreli Awards for profiteering and dysfunction in healthcare, an annual tribute to the worst actors of the US health system, have unsurprisingly focused this year on misconduct during the covid-19 pandemic, with the place of dishonour taken by the Trump administration’s federal personal protective equipment (PPE) task force. “What was even worse,” said award judge Patricia Gabow, “was that Moderna ‘selected’ Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the vaccine trial and Dr. Nabel sold Moderna stock, after it quadrupled in price with the vaccine development.” More

Hospital Price Discrimination Is Deepening Racial Health Inequity

Data from hospital cost reports and clinical quality measures collected by the Lown Institute illustrates unequal facility usage by Medicaid patients in four of the country’s largest hospital referral regions. In Los Angeles, hospitals with clinical quality above the national median allocate just 23% of inpatient days to individuals with Medicaid, as compared with 54% of inpatient days for hospitals in the bottom two quality quartiles. Similar disparities emerge in New York and Houston, albeit to a lesser degree. In all these markets, many facilities with the highest objective quality scores serve very few Medicaid patients, who instead rely on publicly run facilities and small private hospitals with relatively poor clinical quality. More

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospitals for Everyone

Fortunately for North Texas, the region is home to two of the most accessible and valuable hospitals in the nation, according to the “Best Hospitals for America” list published by Washington Monthly. The publication partnered with the nonpartisan healthcare think tank Lown Institute to evaluate 3,200 hospitals, ranking those that “save lives, save money, and serve social justice.” John Peter Smith (JPS) Health Network was ranked No. 1 hospital in the nation in the ranking, and Parkland Health and Hospital System came in at No. 9. More

Fort Worth’s JPS hospital is no Mayo Clinic. It’s better, this national study finds

In a partnership with the Lown Institute, Washington Monthly created a ranking system that factored not only the clinical prestige of a hospital, but also its cost-effectiveness and service to the surrounding community. JPS was given high marks for caring for people living near the hospital, regardless of their ability to pay, and for taking on a leadership role in the community. More

The COVID Science Wars

The net effect of academic bullying and ad hominem attacks has been the creation and maintenance of “groupthink”—a problem that carries its own deadly consequences. People are becoming increasingly resistant to the prospect of more public health measures that restrict their lives. Silencing any science-based viewpoint that would lift some of the most oppressive aspects of controlling the spread of the virus could leave the public even more resistant to public health measures. The new administration will also need public health messaging that helps people understand the evidence and reasoning behind it. More