Health-Care Industry Faces Greater Scrutiny Around Payments to Doctors to Promote Products


The health-care industry’s longstanding practice of paying doctors to explain and promote products is under review after a government watchdog last month issued a rare warning.

The special fraud alert by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—its first in six years—will at minimum prompt pharmaceutical and medical-device companies to take a hard look at the policies and controls associated with their speaker programs, compliance professionals say.

Under such programs, companies typically pay a health-care professional an honorarium to give speeches or presentations about a company’s drugs or medical devices. Those payments aren’t improper or illegal per se, but they pose a risk for companies under the Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits inducing or rewarding referrals or orders for items and services reimbursable under Medicare and Medicaid.

The alert may cause the industry to move away from the promotional practice altogether in the long

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US number of cases 8 times bigger than reported, CDC says; AstraZeneca vaccine faces questions; WHO encourages exercise


Like pretty much everything in 2020, Thanksgiving looks a lot different due to COVID-19.

New COVID-19 vaccine candidate up to 90% effective and different from others

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Many are spending their first Thanksgiving alone or without loved ones. Families are turning video calls into the dinner table. Even the Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons are social distancing. 

“I know the country has grown weary of the fight,” President-elect Joe Biden said in a Thanksgiving eve address urging unity. “We need to remember we’re at war with the virus, not with one another. Not with each other.”

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Biden gave his address a day after the U.S. reported its deadliest day since May, with more than 2,000 new fatalities due to the virus. It could get worse: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Biden’s plan for an army of disease trackers faces long odds


“Contact tracing works best and is most effective in settings where there isn’t the level of rampant transmission that there is now,” said Nicole Lurie, a former assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services and a public health advisor on Biden’s campaign. “There have to be measures to tamp down the level of the virus before it can be effective.”

States are so overwhelmed that earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations for who tracers should prioritize if the severity of the pandemic leaves them swamped with cases.

Yet Biden’s plan for a public health corps, which has been projected to cost $3.6 billion, would immediately run up against a deadlocked Congress that is nowhere close to passing a new round of pandemic aid — and, potentially, a GOP-controlled Senate reluctant to release more funding for state and

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Biden Plan To Lower Medicare Eligibility Age Faces Hostility From Hospitals : Shots


President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to lower the eligibility age for Medicare is popular among voters but is expected to face strong opposition on Capitol Hill.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images


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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to lower the eligibility age for Medicare is popular among voters but is expected to face strong opposition on Capitol Hill.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Of his many plans to expand insurance coverage, President-elect Joe Biden’s simplest strategy is lowering the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60.

But the plan is sure to face long odds, even if the Democrats can snag control of the Senate in January by winning two runoff elections in Georgia.

Republicans, who fought the creation of Medicare in the 1960s and typically oppose expanding government entitlement programs, are not the biggest obstacle. Instead, the nation’s hospitals — a powerful political force — are poised to

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