Policy & Practice


Postpartum Depression Widespread

More than half of recent parents report having experienced postpartum depression or knowing someone who has, according to the results of a poll of 1,000 California adults. About 84% of parents surveyed reported that they would likely talk to their primary care provider if they or their partner had symptoms of postpartum depression, but 36% reported that they would do nothing or wait for the symptoms to pass. The survey was commissioned by the Iris Alliance Fund, a mental health advocacy organization, which seeks more funding for postpartum depression prescreening and treatment. “What families need now are additional resources to treat the problem,” Mary Hayashi, president of the Iris Alliance Fund said in a statement.

Wyeth Wins Legal Challenge

A federal jury last month found in favor of the drugmaker Wyeth against allegations that its Premarin and Prempro products had caused a woman's breast cancer. In the case of Linda Reeves v. Wyeth, the jury voted that the plaintiff had not proved that the company had inadequately warned patients of the known risks of the drugs. The jurors also rejected claims that Wyeth officials were negligent and that the products were defective in their design leading to Ms. Reeves' breast cancer. “We believe the jury's decision was consistent with the evidence presented and the body of scientific knowledge around hormone therapy,” Lyn P. Pruitt, an attorney representing Wyeth in the case, said in a statement.

Congress Seeks to Reduce Abortion

New federal legislation aims to reduce abortions by expanding access to contraception and providing increased adoption tax incentives. The legislation (H.R. 6067), which was introduced in the final weeks before Congress recessed for the midterm congressional elections, was sponsored by a coalition of Democrats on both sides of the abortion debate, including Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. If passed, the bill would expand access to contraception for low-income women, increase funding for health care for low-income mothers and children, fund day care programs and child care centers on college campuses, and provide grants for creative approaches to reducing teen pregnancy and unintended pregnancy. The legislation also calls for the Institute of Medicine to study the reasons why women choose abortion.

Income Sways Infertility Treatment

Low-income women who experience infertility are only 11% as likely as infertile women with moderate incomes to choose assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination to help achieve pregnancy, according to a study published in the online journal Health Services Research. Couples with higher incomes are almost twice as likely to try ART rather than expectant management. The data come from the National Survey of Family Growth, conducted in 1995, which surveyed nearly 11,000 women. More than 11% of the women surveyed—1,210 women—were considered subfecund or had difficulty getting pregnant. Among those surveyed, about 31% reported seeking medical help to get pregnant. Income played a significant role in most treatment choices, the researchers found, except in seeking advice without further treatment, and use of ovulation-inducing medications. Women with insurance coverage were 3.4 times more likely than uninsured women to choose ovulation-inducing medications rather than opt for no treatment. Coverage with private insurance also increases the likelihood that a woman would seek surgical treatment rather than no treatment, according to the study.

Stores Cut Generic Drug Prices

The retail giant Wal-Mart last month began offering pharmacy customers in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area generic medications at a cost of $4 per 30-day supply. The discounted medications are available at 65 Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market, and Sam's Club pharmacies in the area. The program will be expanded to all stores in Florida in January and could be expanded to areas across the country in 2007, according to Wal-Mart. The $4 tag price will apply to all pharmacy customers who have a prescription that can be filled with a covered generic medication. Currently, the program covers 291 generic medications from a variety of therapeutic categories including antibiotics, cardiac medications, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, diabetes medications, analgesics, and vitamins. The program will be available to customers with and without insurance. In response, Target announced that its Tampa Bay area stores would match the lower prices on generic drugs.

Next Article: