Monday, January 31, 2005

PolyMedica signs OIG integrity agreement

WOBURN, Mass. - PolyMedica Corporation, the parent company of diabetes supplier Liberty Medical, in December signed a corporate integrity agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the OIG. Under the five-year agreement, the company must, among other things, maintain a compliance program, and all those associated with the company must read and sign a code of conduct. The company will also be subject to claim reviews, and the OIG will have full access to all of PolyMedica’s books, records and other documents in order to evaluate the company’s compliance with the integrity agreement and with Medicare requirements. The agreement followed the finalization in Novemeber of a $35 million settlement with the government in on allegations of Medicare fraud.
Insulin pump benefits very young diabetics

NEW YORK - An insulin pump that provides continuous release of insulin provides good control of blood sugar in very young patients with Type 1 diabetes, according to a new report in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers think this treatment may be superior to multiple daily injections in lowering the risk of episodes of severe low blood glucose. Researchers examined the safety and effectiveness of the pump in 65 children with Type 1 diabetes. An average decrease in blood glucose from 7.4% to 7% was seen after 12 months of pump therapy. Severe hypoglycemia rates also decreased in the group by 53%.
Inhaled steroids reduce bone density, study states

NEW YORK - People who use inhaled steroids long-term to treat COPD could face a loss of bone mineral density in the hip and spine, a new study shows. In the study, some 400 patients with COPD who were current smokers or had recently quit were randomly assigned to use inhaled triamcinolone twice daily or a placebo inhaler over a three-year period. By the end of the study, patients on the drug showed an average decrease of 1.78% in bone density at the hip, and spine bone density fell 0.35%, a decrease that could be harmful for patients who already have signs of bone weakening.