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New postings and analysis from Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy. Health Affairs publishes new research each week online at For more information, contact Chris Fleming at 301-347-3944.

Health Affairs Launches Blog

We are pleased to announce that after 25 years as a bimonthly print journal and six years in online publishing, Health Affairs is entering the blogosphere as a new means of engaging readers in the health policy debate. The blog launched on October 5 with a post by the University of California at Berkeley's James Robinson focusing on "Redefining Health Care," a new book on health care reform by Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmstead Teisberg. In the coming week, other health policy experts will offer posts on the book, and the blog will tackle biotech pricing and many other subjects. We encourage everyone to join the discussion - we ask only that you register and use your real name. Readers who wish to be informed about new postings may sign up for e-mail alerts or an RSS feed.

Health Care Spending Growth Stays In High-Altitude Holding Pattern

Health care spending growth stayed in a high-altitude holding pattern in 2005 as costs per privately insured American grew 7.4 percent -- virtually the same rate of increase as in the previous two years, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) published October 2 as a Web Exclusive in Health Affairs. For the sixth year in a row, prescription drug spending per privately insured person increased at a slower pace, growing 4.8 percent in 2004 compared with 8.3 percent in 2004 and a 1999 peak increase of 18.4 percent. However, the sharp slowdown in drug spending is showing signs of reversing, as first-quarter 2006 data peg the increase at 7.2 percent.

Competition In Follow-On Biologics Will Take Time, Authors Warn

With patents for a number of blockbuster biologics - medical treatments derived from living organisms -- expiring in the next several years, advocates have been pressuring Congress to create a process for expedited approval of follow-on biologics, also known as biogenerics or biosimilars. However, in the Sep/Oct Health Affairs, Duke University's Henry Grabowski and coauthors warn that, at least in the short run, such a process is unlikely to deliver the same vigorous price-based competition that the Hatch-Waxman framework for generic drugs has provided. "We expect that regulatory conservatism, high manufacturing barriers to entry, and limited acceptance of follow-on products will constrain the number of [biogeneric] market entrants," the authors state. They predict that a "robust follow-on industry" will eventually develop, but only over time.

Print editions of Health Affairs may be ordered for $35 each from Health Affairs' Customer Service at 301-347-3900 or online at


Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The nonpartisan, peer-reviewed journal appears bimonthly in print, with additional online-only papers published weekly as Health Affairs Web Exclusives at The full text of each Health Affairs Web Exclusive is available free of charge to all Web site visitors for a two-week period following posting, after which it switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. The abstracts of all articles are free. The Sep/Oct 2006 issue was supported principally by the Blue Shield of California Foundation with additional support from Amgen and Genentech. Web Exclusives are supported in part by a grant from the Commonwealth Fund.


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