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Policy & practice.

SILDENAFIL NOT FOR WOMEN Pfizer will not seek regulatory approval for the use of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) as a treatment for female sexual arousal disorder, the company recently announced. Pfizer said the results from clinical studies did not support a regulatory filing. The company has been studying female sexual arousal disorder since 1996 and has conducted several largescale, placebo-controlled studies involving about 3,000 women. Although sildenafil citrate was found to be safe, the efficacy data were inconclusive. "While we are disappointed that the [female sexual arousal disorder] program was not more successful, this is the nature of drug development," said Karen Katen, president of Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals.

JUDGE PROTECTS RECORDS In the latest fight over the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, a federal judge in San Francisco blocked an attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice to gain access to medical records of abortions performed at certain Planned Parenthood affiliates. The department has been seeking medical records of abortions by providers involved in lawsuits to block the implementation of the ban. The Justice Department wants to use the records to show that the procedures are not medically necessary. The department has also been blocked from seeking similar records from Northwestern University, but a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the department could subpoena medical records from physicians involved in a New York court case over the "partial birth" abortion procedure.

BROKEN PROMISES Most teens who made pledges of sexual abstinence until marriage broke those promises, according to a study released last month at the National STD Prevention Conference. About 88% of the 12,000 teenagers who had taken an abstinence pledge had sexual intercourse before marriage. Although teens who took the pledge delayed intercourse for up to 18 months, they were less likely to use condoms once they started having sex, the study said. "These programs are just one more example of the failed policies of the abstinence-only-until-marriage movement," said Tamara Kreinin, president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. But Linda Klepacki, the abstinence policy manager for Focus on the Family, said virginity pledges are just one part of the abstinence education process, and more studies will be needed to evaluate the success of the overall approach.

HEDIS MEASURES Removing measures on the cesarean section rate from the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is one of the changes being proposed by the National Committee on Quality Assurance for 2005. The group recently released for public comment a draft of its 2005 performance measures. Other maternity utilization measures the draft proposes to retire include discharges and average length of stay for maternity care, vaginal birth after cesarean section rate, and births and average length of stay for newborns. For many of these measures, there is no useful definition of "good" performance. NCQA said. The HEDIS 2005 draft is available at www.ncqa.org/Programs/HEDIS/HEDIS2004PubComment.htm.

INTERNET SITE SHUTTERED A Web site that allowed doctors to look up the names of patients who have filed malpractice suits has been shut down. The Texas-based founders of doctorsknowus.com posted a message on the site saying that it "has permanently ceased operations as of March 9, 2004.... Our hope is that this controversy will spark a serious discussion that results in changes that are equitable to both patients and physicians." The site charges physicians $4.95/month to look up as many as 250 perspective patients annually to see whether they had a history of suing their physicians: a disclaimer on the site noted that "this is not a blacklist. Many patients have meritorious cases" However, according to a New York Times article, some patients reported having difficulty finding physicians who would care for them once their names were listed on the database.
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Title Annotation:Practice Trends
Author:Schneider, Mary Ellen
Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Apr 15, 2004
Words:634
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