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How could budget cuts impact Arizona?

The White House released a list of impacts to Arizona from automatic budget cuts that are set to take hold this week.

The White House compiled the numbers from federal agencies and its own budget office. The numbers reflect the impact of the cuts this year. Unless Congress acts by Friday, $85 billion in cuts are set to take effect from March-September.

As to whether states could move money around to cover shortfalls, the White House said that depends on state budget structures and the specific programs. The White House didn’t have a list of which states or programs might have flexibility.

The White House says the losses that Arizona would incur as a result of the automatic budget cuts include:

EDUCATION: $17.7 million in lost funding for K-12 schools. The lost funding could result in about 240 teaching and aide jobs being put at risk. Additionally, Arizona would lose about $10 million for 120 teachers and staff who help children with disabilities.

— Head Start services would be eliminated for about 1,000 children in Arizona.

— About 2,300 fewer low-income students in Arizona would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 330 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

ENVIRONMENT: Arizona would lose $2.1 million in funding for efforts to protect air and water and guard against pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.

MILITARY: About 10,000 civilian employees for the Department of Defense would be furloughed. That would reduce gross pay by $52 million.

LAW ENFORCEMENT: Arizona would lose $298,000 in grants for law enforcement.

JOBS: Arizona would lose $781,000 in funding for job-search assistance. That translates to 26,000 fewer people getting help to find jobs.

CHILDREN: Up to 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care.

HEALTH: About 2,500 fewer children will receive vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and Hepatitis B.

— The state will lose $611,000 for improving its ability to respond to public health threats, such as infectious diseases, natural disasters and other events. In addition, Arizona will lose about $1.9 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse. The state also will lose $186,000 resulting in around 4,600 fewer HIV tests.

WOMEN: Arizona could lose up to $132,000 for services to victims of domestic violence, meaning 500 fewer victims could be served.

SENIORS: More than $1 million for providing meals to seniors could be lost.

BORDER: U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not be able to keep the same staffing levels of Border Patrol agents and CBP officers. Funding and staffing reductions would increase wait times at airports and weaken security between ports of entry. The White House didn’t provide specific financial figures on how the budget cuts will affect ports of entry in Arizona.

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Cheap medicine more vital, study reveals

People may think it’s more vital to take their medicine, if that medicine is cheap. A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows consumers believe prices for lifesaving products are based on need and not profit. Therefore, they often assume their risk of getting a serious illness is higher when the medicine is less expensive, and they’re also more likely to plan to get the treatment, including flu shots.

“We find that people have a fundamental belief that everyone should have access to lifesaving care, such as vaccines, doctor’s visits, screening tests like mammograms, and cancer treatments,” says Assistant Professor Adriana Samper of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Nobody wants anyone to die because they didn’t have the resources to cover the treatment. Therefore, they believe communal pricing (based on need), rather than the normal market pricing for other goods, applies in these situations. They expect medicine for a serious illness to be inexpensive.”

Samper’s new marketing study, co-authored with Assistant Professor Janet Schwartz of Tulane University, will appear in the April edition of the Journal of Consumer Research. In a series of experiments, the researchers demonstrated several interesting points about medication pricing, and those points held true, even if insurance — not the consumer — was going to pay for the treatments.

In the first experiment, participants in an online study were asked to evaluate 10 products and services based on whether they were priced for “communal” purposes or market value. Vaccines, doctor’s visits and drugs used to prevent serious illnesses all ranked as being driven by communal pricing, while items like tax-preparation services, restaurant menu items and home electronics all ranked as market-driven.

In the next experiment, online participants were asked about a fictitious cream described as either preventing skin cancer or preventing age spots. The cream was also offered at a low price of $25 or a high price of $250. Price had no effect on attitudes toward the cosmetic cream, but when the skin-cancer treatment was only $25, respondents believed they needed it more — that they were at higher risk for the disease.

“We see the same thing for a flu shot,” says Samper. “People are more concerned about getting the disease and addressing prevention if the vaccine is cheaper. That’s an important note for health officials during our especially tough flu season right now.”

A third experiment showed participants an ad for the same cream, with the same image, but slightly different versions of text, again reflecting whether the cream was for skin-cancer prevention or cosmetic purposes. The two different price points were offered in each case. Consumers were much more likely to keep reading the ad and planned to pursue the treatment in the case where the cream was for skin cancer and the price was lower. This happened even when insurance was going to pay for the cream at either price.

“This implies a possible problem with the recent push for price transparency,” adds Samper. “In some cases, high prices may signal lower self-risk, and people may not think it’s important to get needed treatments just because the cost is high.”

In the last experiment, the researchers tested the effects of different types of messages meant to encourage people to get flu shots. They used the two prices again and also varied whether the flu’s consequences were described as self-focused — such as missing work or paying medical bills if you got the flu — or societally-focused — such as getting other people sick or hurting economic productivity with the flu’s spread. Very clearly, individuals again increased their assumption of risk and intentions to get the vaccine in response to lower price, but only when the message focused on personal consequences of the flu.

“Therefore, public health officials should take note: Ads emphasizing the protection of other people do not appear to convince people to get vaccinated,” say Samper. “People respond best to messages that emphasize how illness will personally affect them.”

The full study can be found at http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/10.1086/668639.

clinical research advantage - vaccines

Clinical Research Advantage Earns Vaccine Industry Excellence Award

Tempe-based Clinical Research Advantage, a community-based network of clinical trial sites, has been named Best Clinical Trial Site Network by the World Vaccine Congress. The award was announced at the 2012 Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards in Washington, D.C. on April 11th. The VIE Awards celebrate the leaders, innovators and pioneers in the vaccine industry. Clinical Research Advantage also received second place for Best Clinical Trial Site.

“We are honored to win this prestigious award,” said Mark Hanley, CEO of Clinical Research Advantage. “The key to CRA’s success has been the development of research offices within community physician practices. We take pride in partnering with these established practices to provide rapid, successful enrollment that expedites the process of bringing vaccines to market.”

Casey Orvin, CRA’s Vice President of Business Development was on hand to accept the award in Washington, D.C. “It is with great honor that we accept the award for Best Clinical Trial Site Network. We are grateful to all the pharmaceutical sponsors and CROs who trust our sites and staff, time and time again, to successfully enroll in their vaccine studies. We have been fortunate, for the last several years, to be the leader in providing high quality data and rapidly enrolling sites to the vaccine industry,” said Orvin.

The Vaccine Industry Excellence Award nominees are voted on by an independent judging panel, comprised of senior industry representatives from public health organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutes, industry experts and affiliate member associations, pharmaceutical, biotech, global consultancies and press affiliates.

For more information on Clinical Research Advantage, visit Clinical Research Advantage’s website at crastudies.com.