Headlines in the News

Pence, Harris Spar Over COVID-19 in Vice Presidential Debate

October 8, 2020

Trading barbs through plexiglass shields, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris turned the only vice presidential debate of 2020 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration.”

Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, acknowledged that “our nation’s gone through a very challenging time this year,” yet vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.

Trading barbs through plexiglass shields, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris turned the only vice presidential debate of 2020 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration.”

Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, acknowledged that “our nation’s gone through a very challenging time this year,” yet vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.

The meeting, which was far more civil than last week’s chaotic faceoff between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, unfolded against an outbreak of coronavirus now hitting the highest levels of the U.S. government. Trump spent three days at the hospital before returning to the White House on Monday, and more than a dozen White House and Pentagon officials are also infected, forcing even more into quarantine….

Read the full The Associated Press article

Regeneron Antibodies in Demand After Trump Treatment, Doctors Seek More Data

October 8, 2020

Patients are asking to join clinical trials of antibody-based COVID-19 drugs after U.S. President Donald Trump was treated last week with an experimental therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.O, and on Wednesday he promised to make it free to Americans while touting its benefits.

Medical experts said more data is needed to assess the treatment’s efficacy before wider use should be allowed.

Patients are asking to join clinical trials of antibody-based COVID-19 drugs after U.S. President Donald Trump was treated last week with an experimental therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.O, and on Wednesday he promised to make it free to Americans while touting its benefits.

Medical experts said more data is needed to assess the treatment’s efficacy before wider use should be allowed.

Trump was discharged from the hospital late on Monday, just a few days after being diagnosed with COVID-19 that caused enough lung inflammation for blood oxygen levels to fall….

Read the full Reuters article

Distrusting Trump, States Plan to Vet COVID Vaccines Themselves. Bad Idea, Say Experts.

October 7, 2020

As trust in the Food and Drug Administration wavers, several states have vowed to conduct independent reviews of any COVID-19 vaccine the federal agency authorizes.

But top health experts say such vetting may be misguided, even if it reflects a well-founded lack of confidence in the Trump administration — especially now that the FDA has held firm with rules that make a risky preelection vaccine release highly unlikely.

As trust in the Food and Drug Administration wavers, several states have vowed to conduct independent reviews of any COVID-19 vaccine the federal agency authorizes.

But top health experts say such vetting may be misguided, even if it reflects a well-founded lack of confidence in the Trump administration — especially now that the FDA has held firm with rules that make a risky preelection vaccine release highly unlikely.

At least six states and the District of Columbia have indicated they intend to review the scientific data for any vaccine approved to fight COVID-19, with some citing concern over political interference by President Donald Trump and his appointees. Officials in New York and California said they are convening expert panels expressly for that purpose….

Read the full Kaiser Health News article

Exclusive: FDA Widens U.S. Safety Inquiry Into AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine – Sources

October 1, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broadened its investigation of a serious illness in AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine study and will look at data from earlier trials of similar vaccines developed by the same scientists, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage U.S. trial has remained on hold since Sept. 6, after a study participant in Britain fell ill with what was believed to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broadened its investigation of a serious illness in AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine study and will look at data from earlier trials of similar vaccines developed by the same scientists, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage U.S. trial has remained on hold since Sept. 6, after a study participant in Britain fell ill with what was believed to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

The widened scope of the FDA probe raises the likelihood of additional delays for what has been one of the most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development. The requested data was expected to arrive this week, after which the FDA would need time to analyze it, two of the sources said….

Read the full Reuters article

Sky-High Drug Prices Driven by Pharma Profits, House Dems Charge

September 30, 2020

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to a damning investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee began releasing Wednesday.

The first two reports in the investigation focus on Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid cancer treatment, which saw its price hiked 23 times since 2005, and Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which went up in price 27 times since 2007.

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to a damning investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee began releasing Wednesday.

The first two reports in the investigation focus on Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid cancer treatment, which saw its price hiked 23 times since 2005, and Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which went up in price 27 times since 2007.

Those costs have little to do with research and development or industry efforts to help people afford medication, as drug companies often claim, according to the probe….

Read the full Kaiser Health News article

Biden, Trump Clash Over Healthcare Plans in First Debate

September 30, 2020

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed over their agendas for healthcare reform as the issue took center stage during the first presidential debate on Tuesday.

Biden used the first question of the night about the impending Senate fight over Trump’s Supreme Court nomination as an opportunity to raise concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act. He criticized Trump for supporting a lawsuit that could upend the ACA and for not presenting a comprehensive replacement plan if the law is struck down. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Nov. 10 in a case that could determine the law’s fate.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed over their agendas for healthcare reform as the issue took center stage during the first presidential debate on Tuesday.

Biden used the first question of the night about the impending Senate fight over Trump’s Supreme Court nomination as an opportunity to raise concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act. He criticized Trump for supporting a lawsuit that could upend the ACA and for not presenting a comprehensive replacement plan if the law is struck down. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Nov. 10 in a case that could determine the law’s fate.

If the law is struck down, Biden claimed that millions would lose health insurance coverage and people with pre-existing conditions would pay more for health insurance….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article