Who ever said recess wasn’t fun? With summer on its way out, DC is on its way in. Presidential campaigns and debates, FDA approvals and of course, health care reform is starting to come to life.
Presidential Update: The presidential race is heating up! As predicted, health care is a hot topic on the minds of candidates and voters alike. Here’s what you need to know:
Breaking Biosimilar News: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a new system for naming biosimilar drugs, which could help create a market for the emerging treatments. The system would label biosimilars with four-letter codes that could help health care providers tell the medications apart from their original version. Fingers crossed, because this sounds nifty!
Perfect 20/20 Vision: The White House recently updated its national HIV/AIDS strategy through 2020, with goals including:
Mental Health Day, Anyone? Momentum for substantial mental health reform is growing and lawmakers leading the push said they finally feel they are in a good position to pass a bill. However, nothing good comes easy – a fight regarding patient privacy is already picking up steam. According to POLITICO’S David Pittman, “Privacy right advocates say a 1972 law keeps patients’ addiction histories from falling into the wrong hands. They fear discrimination if the law is altered, and believe patients should have the right to decide who sees their records.” Stay tuned for updates.
Not The Good Kind Of Shopping: A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to lower prescription drug abuse. If passed, the Act would identify those with a history of drug abuse in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage and only allow them to use one prescriber and pharmacy. The act encourages insurers and physicians to help patients seek treatment of substance abuse.
Kids, Say No To Drugs: In other opioid-related news, the FDA approved the use of OxyContin in kids aged 11-16. While the drug is only approved with the stipulation that it will be used as a last resort for kids who need around-the-clock pain relief, Sen. Joe Manchin, who has been loudly advocating for limiting the amount of opioids on the market, is less than thrilled with this latest approval. Manchin sent a strongly-worded letter the FDA’s Commissioner saying the FDA should be, “ashamed of itself for this reckless act.”
Soda Tax is Fizzling: Findings from a Cornell study of a soda tax in Berkeley, California – the first such city (successful, cough New York City) ordinance in the country – found that the levy has so far “fizzled,” raising doubts that it will reduce consumption as much as its supporters expected. Similar legislation was proposed in Chicago, so we’ll see if this sin tax really takes on!
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Sarah Slotnick and Maddy Barnes also contributed to this post.