The promising antiviral drugs to treat covid can halt hospitalizations and deaths, but only if they’re given to patients within three to five days of their first symptoms, a narrow window many people won’t meet. Here’s why.
Politicians and many health experts have done their best to see the glass half-full in the plan put forward by congressional Democrats and the president. But it’s “a far cry” from what other nations do to rein in drug prices, and polls show most voters demand more protection.
More than 1,000 independent rural pharmacies have closed since 2003, leaving 630 communities with no retail drugstore. As 41 million people stuck in pharmacy deserts make do, the remaining drugstores struggle to survive.
A West Virginia pharmacy cleared a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation. But it shut down anyway, highlighting how the agency’s policies reduce the availability of buprenorphine, an important tool for recovery from opioid addiction.
A last-minute agreement among lawmakers restored a provision seeking to hold down rising costs of prescription medicines. Although details on which drugs will be targeted remain sketchy, the legislation would help patients buying insulin and cap Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 a year.
President Joe Biden unveiled a compromise “Build Back Better” framework shortly before taking off for key meetings in Europe, but it’s unclear whether the framework can win the votes of all Democrats in the House and Senate, and it leaves out some of the party’s health priorities, notably significant provisions to lower prescription drug prices. Meanwhile, younger children may soon be eligible for covid vaccines. Joanne Kenen of Politico and Johns Hopkins, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
But Americans generally have little confidence that the White House or Congress will recommend the right thing, a new poll shows.
Despite big 2020 campaign promises to deliver lower costs on prescription drugs, Democrats have failed to unite around a legislative plan.
Biologic drugs, made from living organisms, and the cheaper biosimilar drugs that mimic them are more complex than chemical drugs and their generic counterparts. The Food and Drug Administration says biosimilars are as safe and effective as the biologics, and doctors agree — but they are cautious about changing the treatment regimen of patients doing well.
As the delta variant continues to spread around the U.S., the Biden administration is taking steps to authorize covid vaccine boosters, require nursing home workers to be vaccinated and protect school officials who want to require masks despite state laws banning those mandates. Meanwhile, the U.S. House is returning from its summer break early to start work on its giant budget bill, which includes a long list of health policy changes. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.