KHN Morning Briefing

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What Do Lawmakers Do When They Need Prescriptions Filled? They Don’t Walk Into The Nearest CVS

It's a little-known perk, but lawmakers have their pills delivered directly to the Capitol, so they can just walk down and pick them up. That also means the pharmacist in charge of filling the prescriptions knows a lot more about the leaders of the country than most pharmacists know about their customers.

Stat: Pharmacy Hand-Delivers Drugs To Congress, A Perk For The Powerful
If House Speaker Paul Ryan comes down with the flu this winter, he and his security detail won’t be screeching off toward the closest CVS for his Tamiflu. Instead, he can just walk downstairs and pick up the pills, part of a little-known perk open to every member of Congress, from Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell down to the newest freshman Democrat. Nearly every day for at least two decades pharmaceutical drugs have been brought by the carload to the Capitol — an arrangement so under the radar that even pharmacy lobbyists who regularly pitch Congress on their industry aren’t aware of it. (Mershon, 10/11)

In other pharmaceutical news —

Stat: FDA Permits Importation Of Saline Bags To Address Shortages
To address a shortage of intravenous solution bags exacerbated by Hurricane Maria, the Food and Drug Administration has granted permission for a health supply company to import certain products to the United States from Australia and Ireland. In letters dated Monday, the company, Baxter International, informed its customers that they could now order bags of saline solution that are manufactured abroad even though they are not FDA-approved because they are not marketed in the United States. Saline solution, given intravenously, is used for hydration and to dilute drugs. (Swetlitz, 10/10)

Arizona Republic: Goldwater Institute Seeks Ebola Drug Records FDA Refuses To Provide
The federal agency that oversees drug safety made a quick decision in 2014 to allow two health-care workers to take a yet-to-be-tested drug after they contracted the Ebola virus while volunteering in Liberia. The two health workers, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, became the first humans to ever get the experimental drug, called ZMapp, and both recovered from their illness. (Alltucker, 10/10)

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