Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode!
The federal approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease has reignited the debate over drug prices and the way the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden seeks to gain goodwill overseas as he announces the U.S. will provide 500 million doses of covid vaccine to international health efforts. Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And to mark the podcast’s 200th episode, the panelists discuss what has surprised them most and least over the past four years.
FDA Weighs Approval of a Lucrative Alzheimer’s Drug, but Benefits Are Iffy
The agency is to decide by June 7 whether to greenlight Biogen’s drug aducanumab, despite a near-unanimous rejection of the product by an FDA advisory committee of outside experts in November. Some scientists at the agency have endorsed the drug, though.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag
Democratic leaders in Congress have vowed to pass legislation to address high prescription drug prices this year, but some moderates in their own party appear to be balking. Meanwhile, younger teens are now eligible for a covid-19 vaccine and the Biden administration reinstated anti-discrimination policy for LGBTQ people in health care. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Sharing Vaccines With the World
The Biden administration is bucking the drug industry and backing a waiver of covid-19 vaccine patent protections to help the rest of the world vaccinate its populations. Here at home, the Food and Drug Administration wants to ban menthol flavorings for cigarettes, setting off a fight with the tobacco industry. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
Detecting Rare Blood Clots Was a Win, But US Vaccine Safety System Still Has Gaps
With some 100 million Americans fully vaccinated, the U.S. is relying on a patchwork network of vaccine monitoring systems that lack the breadth and depth of large, population-based programs, experts said.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Pause and Effect on Covid Vaccines
Podcast panelists discuss a range of health policy developments, from the latest in the covid vaccination effort to the HHS budget, among other things.
FDA Seeks a New Way to Review Old Drugs Without Causing Prices to Soar
A misguided federal program called the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, which put the FDA’s stamp of approval on old drugs, led to higher prices. It’s scrapped. So now what?
A Year Into Pandemic, Federal Officials Move to Better Protect Front-Line Workers
Changes would allow N95 sales for industries other than health care and signal an end to the hospital practice of reusing the masks considered essential for worker safety.
Medicamentos ya conocidos, y baratos, podrían ser clave para tratar covid
Hay medicamentos aprobados hace años que podrían investigarse en profundidad para tratar covid. Pero no hay interés porque no generarían grandes ganancias.
Scientists Seek Covid Treatment Answers in Cheap, Older Drugs
Philanthropies are funding studies of cheap, existing medications like the antidepressant fluvoxamine as covid treatments. But early hype about hydroxychloroquine and other repurposed drugs leaves researchers leery of hasty conclusions.
Analysis: How the US Invested in the War on Terrorism at the Cost of Public Health
After 9/11, as our defenses against international and bioterrorism hardened, our defenses against infectious diseases shrank. By the time a deadly virus arrived on our shores last year, nearly two-thirds of Americans were living in counties that spend more than twice as much on policing as they spend on public health.
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS
After a bruising confirmation process, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services this week. The Senate also confirmed the nominations of former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to return to the post he held in the Obama administration, and former Pennsylvania health secretary Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health. Levine is the first openly transgender person to receive Senate confirmation. Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl around the AstraZeneca covid vaccine, which some public health experts worry will create more hesitancy toward other vaccines.
Birx Joins Air-Cleaning Industry Amid Land Grab for Billions in Federal Covid Relief
Air-cleaning companies with limited oversight are targeting a growing market of schools desperate for covid-19 protection. Donald Trump’s former covid adviser lands with one that built its business, in part, on ozone-emitting technology.
The Hype Has Faded, but Don’t Count Out Convalescent Plasma in Covid Battle
The once-promising therapy that infuses blood plasma from recovered covid-19 patients into newly infected people, theoretically to boost immunity, has suffered setbacks. But some proponents say it’s too early to abandon the treatment.
To Extract More Doses per Vial, Vaccinators Put Squeeze on FDA to Relax Vaccine Handling Advice
Although vaccine supply is ramping up, the supply gap puts pressure on vaccinating teams to extract every drop they can. Some are asking the FDA to waive guidance against extracting vaccine from two vials with the same needle. It’s worth a shot.
Pfizer’s Newest Vaccine Plant Has Persistent Mold Issues, History of Recalls
After nearly a decade’s worth of federal inspections, reprimands and corrective action plans, has Pfizer fixed the facility that will be filling vials of its covid vaccine?
Miedo a las jeringas, obstáculo inesperado en los esfuerzos de vacunación contra covid
La desinformación que se difunde en las redes sociales a menudo incorpora imágenes de jeringas gigantes, que aterra a fóbicos y los aleja de las dosis.
Ouch! Needle-Phobic People Scarred by So Many Images of Covid Shots
The pictures are on the nightly news, on billboards, bus stop posters and all over social media. How can people who fear needles manage to get their covid shots?
Why AstraZeneca and J&J’s Vaccines, In Use Elsewhere, Are Still on Hold in America
Covid has pressed the Food and Drug Administration into its fastest vaccine reviews ever — which are still painfully slow, critics say.
Have a Case of a Covid Variant? No One Is Going to Tell You
As experts race to get an approved test for covid variants, officials are severely restricted from sharing information about the cases. That makes it harder to protect others.