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Editorial pages focus on these health policies and others.
News from state legislatures comes out of Louisiana, Iowa, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, Florida and California.
An analysis finds that 78 percent of all individuals included in genomic studies of disease up to 2018 were of European descent. In other public health news: loneliness in teens, childhood trauma, trigger warnings, cancer and vaccines by mail.
“Fertility issues for kids with cancer were ignored” for years, said University of Pittsburgh reproductive scientist Kyle Orwig. “Many of us dream of growing up and having our own families. We hope our research will help these young patients to do that.” Until now, boys hadn’t had a realistic option to preserve their fertility, but that may be changing.
The family that found Purdue Pharma has come under intense scrutiny as of late after it was revealed just how deeply involved some of the members were in the early aggressive marketing tactics pursued by the opioid-maker. Meanwhile, an advocacy group is calling on the FDA to impose a moratorium on approving new opioids.
The move toward privatization of veterans health care has been a hot-topic issue for years on Capitol Hill. Now as the Trump administration is preparing for the shift, Democrats are pushing back, saying leaders have left them out of the planning process.
The drug costs $34,000 and women have to stay at a medical center for more than 60 hours to receive the injection. So while many researchers were excited about the new drug, other experts say it is unlikely to help many who need it.
Economists say that part of the reason price transparency won’t do much to the market is not only because consumers don’t pay list prices but they also don’t really choose which medication they’re buying. And, unlike with toothpaste or soda, it’s not easy for a consumer to switch brands of medicine. In other pharmaceutical news: pharmacy benefits managers will have their day getting grilled by lawmakers, how the NAFTA deal may hinge on intellectual property protections for pharma products, and more.
Amid reports on women giving birth while shackled to hospital beds, a new report tries to give solid data that looks at the reality of women who are behind bars. “The fact that nobody had collected this data before signals just how much this population is neglected,” said Dr. Carolyn Sufrin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The new Mississippi bill prohibits the abortion of a fetus with a detectable heartbeat, before the point where a woman may be aware she is pregnant. Although similar “heartbeat bills” have failed in court countless times, the measure is part of a wave of restrictive state-level legislation that is geared toward challenging Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, in the federal House, there’s no longer a single Republican who supports abortion rights.
Media outlets report on news from Rhode Island, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Massachusetts, D.C., Florida, California, Virginia, New York, Maryland, Texas, Minnesota and Georgia.
The risk is “low enough that you can’t say, ‘just don’t prescribe Adderall,’” said Dr. Lauren Moran, the study’s lead author. “But from a public health perspective, there’s so many millions of people being prescribed these medications that it actually leads to thousands of people at increased risk of psychosis.” In other public health news: Zika, sugary drinks, depression and more.
It only took six days since New Zealand’s largest massacre for the government to change gun ownership laws. But the country’s constitution does not guarantee the right to own a gun and the gun lobby isn’t as strong as in the U.S., where efforts to change laws have been mostly at the state level.
The practice of letting kids get chickenpox from sick friends or neighbors is a holdover from the days before the vaccination became widely available, and doctors say the method can lead to dangerous complications or death. Meanwhile, experts are using actual examples of social media activists attacking doctors and others advocating for vaccinations in order to better understand the resistance.
“There just aren’t enough places and schools to get trained for how many people we need in those roles,” said economist Tara Sinclair. An aging population and increase in wealth has contributed to higher demand for health care services, and the skills gap is only going to have a greater impact on the booming industry as it grows. In other health industry news: costly insurance, a hospital whistleblower case, health stocks, state employee premiums, cheating doctors and more.
In January, the tax rate coal companies pay to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund was cut in half, leaving sick miners and their advocates fearing future benefit cuts from a fund that is already about some $4 billion in debt. The Department of Labor said in a statement Wednesday that it is obligated to continue paying benefits to sick miners, so a shortfall would be covered by borrowing from taxpayers. In other environmental health news: unsafe drinking water, manufacturing industry’s lingering effects on health, coal ash and more.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote that the government will step in if even further than it already has if the e-cigarette industry doesn’t take an active role in curbing the epidemic. Meanwhile, in a podcast, Gottlieb talks about his work at the agency and if he’ll ever return to the government.
Authorities are touting a Los Angeles County program as a breakthrough in policing that could save lives of veterans who are having a crisis. Since the program’s launch in September, local law enforcement agencies answering such 911 calls have dispatched not only deputies or officers but also two-person teams from the Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Beach. Supporters call the program the first of its kind and hope it will be replicated nationwide.
More than 5,000 of the current 18,000 comments were made public this week, and nearly all of them support the proposal with very similar wording that matches a RetireSafe-sponsored form letter available at the website SubmitForChange.org. In other pharmaceutical news: Pfizer makes a gene-therapy deal, AbbVie is sued over its patent deals, and the FDA is taking steps to cut down on blood pressure medication recalls.
The death rate among African Americans from fentanyl-involved drug overdoses rose 141 percent each year, on average, from 2011 to 2016, and the death rate for Hispanics rose 118 percent in that period every year on average. Altogether, the records revealed that more than 36,000 Americans died with fentanyl in their systems during the study period. The majority of those deaths — 18,335 — occurred in 2016 alone. Meanwhile, the nation’s top medical advisers say that medication for addiction is vastly underused.