Gilead Sciences' price for remdesivir, which costs commercial insurers around $3,120, is "responsible" based on current data but will only be cost-effective if a five-day course is used to treat COVID-19 patients and if the drug prevents deaths, according to Institute for Clinical and Economic Review President Steven Pearson. He argues the drug should cost around $310 if it does not save lives.
A spike in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Texas is starting to strain Houston-area hospitals, and internal messages show that some hospitals are running out of beds and other key resources. The top physician executive at the Houston Methodist hospital system has warned staff members that the health system's COVID-19 caseload is rising and they may need to delay more surgical services to create additional capacity for COVID-19 patients.
Many patients recovering from COVID-19 continue to experience neurological, physical, emotional and cognitive issues after leaving the hospital, and these residual symptoms could linger for months, years or indefinitely, experts say. Some patients continue to experience shortness of breath, intermittent cough, muscle weakness and swallowing difficulties while others suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
People who have periodontal disease have a higher risk for severe symptoms if they get COVID-19 than people with good oral health, researchers reported in the British Dental Journal. Oral bacteria could be aspirated into the lungs, causing infection and spurring the production of cytokines, researchers wrote, adding that oral hygiene should "be maintained, if not improved, during a SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the potential risk of bacterial superinfection."
The CDC is developing a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan that will be disseminated in the coming weeks, Director Robert Redfield said at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. Several senators voiced concerns on the lack of a comprehensive plan, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the CDC plan should detail how the government intends to scale up production, coordinate the supply chain, ensure fair vaccine distribution and address misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.
A resolution introduced by the US Senate Democratic Caucus calls on the Department of Justice to change its position and support the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit pending before the US Supreme Court. The Trump administration and a group of state attorneys general have asked the court to rule the ACA unconstitutional.
US public heath systems have long been underfunded and are not equipped with the resources they need to handle the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to public health workers, policymakers and experts. Data show that US spending for state public health departments has decreased 16% per capita since 2010 and funding for local health departments has dropped 18%.
Agendia, a molecular diagnostic testing company based in California, agreed to pay $8.25 million to resolve allegations that it schemed to bill Medicare for its MammaPrint genetic test. Authorities said Agendia conspired with hospitals across the US to delay ordering MammaPrint genetic assay procedures to circumvent Medicare's 14-day rule, which prevents medical laboratories from billing the health care program separately for specimens or tests if they were ordered by doctor within 14 days of a patient's discharge from a hospital.
Novartis agreed to a more than $729 million settlement to settle accusations that it paid illegal kickbacks to patients and doctors to boost drug sales. Authorities said Novartis organized tens of thousands of fake educational events where it paid doctors high speaker fees and treated them to pricey dinners and alcohol to induce them into prescribing its cardiovascular and diabetes drugs more frequently, and funneled money through foundations to pay copayments for Medicare patients so they would purchase the treatments.
Sarasota, Fla.-based Ophthalmic Consultants and ophthalmologist Robert Snyder have agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act. Authorities said the practice used a single-use drug vial to provide doses to numerous patients in treatments and received reimbursements from Tricare, Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
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