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June 23, 2022
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Top Stories

  • The Food and Drug Administration plans to force Juul Labs Inc. to remove its e-cigarettes from the U.S. market after a nearly two-year review of the vaping giant’s data, people familiar with the matter said, with an announcement expected as soon as this week. The decision would mark a departure from the agency’s stance toward Juul’s biggest rivals, which have been allowed to keep selling tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The Biden administration said it will expand commercial lab testing for monkeypox in an effort to curb the country’s outbreak, which health officials warn could be far greater than the official tally of 156 cases. (The Washington Post) The move comes as a World Health Organization panel meets to consider declaring the international outbreak a global emergency, which would give monkeypox the same distinction as COVID-19. (The Associated Press)
  • The House passed a bill to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, which Congress has already allocated $1 billion to establish. The White House said it strongly supports the House bill but expressed concerns about some measures, indicating the debate over how the new biomedical research agency should be structured isn’t over yet. (Bloomberg Law)
  • More than 1 in 3 U.S. adults who have had COVID-19 experienced lingering symptoms for at least three months, according to new federal data that indicates 19% of these adults currently have long COVID symptoms. The study, which also suggests women are more likely than men to report long-term symptoms, could have implications for health care and disability costs, as well as the broader workforce. (Bloomberg)

Chart Review


Events Calendar (All Times Local)


What Else You Need to Know


House report critiques Trump administration’s COVID response

Adriel Bettelheim, Axios

Top Trump administration officials ignored warnings and embraced a “herd immunity via mass infection” approach to containing COVID-19 to justify not taking meaningful action to curb the virus in the fall and winter of 2020-2021, a House oversight panel report concluded Tuesday.


Moderna’s Omicron Shot Yields Antibodies Against New Variants

Robert Langreth, Bloomberg

Moderna Inc.’s omicron-targeting vaccine triggered the production of antibodies against the strain’s newest variants, though the immune response was less robust than seen with the original version that emerged late last year.


Omicron-specific COVID vaccines on the horizon, Pfizer chief says

Susan Heavey, Reuters

COVID-19 vaccines that specifically target the Omicron and other variants are under development, Pfizer Inc’s chief executive said on Wednesday, adding that the company will be able to quickly adapt shots as the novel coronavirus mutates.


New coronavirus subvariants escape antibodies from vaccination and prior Omicron infection, studies suggest

Jacqueline Howard, CNN

Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 appear to escape antibody responses among both people who had previous Covid-19 infection and those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, according to new data from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, of Harvard Medical School.


Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids 6 to 17 Years Faces CDC Review

Liz Essley Whyte, The Wall Street Journal

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are set to decide whether to recommend Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 6 to 17 years.


U.S. delivers 2.7 mln COVID vaccine doses for kids under five to administration sites

Mrinalika Roy, Reuters

The United States has delivered about 2.7 million doses of COVID vaccines for children below five years to administration centers while another one million shots will reach the sites soon, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday.


FDA Investigating Report of Baby’s Death After Consuming Abbott Baby Formula

Peter Loftus and Jesse Newman, The Wall Street Journal

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a new report of another child’s death after consuming Abbott Laboratories ’ baby formula, the agency said Wednesday.


Baby formula marketing practices are still too aggressive

Melissa Chan, The Fuller Project

In wealthy countries, robust public health campaigns together with tighter scrutiny on corporate advertising mean mothers face better chances at making informed decisions about when to use milk formula.


Inequities in healthcare cost nearly $320B annually, new research shows

Hailey Mensik, Healthcare Dive

Socioeconomic, racial and gender inequities in healthcare account for nearly $320 billion in annual spending, and could account for $1 trillion or more by 2040, according to an analysis out Wednesday from Deloitte.


Democrats Renew Bid to End Hyde Amendment Ban on Abortion Funds

Alex Ruoff, Bloomberg Law

House Democrats will again push to end long-standing prohibitions on federal spending for abortion services as part of their fiscal 2023 funding bills.


Psychosis, Addiction, Chronic Vomiting: As Weed Becomes More Potent, Teens Are Getting Sick

Christina Caron, The New York Times

With THC levels close to 100 percent, today’s cannabis products are making some teenagers highly dependent and dangerously ill.


Death of Man Who Received a Pig-Heart Transplant Remains a Mystery

Amy Dockser Marcus, The Wall Street Journal

Researchers haven’t reached a full explanation for his death but say after his months of survival, it makes sense to consider clinical trials.


CMS to Congress: ‘Time is of the essence’ on extending boosted ACA subsidies

Robert King, Fierce Healthcare

Affordable Care Act officials need to start letting consumers know that enhanced subsidies will be in place for next year, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.


PBM reform bill that boosts FTC powers inches closer to passage in Senate

Robert King, Fierce Healthcare

Legislation aimed at curbing several pharmacy benefit manager practices such as spread pricing cleared a key obstacle to passage in the Senate.


Trump’s Legacy Looms Large as Colorado Aims to Close the Hispanic Insurance Gap

Rae Ellen Bichell and Markian Hawryluk, Kaiser Health News

Nationally and in Colorado, the share of people without health insurance has long been significantly higher among Hispanics than among non-Hispanic white, Black, or Asian residents.


Walmart expands health services to address racial inequality

Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press

Walmart is expanding health care coverage for employees who want to enlist the services of a doula, a person trained to assist women during pregnancies, to address racial inequities in maternal care.


Nursing home owner whose residents suffered in Ida arrested

Kevin McGill, The Associated Press

The owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes whose residents suffered in squalid conditions after being evacuated to a warehouse as Hurricane Ida approached last year was arrested on Wednesday, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced.

Pharma, Biotech and Devices

House Moves to End Hurdle for Prescribing Addiction Medication

Alex Ruoff, Bloomberg Law

Advocates for expanding the use of anti-addiction medications got a major win Wednesday as the House passed legislation to ease doctors’ ability to prescribe such medicines.


Schumer will put legislation to cut insulin costs on Senate floor ‘very soon’

Kanishka Singh, Reuters

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said he will put bipartisan legislation on lowering insulin costs to a vote on the Senate floor “very soon.”


Meningococcal Outbreak Prompts CDC to Urge Some Men, College Students to Get Vaccinated

Dominique Mosbergen, The Wall Street Journal

An outbreak of meningococcal disease in Florida prompted health authorities to urge men who have sex with men, as well as some college students, to get vaccinated against the disease.


CDC panel recommends US seniors get souped-up flu vaccines

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

Americans 65 and older should get newer, souped-up flu vaccines because regular shots don’t provide them enough protection, a federal advisory panel said Wednesday.


Novartis wins U.S. approval for targeted cancer drug combination

Ludwig Burger, Reuters

A targeted oral drug combination by Novartis won U.S. approval for use in a wide range of advanced solid tumors that are driven by a certain genetic contributor, widening the use of a novel treatment approach that is known as tumor agnostic.


Americans With ALS Look to Canada for Promising Drug the U.S. Hasn’t Approved

Amy Dockser Marcus, The Wall Street Journal

Canada approved Amylyx Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s new drug for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis last week. Now some U.S. patients with the fatal neurodegenerative disorder—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—are considering a trip north to get the medication, Albrioza.


With cryptocurrency and NFTs, ‘decentralized science’ seeks to upend drug industry financing

Allison DeAngelis, Stat News

There are now dozens of groups in operation, and earlier this month, one of them attracted a top biotech VC as a lead investor — a significant milestone that DeSci proponents say will help the field be taken seriously.

Health Technology

Wearables are collecting a flood of data. An ambitious new study of pregnancy aims to prove that’s valuable for health

Mario Aguilar, Stat News

When Stephen Friend left Apple in 2017 after a stint helping to jumpstart its health efforts, the company’s marketing engine was already promoting a future that hadn’t arrived: Apple devices were going to help you live a healthier life.


VA hits pause on future rollouts of EHR until 2023 while lawmakers raise fresh concerns about patient safety risks

Heather Landi, Fierce Healthcare

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will push off deployment of a new electronic medical records system to additional medical facilities until 2023 to address outages that have plagued the software at current sites.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Needed: a clearer explanation of why diversity in clinical trials is important

Arthur L. Caplan, Stat News

As these examples make clear, enhancing diversity has the attention of government, health care providers, contract research organizations, not-for-profits, trial sponsors, and researchers. But why?

Morning Consult