Morning Consult Health will be off Monday for Presidents Day. The newsletter will resume Tuesday.
Good morning all, and welcome back to Morning Consult Health. Let’s start with a quiz before we dig into the week ahead: What share of health care workers said they approve of how the American public has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?
Check out the answer at the bottom of today’s newsletter.
Congress is out of town, and we’re watching local officials for the latest in health policy given states and cities will likely continue shedding their public health restrictions as the country emerges from the omicron surge. Interestingly enough, new Morning Consult/Politico data shows that more than half of voters are in favor of their local governments requiring masks and vaccinations for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment venues and workplaces. Mask mandates were a bit more popular than vaccination requirements, but not by much.
If we dig deeper, though, the data shows it’s mostly Democrats who want these local restrictions to stay in place — roughly 4 in 5 back those measures, while no more than a third of Republicans are in favor.
Meanwhile the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory committee will meet Wednesday and Thursday to discuss shots for the flu, hepatitis, cholera and more. The group plans to vote on recommendations for cholera shots for children and vaccines against tickborne encephalitis for travelers.
DTx West, a digital therapeutics conference, takes place Wednesday through Friday in the Bay Area. Leading executives in the growing digital health subsector will discuss how they measure the value of their products and get in with employers, as well as their relationships with drug companies and patients.
Here’s who’s reporting quarterly earnings this week: Moderna Inc., Medtronic PLC, Teladoc Inc. and GoodRx Holdings Inc. We could hear more from Moderna on its experimental COVID-19 booster shot targeting the omicron variant, which the biotech hopes to have ready by August, while GoodRx is facing a new competitor with the recent launch of the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company.
Califf confirmed:The Senate confirmed Dr. Robert Califf to lead the Food and Drug Administration in a tight 50-46 vote after some lawmakers raised concerns about the opioid epidemic, abortion pills and his connections with the drug industry. Dr. Janet Woodcock, who served as acting commissioner for more than a year, will become the FDA’s second-in-command.
Global vaccinations:The Biden administration will offer more than $250 million in “intensive support” for COVID-19 vaccination in 11 sub-Saharan African countries in an effort to get shots in arms amid concerns over infrastructure and logistical challenges. The announcement came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said some countries have had to turn down vaccine donations from the United States because of these “hyper-local issues,” and after Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that 70 percent of the globe likely won’t be vaccinated by later this year, falling short of the administration’s goal.
Pandemic response:As existing COVID-19 relief funding runs dry, the Biden administration asked Congress for another $30 billion in pandemic response aid, according to people familiar with the matter. The request includes $17.9 billion for antiviral treatments and other medical supplies, $4.9 billion for testing and $2.7 billion to fight future variants.
PBMs:The Federal Trade Commission won’t move forward with a study examining how pharmacy benefit managers’ controversial business practices affect independent and specialty pharmacies, after commissioners tied in a 2-2 vote. The decision angered pharmacy groups, which say PBMs hurt local competition and impose opaque fees that inflate drug prices, though one analyst said it’s likely the FTC will return to the issue.
Stat of the Week
The share of health care workers who said they’ve felt defeated by the demands of their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.