Posts tagged with "HHS"

Trump Administration cuts off funding to 13 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in five states

June 25, 2020

The Trump Administration is doing its level best to close—or at the very least, slow down—coronavirus testing nationwide by cutting off support to 13 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites on June 30; and leaving operation and funding of those sites to the states—even as cases spike in several parts of the country, Politico reports.

This is not the first time that the Administration has tried to offload control of the drive-thru sites to the states—but the last effort was suspended in April when governors in the states affected objected strongly.

The 13 sites—in Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas—are the last federally run sites out of 41 originally established across the country. Seven sites are in hard-hit Texas, where cases are climbing.

Taking the offensive on Thursday, June 24, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir told Roll Call that the sites were always meant to be a temporary solution as the country worked to ramp up testing capacity in traditional health care settings.

What he didn’t mention was that, with a looming election challenge, Trump has seen the pandemic as a drag on the economy that he simply wants to go away.

Indeed, in early March, the president transferred responsibility for flattening the line on the coronavirus pandemic to the states—and, specifically, to the governors. He will neither wear a mask nor recommend one; and he has been unwilling to release nearly $14B in Congressional funding for testing and tracing efforts to combat COVID-19. However, he continues to brag that his pandemic effort is the best ever executed.

Already protesters are piling on: Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, tells Politico that it’s not the right time to shift responsibility for the sites to the states—especially those near emerging hot spots in Texas

“The federally supported testing sites remain critically needed, and in some place like Houston and Harris County, TX and in other hotspots, are needed now more than ever,” Becker said in an email. “This is not the time for the federal government to walk back prior commitments on testing.”

Even Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) is critical of the plan, noting,. “It’s pretty clear to me, and I think it’s clear to all of us, that with the uptick of cases, now is not the time to retreat from our vigilance in testing,” he said. “I believe that they need to extend that federal support in Texas, at least until we get this most recent uptick in cases addressed.”

So what will be the outcome? HHS says there is no going back: Gigroir recommends that the state governors can use CARES Act funding to maintain operations at the current federally supported testing sites.

Research contact: @politico

Lilly to offer insulin at 50% lower price in U.S. pharmacies

March 5, 2019

About 1.25 million Americans suffer from Type 1 diabetes—a serious condition in which the body fails to properly regulate blood sugar—and for them, buying insulin is a “do or die” decision.

Thus, when the price of prescription insulin at U.S. pharmacies began to rise rapidly within the past few years—more than tripling from $300 for a 90-day prescription to $1,000 or more today—they and their families began having to choose between other necessities and the price of the life-saving hormone.

N o generic version of the drug existed, and three manufacturers—Eli Lilly (Indianapolis), Sanofi (Paris), and Novo Nordisk (Bagsværd, Denmark)—control 99% of the market

Now, Eli Lilly has announced that it will step up to help patients nationwide-offering a 50% lower-priced generic version of Humalog (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL) at pharmacies in the United States.

“We’ve engaged in discussions about the price of insulin with many different stakeholders in America’s health care system: people living with diabetes, caregivers, advocacy groups, health care professionals, payers, wholesalers, lawmakers, and leading health care scholars,” said Lilly’s CEO David A. Ricksin a company release, adding, “Solutions that lower the cost of insulin at the pharmacy have been introduced in recent months, but more people need help. We’re eager to bring forward a low-priced rapid-acting insulin.

“The significant rebates we pay on insulins do not directly benefit all patients. This needs to change,” Ricks said. “There are numerous ideas, including the rebate reform proposal from HHS. For people with diabetes, a lower-priced insulin can serve as a bridge that addresses gaps in the system until a more sustainable model is achieved.”

The lower-priced version will be called Insulin Lispro—the same molecule as Humalog—and will be available in vial and pen options. The list price of a single vial will be $137.35. The list price of a five-pack of KwikPens will be $265.20.

Vials and pens of the lower-priced insulin have been manufactured, and Lilly will now work with supply chain partners to make them available in pharmacies as quickly as possible. It will be made available as an authorized generic through a Lilly subsidiary, ImClone Systems.

Humalog also will remain available for people who want to continue accessing it through their current insurance plans. Introducing an alternative insulin option allows Lilly to provide a lower-priced insulin more quickly while providing payers time to renegotiate downstream contracts and adjust to new system economics.

“While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions,” Ricks said. “We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. healthcare system.”

Lilly’s Insulin Lispro is one of many initiatives the company has introduced to deliver lower out-of-pocket options to people living with diabetes. After exploring the logistics and feasibility of an authorized generic, Lilly began preparing manufacturing, labeling, and shipping plans last year for the possibility of Lilly’s Insulin Lispro. People should call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at (833) 808-1234 to learn whether Lilly’s Insulin Lispro, or another option, is the best financial choice for them.

Humalog and Insulin Lispro are available by prescription only.

Research contact: @LillyPad