HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: State AGs seek congressional help on sacklers

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Two state attorneys general and the head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will advocate today for legislation to ensure that members of the Sackler family cannot escape prosecution over their role in the country’s overdose crisis.

The hearing shows how determined key lawmakers and prosecutors are to ensure that members of the Sackler family with ties to Purdue Pharma, the makers of the opioid pain relievers OxyContin, cannot bypass pending lawsuits. representative Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and Rep. Marc DeSaulnier (D-Calif.) Unveiled legislation (HR 2096) to fill a loophole to prevent those who have not filed for bankruptcy from being released from lawsuits brought by the U.S. government, as well as by states and bankrupt local governments.

“It is imperative that Congress act quickly to prevent the Sacklers, and other bad actors like them, from manipulating the bankruptcy system to escape responsibility for their actions,” said Maloney.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will appear today before the panel to say the measure is necessary to allow them to continue prosecutions against members of the Sackler family. “The Sacklers are not offering to pay anything near what they owe for the damage and devastation to families and communities,” Healy told ABC News over the weekend.

Purdue Pharma has sought to resolve thousands of lawsuits against the company by divesting more than $ 5 billion in company assets and more than $ 4 billion from Sackler family members to states, cities and counties. In return for the assets and cash, which are expected to be paid over nine years, Purdue and the Sacklers would be legally isolated from existing and future opioid lawsuits, according to court documents, Alex Ruoff reports.

Happens on the Hill

Applications: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a nomination hearing for Dawn O’Connell as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Miriam Delphin-Rittmon as Assistant Secretary for mental health and addiction, both within the Health and Human Services Department.

Pallone wants HR 3 in the Biden plan: The head of the House’s Energy and Trade Committee plans to attach a bill to empower the government to negotiate a broader plan for the economy and jobs with drugmakers. representative Franck Pallone (DN.J.) told reporters he hoped to pass his party’s drug pricing bill (HR 3) as part of a major legislative package this year. “We would like to attach him to this bigger jobs bill and that’s what I will do when this bill is moved,” Pallone said on a call with reporters.

Pallone rebuffed the idea that moderate Democrats would oppose the legislation, saying he believed almost everyone in his caucus would support the bill. “The votes are clearly there for the government to negotiate the prices,” he said. House Democrats sent a letter to the president on May 10 Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Outlining their concerns with HR 3. Pallone said he has spoken with some of those Democrats and expects most will support his drug bill, reports Alex Ruoff.

Democrats seek to codify Roe v. Wade: A list of Congressional Democrats will introduce a bill to enshrine the protection of Roe vs. Wade into law by prohibiting states from creating medically unnecessary limits on abortion services. Meaning. Richard blumenthal (D-Conn.) And Tammy baldwin (D-Wis.), Along with four House lawmakers, plan to unveil the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” guaranteeing access to abortion services and allowing doctors to provide such services. This follows the Supreme Court ruling to hear a challenge to Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks, Ruoff reports.

The coronavirus pandemic

Biden and Johnson to rally with G-7 for vaccination campaign after US hoarding: Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as president will focus on boosting the availability of Western coronavirus vaccines abroad – an attempt to both counter China and ease tensions with allies who are at odds with the United States over their accumulation of vaccines and intellectual property rights.

Biden leaves tomorrow for the Group of Seven summit in the UK, leaving the US, where the pandemic is receding, to discuss how the world’s wealthiest democracies can help the rest of the world eliminate the virus. Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are both aiming to rally the G-7 to a plan to make more clichés available to low-income countries. Biden and Johnson will meet for the first time on Thursday, ahead of the G-7. Read more from Josh Wingrove.

Gangrene, hearing loss pointing to a more severe variant: The variant of the coronavirus that drove the devastating Covid-19 epidemic in India is the most infectious to have emerged so far. Doctors now want to know if it is also more serious.

Hearing disturbances, severe gastric disturbances and blood clots leading to gangrene, symptoms that are generally not seen in Covid-19 patients, have been linked by Indian doctors to the so-called Delta variant, or B.1.617 .2. In England and Scotland, early evidence suggests that the now dominant strain carries a higher risk of hospitalization. Read more about Bhuma Shrivastava.

CDC study shows mRNA vaccines reduce risk of infection by 91%: A new CDC study involving groups more likely to be exposed to coronavirus finds COVID-19 mRNA vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce the risk of infection by 91% for fully vaccinated people. The preliminary results of the study were first announced in March. Read more from Luzi Ann Javier.

Chinese market sales fuel natural origins theory: Chinese markets linked to some of the first cases of Covid-19 were illegally selling a range of wildlife from which the coronavirus could have spread, according to a study released less than two weeks after Biden ordered a further investigation on the genesis of the pandemic. The article in the journal Scientific Reports was originally submitted last October. Read more from Jason Gale.

  • Meanwhile, a May 2020 classified report from a US government national laboratory concluded that the hypothesis that the Covid-19 virus had leaked from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan was plausible and merited further investigation, has Dow Jones reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the document. Read more from Jim Silver.

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What else to know today

Biden unveils supply chain plan to boost medicine and chip production: Biden has released a multi-pronged strategy to secure critical supply chains for products ranging from drugs to microchips, and is also considering a potential trade investigation that could result in U.S. tariffs on some magnet imports, officials said.

The administration will establish a supply chain disruption task force to address short-term bottlenecks that may affect economic recovery. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, along with her transport and agriculture counterparts Pete Buttigieg and Tom Vilsack, will lead the team which will focus on the disparities between supply and demand in areas such as construction and construction. housing, semiconductors, transportation, agriculture and food, administration officials told reporters. . Read more from Jenny Leonard.

Alzheimer’s disease drug approved in the disease monument: Biogen’s controversial treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved by federal regulators, a landmark move that is expected to dramatically change treatment for debilitating brain disease. The Food and Drug Administration has given antibody therapy fast track approval, which means Biogen will need to do more research to establish the drug’s benefits to keep it on the market. Read more from Robert Langreth.

  • The approval sharply divided clinicians and advocates for its ability to alter disease progression and its use. The move comes despite opposition from the FDA’s independent advisory committee, and with the agency saying that clinical trial evidence was incomplete on the drug’s effectiveness. Yet one thing is clear: Having the drug on the market will change the way Alzheimer’s disease is managed. Read more from John Tozzi and Elaine Chen.
  • Related: Biogen’s FDA Win is Game-Changing for Alzheimer’s Drugs

Medicare payment model review aims for fairness: A strategic review of Medicare payment models will seek to reshape their future development and implementation to better address issues of health disparities and equity, said yesterday Liz Fowler, director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CMMI is developing and evaluating alternative Medicare payment models to test new reimbursement formulas that create incentives and reward providers for delivering cost-effective care that improves patient outcomes. Read more from Tony Pugh.

Trump HHS chief Azar resurfaces at the Aspen Institute: Former Trump administration health and human services secretary Alex Azar, who has spoken little publicly since leaving office, has joined the Aspen Institute’s health strategy group to develop health policy solutions to the challenges facing the United States. including former HHS secretaries from the Democratic and Republican administrations. Read more from Shira Stein.

Cancer escapes the shadow of Covid-19 for pharmacy: For more than a year, the coronavirus has remained at the center of the healthcare industry and everything in its orbit, demanding the attention of U.S. health officials, hospitals, and headlines. But now the hottest and most heavily invested area in drug development, cancer, is starting to come out of the shadows. Drugmakers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting that began Friday and continues today are eager to rekindle interest in a company that has seen its market value drop and its products underperform estimates in sales as the pandemic unfolded. Read more from Riley Griffin.

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To contact journalists on this story: Brandon lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Alex Ruoff in Washington at aruoff@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at zsherwood@bgov.com; Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Michaela ross at mross@bgov.com

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