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Morning Rounds Megan Thielking

Trump gears up for a speech at HHS today

President Trump is slated to give a speech this afternoon at HHS — and lobbyists and experts tell STAT it'll be centered around high prescription drug costs. The remarks come hot on the heels of two big drug pricing wins by the Trump administration. Last week, HHS announced plans to require drug companies to include prices in their TV ads. And earlier this month, the president signed a bill into law that bans gag clauses, which stop pharmacists from telling customers when it's cheaper to pay for a drug without using their insurance. 

FDA approves new, fast-acting flu drug

The FDA has approved the first new flu drug with a novel way of working in nearly 20 years. The drug — called Xofluza — is already licensed in Japan and is being brought to the U.S. market by Genentech. It’s a fast-acting pill taken in a single dose soon after symptoms set in. It’s not clear yet how much people will have to pay for the drug, but the company says the wholesale price will be $150. The approval comes just in time for flu season, which is likely to kick into gear in the coming weeks.

Experts recommend hepatitis A vaccine for people who are homeless

A U.S. advisory committee on immunizations just recommended for the first time that people who are homeless routinely be vaccinated against hepatitis A. The infectious disease can be spread through tainted food, water, or needles used to inject drugs. It's rare in the U.S., but has proven to be a problem among people who are homeless and sometimes live in encampments. Last fall, a hepatitis A outbreak primarily among people who were homeless in San Diego led to more than 400 hospitalizations and 20 deaths. A massive vaccination effort helped to end the outbreak.

Inside STAT: Epilepsy, my life-threatening condition, is not your ‘undue burden’

(molly ferguson for stat)

James is a teenager with epilepsy who was accepted to this year's freshman class at Notre Dame, his top choice. But he's not going, because his request for a single room — his neurologist told the school that "consistent, uninterrupted" sleep was critical to lowering his seizure risk — was denied. In a letter to James, the school acknowledged the concerns of his neurologist, but said the request would "create an unreasonable burden." In a new First Opinion for STAT, journalist Kurt Eichenwald — who himself has epilepsy and has reviewed James's case — recounts his experience being dismissed from college after having seizures in public. Read here

Study suggests body cooling doesn't benefit brain injury patients

A new study adds fuel to the long-running debate about the practice of dramatically cooling the body down in a bid to treat brain injury. In the new randomized trial — which spanned seven years and several countries — patients either received cold IV fluids in the ambulance and cold body wraps in the ER and ICU or just standard care. There wasn’t any difference between the groups when it came to living independently after recovery. Because cooling requires valuable time from hospital staff and can raise the risk other health problems, the authors argue it shouldn’t be used in patients with brain injuries.

How often does pollution send people to the ER? 

New research ties millions of ER visits around the world each year to pollution. It’s well-documented that breathing contaminated air can trigger asthma attacks. But in the new study, researchers set out to quantify how often that happens by looking at ER visits for asthma in 54 countries and Hong Kong, then combined that with global pollution data pulled from satellites and information on the relationship between pollution exposure and asthma. The big-picture finding: Between 9 and 23 million ER visits each year might be triggered by ozone, and another 5 to 10 million are liked to fine particulate matter. About half of ER trips tied to contaminated air were in South and East Asia. 

What to read around the web today

  • Knocking on doors to get opioid overdose survivors into treatment. NPR
  • Who killed the billionaire founder of a generic drug empire? Bloomberg
  • Gottlieb ‘extremely worried’ about how to pay for CAR-T therapies. STAT Plus
  • This thermometer tells you your temperature, then tells firms where to advertise. New York Times

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Thursday, October 25, 2018


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