drug

White House cited drug companies’ objections in overruling FDA’s vaccine standards

“In a normal procedure, the industry wouldn’t be talking at all to the White House about this,” said John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “The White House again is blurring and muddying the waters on all of this.”

Trump has repeatedly telegraphed his eagerness to deliver a vaccine before Nov. 3, and one drug maker – Pfizer – has said it could still meet that timeline. During last week’s presidential debate, Trump went as far as to assert he’d been personally assured a coronavirus vaccine could be ready within weeks.

“I’ve spoken to Pfizer, I’ve spoken to all of the people that you have to speak to – Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and others,” he said, dismissing his own health officials’ projections that a vaccine likely won’t be available until the end of the year. “They can go faster than that by a lot.”

Trump’s claims prompted Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to publish a staff memo decrying the politicization of the vaccine race, though he also criticized those “who argue for delay” and stuck to his pre-November target – writing that “we are approaching our goal and despite not having any political considerations with our pre-announced date, we find ourselves in the crucible of the U.S. Presidential election.”

The appearance of political interference in the vaccine authorization process has long worried FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and other agency officials. They felt that setting more stringent standards and releasing them to the public would reassure Americans that science, not politics, was driving the process. Public trust in a vaccine is crucial to ensuring that enough people take the shots to create a broader herd immunity against Covid-19.

But in initial conversations about the new guidelines, current and former administration officials told POLITICO the White

White House doctor announced Trump is being treated with dexamethasone. Here’s what we know about the drug.

President Donald Trump’s condition has continued to improve since being taken to the hospital Friday due to symptoms from a COVID-19 infection, White House physician Sean Conley told reporters on Sunday. 

Trump arrives at Walter Reed after COVID diagnosis

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Conley had previously said he was using a “multi-prong” approach to treat Trump. He said Sunday that included the steroid dexamethasone in response to Trump’s blood oxygen level dropping twice.

An affordable, widely available steroid, dexamethasone has shown promise in improving survival outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

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Although the British government has authorized its use among some patients, it remains unclear how beneficial the treatment may be for less severe COVID-19 cases. Further, it has not been peer-reviewed or replicated in other studies.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.


© Jacquelyn Martin, AP
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020.

“This is a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert.

What we know about the potentially lifesaving treatment:

What is dexamethasone?

Usually prescribed as an oral or intravenous steroid, dexamethasone is a general purpose anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling drug used for a variety of conditions, said Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu, an infectious disease doctor and associate professor of medicine at Yale, in June.

Like other steroids, however, “it is a non-specific treatment not necessarily targeting a single, specific pathway of inflammation or swelling,” Ogbuagu says. That has its drawbacks.

How is it used to treat COVID-19 patients?

Generally, COVID-19 comes in two phases, explained Ogbuagu. 

“People get the virus, it replicates, and that’s the first phase of the

High drug prices driven by profits, House committee reports find

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to a damning investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee began releasing Wednesday.

The first two reports in the investigation focus on Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid cancer treatment, the price of which has been raised 23 times since 2005, and Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which has risen in price 27 times since 2007.

The costs have little to do with research and development or industry efforts to help people afford medication, as drug companies often claim, according to the inquiry.

“It’s true many of these pharmaceutical industries have come up with lifesaving and pain-relieving medications, but they’re killing us with the prices they charge,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said as the hearings began Wednesday. He added, “Uninhibited pricing power has transformed America’s pain into pharma’s profit.”

The top Republican on the committee, James Comer of Kentucky, called the investigation a partisan attack. “These hearings seem designed simply to vilify and publicly shame pharmaceutical company executives,” Comer said.

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Much of the drug industry’s profits come at the expense of taxpayers and the Medicare program, say the reports, which say that they are used to pay generous executive bonuses and that they are guarded by aggressive lobbying and efforts to block competition, regulation or systemic change in the United States while the rest of the world pays less.

“The drug companies are bringing in tens of billions of dollars in revenues, making astronomical profits, and rewarding their executives with lavish compensation packages — all without any apparent limit on what they can charge,” committee chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., wrote in a letter attached to the first two staff reports.

Rep. Elijah Cummings,

High drug prices driven by profits, House panel report finds

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to a damning investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee began releasing Wednesday.



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The first two reports in the investigation focus on Celgene and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid cancer treatment, which saw its price hiked 23 times since 2005, and Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which went up in price 27 times since 2007.

Those costs have little to do with research and development or industry efforts to help people afford medication, as drug companies often claim, according to the probe.

“It’s true, many of these pharmaceutical industries have come up with lifesaving and pain-relieving medications, but they’re killing us with the prices they charge,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) as the hearings began Wednesday. He added that “uninhibited pricing power has transformed America’s pain into pharma’s profit.”

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, called the investigation a partisan attack. “These hearings seem designed simply to vilify and publicly shame pharmaceutical company executives,” Comer said.

Much of the drug industry’s profits come at the expense of taxpayers and the Medicare program, are used to pay generous executive bonuses and are guarded by aggressive lobbying and efforts to block competition, regulation or systemic change in the United States while the rest of the world pays less, the reports say.

“The drug companies are bringing in tens of billions of dollars in revenues, making astronomical profits, and rewarding their executives with lavish compensation packages — all without any apparent limit on what they can charge,” committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter attached to the first two staff reports.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the former committee chairperson who died last October,

Former White House physician echoes Trump’s accusation of Biden drug use for debates

A former White House physician underscored President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge’s order Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents New Yorkers report receiving ballots with wrong name, voter addresses MORE‘s claim that Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTop House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents Judge’s ruling creates fresh hurdle for Trump’s TikTok ban Harris says she hasn’t ‘made a plan one way or another’ on meeting Supreme Court nominee MORE might take performance enhancing drugs before debating him on Tuesday night. 

“Obviously something is going on with this man at this point,” Dr. Ronny Jackson said on Fox News’ “Hannity.” “I think it’s completely reasonable to ask if he’s being medicated because there have been a couple of times where he has come out and looked a little more energetic than he has in the last few months.”

Jackson, a Trump loyalist and candidate for a congressional race in Texas, said it is possible Biden is having “good days and bad days” as part of what he called the former vice president’s “cognitive decline.” 

“But I think it’s completely reasonable to ask if he’s taking medications to help him with his alertness and his memory,” Jackson said. 

 

 

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted he would demand Biden take a drug test before taking the debate stage this week in Cleveland. 

 

“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night,” Trump said. “Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???”

 

The Biden campaign dismissed the notion