News & Views: 10/20 - 10/26

October 27, 2020

On Thursday (10/22), remdesivir became the first FDA approved treatment for COVID-19, but providers are hesitant to pay the high price due to a recent WHO-funded study.

The FDA approved the antiviral Veklury (remdesivir) to treat patients 12 and older who are hospitalized due to COVID-19. However, days before the approval a WHO-funded trial claimed that the drug does not significantly reduce the mortality rate or length of hospitalization among patients. In response, Gilead announced that those conclusions were not peer-reviewed and are inconsistent with previous peer-reviewed works on the drug. Providers, already wary of the $3,120 price tag, are now more hesitant to use the treatment until another trial confirms Gilead’s statement or the price is lowered to correspond to its effectiveness. To read the FDA press release, click here.

  • To review the WHO-funded Solidarity Trial and Gilead’s response, click here and here respectively.

Community health centers are the most recent stakeholder to sue HHS for their inaction surrounding the 340B violations from drug manufacturers.

The National Association of Community Health Centers filed their lawsuit to order HHS to enact an administrative dispute resolution as directed by the Affordable Care Act. According to the lawsuit, the resolution would protect health centers from the “manufacturer’s unilateral pricing and overcharging actions.” The National Association of Community Health Centers filed this lawsuit after Ryan White Clinics filed a similar lawsuit for 340B protections. To review the full article, click here.

CMS announced they are close to figuring out how to make COVID-19 vaccines free for everyone.

HHS Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Paul Mango announced that they are days away from confirming the vaccine will be free to everyone upon its approval. It is still unknown to the public how CMS is planning to ensure even Medicare beneficiaries are given the vaccine, but there have been rumors that the administration will use a demonstration. To review the entire article, click here.

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