Midweek update

Another rainy evening in Bethesda MD.

Get a load of this — public health benefits from the great hunkering down:

  • From the Wall Street Journal — “From Argentina to South Africa to New Zealand, countries in the Southern Hemisphere [where it is winter] are reporting far lower numbers of influenza and other seasonal respiratory viral infections this year. In some countries, the flu seems to have all but disappeared, a surprise silver lining that health experts attribute to measures to corral the coronavirus, like mask use and restrictions on air travel.”
  • and from the New York Times (thanks to a friend of the FEHBlog) — “This spring, as countries around the world told people to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, doctors in neonatal intensive care units were noticing something strange: Premature births were falling, in some cases drastically.”

The Wall Street Journal also reports that “[t]he U.S. has agreed to pay Pfizer Inc. PFE 5.10% and BioNTech SE nearly $2 billion to secure 100 million doses of their experimental Covid-19 vaccine to provide to Americans free of charge, the latest sign the government is readying plans to make vaccines available if proved to work safely.” Here is the HHS press release on this welcome purchase. The story reminded me of when the FEHBlog as a youngster was standing in a long line of his peers to receive the second polio vaccine.

On an unrelated note, Fierce Healthcare informs us that health “insurers are worried a raft of proposed changes to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program could lead to drug manufacturers gaming the system to charge higher prices.” The FEHBlog continue to believe that the upside opportunities from this change are greater than the downside, but he appreciates the skepticism.

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