Tuesday’s Tidbits

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

From the Omicron and siblings front, MedPage Today reports

A committee of independent vaccine experts recommended that the FDA grant an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the two-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 6 to 17 years.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 22-0, agreeing unanimously that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks in two age groups: kids ages 6 to 11 years and teens ages 12 to 17. They recommended two 50-mcg doses for the younger kids and two 100-mcg doses for teens.

The Wall Street Journal adds

The FDA will consider the vote in making a final decision on whether to clear the vaccine for use in children 6 years and older. * * * An FDA authorization could come within days. It would open the use of Moderna’s vaccine to children for the first time in the U.S., and give anyone still intending to inoculate their children 6 years and older against Covid-19 a second option.

Medpage Today also informs us

Only a very small number of high-risk patients with COVID-19 experienced “rebound symptoms” after being treated with nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid), a retrospective study found.

Among nearly 500 patients, 93% of whom were fully vaccinated, two patients were hospitalized due to symptoms that were not directly related to “rebounding” within a month and required care in the intensive care unit (ICU), and four experienced rebound symptoms at a median of 9 days (interquartile range [IQR] 7-14.5), reported Nischal Ranganath, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues.

All rebound symptoms were resolved with symptom-directed treatment, and no deaths were reported in any patients after 30 days following their initial COVID-19 diagnosis, the group noted in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“We found that rebound phenomenon was uncommon in this group of patients,” said co-author Aditya Shah, MBBS, also of the Mayo Clinic, in a statement. “The four individuals who experienced rebound represent only 0.8% of the group, and all of them recovered quickly without additional COVID-directed therapy.”

That’s certainly good news to read.

From the Rx coverage front, the Drug Channels blog tears apart a recent JAMA study concluding that the pricing of recently launched drugs has skyrocketed in recent years.

[T]he study’s headline conclusion is highly misleading. The authors obscure the real story with mathematical sleight-of-hand that misrepresents the underlying data and overlooks the true nature of today’s pharmaceutical innovations. 

Most notably, the authors discount the fact that the most expensive new drugs treat ultra-rare conditions affecting extraordinarily small patient populations. Their policy recommendations would therefore have a devastating impact on these patients and their hope for treatments and cures. 

As Nobel prize winner Ronald Coase observed: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”

And the Dr. Fein can back up his conclusion.

From general healthcare front, Kaiser Health News offers thought provoking articles about

The first article draws an important distinction between medical care and SDOH. Unfortunately, the second article reminds us that no good deed goes unpunished. If the government simply had relied on personal responsibility (outside of Medicaid), we would not find ourselves in this pickle.

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