Latest Scandal Too Much For HHS Secretary Tom Price. He’s Out.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday, amid controversy over his use of private jets for official and personal business. He promised a day earlier to pay back some of the $400,000 spent on those flights, but the offer came too late for the Trump White House.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the White House said President Donald Trump intends to designate Don Wright of Virginia to serve as acting secretary, effective at midnight Friday. Wright serves as the deputy assistant secretary for health at HHS and he directs the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Out-Of-Pocket Costs Often Keep Pricey New Cholesterol Drugs Out Of Reach, Study Finds

Access to powerful new cholesterol-lowering drugs is so tightly controlled and patients’ out-of-pocket costs are so high that fewer than a third of people whose doctors prescribe the drugs get them, a new study found.

While highly effective, the new drugs cost as much as $14,000 annually, leading some insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to require doctors to get preapproval for them.

For example, only 47.2 percent of people who were prescribed the drugs, Praluent and Repatha, received that insurance green light, and just under two-thirds of those patients filled their prescriptions.

Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk

Quick Guide to Dementia

News Picture: Failing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia Risk

FRIDAY, Sept. 29, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Older adults who’ve lost their sense of smell appear to have an increased risk of dementia, a new study suggests.

Latest Alzheimers News

The long-term study included nearly 3,000 participants, aged 57 to 85, who were tested on their ability to identify five common odors.

At least four of the five odors were correctly identified by 78 percent of the participants, the researchers found. In addition, 14 percent identified three of the odors, 5 percent identified only two of the odors, 2 percent identified only one, and 1 percent could not identify any of the odors.

Years After Silently Combating Sexual Trauma, Female Veterans Seek Help

Sheila Procella joined the Air Force in 1974 to “see the Earth,” she said. She enlisted at the tail end of the Vietnam War, shortly after graduating from high school. Although she never left her home state of Texas during eight years of service, her office job proved to be its own battlefield.

“Some of us actually went to war, some of us had war right here in the States, going to work every day knowing we are going to be harassed,” said Procella, now 62 and living in Plano, Texas.

U.S. invests $170 million in late-stage Ebola vaccines, drugs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. government is investing more than $170 million to help two new vaccines against the Ebola virus and two Ebola drugs complete the steps needed for approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the department of Health and Human Services, said on Friday it would buy the drugs and vaccines and keep them in a national stockpile, which would be used to protect Americans in the event of an outbreak of the deadly disease.

U.S. judge clears way for Maryland drug price-gouging law

(Reuters) – A U.S. District Court judge on Friday cleared the way for Maryland to implement the nation’s first law designed to penalize drugmakers for price gouging by denying the generic drug industry trade group’s request for an injunction.

The state’s new law will go into effect as planned on Sunday, according to the office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), a generic industry trade group which represents companies like Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit, argued that the law is unconstitutional because it does not define price gouging and amounts to intervention by an individual state in interstate commerce.

Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Repeal And Replace Is Dead. What Now?

As predicted, the last-ditch GOP effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act ended the way its predecessors did this week — in failure. With a Saturday midnight deadline fast approaching, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) conceded Tuesday that they lacked even the 50 votes necessary to pass their bill using a truncated budget process.

So what happens next?

  • The focus is back on efforts to stabilize the individual insurance market, which has been reeling with uncertainty as the future of the Affordable Care Act remained in question. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), are restarting the bipartisan negotiations they began in August.

Why Glaring Quality Gaps Among Nursing Homes Are Likely To Grow If Medicaid Is Cut

Nursing homes that rely the most on Medicaid tend to provide the worst care for their residents — not just the people covered by the program but also those who pay privately or have Medicare coverage.

Despite the collapse of the latest Senate effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, congressional Republicans are still keen on shrinking the amount of Medicaid money Washington sends states.

Down the line, this would create problems for the nation’s 1.4 million nursing home residents, two-thirds of whom are covered by the state-federal health care program for low-income and disabled people.

Senators close to bipartisan deal on health exchanges: Schumer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators from both parties are close to finalizing a bipartisan deal to shore up the health insurance exchanges created under Obamacare, the chamber’s top Democrat said on Thursday.

The move, which Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said was “on the verge” of completion, would stabilize the market for individuals who buy their own insurance plans on the federal or state-based exchanges.

The potential agreement comes after Republicans have repeatedly failed to carry out their years-long pledge to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul.

A single genetic glitch may explain how Zika became so dangerous

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A single genetic change that occurred in 2013 may explain how Zika acquired the ability to attack fetal nerve cells, causing a severe birth defect in babies whose mothers were infected while pregnant, Chinese and U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

Scientists have posited many theories about why Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that had been linked with only mild symptoms since its discovery in 1947, could suddenly be associated with thousands of cases of the birth defect known as microcephaly, as it was in Brazil in 2015.