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June 15, 2018

What We're Reading: FDA Focuses on Chronic Pain; Pfizer Raises Drug Prices; Raising Awareness of Sepsis

AJMC Staff
The FDA is trying to ensure that patients with chronic pain have access to the medication they need; Pfizer just raised list prices for more than 40 of its drugs, some with increases as much as 9.4%; hospitals are becoming better at identifying the symptoms of sepsis sooner, but an update in technology to test for sepsis is needed.

The FDA Turns Attention to Treating Patients With Chronic Pain

In an attempt to control the opioid epidemic, states have enacted tough laws on prescribing opioids. Now, the FDA is trying to ensure that patients with chronic pain have access to the medication they need, according to USA Today. A public meeting on July 9 will provide an opportunity for patients living with chronic pain to present their perspectives and outline challenges or barriers they face to accessing treatments.

 

Pfizer Raises Prices for More Than 40 Drugs

After the White House presented its blueprint to drive down drug prices, President Donald Trump claimed drug prices would start coming down in 2 weeks, but Pfizer just raised list prices for more than 40 of its drugs. According to The Wall Street Journal, many drugs will see prices increase by 9.4% and by more than 10% for the entire year. Pfizer defended the price increases by explaining that it often sells its drugs at a discount.

 

Efforts to Identify Sepsis Faster and Save Lives

Sepsis kills more than 250,000 people annually in the United States, but hospitals don’t always see the warnings signs that can indicate a patient is spiraling downward. Diagnosing sepsis faster and beginning treatment can result in huge improvements in outcomes and large drops in death rates, explained STAT. However, even as initiatives work to raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis, current tests require growing bacteria in a lab dish, which can take 3 to 5 days. A new test that detects rare bacterial cells in blood samples can provide an analysis in just 5 hours.

 
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