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What We're Reading: Fetal Tissue Restrictions; Opioid Maker Pays Up; Medicaid Work Requirements and Employment

AJMC Staff
Granting the wishes of anti-abortion groups, the Trump administration announced it will end fetal tissue research by government scientists; Insys Therapeutics has agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal investigations into allegations that the manufacturer paid kickbacks and used other illegal tactics to sell a powerful fentanyl spray; Medicaid enrollees who would potentially be subject to Medicaid work requirements are likely to face barriers to employment.

Trump Administration Tightens Restrictions on Fetal Tissue Research  

The Trump administration said Wednesday that they have discontinued all internal research that involves fetal tissue, putting an end to fetal tissue research by government scientists. The announcement was welcome news to anti-abortion activists, as fetal tissue is obtained through elective abortions. According to a statement from HHS, external fetal-tissue projects that receive government funding will continue, but new or renewed grant applications will require approval from an ethics advisory board. Scientists have spoken out against the announcement, saying that fetal tissue research has been essential to developing life-saving therapies.

 

Opioid Maker Agrees to Pay $225 Million to Resolve Federal Probes

Opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics has agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal investigations into allegations that the manufacturer paid kickbacks and used other illegal tactics to sell Susbys, a fentanyl spray meant for patients with cancer with severe pain, reported the Associated Press. The settlement comes a month after Insys founder John Kapoor and other former executives of the company were convicted of bribing doctors to prescribe the drug. As part of the agreement, the company will enter a 5-year deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and its operating subsidiary will plead guilty to 5 counts of mail fraud.

 

Many Targeted by Work Requirements Face Barriers to Employment

Medicaid enrollees who would potentially be subject to Medicaid work requirements implemented by their state are more likely to face barriers to sustained employment compared with privately insured adults, according to a brief from the Urban Institute. Barriers include low education level, health problems, limited transportation and internet access, criminal history, and residence in high-unemployment or high-poverty neighborhoods. Less than 1 in 6 potentially affected Medicaid enrollees reported working at least 20 hours per week for nearly all weeks in the past year, compared with more than 3 in 5 privately insured adults.

 
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