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What We're Reading: Shutdown Stirs Pharma Worries; Judge Extends Birth Control Ruling; Providers Walk Tightrope

AJMC Staff
The pharmaceutical industry is looking for answers as the government shutdown, if it lasts longer, could threaten decisions on highly anticipated new drugs; a federal judge in Philadelphia issued a nationwide injunction that prevents the Trump administration from blocking women’s access to free birth control guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act; providers are trying to strike a balance between informing their patients about the Trump administration’s proposed “public charge” rule while not causing undue concern about their immigration status.

Pharma Worried About Drug Approvals if Shutdown Drags On

The pharmaceutical industry is looking for answers as the government shutdown, if it lasts longer, could threaten decisions on highly anticipated new drugs, according to a STAT analysis. The list includes medicines from Janssen, Sanofi, and Novartis for depression, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, as well as GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV treatment. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, has warned the agency only has about 3 more weeks’ worth of funding to draw down. Separately, the FDA may restart inspections of high-risk foods as early as Tuesday, as furloughed inspectors have agreed to come back to work without pay, Gottlieb tweeted on Monday.



Federal Judge Blocks Trump Contraception Rule From Taking Effect Nationwide

A federal judge in Philadelphia, Wendy Beetlestone, issued a nationwide injunction that prevents the Trump administration from blocking women’s access to free birth control guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act, The New York Times reported. Her decision came a day after a California federal judge granted a request by 13 states and the District of Columbia to block the rules in their jurisdictions. It’s the latest setback for the administration as it tries to allow employers to deny insurance coverage of contraceptives if they object on religious or moral grounds.



"Public Charge" Proposal Forces Healthcare Providers Into Delicate Balancing Act With Patients

Providers are trying to strike a balance between informing their patients about the Trump administration’s proposed “public charge” rule while not causing undue concern about their immigration status, Kaiser Health News reported. The proposed rule, which is awaiting final action by the Department of Homeland Security, would allow the federal government to consider immigrants’ use of an expanded list of public benefit programs including Medicaid and Section 8 housing as a reason to deny lawful permanent residency.

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