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What We're Reading: Agency Suspects COVID-19 Lab Leak; Colorado EpiPen Co-pays; Flu and COVID-19 Test Maker Files for Bankruptcy


A new investigation blames the COVID-19 pandemic on a leak from a laboratory in China; Colorado proposes co-pay limits for EpiPens; the first at-home flu and COVID-19 test maker, Lucira Health, declares bankruptcy.

US Energy Department Points to China Lab Leak as Source of COVID-19 Pandemic

The US Energy Department now aligns with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in believing the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic to be a result of a Chinese laboratory accident, according to The Wall Street Journal. The updated investigation, confirmed by a senior official of the US Central Intelligence Agency, was not requested by Congress. However, House and Senate Republicans who have been conducting their own investigations into the matter are pressuring the Biden administration and intelligence experts for more information concerning these classified reports.

Colorado Proposes Co-pay Limit Law for EpiPens

A new state law in Colorado could cap out-of-pocket co-pays for epinephrine autoinjectors, otherwise known as EpiPens, used to treat individuals with severe allergic reactions, according to Kaiser Health News. Almost 4 years since becoming the first state to cap insulin co-payments, the proposed state law would cap out-of-pocket co-pays at $60 for a pack of 2 EpiPens, which currently cost approximately $636 at a Walgreens in Denver, according to GoodRx. This bill is another example of policy makers attempting to craft a solution concerning the drug pricing system and the inaccessibility of lifesaving drugs in the United States.

Maker of First FDA-Approved Flu and COVID-19 Test Declares Bankruptcy

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the first at-home flu and COVID-19 test last Friday, according to STAT News. However, test maker Lucira Health declared bankruptcy on February 22, and directly blamed the FDA for taking too long to approve the test in a hearing on February 24. According to lawyers at the hearing, although the company expected a rise in sales following Q4 of 2022 into Q1 of 2023, unanticipated delays in authorization by the FDA forced the company to cut staff twice in the past 4 months, with notices going to the remaining 63 employees prior to the bankruptcy filing.

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