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What We’re Reading: CMS Releases Historic Guidelines; Affirmative Action Ruling Outcry; EC Announces Vaccine Deal


Medicare will negotiate drug prices directly with companies; medical leaders react to the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action; the European Commission (EC) announces deals with Pfizer and select European companies to reserve space to manufacture vaccines for future health emergencies.

CMS Announces Revised Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program

Medicare now has the ability to directly negotiate covered prescription drug prices, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, according to CMS.gov. Today, CMS announced revised guidelines specifying the requirements and parameters of the new Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program for the initial round of negotiations, which will happen during 2023 and 2024 for prices that will be applicable starting in 2026. This new program reinforces Medicare’s ability to aid people with current Medicare coverage and future generations.

Medical Leaders Speak Up on Affirmative Action

Medical leaders reacted quickly on Thursday to the Supreme Court’s decision to severely limit the use of race in college admissions, reported STAT, expressing worry that this ruling could reverse decades of progress toward diversifying the country’s physician workforce, which is seen as something imperative to helping end the nation’s extensive and ingrained health disparities. Rulings in cases involving the University of North Carolina and Harvard University determined that the use of race in admissions violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

European Commission Works to Secure Vaccines for Future Pandemics

Pfizer and some European companies will reserve space to manufacture up to 325 million vaccines per year for potential future global health emergencies, the European Commission announced Friday, according to Reuters. The agreement includes mRNA, vector-based, and protein-based vaccines, and does not relate to present COVID-19 vaccine agreements between the EU and vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer. When announcing the deal, the European Commission stated that the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need for Europe to be better prepared for future health emergencies.

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