What We’re Reading: Congress Wants to Lower Health Costs; HIV Drug Patent Trial; Loneliness Is a Public Health Threat

Democrats look to build on the Inflation Reduction Act, and both parties seem to want to reform the pharmacy benefit manager industry; the US federal government and Gilead Sciences will go to trial this week in a multibillion-dollar dispute; the US Surgeon General warns that loneliness is a public health threat.

Congress Aspires to Lower Health Costs

Many Democrats in Congress seek to build upon the efforts of the Inflation Reduction Act and increase the focus on other parts of the drug supply chain through bipartisan reforms, reported The Hill. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer aims to bring a health package to the floor at some point over the next few months, although the timing and what it could include are in question because of the looming debt limit negotiations. It appears both parties and chambers possess the common goal of reforming the pharmacy benefit manager industry.

Gilead Goes to Trial on HIV Drug Patent

Gilead Sciences is going to trial in Delaware federal court this week to dispute claims that it owes the US government a portion of its multibillion-dollar profits from its HIV-prevention drug regimen, according to Reuters. The government is looking for over $1 billion from Gilead for allegedly failing to pay the CDC for discovering that Gilead’s HIV medication emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada) could help prevent HIV, not just treat it. Gilead has denied the allegations.

Loneliness Is a Public Health Threat, Says Surgeon General

Loneliness is a profound public health threat similar to smoking and obesity, said US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, in an advisory issued Tuesday, reported The Washington Post. The advisory intends to motivate Americans to spend more time with each other in a progressively divided and digital society. He said 50% of US adults experience loneliness, which has consequences for mental and physical health, including increased risks of depression, anxiety, and even heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

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