What We’re Reading: DEA Looks to Extend Prescription Flexibilities; Beware of Medical Credit Cards; Women Avoiding Mistimed Pregnancies

The DEA desires to extend its COVID-19 prescription flexibilities; the Biden administration warns Americans to avoid medical credit cards; more US women are avoiding unwanted or ill-timed pregnancies, but a growing share of women over 35 say their pregnancies are coming later than desired.

DEA Wants to Extend Pandemic-Era Prescription Flexibilities

As the end of the public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly approaches, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has submitted plans to prolong the flexibilities around telemedicine prescribing that were passed during the pandemic, reported The Hill. The agency had previously announced proposed rules in February to extend the COVID-19 flexibilities and allow providers to prescribe a 30-day supply of “Schedule III-V nonnarcotic controlled medications” and buprenorphine without an in-person evaluation or a referral from a separate practitioner who has conducted an in-person evaluation.

Biden Administration Warns Against Medical Credit Cards

The Biden administration warned Americans about the financial risks of medical credit cards and other loans for medical bills on Thursday, cautioning in a new report that high interest rates can intensify patients’ debts and threaten their financial security, according to NPR. A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that US individuals paid $1 billion in deferred interest on medical credit cards and other medical financing from 2018 to 2020. The interest payments can expand medical bills by almost 25%, the agency found.

More US Women Avoiding Unwanted, Mistimed Pregnancies

An analysis released last Thursday in the journal Demography by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute found that an increasing majority of US women from 2009 to 2015 said their pregnancies came at the right time, reported The New York Times. It revealed a decline in the share of pregnancies that women didn’t want or that happened too soon, a move driven by young women. The analysis also found that a significant and growing share of women—particularly those 35 years and older—said they were getting pregnant later than desired.

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