What We’re Reading: Drug Inflation Penalties; $280B COVID-19 Relief Fraud; Brain Tumor Vaccine


The Biden administration will impose drug price inflation penalties on drugmakers; a study reveals massive amounts of COVID-19 relief funds were stolen; experimental vaccine nearly doubles survival in patients in a trial.

Biden to Impose Penalties on Drugmaker Price Hikes

The Biden administration has announced that it will impose inflation penalties on 43 drugs in the third quarter of 2023, according to Reuters. The price of these drugs had increased by more than the rate of inflation. This move aims to lower costs for older Americans by up to $449 per dose. Drugmakers, such as AbbVie, which increased the prices of its drugs beyond the rate of inflation will be required to pay the difference to Medicare. The administration had fined 27 drugs earlier in the year.

Billions Stolen in COVID-19 Relief Funds

A recent analysis suggests fraudsters potentially stole more than $280 billion, with an additional $123 billion which was wasted or misspent in COVID-19 relief funds in the United States, according to The Associated Press. The study shows how extensive fraud and mismanagement occurred as a result of inadequate oversight and minimal restrictions on applicants during the early stages of the pandemic. Furthermore, the stolen funds and wastage accounted for approximately 10% of the $4.2 trillion disbursed in COVID-19 relief aid.

Experimental Vaccine Shows Promise in Delaying Progression of Deadly Brain Cancer
An experimental vaccine called SurVaxM has shown promise in delaying the progression of glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain cancer, according to NBC News. The vaccine targets a protein called survivin found in tumors, aiming to eliminate cancer cells and prevent tumor recurrence. A new trial is expected to be conducted across more than 10 clinical sites in the United States, as well as China, and will compare this shot to patients receiving standard care.

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