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What We’re Reading: Excess Deaths in Black Communities; FTC Sues to Block Acquisition; Cancer Drug Shortages

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Black populations suffered 1.6 million excess deaths in the past 20 years, new studies find; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sues to block Amgen from acquiring Horizon Therapeutics, citing 2 drugs that have no competition; cancer drug shortages are approaching an all-time high.

Black Communities Experienced Excess Deaths in Past 20 Years, Say Studies

America’s Black communities endured an excess 1.6 million deaths compared with the White population during the past 20 years, costing hundreds of billions of dollars, according to 2 new studies that expand on what is known about health disparities and inequity, reported The Washington Post. According to the reports published Tuesday in JAMA, the unequal nature of American society affecting social determinants of health—good schools, safe housing, employment with a living wage, health care, and more—is to blame.

FTC Sues to Prevent Monopolizing Acquisition

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking to stop Amgen Inc. from acquiring Horizon Therapeutics plc, saying the deal would allow Amgen to leverage its drug portfolio to bolster the monopoly positions of Horizon medications teprotumumab and pegloticase, used to treat thyroid eye disease and chronic refractory gout, respectively. The FTC's lawsuit said the deal would allow Amgen to use rebates to pressure insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers into favoring the 2 treatments, which have no competition.

Drug Shortages Approaching All-Time High

Thousands of patients are encountering delays in getting treatments for cancer and other deadly diseases, with drug shortages in the United States nearing record levels, according to The New York Times. The shortages are getting the attention of the White House and Congress, which are studying the underlying causes of the wavering generic drug market, which accounts for about 90% of US prescriptions.

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