What We’re Reading: FDA Approves First COVID-19 Treatment; Trump, Biden Clash on Health Care; US Challenges International Right to Abortion

October 23, 2020
AJMC Staff

The FDA has approved Gilead’s remdesivir; presidential nominees debate health care reforms; US endorses international antiabortion declaration.

FDA Approves Remdesivir as First COVID-19 Treatment

The FDA approved Gilead’s remdesivir as the first drug to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to Politico. The decision is based on 3 randomized trials that found the drug can reduce the length of hospital stays among those infected and reduce the likelihood that patients will require oxygen. However, none of the trials concluded that remdesivir can reduce the risk of death, and a multicountry trial backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) found the drug showed “little to no effect” on hospitalized patients. The FDA did not mention this trial in its risk-benefit assessment for the drug and stated that a trial by the National Institutes of Health, one of the 3 supporting the approval, was better suited to assess a time to recovery than the WHO-backed trial.

Trump, Biden Offer Different Health Care Reform Visions

During the final presidential debate prior to the November 3 general election, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump argued over health care reforms as the nation continues to suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump accused Biden of talking about socialized medicine with his proposed expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the former vice president dubbed “Bidencare,” USA Today reports. In response to the jab, Biden argued that his plan would reduce drug prices and premiums by allowing for drug price negotiation through the Medicare program. If the ACA is overturned, Trump said he would come up with a brand new health care plan, although few details of such a plan have been revealed.

US Signs International Antiabortion Declaration

The United States, along with Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia and Uganda, cosponsored a nonbinding international antiabortion declaration Thursday, The Washington Post reports. The move is a rebuke to United Nations human rights bodies that seek to protect abortion access around the globe. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and HHS secretary Alex Azar participated in the signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, which aims to promote women’s health. Abortion access is widely restricted in the other countries that cosponsored the declaration. Specifically, the consensus formalizes a coalition opposed to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a declaration that US allies like Britain and France support.