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What We’re Reading: McKinsey's Double Role in Opioids; Plane Mask Mandate Extension; Liver Disease Spike


McKinsey, hired by the FDA to consult on the opioid epidemic, also provided similar services to Purdue Pharma; the CDC extends its mask mandate for airplane passengers and staff; United Kingdom researchers investigate liver disease spike among children.

Firm Consulting With FDA and Purdue Pharma on Opioids

A new congressional report found that employees from McKinsey, a consulting firm hired by the FDA to help with issues related to the opioid epidemic, were also providing similar services for the company at the center of the crisis, Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin (oxycodone), according to CBS News. The 53-page report, released by the US House Oversight Committee, showed that McKinsey employees used the firm’s government contract to obtain more consulting work with private companies. The firm did not disclose the conflicts of interest to the FDA and the committee that conducted the report has called for the company to answer for its actions.

CDC Extends Transportation Mask Mandate

The CDC has extended its face mask requirement for passengers and staff for public transit until May 3, according to NPR. The mandate applies to airports, planes, buses, trains, and transit hubs. Previously, the mandate was supposed to life April 11 but the CDC decided to keep the order in light of risking COVID-19 cases and to assess the potential impact of case increased on severe disease and health care system capacity. The Transportation Security Administration, the agency that enforces the order, is extending its security directive and emergency amendment through May 3 as well. The extension comes as the Biden administration faces mounting pressure to lift the mask regulations.

UK Researchers Investigate Pediatric Liver Disease Rise

According to a report from the Associated Press, scientists in the United Kingdom are researching a recent spike in liver disease among children, including the cause and whether there are any similarities between the affected patients. The UK Health Security Agency said that 74 cases of hepatitis have been under investigation since January. Most cases have been among children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. The usual viruses that cause the condition were not found in these patients and scientists are assessing whether other possible causes, such as COVID-19, other viruses, and environmental factors. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said that other nations should report hepatitis infections as well in the event that the outbreak is not limited to Great Britain.

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